Published in Nov-Dec 2021
1) Raqeeb Se
In the first scene, a mother and daughter knock on a door; a man quietly ushers them in. He goes back to his wife, who takes one look and simply asks, “Is it Sakeena”? His first love, who left 20 years ago following a violent episode, has returned.
2) Akhir Kab Tak
This drama shows two daughters and a mother, under constant verbal abuse from the monster-in-law and physical abuse from her obedient son. The younger daughter becomes the victim of a serial rapist. My favourite scene is when the tortured mother finally shouts back at the mother-in-law, and although remaining civil, her voice drowns out the abuser’s. Quiet suffering is so last century.
Perhaps the pick of the season thanks to Ahmed Ali Akbar’s stunning portrayal of a nuanced male protagonist, Parizaad has an unconventional structure and theme. It features a young girl raised as a boy by her mother (who, of course, wanted a son). She escapes to another city and a community of transgenders. Instead of condemning her, her parents travel to where she is and bring her back, no questions asked. This unexpected act cements this scene as the best one.
A widow was married to a much older man who wanted her to act his age, not hers. After iddat, she dons colourful clothes and steps out for a walk in the park, visibly liberated. Enter the evil sister-in-law who sternly berates her for being disrespectful to her brother’s memory. Our lady snaps back, saying that she is living according to her late husband’s wishes. Once again, conventions broken.
5) Pehli Si Mohabbat
This serial quickly overstayed its welcome, but it does have a scene where a religious man comforts his younger brother over his lost love. Such characters are often portrayed as one-dimensional; this nuance was refreshing to see.
Talha bin Hamid is an accountant and observer of pop culture. firstname.lastname@example.org