This week’s episode was not as compelling as the previous one and perhaps I would have waited before reviewing it but for the interesting issues raised by the protagonists and their dilemmas. Most of our dramas tend to touch on social issues, some more overtly than others but this one seems to get literally to the heart of the matter. There are no veiled references or dots for the viewer to connect, sexual relationships, abuse, ignorance and of course the belief in Magic are quite openly presented. This drama has, quite rightly, a PG rating. As an adult I find it refreshing that such things are being so openly portrayed but with the caveat that the consequences of such actions are also shown . One of my greatest peeves with Bollywood these days is the indiscriminate amount of alcohol which seems to be consumed without consequence. No, I am not talking about spiritual decay (that is a matter for individual conscience), but the actual physical problems that accompany such behavior. There is no such thing as a free Lunch in this world and just as virtue comes at the cost of self-denial, indulgence should be shown to have its price too.
This whole episode seemed to challenge common perceptions of virtue. The story has moved forward, after Bakir visits Nayn Tara he slips on the stairs and is taken to hospital. Nayn Tara takes him to the hospital and finally meets Tabi and Bakir’s mother. The meeting is not quite as explosive or the showdown it might have been but actually more realistic. No one here is a paragon but Nayn Tara is really beyond the ordinary levels of wickedness. In episode 3 she told Bakir how good she was because there was no business conducted in her area during Ramadan or Muharram and I was reminded of Manto’s short story” Kali shalwar “.Her definition of goodness is sadly familiar, how many people do we know who are suddenly pious during the holy months or will make great shows of religiosity but not follow the spirit of religion? This is not some poor women forced by circumstances into a desperate situation. Nayn Tara is very much in control of her own destiny and a master at manipulation. She manages to control Bakir and his family with ease. When Bakir recovers, Nayn Tara reels off a list of Surahs she has supposedly read for his wellbeing, he believes her because she speaks softly and knows how to be vulnerable. In contrast the plain spoken Tabi, Bakir’s wife, is like the comedy section of some cheap variety show: she makes me laugh at her misery. What a fantastic job by all the actors in this serial, they make each character very real. Resham is simply fabulous.
Another interesting development is the ‘relationship between Gia Ali’s character Tayaba and her roadside Romeo. They physicality of their relationship is shown quite openly. The scene where Sohail Sameer’s character asks her to stop pretending about the reality of their relationship was really well done: the look in Tayaba’s eyes was not easy to forget. In just a few dialogues and inferences the distance between a supposedly ‘Sharif ‘school teacher and a prostitute was narrowed to a thin strand of circumstance. Sohail Samir and Gia Ali are superb , love their acting . In a similar vein Tabi and her mother in law reduce themselves to Nayn Tara’s level by relying on Hasrat Bibi’s magic to “counter” the black magic they suppose is wielded by Nayn Tara.
This week’s episode was not as scary as the previous ones except for the one scene where Saboor the ‘initiant’ is asking Usma Gillani’s Hazrat Bibi to bring Human flesh to feed her dogs (or demons?). Usma Gilani might be the powerful one but Saboor is much scarier, smelling human flesh and seeing the children it once belonged to. The really boring part Is ZQ and Aliya,hopefully next week Hina Dilpazeer will add something to the story.