“Aakhir Kab Tak” is seemingly a show about many things, but appears to be, at the heart of it, a story about women empowerment and encouraging females to use their voice to stand up for themselves. Starring Ushna Shah, Srha Asghar, Adeel Hussain, Azfar Rehman, Haroon Shahid, Javeria Abbasi, Shahood Alvi, Gul E Rana and others in prominent roles, the story has been written by Radain Shah and directed by Syed Ali Raza Usama. While “Aakhir Kab Tak” came across as gripping from the first episode with some incredible performances, the show did seem as though it would be a miserable show about how women are left at the mercy of men. Fortunately, with episode 5, the show has not only gained momentum, but has elevated the “power” quotient of the show immensely.
In episode 5, the story takes leaps forward as Noor (Ushna Shah) begins investigating Fajar’s (Srha Asghar) behavior after a friend informs her that Professor Zafar (Azfar Rehman) never gives tuitions on Sundays. This leads her to Bushra, which further takes her to meeting with Zafar herself. Hearing his words, insinuating that Fajar set out to meet someone else that day, Noor confronts Fajar, asking her to tell the truth. It’s great to see a character like Noor on-screen, a girl who genuinely cares for her sister and wants to protect her at any cost. Fajar tells Noor the truth about Zafar, but not before their mother (Javeria Abbasi) overhears as well. The three women have very different ways of handling this trauma. While Fajar bottles things up, their mother’s go-to instinct is to cover everything up, while Noor’s is to fight. Their mother quickly decides that she will get Fajar married off as soon as possible, while Noor comforts Fajar. Javeria Abbasi’s performance here is outstanding as she is a very complex character, a woman who has been emotionally and physically abused by the entire household since her marriage and so she carries intense resentment (as seen in the scene with Gul E Rana when she has a fleeting thought of using the vegetable knife on her mother-in-law), coupled with fear. Fortunately, Noor has not taken after her mother and rushes to confront Zafar in an aggressive manner. She hits him, screams at him and threatens to expose him – and in an applause-worthy moment, challenges him to release Fajar’s video and make it go viral, knowing doing so will only assist her in her case against him. And ironically, Zafar knows this as well, which is why he is visibly shaken as Noor storms off to the police station.
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First, Azfar Rehman is a brilliant “villain.” He is every bit as suave and dignified when required and an absolute snake when his “reality” is out on display. Azfar is a great actor and it’s a shame that he hasn’t been able to display that more often. Srha Asghar is doing a wonderful job as Fajar, really driving home the point of how important it is for women to have a voice and use it. It’s Fajar’s timid nature (and the lack of parental support) that has rendered Fajar helpless and unable to defend herself. Ushna Shah is a star as Noor, a girl who has learned to fight for her rights and defend herself while living in a toxic household here family members are equivalent to enemies. This is potentially Ushna Shah’s best performance to date and the show has just begun. Reporting a rape or assault in Pakistan is not an easy situation to approach and “Aakhir Kab Tak” will move on to highlight this. While Noor has the best of intentions and is adamant on using her voice to protect her sister, this may prove to be more difficult than she expects – and with zero support from family, how will this play out? Fortunately, it seems like Haroon Shahid’s character will be making his entry next week – but will he play savior in Fajar’s life or will he be yet another man who takes advantage of an innocent girl? Let’s hope for the former!