“Safar Tamam Hua” has not had a perfect run. With an excellent cast, including Ali Rehman Khan, Madiha Imam, Syed Jibran, Samina Ahmed, Haaris Waheed, Sonia Nazir, Annie Zaidi and Noreen Gulwani, drama fans expected this to be a sure-fire hit. Written by Rahat Jabeen and directed by Sheherzade Sheikh, this was a show that had a lot going for it, but strangely suffered from an incredibly slow first half and some highly unlikable lead characters. And yet, was this show a write-off? Absolutely not. In a surprising turn of events, “Safar Tamam Hua” managed to pick itself up and dust itself off, delivering a fairly strong second half and redeeming itself rather nicely.
In the finale, Nabeel’s (Haaris Waheed) truth is finally revealed – and this may be the weakest part of the finale, if only because the punishment does not fit the crime. Nabeel found Rija home that fateful afternoon and, in a bad mood, scared her, sending her running away from him and, accidentally, falling down the stairs to her death. This entire family has turned against Nabeel in the end, his wife has left him and Nabeel is fighting with his own guilt. Sure, Nabeel scared Rija, but he did not actually harm her. Her death was actually the very definition of an accident, so why is Nabeel so severely punished in the end? Nabeel’s greatest crime was his silence. There’s another point that’s troubling and it’s the concept that Nabeel is being punished for Rija’s death with Maryam’s disability. Maryam is his “sazaa,” something that Nabeel himself says, but also Ayza (Sonia Nazir) and the rest of the family. What a terribly regressive thing to say and this continues to propagate a negative idea surrounding differently abled individuals.
And yet, one has to pause and give a shoutout to Haaris Waheed for playing the most complex character on the show. Nabeel is that beautiful, kind, loving individual who accidentally finds himself burdened with the guilt of Rija’s death, something he’s unable to handle and winds up eating him up inside. Haaris Waheed has played this role really well, potentially being the best performance of his career so far. Hopefully other directors/producers will take notice and give him better roles from this point onward.
There’s also another moment that must be pointed out during the Sami (Ali Rehman Khan) and Nabeel fight. Nabeel makes the statement that Rija has come back in Maryam’s form and this hits its mark with Sami – and he sees Rija in the graveyard, walking away. The way this small moment has been shot is really beautiful, striking that chord between despair and hope.
The rest of the episode focuses on self-discovery, retribution and forgiveness within the family. Anoushay (Madiha Imam) and Sami finally get those beautiful moments the audience has been waiting for, moments of much-deserved happiness after quite the tedious path to get there. Madiha Imam and Ali Rehman Khan share great chemistry and have done a great job in their roles, particularly Ali Rehman Khan who played the most lovable character on the show. And while it’s wonderful for this duo and the audience, Jamal (Syed Jibran) burns seeing this happiness, realizing all his plans and plotting ultimately did not work.
Jamal is a very interesting character and the way Syed Jibran has played him has been confusing to say the least – is he a good guy? Is he a bad guy? And yet, it’s that confusion that makes Jamal interesting. In the last episode, we saw Jamal’s breakdown, his hurt and pain at how he has been treated over the years, his desire for love, but inability to reach out for it. Dejected, there’s a wonderful scene where Jamal comes across working women on the street and flashes back to Anoushay’s father (Saife Hassan) and his words about the vicious circle one can get caught up in – and he walks away. While it may not seem like much, it shows that Jamal is ready to change, ready to better himself – and so, he ends up on Nazo’s (Noreen Gulwani) doorstep.
The relationship between Jamal and Nazo has been a highlight of the show, a flawed couple, two “bad” individuals seeking comfort in one another. And in the end, Nazo winds up being a very good influence on Jamal while also changing herself. It’s great to see Nazo and her mother with their own salon, being productive in their lives and seeking redemption from their past mistakes. Noreen Gulwani is a natural. The scene with the family reuniting at home is beautiful, each family member perfect in their imperfection, accepting one another flaws and all. And isn’t that what family is about? Samina Ahmed also deserves a shoutout for her performance as the matriarch of the family.
The final scene with the family seeing Maryam off for her first day of school, showing their support, is really very sweet and shows how Maryam becomes a part of their family unit, essentially filling Rija’s place in their lives. While “Safar Tamam Hua” was not a perfect show, it did manage to put across a nice message about overcoming personal insecurities and learning how to forgive not only others, but also your own mistakes. Other than the too-harsh punishment for Nabeel, this “Safar” (journey) was quite beautiful and this is honestly a show that will be missed.