The names of the writer Edison Idrees Masih and director Mohsin Talat would be written in gold when people would remember Saraab in coming years, for they have outdone themselves with a near-perfect drama. Not only does their collaboration teach the audience many things, it gives a message to the drama producers out there that if they have the will to make a different drama, the audience will be generous enough to accept their work. Making a play about schizophrenia was never going to be easy for the team but with the help of seasoned actors, a sensible production house and a leading couple that always delivers their 100 percent, Saraab continues to impress while raising the bar as well.
After Asfand Yar (Sami Khan) end up marrying Hoorain (Sonya Hussyn), and their first misadventure that led them to a close encounter with a dog, things begin to settle down until Hoorain loses it again in front of the neighbors. Saqib (Shafqat Khan) advises Asfand Yar to take a break and spend some alone time with Hoorain, and his parents (Sajid Shah and Kinza Malik) agree to the suggestion. When she tries to meet her parents before leaving, Namal (Nazish Jehangir) stops her from entering the house which seems normal, considering the elder sibling wants Asfand Yar for herself.
Meanwhile, Warda’s brother-in-law Sufyan (Jehanzeb Khan) overhears her conversation where she is talking to her mother about Hoorain’s Nikaah and is heartbroken, and so is his elder brother Nadir (Mohsin Ejaz) when he gets to know the truth. The hallucinated Asfand Yar convinces Hoorain that the drugs being given to her make her drowsy and she should stop taking them, whereas the real one wants her to take them so she could get better. When the two share a brief romantic moment during their honeymoon, Asfand Yar realizes that if he moves ahead, he will be taking advantage of Hoorain, and that’s why he stops himself from entering the room – the other Asfand Yar makes an appearance as soon as the other departs and confuses Hoorain who starts hearing voices calling her out.
The Good – Flawless performances are the key to Saraab's success
Sonya Hussyn is the star of the drama since it is based on her character’s illness, her character’s highs and lows and how her character behaves; not only has she performed brilliantly, she deserves to win an award this time around for her performance. The scenes where she talks to an unreal Asfand Yar (not present when shown from another person’s point of view) as well as those shot in the Northern Areas are magical because of her performance. Sami Khan is the other reason for falling in love with Saraab; in one moment he is the caring Asfand Yar who wants the best for his wife and in another, he is the figment of Hoorain’s imagination who tells her exactly what she wants to hear. The range of his expressions for both the characters, the manner in which he accepts his mistake so that her love can be safe, and the way he looks at her is what makes him the perfect man anyone would want in their lives.
Surprisingly, Jehanzeb Khan in his fewer scenes managed to portray the emotions of a guy with a broken heart; his character’s bhabi played by Ghana Ali was both irritating and caring at the same time; irritating when she is at her parents’ place and caring when at her in-laws’. It wouldn’t be impolite to say that she plays the perfect bitch here, prompting her younger sister to still pursue Asfand Yar just to satisfy her ego. Mohsin Ejaz as her husband is equally good in his limited presence as is Shafqat Khan who stays loyal to his friend Asfand Yar despite things happening so fast. Asfand Yar’s parents Kinza Malik and Sajid Shah share a perfect chemistry and their u-turn from ashamed parents to proud ones have taken the drama into a new direction; veteran actor Aurangzeb Leghari seems so relatable despite being over the top at the time but hey, he is the father of the flawed daughter who acts strange and makes stranger claims all the time.
The Bad – Loud acting never helps, especially in serious dramas
The biggest drawback of Saraab is Farida Shabbir’s ‘theatre’ acting on TV; why is she always hyper and shouting as if she wants to be heard in the last row. Had it not been for the TV remote, people would have visited their local ENTs for checkups. Also, Nazish Jehangir’s one-sided love track is exactly what makes the audience switch to OTT platforms; in the drama that revolves around schizophrenia, adding a love triangle is like hitting the ball for a six in a hockey game. Isn’t there one household in the entire country where the relationship between your sister’s husband and the saali is respectful, not lustful? Nazish is a good actress, she has performed well as Namal and the audience were expecting her to be the only person who would help her youngest sibling, yet she turns both Nand and Jalan just to counter rival channel’s dramas. Also, Shafqat Khan’s Advice as Saqib to Sami Khan’s Asfand Yar (and their exams discussion) seemed forced; it would have been better had it come from a doctor. However, the doctor in this drama’s case doesn’t look like a doctor but a fashion model!
The Verdict – Saraab continues to grow on the audience, with bad things happening to Asfand Yar only
Asfand Yar is to be blamed for what’s happening to Asfand Yar, if you get the meaning of this, then Saraab is the drama for you. Flawless performances and impeccable direction makes the drama worth your while; not only it discusses a topic as serious as schizophrenia but also teaches the audience how it can be detected, how it can be treated and how the person suffering from it should be handled. When was the last time you saw something like that on national TV, where Saas Bahu, Saali Behnoi and getting raped were in the background? Due to Saraab the audience’s taste would develop for better subjects, and if it handled as it should be, it will end up in history as the play that dared to make its own place!