“Sabaat” is a show that has been garnering praises from all corners. Whether it’s Mawra Hocane and Ameer Gilani’s performances, Sarah Khan’s wardrobe and screen presence or Usman Mukhtar’s (late) entry, the show always has Pakistani drama viewers talking. Episode 14 has also created many points for discussion and yet this episode still comes across as one of the weaker ones. In episode 14, Hassan (Ameer Gilani) and Anaya (Mawra Hocane) enjoy their time working together while tensions continue to rise at home. We see Miraal (Sarah Khan) and Anaya continue to butt heads. While Anaya is committed to her job and does her best, Miraal cannot stand the sight of her in her workplace and puts her down publicly in a meeting. While this does upset Anaya, she chooses to keep quiet so as not to disturb the peace, but later confides in her father, seeking guidance. Meanwhile, Miraal continues to see Dr. Haaris (Usman Mukhtar) at her “therapy sessions,” which are conducted in restaurants. While there’s no visible improvement, the audience is told (through other characters) repeatedly that there has been much improvement in Miraal. If anything, Miraal’s obsession with Anaya and hatred seems to only be intensifying.
The Strong Points
As has been discussed throughout Sabaat’s run so far, the highlight of the show (aside from Hassan and Anaya’s relationship) is the relationship between Anaya and her parents. This is a beautiful representation of a family, one that’s not only loving, but also supportive of one another. They have welcomed their son-in-law into their family with open arms as well, but continue to keep the window of discussion open with their daughter. It’s particularly great to see how Anaya is able to confide in her father in a moment where she’s hesitant to speak to anyone else and the advice he gives her is good advice as well, not the cliched stuff we’re so used to hearing in our shows. It’s turning into a broken record, but Mohammad Ahmed, Seemi Raheel and Mawra Hocane are just a wonderful trio that share a natural chemistry as a family unit.
Mawra Hocane and Ameer Gilani are a refreshing couple for drama viewers. They are in love, but that love hasn’t suddenly disappeared and been replaced by responsibilities after marriage, which is something we have grown accustomed to seeing. Despite living together and working together, the two continue to make time for one another and that is sweet in itself. But to add to that, Hassan supports Anaya emotionally and notices her low moments – and in return, Anaya does her best to maintain the balance at home to keep Hassan happy. This is a great representation of what love should be – hopefully it stays that way.
Of course, Mawra Hocane’s performance is really what stands out on this show. There’s a solid moment after Miraal embarrasses Anaya during a meeting and afterwards, when Anaya’s colleague makes a demeaning remark, Anaya immediately puts him in his place. She makes it clear that he is not to make remarks on her personal life – and this is yet another strong moment for Anaya, a vocal character that manages to be strong, vocal, hard-working and a representation of the modern woman without falling into a stereotype.
The Negative Point
Building a believable love story that is worthy of rooting for is not an easy feat. It takes a multitude of things to come together to create this magic on-screen. Aside from chemistry, the most important thing to make a love story come alive is the story. Do I believe these characters are in love? Do I believe these characters could fall in love? Do I feel like this is something that could happen to someone around me? Unfortunately, despite Usman Mukhtar and Sarah Khan sharing some wonderful chemistry (and they look beautiful together), the story is really what is causing this love-story-in-the-making to falter. The ethical issue here has been discussed to death, but just to touch upon it briefly – Dr. Haaris (Usman Mukhtar) meets Miraal out for lunches and dinners on the pretext of “therapy.” These therapy sessions seem to involve very little worthwhile discussion, nor does it seem like these sessions are benefiting Miraal in any way, despite what her silly friend claims. The doctor-client issue is an ethical one and what makes it even worse is that Dr. Haaris’ co-worker (also a psychiatrist!) eggs Dr. Haaris on, teasing him about his interest in a patient. On the other end, Miraal’s best friend teases her about her cute, handsome doctor that has brought out a change in her. Well yes, he should be bringing out a change in her, one that improves her personality and self-awareness. That is not what’s happening though. These characters are presented as being the youth of today, which means they should know better and that is making all of these characters come across as off-putting.
Hassan and Miraal’s father bowed to Hassan’s wishes to keep Hassan happy and at home, scared that he would abandon the family. So what has happened suddenly to make this man support his daughter, the daughter who is unstable and seeing a psychiatrist for that instability, and alienate his own son and daughter-in-law only weeks after the wedding? Does he not realize Hassan can still leave home at any time and mistreating his wife is not appropriate? This is another character that is hard to understand. Sure, he’s a narcissist, but he is also controlled by his daughter, so he is capable of love and is obviously an intelligent businessman. However, his decisions are not intelligent at this point on any level.
“Sabaat” continues to be a great show, but unfortunately, the last couple of episodes have lost steam. The writing in Miraal and Dr. Haaris’ story needs work and something needs to happen to make this palatable. It has also been a discussion point as to why Anaya continues to work with Miraal when she shows her disrespect. It would be great to see Anaya discuss the situation with Hassan and then apply for a job elsewhere. These are certainly things we want to see in a show that has veered away from being a “gharelu” drama so far. One hopes the next episode picks up, but this episode wasn’t particularly impressive.