“Aakhir Kab Tak” is a show that delivered on many accounts. It’s a show that had a strong story. It focused on a social taboo, a topic that tends to get swept under the rug – sexual assault. The star cast boasted of some incredibly strong names, names that delivered in each and every episode. The direction was strong, the writing gripping. The heavy storyline emphasized positivity, optimism and the hope of a promising future for its female characters. And then, suddenly, two weeks ago, the show found itself in free-fall after killing off its most tortured character – one who should have been made the very image of hope. However, in a surprising turn of events, “Aakhir Kab Tak” manages to turn around the entire narrative in its finale. While the episode itself is rather terribly executed, it hits its mark with audiences by restoring hope and happiness to the narrative. Starring Ushna Shah, Srha Asghar, Adeel Hussain, Haroon Shahid, Shahood Alvi, Azfar Rehman, Javeria Abbasi, Gul E Rana and others, the story has been written by Radain Shah and directed by Syed Ali Raza Usama.
In the finale, the court antics continue. Basam appears in court, confessing to his own wrong-doings in a surprising moment. Basam is not on trial, but he makes it clear that Fajar (Srha Asghar) was never “crazy.” She was simply painted out that way by their family – specifically due to his actions and those like him. It’s quite a heartfelt confession and would have felt forced and unnatural coming from anyone else, but considering Basam’s current life circumstances, it’s believable that this is a young man trying to clear his conscience and turn a new leaf. Then, in a strangely sudden moment, Bushra’s death is announced in the courtroom (How? Why?). This is a revelation that feels too unnecessary for a girl who was on the path to recovery – and yet, looking at the way her mother reacted to her “truth,” would Bushra have been a young girl confined to a life of lies and blackmail?
In a shocker, that was both expected and unexpected, Fajar is, in fact, alive and is presented as a witness in her own assault…..due to which she “died.” This entire scenario is very confusing and what makes it further confusing is that there isn’t any clear explanation offered as to how this was carried out, who was in on it, how was this allowed in the courtroom, etc.? Still, Fajar’s reappearance comes as a joy to viewers, who instantly feel that veil of misery lifted with the victim now becoming a survivor. Fajar explains her trauma in her own words, not only placing blame on her attacker, but also squarely where it belongs – on her parents for ignoring her truths and cries for help. While Safia (Javeria Abbasi) and Ehtasham (Shahood Alvi) have now changed greatly, it still needs to be said that their toxic marriage caused Fajar’s trauma. In a happy ending, Zafar (Azfar Rehman) is arrested for life while Nasir (Adeel Hussain) is reinstated, Fajar and Saim (Haroon Shahid) live a happy life together and all is well. And while the overall feel of the show leaves us smiling, one cannot overlook the flaws in the finale.
First of all, Pakistani dramas need a lawyer on-set to help them carry out these courtroom sequences, because they are alwayshorrifyingly unintelligent. First, the woman playing the judge – where did they find this actress? She is too loud, too brash, too ridiculous in her motions and is completely unbelievable in her role. She addresses the defendant and plaintiff alike by their first names, as if they are sitting in her drawing room and not a courtroom. The reveal that Fajar is alive feels very “Scooby Doo”-esque and almost laughable, particularly because no explanation is offered (as mentioned above). When the verdict is announced, the guards pounce on Zafar as if he’s going to bolt out the door if they don’t arrest him that very second before the complete verdict leaves the judge’s mouth. Nasir’s suspension is immediately dropped, as if Zafar’s guilt takes away the missteps Nasir has made in the case (which were also unnecessary parts of the script). The entire thing is so very bizarre. Faiqa, at home, is ready with a packed suitcase as her parents and Basam arrive home, making the declaration that she is moving out, because her brother may attack her. Again, fine, it’s trying to drive home a point, but Faiqa has been a rotten human being since the beginning and Basam has turned a new leaf, so…..unnecessary.
It appears there’s more criticism in this review than positives, but that’s only because we’re reviewing the finale as an episode. The episode ends with some absolutely brilliant lines from our Noor, Ushna Shah, who speaks directly to the audience, ensuring that women understand that assault is not their fault. The fault lies with the perpetrator, the person who attacks. This is something our society has yet to understand, recognize and embrace and this is why sexual assault remains a “taboo” subject. “Aakhir Kab Tak” has driven this point home with sincerity, empathy and courage.
As an episode, the finale is downright terrible. However, as previously mentioned, the steps taken in the episode itself rectify the mistakes of the past few weeks. “Aakhir Kab Tak” has severed as a vessel for hope over the past few months, guiding its characters and viewers towards a positive future. With the finale and Fajar’s transition from a victim to a survivor, this show has once again become one that leaves its audience with a smile on their face, hope that despite trauma, one can find their way back to happiness. The entire cast has done a phenomenal job. Srha Aghar has been a natural as Fajar, a role that has not been easy to portray. Ushna Shah is the life of the show as the fighter and backbone of the family, Noor. Adeel Hussain and Haroon Shahid have both been images of the perfect partners, strong men who know how to protect their wives. Shahood Alvi, Gul e Rana and Javeria Abbasi have all played their roles with sincerity, often stealing the show. And of course, who can forget Azfar Rehman? This is a man who took on a horribly negative character and not only excelled in a negative role, but also made the character of Zafar look real, like a recognizable member of society. The writing, the direction, the acting, everything has been praise-worthy in “Aakhir Kab Tak.”
This is a show that deserved much more attention, recognition and love from its audience. As far as underrated shows go, “Aakhir Kab Tak” is most likely the most underrated show of 2021. This is a show that should receive more attention through word of mouth. More shows like this should be made, shows that don’t only highlight issues, but also offer solutions and ways to move forward. Because, honestly, how much more misery can we take as an audience……aakhir kab tak?