Often, dramas with characters engaging in criminal behavior lose their focus and wind up down a questionable path. With both “Kaisi Teri Khudgarzi” and “Chauraha” on air together, two shows revolving around how the actions of man destroy the life of a woman, viewers have been wondering how both shows will wrap up – and will we, as an audience, be treated to yet another story of a woman sacrificing her life and accepting her grim fate? We have seen this in past shows like “Muqaddar” and “Bashar Momin.” However, the finale of “Chauraha” comes as a pleasant surprise, not only leading its main characters down an unexpected path, but also depicting optimism and hope. Written by Edison Idrees Masih and directed by Aehsun Talish, “Chauraha” stars Mikaal Zulfiqar and Madiha Imam in lead roles, supported by Saba Hameed, Behroze Sabzwari, Asad Siddiqui, Shabbir Jan, Ayesha Gul and others.
Credit must be given to the team of “Chauraha.” While this show has followed the tried and tested signature style of Geo with the melodrama, the overly catty and troublemaking female characters and intense misery, the team of “Chauraha” has consistently done a great job of depicting the dynamic between Junaid (Mikaal Zulfiqar) and Zoya (Madiha Imam) as perpetrator and victim. To recap, Junaid and Zoya met online and became friends, Zoya believing Junaid to be a female named Neha. However, when “Neha” and Zoya met, Zoya immediately realized she had been fooled and found herself kidnapped by Junaid and his three friends. Junaid, a man without a mother and a slightly negligent father, found what he believed to be happiness in the money he earned kidnapping women and essentially ruining their lives. However, after meeting Zoya, he realizes that he has been living a life of sin and attempts to mend his ways, his guilt furthered when Zoya’s mother Shireen (Saba Hameed) and his father Salim (Behroze Sabzwari) wind up married.
In the finale, Zoya gets a job in Islamabad after receiving a promotion and moves with Salim, Shireen and her stepsister’s support. It’s beautiful to see how Zoya (and Junaid’s) family has learned from the past and discarded their arrogance and society’s notions of right and wrong, choosing rather to support their daughter – and son – in the best way they can while also understanding their discomfort around each other. And while it may have been nice to see Zoya and Arsal (Asad Siddiqui) reuniting, it’s also true that Zoya never would have been able to live happily under the same roof with Arsal’s mother. Doesn’t she deserve better? Seeing Zoya independent and successful, even mentoring girls to use social media responsibly, is the ending we genuinely wanted for Zoya. Madiha Imam has done justice to her role with her performance.
We also see Junaid arrive back home after serving his time in jail, apologetic and guilt-ridden, still ashamed with himself for his actions. This has been the strength of the show. The way Mikaal Zulfiqar’s Junaid has gone through his redemption arc is commendable. Junaid’s story genuinely felt like a human story, the story of a man who committed many sins, recognized them, paid for his crimes and then found his way towards the right path. The path to redemption began around episode 5 or 6 and continued slowly with Junaid’s character finally being “redeemed” in the finale. This is how it should be done when negative characters go through a journey within a show. Mikaal Zulfiqar has not had a strong role depicting his acting talent in a while and “Chauraha” has given him exactly that. What a performance!
Last, but not least, Edison Idrees and Aehsun Talish deserve a round of applause for sensitivity with which they have shown forgiveness and redemption. Forgiveness does not equate to marriage. While Junaid does ultimately propose to Zoya, Zoya makes it clear that she does forgive him – but does not want to marry him. How could a victim, realistically, ever move forward happily with the person responsible for her ruin? Sure, forgiveness is always possible and had Zoya chosen to forgive Junaid, Junaid’s journey has been such that it would have been mildly acceptable – but it’s wonderful that they chose to go an entirely different route…..the realistic, natural route. The team of “Kaisi Teri Khudgarzi” should sit up and take notes on how stories like this should be executed. “Chauraha” hasn’t been a perfect show and had its ups and downs, along with intense melodrama, but the focal storyline has always remained consistent – and succeeded. “Chauraha” will be missed.