“Sabaat” is a show that started with a bang, but not in the way that it took off running. Rather, it had a refreshingly different feel, one that not only offered romance and a realistic portrayal of life and relationships, but also seemed to cast light on mental health issues. And while the show continued to win praise for more than half of its run, the show did gradually lose steam and seem to take a path that the audience felt was a step away from where it should have been heading. The show stars Mawra Hocane, Ameer Gilani, Sarah Khan and Usman Mukhtar in lead roles, has been written by Kashif Anwar and directed by Shehzad Kashmiri. Does the finale manage to pull the loose ends together? Let’s discuss.
In the finale, Miraal (Sarah Khan) and Dr. Haaris (Usman Mukhtar) meet in court while going through their divorce proceedings. Miraal, as usual, loads Haaris with a barrage of insults before storming off with her sidekick Ali. As Ali drives Miraal away, applauding her for how she “handled” Haaris, the two get into a car accident. The accident angle is one that always comes across as too cliched in terms of making one take a look inwards and re-examine their life. It’s an extreme situation and in this particular case, one would have rather seen Miraal recognize her own failings and properly visit a psychiatrist to begin her recovery – because Miraal is a lot of things, but to deny that she is mentally ill would be a travesty. Unfortunately, that track is dismissed as unnecessary and, instead, Miraal is left abandoned by Ali in the hospital with Haaris coming to her side and caring for her. Haaris has been a character that many have criticized throughout the show, but in the end, he has proved to the be perfect partner for Miraal (or really anyone). He becomes the support she needs and helps her head down the road to recovery. There’s a particularly beautiful line where Haaris explains to Miraal that relationships are not a business deal of loss and gains where one abandons ventures – he believes relationships are not broken easily and should be nurtured. While one could certainly say that Miraal did not deserve such a supportive partner after everything she has done to her loved ones and her “punishment” was too convenient, allowing her to get forgiveness from everyone around her (including Anaya) out of pity, it’s still beautiful to see a loving, supportive partner in Dr. Haaris. The final scene of the show does leave a positive impact with Haaris and Miraal’s happy ending.
There’s a great scene at the beginning of the episode where Anaya (Mawra Hocane) confronts Yasir Qureshi (Kashif Anwar) publicly over his proposition. It’s unfortunate that situations like this really do arise in the workplace and not many girls have the support and courage to deal with such instances in the way Anaya does. It’s a great moment to see that Anaya does not allow herself to become a victim – she didn’t allow it in her marriage and she doesn’t allow it now that she is alone. Post Miraal’s accident, Miraal finally does confess to Hassan that she is the reason for Hassan and Anaya’s misunderstandings, also throwing Atif under the bus. This is where the audience finally sees a much-awaited physical thrashing for Atif, a character that one could not even love to hate. We simply hated him and it’s a huge positive that Hassan does not spare Atif for a moment, nor does it seem that Atif gets a place back into Hassan’s life. The Hassan and Anaya reunion is almost too easy and it’s just another moment where things seem too rushed. This forgiveness should have taken several episodes rather than ten minutes. Still, Hassan and Anaya were two great characters and one really can’t complain about their happy ending. It’s also a huge positive that Anaya and Hassan acknowledge Anaya’s mother’s loneliness – and her adoption of the little boy settles not only Hassan and Anaya’s worry, but also that of the audience.
Mawra Hocane is the star performer of “Sabaat.” Despite being a reliable actress over the years, it is “Sabaat” that truly makes Mawra Hocane’s place in the industry as a solid actress. She has put all her effort into Anaya, bringing this character to life and making her thoroughly lovable. The writing of this character plus Mawra’s genuine performance make her a character for girls to look up to, a positive role model that is very different from most female leads we see on-screen today. She deserves a round of applause. Ameeri Gilani has been a welcome addition to the industry in this role and he has given a natural performance as Hassan. Despite playing an almost negative character for 1/3 of the show, he manages to create a soft spot in the hearts of the viewer and is an actor that one will watch out for in the future. Seemi Raheel and Mohammad Ahmed also deserve praise for their roles as Anaya’s parents, this trio playing a happy, supportive family in a way that felt authentic and brought a smile (and tears) to the face.
Sarah Khan as Miraal has been a character that was simply hated. Her actions could rarely be called “good” and she has been a brash, compulsive, impulsive, selfish character – but still, we believed she did all this from a place that required treatment. Since the treatment angle was barely even highlighted past her stint with Dr. Haaris, this feels like a glaring flaw. Still, Sarah Khan put all her effort into playing the cold, calculating, manipulative Miraal and seeing her vulnerability in the last episode stirs up many different feelings, most interestingly that of sympathy. Sarah Khan has done a great job with this role. And while Usman Mukhtar has been at the receiving end of the most criticism due to the nature of his role and how poorly sketched his role has been throughout, he manages to walk away with praise. Dr. Haaris receives some of the best lines of the finale, his dialogues about relationships being the lines that the viewer is left thinking about as the show comes to a close. The entire team of “Sabaat” has performed really well.
The biggest let-down here with the finale is that “Sabaat,” while initially a fast-paced story with action-packed episodes, took its time moving things forward from the halfway point onwards. Whether it be Miraal’s bad behavior or the dissentigration of Hassan and Anaya’s relationship, everything was sitting on a slow burner, gradually reaching the boiling point over time. That’s why, when so much has been packed into the finale, one is left wondering…..WHY? What was the need to do this? This same direction would have been better achieved if carried out over the span of 4-5 episodes with a slower pace and the ending impact would have been greater. Instead, there were many episodes that could be called “fillers” and left the viewer underwhelmed.
“Sabaat” is a show that attempted something different and presented it in a new, impressive way. While it could not be called a perfect show and somehow left viewers feeling that something was lacking, it can still be classified as an honest, credible attempt. The show will be remembered for its great performances, particularly that of Mawra Hocane, its presentation on life and progressive thoughts on a woman’s place in the workplace, it’s representation of life and, of course, its beautiful OST.