The power of “Raqeeb Se” is that the episodes remain with you long after the episode has ended. Writing about “Raqeeb Se” is a joy, because there’s so much to explore and discuss within each episode. “Raqeeb se” has been written by Bee Gul, directed by Kashif Nisar and has one of the most powerful star casts possible, including Noman Eijaz, Sania Saeed, Hadiqa Kiani, Iqra Aziz, Faryal Mehmood, Saba Faisal, Salman Shahid, Saqib Sumeer and others in lead roles. The story of “Raqeeb Se” centers around the past romance of Maqsood and Sakina and how that romance continues to affect their present – and the lives of those connected to them.
In episode 16, we see a beautiful montage as Insha’s (Faryal Mehmood) Nikkah to Abdul takes place while, simultaneously Sakina (Hadiqa Kiani) is making her retreat back to her village, reuniting with Rafiq (Saqib Sumeer). The elegance with which this sequence has been shot deserves a round of applause, bringing the viewer to tears with a “happy” moment (though we all know Insha’s marriage will not be a happy one) coupled with Sakina’s return to her tragic lifestyle. Insha is the star here and there’s a wonderful moment where Insha looks to Maqsood (Noman Eijaz) during her Nikkah, hoping to see love, respect, pride, anything in his eyes – and then he lifts his hand and places it on her head. It’s a simple scene, but there is so much meaning behind it, so much longing from a daughter to simply be loved by her father. Insha struggles through this moment of happiness as her parents struggle over Sakina’s disappearance and Insha’s happy day, the day of her marriage, has – once again – been clouded over by Maqsood and Sakina’s romance. There’s a strong, telling moment between Insha and Hajra (Sania Saeed) when Insha is discussing her fears and insecurity at being replaced when she leaves for Abdul’s home, only for Hajra to continue blabbing on about Sakina. This is a moment where the viewer genuinely wants to hold Insha and protect her from her family. They are not bad people, particularly Hajra, but their priorities are different – and Insha is simply not a priority, something she continues to feel and struggles to understand. Unfortunately for Insha, her marriage to Abdul isn’t a happy escape either as Abdul’s behavior has almost immediately begun to change with h is conservative nature and regressive thoughts coming out. Insha certainly deserves better and one is still left holding out on hope that Kashif will factor into Insha’s life – after she loses this user called Abdul. Faryal Mehmood has just won viewers over as Insha and she has nailed this role, really driving home the emotions of a child, even if she is all grown up, that are conjured when there is something dysfunctional happening at home. She deserves a nomination this year.
There’s no doubt that Sania Saeed and Noman Eijaz are simply wonderful as Hajra and Maqsood These are complex characters with messy pasts and a complicated relationship between the two of them. In Sakina’s absence, Hajra and Maqsood’s relationship has only grown more complicated. Of course, Atiqa (Saba Faisal) visits to talk sense into Hajra, blasting her for not taking control of her household matters and doing away with talk of Sakina. Saba Faisal is wonderful in this role and her performance brings a smile to the face. To make matters worse for Hajra, Ameera (Iqra Aziz) has been left behind and has taken it upon herself to draw Maqsood’s attention to herself. But for what purpose? Ameera is a detestable character, a young girl who is openly chasing her mother’s soulmate, a man who is already married and has a grown daughter. And yet, is she really to blame? She has seen her own parents’ toxic relationship and is the product of it, so she dreams for something “bigger,” the sort of love she heard in the stories about Maqsood and Sakina – and so Maqsood is her “ideal.” Ameera is not a likable character, but Iqra Aziz is doing a brilliant job playing her with the perfect mix of innocence and cunningness.
Sakina has been through a lot in her life, suffering at the hands of Rafiq in an abusive, volatile marriage. And yet, viewers tend to view Rafiq as a type of comedic relief. However, we finally bear witness to the trauma Sakina has endured in the past – and now continues to endure once again. Rafiq taunts Sakina over Maqsood, emotionally and verbally abusing her, frustrated by the way the village folk speak about her. But his abuse isn’t simply vocal, as seen when he throws a teacup at her – and finds his target. Sakina has grown rebellious after her time away and taunts Rafiq to kill her, wanting an escape from her life, while Rafiq bemoans his fate at not being loved by Sakina. One has to give pause here and praise Hadiqa Kiani wholeheartedly for her brilliant performance as Sakina. Hadiqa is not an actress and this is her first acting role, so it’s incredible to see how much talent she has and how convincingly she is playing this complex character.
At the end of the episode, Hajra finally reveals to Maqsood Sakina’s reasons for sending him to jail, convincing him to bring Sakina back – and he agrees, setting viewers up for the next episode. There’s something that must be said about “Raqeeb Se” and the female characters – each character is “right” from their own perspective. There isn’t an out-and-out villain. These women are all dealing with their own baggage, their own emotions, their own problems and while it seems as though they’re all “in it together,” these are four very different women with four different perspectives on life. Even if one looks at Atiqa, she is the voice of reason, the voice who is looking at this messy situation with the eye of the “general public.” Emotions are running high on “Raqeeb Se” at the moment and the next episode promises to be an exciting one with Maqsood attempting to release Sakina from her marriage – while Hajra tells Insha the truth about her paternity. The magic of “Raqeeb Se” is that even though the show has been airing twice a week lately, the audience is still left wanting more, unable to wait for the next week. “Raqeeb Se” is easily the best show on television and is a must-watch.