“Raqeeb Se” started on a high note last week with a show laden with strong, charismatic performances and a story heavy on emotional content. The story follows a man caught between his childhood love and his wife, though the women respect their own place and each other. 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. Bee Gul has always written sensitive stories that are female-oriented and emotion-driven and “Raqeeb Se” seems to be headed that way as well.
What’s interesting about “Raqeeb Se” is that it’s not storyline-driven. It is driven by emotions. If one sits down to analyze the plot points in episode 2, there isn’t anything particularly path-breaking that occurs. Sakina (Hadiqa Kiani) and Amira (Iqra Aziz) discuss Amira’s behavior after her outburst with Maqsood (Noman Ejaz). Sakina respects Maqsood a lot and obviously still loves him, but she also does not want to impose herself or her daughter. Realizing that Maqsood does not think highly of her anymore and is still angry, she understands that both she and her daughter are unwanted guests and beginnings making arrangements to head back home. Amira questions why they came to begin with, suggesting that Sakina found a happy home instead of the broken man she expected to see and is now running away from it. The two women bicker back and forth, but it’s endearing to see how Sakina and Amira share such a strong bond as mother and daughter.
Hajra (Sania Saeed) remains the staunch defender of this mother-daughter duo. While Maqsood (Noman Ejaz) does not wish to see this duo in his home, Hajra stands up for them and makes it clear that they will stay for as long as needed. Hajra is not competitive with Sakina, rather she treats her like a sister, two women sharing a desired trophy – the trophy being Hajra’s husband. Hajra recognizes that these two shared a deep love, a love she has never been able to infiltrate and so, she accepts what she gets without jealousy. However, Insa (Faryal Mehmood) is not the same. She is kind to Amira, but she makes it clear that her mother has cared for Maqsood all these years, making him the man he is today. She is unwilling to allow any cracks to form in her family, despite growing up reading about Maqsood and Sakina’s love. The tale is legendary in their house, nothing remaining secret – and yet, if a story comes to life, is it easy for a daughter to witness it unfold again in front of her eyes? Insa isn’t willing to find out and though she’s kind, she encourages her father to get Sakina and Amira out of the house. Maqsood doesn’t really need any encouragement as he’s still bitter and angry himself, showing no sign of desire to keep the two women around.
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Amira is a different sort of character. She has attached herself to this idea of Maqsood, drinking in every aspect of her mother’s romance with him – maybe envisioning him as her own father instead of the man who actually is. Amira wishes to stay on and fights with Maqsood as a daughter would, complaining and demanding that she stay on. She’s shocked then when he humors her initially, but later demands she leave. Iqra Aziz is wonderful as Amira, strong, ferocious and yet innocent. Maqsood is the central character in this show, not because his character is that of a strong man or because he has the most screen-time. Rather, it’s because he is the lone (prominent) male character in a show of women. Maqsood is the pillar of strength, not only for his wife and daughter, but also for Sakina and Amira. These ladies rely on him – whether he likes it or not. Noman Ejaz is doing a great job. Sania Saeeed is lovable and gives a winning performance. Faryal Mehmood is likable and Hadiqa Kiani continues to impress with her surprisingly natural acting. “Raqeeb Se” is beautiful, quiet and understated.