“Zakham” has been written by Rida Bilal and directed by Syed Ramish Rizvi. The show stars Agha Ali, Sehar Khan, Azfar Rehman, Rubina Ashraf, Waseem Abbas, Sana Fakhar, Salma Hassan ,Kamran Jillani, Sidra Niazi and others in lead roles. The show is about obsessive relationships and how women wind up caught up in these obsessions, their lives being turned upside down.
“Zakham” follows Areej (Sehar Khan), a young girl who lives with her father, Arif (Waseem Abbas) and stepmother, Seema (Sana Fakhar), along with a loving younger sister (who is a Minal Khan doppelganger). Seema is bitter and downright hateful towards Arif and his children, upset at the hand life has dealt her, being married off to an older man. While one would like to sympathize with Seema, she is so ugly at heart that she not only mistreats Areej regularly, but also is the reason her stepson Waqar (Kamran Jillani) was forced to move out. This is a woman who does not have a kind word on her tongue….ever. How would anyone live with a woman like this, especially Arif? Seema, ultimately, becomes the reason for Areej’s downfall. Sikander (Agha Ali) sees Areej at an art exhibit and decides he must “have” her. Arif works for Sikander and takes a loan from him, which leaves Arif at his mercy. After Seema and Sikander’s plotting, Areej winds up married to a very much abusive Sikander. After tolerating his mistreatment and imprisonment for a while, Sikander is jailed and Areej decides to fight against her husband. While Sikander is released, Areej gets her divorce through court, which leaves her now available for Affan (Azfar Rehman), who Areej had feelings for before her forced marriage. However, ironically, Sikander is Affan’s disowned brother who was kicked out after divorcing Aiman (Sidra Niazi) the morning after their wedding.
There are many weak points with this show, particularly with Sana Fakhar’s character, who is just irritating to watch due to her incessant complaining. She isn’t just a vamp, she almost seems inhuman without even one positive moment or kind word, even when speaking to her own daughter. With the recent track, the story is just dragging out unnecessarily with Sikander appearing to be “all knowing” and constantly throwing a hench into Areej’s life. The most irritating collaboration is his banding with Aiman to plot against Areej and Affan. Why would Aiman plot with Sikander? Sure, she’s unstable, but she’s unstable because of Sikander! This entire storyline is ridiculous.
The highlight of “Zakham” is Agha Ali’s performance. Sikander is a ruthless, arrogant, narcissistic character who will go to any means to get what he wants. He does not falter in the face of rejection, rather he is straight-faced, unflinching and relentless once he wants something. He does not treat people as people, rather as objects that he must possess – and the object he wants to possess is Areej, through love or hate. Agha Ali is a great actor and it’s unfortunate he doesn’t get roles worthy of his talent more often. But this time around, he has a solid role where he’s given much scope to perform and show his range. Sehar Khan is also doing a good job as Areej, who seemed very timid at first, but has been fighting back against an abusive husband and Sehar’s performance has been getting better over time.
Overall, “Zakham” isn’t a great show, but it does have moments of greatness. If it didn’t suffer from Har Pal Geo’s “drag it out to death to cash in on TRPs” syndrome, the story might’ve been better written with stronger sequences. However, the strength of the show lies in Agha Ali’s villainous Sikander. One can just hope that the script gets better from here on out -but is that asking for too much?