“Raqeeb Se” is described as poetry in motion week after week and that’s exactly what it is. This is a storyline that is emotion-heavy and while it does manage to ruffle feathers, trigger emotions and even make viewers angry, this is a human story. This is a story where the audience can truly understand its leads – even if they cannot agree with their actions. Written by Bee Gul and directed by Kashif Nisar, “Raqeeb Se” stars Noman Ejaz as the sole male lead, surrounded by a stellar female cast comprising of Sania Saeed, Hadiqa Kiani, Iqra Aziz and Faryal Mehmood.
In episode 12, Insha (Faryal Mehmood) has begun to feel sympathy for Sakina (Hadiqa Kiani) is and is seen offering her emotional support. She can understand her point of view and later questions Hajra (Sania Saeed) on her choice of marrying Maqsood (Noman Ejaz). Hajra states that she never truly had a choice, but continues to hold something back, changing the subject quickly – which is noticed by Insha. Later, there’s a beautiful scene between Sakina and Insha where the two ladies are seen discussing Hajra and Maqsood’s relationship. While Sakina realizes she is the wall between the two, she’s apologetic for it and feels the guilt eating her from the inside. She is even seen questioning Hajra’s actions, wondering why she kept Sakina alive in her marriage instead of creating her own space. This is a moment where Sakina comes across as lovable – she’s not a horrible, vicious woman, but she has made some terrible choices, which have negatively affected everyone involved.
Sakina feels embarrassed taking assistance from Maqsood and feels uncomfortable with the way Ameera (Iqra Aziz) is laying claim to him, his household and finances. Of course, Ameera is in an entirely different headspace, emotionally drawn to Maqsood almost romantically. In him, she envisions the sort of man she wants in her life, the exact opposite of the men she has grown up seeing. And while one can sympathize with this on a level, Ameera is the least likable character in this show, constantly trying to get a leg up, upstage the next person – and her target is generally Insha. Abdul arrives outside the house to tell Insha he got a job and Ameera doesn’t waste a moment reporting this news to Hajra. While her happiness is visible, Ameera’s reasons for happiness are purely selfish. She believes once Insha is out of the way and out of the house, she will have Maqsood’s attention all to herself – which is almost humorous, considering his complicated triangle with Sakina and Hajra. Iqra Aziz is doing a wonderful job as Ameera, playing her in such a way that the cunningness seeps through every pore while, oddly, still managing to maintain some level of innocence.
With Abdul’s proposal comes another revelation – his family will not participate, as they no longer speak to him. Why? Well, because he was engaged to his cousin and he broke it off, angering his family. Abdul is always full of shocks and this is yet another. What is the real story here? Is Abdul being honest or is there something else happening with his family? It’s easy to suspect a character like Abdul, because he’s such a “user” of a character. Is it possible that he’s already married? One has to wonder – and while we are left wondering, Maqsood states his decision: “Whatever Insha wants.” Whatever Insha wants may sound nice in theory, but it’s actually as dismissive as a father can get. Maqsood has no interest in Insha’s future, rather these words are flippant, allowing Insha to make her own decisions, depriving her of the protective shadow of a father. He is not looking out for her and while many may romanticize Maqsood as a character, he is an emotionally flawed, hollow character who is abusive to his wife and daughter in ways that are not visible to the naked eye. This is not lost on Sakina as she listens to Insha discuss the relationship between Hajra and Maqsood, realizing how hurtful this must’ve been for the two ladies.
The highlight of this episode of “Raqeeb Se” is the introduction of a new character, Aatiqa’s (Saba Faisal) son Kashif. A foreign educated lawyer, Kashif immediately wins viewers over with his sweet “hi cousin” as he spots Insha. The two appear to share a friendly-enough bond where Insha has no qualms pointing out how their gesture with the crates of fruit is a bid to show off. It’s refreshing to see how Kashif doesn’t bat an eyelash before responding in the affirmative, showing that they do match on a mental wavelength. Considering the toxic relationship Insha shares with Abdul, a man who is serving a leech, relying on Insha for all financial matters and, essentially, to run his life, Kashif comes across as a breath of fresh air. If this character, hopefully, remains positive, he could serve as the strong partner Insha deserves. Kashif is aware of Maqsood and Sakina’s equation, as is every member of their family apparently, and is visibly flustered when he realizes she’s in the house. It doesn’t go unnoticed by viewers or Kashif when Insha makes a sly remark about Kashif murdering Sakina out of revenge and Kashif is seen questioning Aatiqa about this at the end of the episode as well.
The mystery surrounding Maqsood and Sakina’s relationship continues to grow, dragging in other family members along with it. Of course, now with a potentially new romantic angle for Insha and the backstory of Insha’s adoption waiting to be revealed, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say Faryal Mehmood has the best character in this story – and she’s doing a wonderful job. Faryal Mehmood is an underrated actress and she’s a complete natural as Insha, a woman who is strong, confident and independent. And yet, she is weak in matters of the heart, searching for love in the wrong places due to lack of affection from her own father. The entire cast of “Raqeeb Se” continues to shine, of course, with a plethora of brilliant performers. It’s difficult to praise just one actor. And of course, the writing and direction continue to elevate this show to new heights. Despite the frustrating characters and complicated web of relationships, “Raqeeb Se” is a joy to watch, a show that one waits for each week and watches with full-focus, savoring each scene and dialogue.