If dramas could be judged on a near-perfect script, and excellent execution, then HUM TV’s Saraab would be rated amongst the best dramas of 2020. Writer Edison Idrees Masih’s screenplay is brought to life by director Mohsin Talat with the actors giving their best performance. Dealing with a serious topic like Schizophrenia was never going to be easy for the team, but they have managed to educate the audience and stand out at the same time. The play is proving to be a worthy successor of Pyar Ke Sadqay that also kept the audience glued to their seats, during the first half of 2020.
Asfand Yar (Sami Khan) and Hoorain (Sonya Hussyn) return from Interior Sindh with a lot on their minds; while Asfand Yar learns that Hoorain is suffering from Schizophrenia, he also realizes that she talks to a version of him that is a figment of her imagination. Their late arrival causes tension between the two families with Hoorain’s family blaming Asfand Yar’s family for destroying their daughter’s life. While Asfand Yar’s father (Sajid Shah) is considerably angry on his defiance, his mother (Kinza Malik) is comforting and is shocked to find out that her niece is a mental patient.
On the other hand, Hoorain’s family makes her realize that her reputation is tarnished since she spent a full night with Asfand Yar, and that’s what prompts her to call Asfand Yar and tell him that she hopes for his sake that he is happy that she is now a condemned person. Saqib (Shafqat Khan) acts smartly on two occasions as first he drags Asfand Yar away from Hoorain’s house and then intentionally drives him back to his place, when he wanted to go and meet her after her phone call. Interestingly, he talks to Namal (Nazish Jahangir) by accident who scolds him on his conduct, without giving him the chance to explain himself.
In the last two episodes, content won the game over performance; it doesn’t mean that the performances weren’t at par. In fact, they were fantastic but that’s because the writer and the director have worked hard in making the situations interesting, the characters relatable and the sequences closer to reality. It seems that Sami Khan and Sonya Hussyn really are first cousins, he has been in love with her since forever and although his parents understand his concern over their niece, there is nothing they can do without her parents’ consent. The brilliance of both the actors can be judged from the fact that they are also part of another drama currently on air and their characters in Saraab are poles apart from their work in Dulhan and Mohabbat Tujhe Alvida. You might hate their characters in those dramas for their motives, but here they are lovebirds waiting for good things to happen.
The supporting cast is also to be lauded here for without their ‘support’, the drama wouldn’t have turned out so well. Theatre actors Shafqat Khan and Mohsin Ejaz are amazing in their characters, the former as Asfand Yar’s friend who keeps him away from trouble and the latter as Warda’s husband who has something mysterious about him. As sisters of the disturbed Hoorain, both Ghana Ali and Nazish Jahangir are doing a fabulous job. Ghana Ali acts so bitchy in the two episodes that you are let worried about her future in-laws; Nazish Jahangir looks pretty and concerned but doesn’t have the courage to stand by her youngest sibling. You can also not forget to mention Sajid Shah and Kinza Malik who play Asfand Yar’s parents; the two amazing actors look the part and act like concerned parents – one is fire, the other is water – who have the best interest of their child who might have defied them, but with good intentions.
Some of the scenes looked out of place in the last two episodes; how did Hoorain’s parents return to Karachi so early when they were traveling by bus, and not by car like Asfand Yar? Did Warda’s husband (Mohsin Ejaz) pick his wife or not despite leaving his house? Why did his brother crack a joke about Hoorain when he knew that their mother was in no mood to laugh at it? What was the backstory of Warda’s Saas and why was she always in an angry mood? And yes, there was the unnecessary toilet scene that shouldn’t have been there in any of the episodes. Until and unless Hoorain’s hallucinated Asfand Yar hides in the washroom in everyone’s presence, there is no need to go all ‘bathroomy’ on prime time television. It didn’t signify much in the earlier episode and the same goes for the last one. Maybe the reason will come out later in the drama, but until then, it could be avoided to safeguard the viewers’ interest.
The Verdict – Saraab continues to get interesting with every passing episode!
Saraab belongs to that rare breed of dramas that depend more on realism, and less on TRP-ism. There is a little of Saas Bahu here and there but as a secondary arc; the main fight is between two very technically close families (on paper) due to misunderstandings. Now that it is official that Sonya Hussyn’s character suffers from Schizophrenia, everything will go from bad to worse, but keep the audience in the loop. Director Mohsin Talat and writer Edison Idrees Masih must be commended for keeping everything simple so that the audience that had no clue of the illness now has some idea. After all, the biggest aim of a drama should be to educate and entertain the audience, and Saraab is doing that in the best possible manner. With a background score to die for, a fast-paced narrative and a story that might appeal to a number of people out there, Saraab is getting interesting with every passing episode.