Writer: Adeel Razzaq
Director: Ahmed Bhatti
Producer: Abdullah Seja
Schedule: ARY Digital Every Saturday 8 pm
After a really long time just when I had almost given up on Pakistani dramas altogether, the first episode of Sar-e-Rah reminded me of the reason why I started reviewing dramas in the first place! This first episode was pure genius. It had a soul that most dramas nowadays lack. Most importantly, this first episode was not just meaningful but also gripping right from the first scene till the last one. Even some of the actors who usually don’t deliver were at their best; the director Ahmed Bhatti definitely deserves credit for that. I don’t remember the last time when the opening episode of a drama made me connect to and root for the main protagonist as much as this one did. The most interesting bit was that although the subject matter of the drama is really serious, the overall feel of the drama was not gloomy or dark. The cinematography, direction, and treatment given to the script couldn’t have been more ideal. The director even managed to make it visually pleasing while ensuring that the meaning did not get lost in translation.
Even though the promos of Sar-e-Rah promised meaningful entertainment and I was expecting it to deliver but this opening episode completely blew me away. The clarity in the script and the execution won me over. This episode was also inspirational in many ways because the hope this story carries outweighed everything else. Women empowerment is a topic that is really close to my heart but there are only a few Pakistani dramas that have done justice to it. Some of the dialogues put this message across in the most concise and impactful manner possible. “paisun ki koi jins nahin hoti”, had to be my favorite one from this episode.
Inspirational and Uplifting
Sar-e-Rah’s first episode was fast-paced therefore it would be wrong to say that it merely introduced the characters to the viewers. We were introduced to so many dynamic and well-etched-out characters and at the same time their stories took off from this episode as well. The main protagonist Rania was the star of the show, enacted powerfully on-screen by Saba Qamar. This first episode covered the first major step in Rania’s journey while commendably showing different shades of her character.
The first few scenes showed a young woman who was in love, others showed a strong woman who was determined, responsible, intelligent, and articulate, and most importantly there were so many scenes that highlighted the ‘human’ element of this character which stood out more than any other. Rania’s concern for her parents, the way she owned and respected her father’s profession (wearing that wristwatch being my favorite), and last but not least her love for her younger brother even though it was not reciprocated. The scene in which she gave her mother the money she earned and asked her to keep on giving Hatim (Junaid Jamshed) his pocket money was one of the many subtle yet powerful scenes that showed she was not bitter towards her brother even though he had been anything but supportive.
Rania’s first ride was another one of the many scenes that showed that the writer was more interested in telling her story as one of hope and was not going to show her as a victim. Also, unlike many other such stories, it was not a case of Rania against the world. Starting from this first customer who gave her a valuable piece of advice as a token of his support to the lady who runs the NGO, Rania met quite a few people who were supportive. This variation in characters and the kind of people Rania met along the way made this first episode more interesting. Had it been any other drama, this first episode would only have covered Rania’s equation with Faraz (Agha Mustafa Hassan) and her father’s deteriorating health. I would especially like to mention here that I was pleasantly surprised to watch Agha Mustafa performing so well. His expressions have never been so balanced and his dialogue delivery was exceptional. His performance had to be the surprise package in this episode. The character itself was not ‘new’ but the performance and the on-screen chemistry he shared with Saba Qamar, made their scenes and track stand out.
Rania’s household and the way it was being run showed the typical mindset which is prevalent in many such low-income houses. The parents invest all their savings in educating their sons because they are the ones who are expected to be the bread-winners. However, the turn that this story took was refreshing in so many ways. Also, it was good to see the parents realizing their mistake and even though the father, played beautifully by the exceptionally talented Rashid Farooqui was not comfortable with his daughter taking up the role the men in the house were expected to take, was in a way proud of her. There are only a handful of Pakistani actors who manage to say so much just by their facial expressions and Rashid Farooqui is definitely one of them.
I watched this episode today, a day that started on a grim note because there were 3 different news on the media today in which women had been violated in public spaces in the most horrific manner. Watching a woman take control of his life even if it was on-screen and that too in a convincing manner was definitely something I personally needed today. Also, I feel that women in Pakistan are breaking barriers now. I see women driving motorcycles with other women escorting them; I have seen women delivering food on motorcycles as well – something which was not happening a few years back. Women are making space for themselves in places that were considered fit only for men therefore this story is also relevant in so many ways now more than it ever was.
This first episode not only shows the challenges a woman faces when she decides to take up a job that is traditionally assigned to men by society but also showed that a woman is able to make it on her own. Also, it was especially pleasing watching female characters who supported Rania. The on-screen chemistry Saba Qamar shared with all her co-stars in this episode definitely made all the difference. It was quite obvious that she put her heart and soul into this project. Her performance coupled with the way Rania’s story has been written as well as the excellent treatment given to the script by the director made this first episode of Sar-e-Rah unforgettable.
If you haven’t watched this first episode, you are missing out! If you watched this episode please do share your views. Did you fall in love with it instantly as well?