In recent times, we have grown accustomed to long-format Pakistani dramas with episodes reaching a minimum of thirty episodes. However, over the past few months, we have seen a return to short and sweet, crisp storytelling with only the exact amount of episodes necessary to tell the story. “Sar e Rah” excels in this format, telling the story of how women are treated in a society where they are considered the inferior gender. Starring Saba Qamar, Hareem Farooq, Sunita Marshall, Saboor Aly and Muneeb Butt in lead roles, the story has been written by Adeel Razzaq and directed by Ahmed Bhatti.
The finale winds up all loose ends neatly while still maintaining realism. Rania (Saba Qamar) gets the help necessary to start her own driving school where she can teach women how to drive – and support themselves – along with creating a fleet of taxis for female passengers. While Rania has been through a lot, this is her moment of success. They say when one is successful, those who have ditched us in the past come flocking back – and this is true in Rania’s case, but in the best way. Rania’s parents, seeing her success, realize how they have held back their daughter, who is intelligent and capable. Rania’s brother recognizes his faults and narrow-minded thinking and apologizes to his sister. And, last, Rania’s ex-fiance (Agha Mustafa) returns to the fold. However, what’s great to see is that he acknowledges his inbuilt misogyny and male ego. He recognizes that he has faults and wants to change them, feeling proud of Rania’s success. Relationships aren’t perfect, but with work and understanding, these relationships can be mended. Rania started off fighting with the world, but now, the world is standing with her in support.
Of course, the friends Rania has made along the way are also there to support her. Maryam (Hareem Farooq) puts her inappropriate co-worker, Salman, on blast in front of their boss and client, depicting what women face daily in the workplace and is, fortunately, supported. Sarang (Muneeb Butt) has found success and is ready to begin his CS training – along with winning the love and respect of his step-mother and brother. Sarang’s story has been a powerful one to witness and Muneeb Butt has done full justice to his role. Rameen (Saboor Aly) winds up in a battle over property with her brother after running away from home to get married. It’s beautiful to see how Rameen’s parents stand by their daughter, even if they did let things get vastly out of control before doing so. The message put forth with Rameen’s story is an important one that discusses the problems women face legally due to their gender. Saboor Aly has performed naturally along with Mirza Zain Baig. And last, but not least, Muzna (Sunita Marshall) experiences heartbreak when she has to return her adopted child to her biological parents. However, this time around, she has Aamir’s (Mikaal Zulfiqar) support. While Aamir has not been a good husband, he has visibly changed in this time apart and is now standing up for his wife while also being transparent about his own reality and potential inability to father children.
What’s most refreshing about “Sar E Rah” is how the show has tackled women oriented issues without resorting to preaching or self-righteous storytelling. These characters are simply trying to live life without unnecessary judgement or interference. On the other hand, their families and partners may be flawed, but the show also discusses how individuals can change and are capable of being forgiven after making that change. The entire cast has done an incredible job through this journey, but the star is, of course, Saba Qamar. Rania’s travels have not only opened up her eyes to injustice in society, but also remind us that life does not have to fall into place easily, but what matters is that we strive to do our best to better our circumstances. Do society’s taunts and opinions truly matter? “Sar E Rah” has been a gem of a show and is one that will be desperately missed.