Directed by Dilawar Malik, Sanam Saeed is Paras, daughter of a maulvi who died when she was very young. After completing her education she joins an NGO, headed by Bia (Hina Bayat) who is quite fond of her. Paras lives with her sister and her mother (Naila Jaffrey) along with her religious minded taya, Javed Sheikh and his family.
Needless to say her uncle’s family objects to Paras working and keeping late hours. She does not pay attention to these objections and continues working and speaking where she feels her taya and his family are being unjust towards her family.
Meanwhile Bia’s brother, Shehryar played by Mikaal Zulfikar (he looks more like Hina Bayat’s son, anyway…) runs his own business and has a girlfriend Rania. Rania’s father is not happy with their relationship due to some inexplicable reason.
after a couple of episodes it is discovered that Shehryar has a kidney problem and unsurprisingly Paras is the perfect match to donate a kidney to him. Shehryar marries Paras leaving Rania devastated who attempts suicide and Shehryar then secretly marries her.
Frankly, the serial is badly directed, the roles are poorly sketched and is marred by half-hearted acting. Sanam as Paras is particularly unconvincing, from an outspoken, independent, clear-headed woman she becomes a passive, tolerant, dependent spouse which was quite off-putting. There is no chemistry between her and Mikaal, making her choice of working in Ek Kasak Rah Gayee as her weakest role so far.
Sanam essays a dark role in Kudurat (malice, resentment) and showcases her diverse talent with great relish. As Mina, daughter of a businessman Mahmood (Deepak Perwani), she particularly enjoys tormenting her step-family whom her father acquires after he remarried when Mina’s mother dies. Never reconciling to the fact that there are others who will be sharing her father’s affections, she enlists the help of her friend Shaheen, whom she met when she was studying at a hostel, to torture her step-family that includes step-mother Attiqa (an unconvincing Angeline Malik), step-sister Alina and step-brother Asad. In the beginning they are quite childish when Mina ruins Alina’s birthday celebration initially when she disappears from the house with Shaheen and walks late into the party and then goes on to fake-faint thus diverting everyone’s attention towards her.
Their plans become further sinister when Mina sabotages the relationship of Alina with her fiancé and then contrives a situation in which her father has no choice but to marry her friend Shaheen. After this things go out of control when Mina becomes the victim of Shaheen’s evil designs. But by then nobody is ready to believe Mina and she gets herself into big trouble. Penned by Zoha Hassan, who had earlier written my all time favourite serial Harjaee on Indus TV and starring Atiqa Odho and Faisal Qureshi, has written Mina as a mostly dark role. Sanam Saeed holds her own against the star cast and is convincing when she is at a vulnerable point in her life. As such she does not have a romantic interest but her main love interest is her father who cannot give her full attention so she diverts her attention to various men that surround her but is unable to commit any of them.
Sanam Saeed had earlier played a negative role in Daam, the possessive sister Aamina Sheikh drama and that also was the debut of the Pakistani John Abraham Adeel Hussain in 2010. Sanam played the role of Aamina’s sister in law who manages to marry Adeel Hussain after she breaks up with her fiancé for a flimsy reason. Her marriage to Adeel Hussain is miserable because of her complexes and insecurities. She was fairly subdued here but in Kudurat she fully and successfully channels her dark side.
Sanam Saeed as the scowling Kashaf and Fawad Khan as the arrogant moralistic Zaroon
Timings: Every Friday at 8 pm
First broadcast on: October 19, 2012
Cast: Sanam Saeed as Kashaf and Fawad Khan as Zaroon
Writer: Umera Ahmed
Director: Sultana Siddiqui
I am one of those fortunate beings who occasionally get a chance to indulge in a healthy intellectual discussion at my workplace. So last week I got a chance to do so in which we discussed Kashaf in Zindagi Gulzar Hai, the latest Umera Ahmed’s offering, that centers around the struggles of a lower middle-class brainy girl neglected by her father overcoming life’s obstacles to make it to a business school on scholarship and ends up marrying her batchmate, Zaroon whom she has detested while they were studying together.
One of the most illogical things in Kashaf’s narrative according to a colleague was that throughout the serial Kashaf is shown to hate Zaroon for reasons ranging from his arrogance to his Casanova-like behavior but suddenly in an episode that shows Zaroon formally proposing to Kashaf in their teacher-mentor’s library, a servant while serving tea is about to accidentally drop the hot liquid on Kashaf when Zaroon flashes his hand in the midst scalding his ‘pretty’ hand. Lo and behold Kashaf in just that trivial moment does a 360-degree turnaround in her feeling towards him! As my colleague put it how can you change your feelings towards someone so quickly when if such things do occur then it happens over a gradual period of time. Episode upon episode were shown developing the hatred but in just one scene the feelings were overturned!
However my other colleague had a more profound insight. She quoted Pride and Prejudice in which Mr Collins who intends to marry Elizabeth Bennett is turned down by Elizabeth, to which Mr Collins says that when a woman says no she actually means yes and all she needs is little more convincing. In other words a woman’s No indicates that a woman is unsure and not meant to be taken seriously. The novel which came out in early 19th century was prescient as this mistaken belief is propagated even today and when the likes of Umera Ahmed does it then it is even more disturbing. This is a very dangerous idea that should not be propagated especially in a culture where men’s advances or proposals are rejected and they don’t get the message that the woman is really not interested in them. But will then go on to torment her or in worst case scenario even rape her. A Bangladeshi woman in 2011 experienced something similar and had to take drastic measures. Here is the link to the story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13594762
Another objection that I raised about the tea proposal scene was that Kashaf infers that Zaroon will ‘protect’ her from life’s dangers. Here is a girl who has been brought up by her hardworking government school-teacher mother virtually single handedly, her father a bare presence in her life, and when she has achieved academic and professional success, she says needs protection! This country is replete with examples of strong successful women who have made it without men. Look closely and you will find several examples of women, single, divorced, widowed, living with their families who run their households, take sound financial decisions, financially support their families even if there are men in their households, who have a sizable presence in the professional fields, making marital decisions etc. The list is endless in how women are coming up/come up in every sphere of life. Such women for sure do NOT need protection they can take care not of themselves but also others.
If only Umera Ahmed could portray such realistic female characters….