“Saraab” is a show that tackles a different subject and presents the audience with an interesting story while also educating on how our society should handle mental illness. “Saraab” stars Sami Khan and Sonya Hussyn in lead roles, has been written by Edison Idrees and directed by Mohsin Talat. The story tells the tale of a young girl who suffers from schizophrenia and how her family and loved ones handle her mental health.
Namal (Nazish Jahangir) has now decided, after Warda’s bizarre encouragement, that she will fight for her relationship with Asfandyar……her brother-in-law. There’s a part of Namal’s character that one can’t help sympathizing with. She has loved Asfandyar since she was a kid, has always dreamed of marrying him and didn’t realize, until it was too late, that Asfandyar and Hoorain have been in love with each other equally as long. Namal’s family cannot be classified as supportive, logical and rational and so, surrounded by such characters, it’s no wonder that Namal finds herself wondering how Asfandyar could pick her “crazy” sister over her. And yet, Namal is not a likable character so it’s difficult not to deeply dislike her. One wonders how two sisters could be this detached and unloving towards their own sister. Why is it that Warda cannot stomach Asfandyar marrying Hoorain, yet encourages Namal to go after Asfandyar herself? What is this logic? With sisters like this, who needs enemies? It must be said that Ghana Ali is doing a great job playing Warda, this highly manipulative, uncouth, “chalaak” character. Warda is now stuck in a messy situation at home now that Hoorain is married and Sufyaan is asking the family to go set his wedding date with Hoorain. Sufyaan now believes that Warda is against his marriage to Hoorain, which is creating a hostile environment, while Warda has finally come clean to her husband about the situation. Warda’s husband is very irritating in his attitude and how he takes his annoyance towards Hoorain’s marriage out on Warda. It’s no wonder Warda is this manipulative (but still highly unlikable).
Post-marriage, Afandyar (Sami Khan) is troubled by Hoorain’s (Sonya Hussyn) behavior. While he was aware of her mental state, it’s an entirely different ballgame when you’re now living with the person and are dealing with their moods and behaviors around the clock. The extent of Hoorain’s scars are slowly coming out in her words and behavior. When Asfandyar’s mother (wonderfully played by Kinza Malik) has guests over who give Hoorain money, she reacts badly and lashes out and the two ladies scurry out in fear. Later, Hoorain tells Afandyar that it wasn’t money, they were “taveez” being used to separate the two – a fear that has been instilled into Hoorain because of her family. Hoorain is heading down a path further from reality and Asfandyar is trying his best to find a way to pause her progression.
Unfortunately, Asfandyar is not only a blessing for Hoorain, but also a curse. Hoorain has conversations with Asfandyar about her prognosis and medications and will trustingly listen to him – until the Asfandyar of her imagination comes into play. This character vocalizes Hoorain’s fears and inner thoughts. He tells Hoorain that the household is trying to drug her, heightening the fears in her mind. While Asfandyar himself is doing everything right, the “other” Asfandyar is doing everything to curtail her recovery. Essentially, Asfandyar is the vessel Hoorain’s mind is using to self-sabotage. There has to be a round of applause for Asfandyar’s parents and the way they have been written. Kinza Malik and Sajid Shah have been performing so well in these roles and come across as very loving, supportive parents – the ideal parents. These are parents who want the best for their children and are open to hearing their thoughts and ideas. This is the set of parents everyone would want in their lives.
“Saraab” is a show that focuses on Asfandyar and Hoorain and so it’s no wonder Sami Khan and Sonya Hussyn are giving stellar performances. Once cannot rave about this pair enough. Not only is their pairing beautiful, but their love story is beautifully heartbreaking. The rest of the cast does a great job as well, particularly Kinza Malik and Sajid Shah. The strength of “Saraab” is that it has, so far, managed to present a realistic story with realistic occurrences despite the kitchen politics – which are also given a solid enough backstory as to where it feels realistic. One hopes “Saraab” continues on this well-written, well-presented path.