“Raqeeb Se” is like a calm wave that gives viewers an illusion of calm until the waves begin to rise and wash over its audience, leaving them with a flurry of emotions. Written by Bee Gul and directed by Kashif Nisar, the show features Noman Ejaz as the male lead, along with Sania Saeed, Hadiqa Kiani, Iqra Aziz and Faryal Mehmood. Human beings are built to make mistakes, their nature to react emotionally, and its this nature that makes us complex – and Bee Gul and Kashif Nisar portray this wonderfully with “Raqeeb Se.”
It speaks for the power of the writing how episode 10 of “Raqeeb Se” manages to leave a heavy impact. The opening episode sets the mood of the show, triggering the viewer with Ameera’s (Iqra Aziz) attitude and words. When Insha (Faryal Mehmood) arrives home, she is greeted by Ameera in the kitchen, who informs her that she has done the laundry and made lunch for her. When Insha questions why Ameera is doing housework, Ameera replies that this is her home now – and indicates that it will be her home after Insha gets married and leaves. Not only is Insha upset at hearing this, but the audience feels the irritation felt by Insha as well. Ameera is overstepping her boundaries, but what makes things worse is that she’s being given allowances to do so by the “man of the house” himself. With Maqsood (Noman Ejaz) off to get Sakina (Hadiqa Kiani) divorced, Ameera is already plotting a wonderful future for herself and Sakina, living under the same roof as Hajra (Sania Saeed) and Insha – and taking control of the house.
Meanwhile, Insha prepares Abdul to meet her parents in the hopes of getting married. While Abdul is visibly nervous, Insha preps him and tries to relax him, telling him to be himself. However, the meeting does not go as planned as Maqsood sees flaws in Abdul that Insha is unable to see in her love and loyalty towards him. Insha and Abdul’s relationship remains the most interesting aspect of “Raqeeb Se” (for me personally). There’s something fascinating about how Abdul is essentially being spoonfed his entire life to him by Insha, who is declaring Abdul to be “self-made.” He’s not self-made, rather, he’s a man who is having his life made by a woman who deserves better than him. Maqsood rightly questions Insha’s “self-made” stamp, asking if she can’t see the tired, bitter young man that Maqsood can? Unfortunately, it’s Maqsood’s words later that hurt Insha more than his rejection of Abdul when he states that Insha’s marriage is his obligation and he will fulfill that obligation. Insha questions whether he loves her – to which he replies that his obligations are more important than anything else. This is a shattering moment for Insha, who is unable to understand why Maqsood cares more for outsiders than his own wife and daughter, making the remark that even adopted children receive more love. It’s Hajra’s reaction that spells it out for viewers and makes one thing crystal clear – Insha actually is adopted. Furthermore, it’s made clear that Maqsood and Hajra have never shared a bed (or even a room), which would explain why they’ve never had biological children together. Coming back to Insha’s hurt at Maqsood’s attitude, is it any wonder then that such an independent, bright girl is looking for love in the wrong places? Insha and Hajra have both wasted their lives away as Maqsood deprived them of his love – all while dedicating himself to the memory of someone else. She is unable to see that Abdul is a user, because she is so desperate to find someone who loves her completely, in a way she has never seen her mother receive from her father – or even been on the receiving end herself from Maqsood as his daughter. Faryal Mehmood is wonderful in this role and she’s genuinely making Insha the best character on the show.
The most humorous part of the episode is Rafiq, played by Saqib Sameer. Saqib Sameer brings life to this character, one who is uncouth, blunt, ill-mannered, but manages to make the viewer smirk. While there is no pardon for abuse, Rafiq presents a different side to Sakina this week, not only to viewers but to Hajra. He states that Hajra and himself are in the same place, married to individuals who cannot look past their own love. It must be said that this grand love story between Sakina and Maqsood isn’t as beautiful as they think, Sakina having Maqsood arrested for a murder he never committed. The amount of self obsession in the grand way they themselves perceive their love story only cements how questionable both Sakina and Maqsood are in character. Rafiq’s ominous words regarding Sakina seem to serve as an indication towards what’s to come. Is Sakina as innocent as she appears to be? Rafiq indicates that Sakina has never been a good wife – has never cooked for him, dressed up for him, smiled at him. While that’s certainly not an excuse for his abusive behavior, this does present a different side to Sakina – a side that has always been dreaming of Maqsood…..waiting…….biding time? Will Sakina, now aware that Hajra and Maqsood don’t share an intimate relationship, step in and claim her place once again?
While “Raqeeb Se” has always been a nice, poetic watch, it has generally been a “quieter” show. This week, several bombs are dropped and several attitudes manage to get under the skin of the audience. There is something about Bee Gul’s writing where she knows exactly how to get under the viewer’s skin and make them feel things. This week, viewers can only find themselves rooting for Hajra and Insha, with even Rafiq gaining more sympathy than Sakina, Ameera and Maqsood. Now we are simply waiting for Hajra and Insha to get their sweet revenge by tossing this trio to the curb…..hopefully….inevitably.