Udaari Episode 4 & 5
Udaari is shaping up to be one of those rare serials that unite art and commercial viability. Outstanding performances from Ahsan Khan and Bushra Ansari combined with masterful direction from Ehtashamuddin, coupled with Farhat Ishtiaq’s signature story writing skills make this a must watch every week .This serial cuts a deep slice out of our society , exposing each layer of our attitudes and weaknesses with a quiet precision.
One of this serials greatest strengths is the way it subtly challenges the audience without preaching. If we examine the story most of the elements are very familiar: a single mother struggling to survive, a girl from a poverty stricken family trying to marry ‘above’ her class, a manipulating villain and the usual elite class disconnect. Farhat Ishtiaq has written about actual human beings that manage to be likable despite their flaws. Even her villain, played with such skilled menace by Ahsan Khan is the embodiment of the phrase “the banality of evil “. Imtiaz is just an ordinary man, in fact people swear by his goodness. He is a master manipulator and contains all the evil we do not see. Such men often prey on vulnerable women in need of support and are very clever at winning people’s confidence by playing a long strategic game.
Ahsan Khan excels in this role, one moment he is the handsome, good natured man who marries a single mother instead of a young girl, the next we see the evil cast of his intentions on in his face. In episode 4 Pa Imtiaz’s true nature is revealed. Director Ehtashamuddin is to be congratulated for managing to illustrate Imtiaz’s evil actions aesthetically without losing the impact of his behavior. The buzzing fly landing on Imtiaz’s face as he convinces Zaibu to keep quiet was both chilling and effective.
One of the most fascinating aspects is our society’s attitudes to music. Imtiaz is stirred to wickedness by some music he listens to. Elyas’s family enjoys a good song and dance but look down on those who perform even though Meeran and her family use music to earn a living, celebrate happy occasions or even distribute blessings and prayers. There is a similar comparison with Arsh and his band who express themselves through music; they relax, they connect and bring others joy but Farwa’s mother views this same activity as waste of time and a distraction. The take away is that music and dancing like most things only exposes whatever already lies within us. Sadly for some it will always be a beast while for others it will be joy.
Zaibu is not Imtiaz’s only victim .The highlight of episode 5 was the way Sheedan stood up for her daughter Meeran. Sheedan is shocked and disappointed at finding out about Meera’s relationship with Elyas but she doesn’t do the usual crazy drama mother routine when Meeran runs away from Imtiaz’s attack. Usually the formula is for the mother to blame her own child or even make friends with the rapist. I love the way Sheedan stands up for her daughter and isn’t cowed by her poverty or the money she owes to Sajjo. I especially like the way she doesn’t suffocate her daughter under the banner of “log kiya Kahenge”, she even stands up to Elyas’s nasty mother and won’t let her daughter be denigrated. I fully understand that not every mother can be like this but surely in the privacy of their homes and in between themselves a mother can support her daughter rather than blaming and castigating her child as we are shown. I keep thinking of the dreadful mothers from Chup Raho, Sangat, and Pehchan and of course the latest queen of all mothers in Bay Qasoor who poisons her child.Poor Meera has got to learn the hard way about men like Elyas.
Bushra Ansari is outstanding in every episode and is the star of the show. Each episode is packed with great performances from Urwa Hocain to Sammiya Mumtaz and even the child stars make their mark. The biggest surprise is again Urwa who has really impressed with a dedicated performance. My one caveat with her though is the shiny make up; either it’s an overdose of shimmer or its sunblock, either way it distracts for the character’s authenticity.
One of the saddest parts of this story is Sammiya Mumtaz’s character Sajjo. She is a good woman, struggling to live a respectable life but she has no help. Her sister is wealthy and seems to lack for nothing yet she cannot help Sajjo making her easy prey for the likes of Imtiaz. If we actually supported people like Sajjo , perhaps they wouldn’t be such easy marks ? Sadly ,Our society is full of people like Appa Hamidas. I also found the way Imtiaz’s friend undermined any good Imtiaz might have in him by putting Sajjo down. This is a common practice in our society, criticizing and undermining couples as mismatched , comparing people’s heights , weights , colour , wealth …in fact anything that doesn’t fit into their preconceived notions about life . This kind of behavior undermines marriages, the building block of society . From next week’s promo it is clear that Imtiaz is on to the next stage of his campaign of destruction . A common factor abusers use to control those around them is to destroy their victims overconfidence by mocking and belittling them . So Imtiaz calls Sajjo a Budhi ghori la Lagaam , or an overdressed old woman … even though Sammiya Mumtaz looks lovely .
My apologies for the long review but this is a double and this is such a good serial that it deserves every word of praise. I just have my fingers crossed that team Udaari can keep it up
PS I love the cool band characters 🙂