“Raqeeb Se” is not a story – it’s an emotion. It’s difficult to review such a piece of work, as it’s a show that must be “felt,” and so it’s not a show I can review on a weekly basis. “Raqeeb Se” 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. As a writer, Bee Gul has always focused on human emotion and relationships, along with society and its expectations that bind us all. “Raqeeb Se” follows this same format.
In episode 9, Abdul (Hamza Sohail) visits Insha (Faryal Mehmood) outside her front door to apologize for upsetting her. Insha does her best to get rid of him quickly, but he is spotted by Ameera (Iqra Aziz), who one could say suffers from “word vomit,” an inability to keep quiet at the right moments. At the dinner table, she makes an open remark about Abdul and Insha’s relationship, which leaves the entire family shocked – some at the revelation, others at Ameera’s audacity. Ameera seems to have her own attachment to Maqsood (Noman Ejaz), almost as though she has fallen for him, and because of this infatuation, she seems to happily create trouble for Insha and Hajra (Sania Saeed) – and even her own mother, Sakina (Hadiqa Kiani). While Sakina thrashes Ameera for creating trouble, Maqsood puts a stop to it, making her promise never to hit Ameera again – yet another win for Ameera. The dynamic between this mother-daughter duo is interesting – and more complex than we can understand just yet.
Coming to Insha and Abdul’s relationship, while others have found this track boring, this track is personally my favorite part of the show. It’s fascinating to analyze a character like Insha. She’s a girl who is strongly independent and self-sufficient and yet, she falls for Abdul, a man who is not her “equal.” Abdul does seem to love Insha, but loving her is also to his benefit. Abdul doesn’t have a job, so Insha happily fills out his job applications. Abdul doesn’t earn money, so Insha happily pays for their meals together. Abdul doesn’t have a place to stay, so Insha happily talks to the landlord to not only get him an apartment, but gets him a discounted rate. Insha appears to do a lot for Abdul – and in return, she has to hear discussions of inferiority, insecurity and being “less than.” Abdul may love Insha, but what is she getting in return other than a relationship that appears to be headed in a deeply toxic direction? For her part, Insha appears to be attracted to Abdul for his love. He loves her in a way she has never seen in her parents. Her parents have a marriage that is full of loyalty, gratitude and obligation – but not love. And so Insha has set out to find love in her life – and she will take it where she can get it, which is in Abdul. There’s a lot to unpack within this relationship and that’s why these scenes come across as so intriguing.
Hajra has been seen as a saintly character up until now, only happy to accept Sakina into her home as she believes it’s because of Sakina that Hajra is in Maqsood’s life. But how saintly can one be? Regardless of whether Maqsood has been entirely honest with Hajra about Sakina or not (he has been), but at what point does a woman sit up and say “alright, this is too much”? Hajra now seems to be nearing that point. She continues to be kind-hearted towards Sakina, but there’s a visible shift in her demeanor when she witnesses Maqsood and Sakina arguing over Sakina’s divorce. While Sakina isn’t entirely ready for the divorce and is in two minds, Maqsood asks Sakina whether she would divorce Rafiq had Hajra and Insha not been in his life – a comment that does not go unnoticed by Hajra.
The emotional turmoil in this triangle is heavy. Maqsood and Sakina parted due to circumstances and both are now married to other people – but their connection is still there. But what happens to the faithful, dutiful, loyal wife if Sakina returns? And despite Maqsood’s honesty, at what point does his behavior – and Sakina’s – become cruel and unpalatable? Human morality is a fickle thing and crossing blurred lines can happen in a matter of seconds. It seems as though the highly-regarded Maqsood Sahab is beginning to falter. Overall, episode 9 moves the story of “Raqeeb Se” along to an interesting point with some wonderful sequences. But Salman Shahid and Saba Faisal’s presence sure is missed!