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Sange Mar Mar finale

 

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Hum Tv’s Sange Mar Mar ends with a finale as gripping and thought provoking as the entire serial ,  giving audiences a fine  critique on the nature of revenge and what honour culture ultimately leads to. Writer Mustafa Afridi leads his characters through a maze of moral dilemmas, teasing the audience’s expectations with the familiar motifs of love triangles, manipulating villains and innocent victims  but avoids an easy romantic ending ,giving us a surprising twist instead. Sange Mar Mar has been an entertaining and engaging drama from start to finish , proving once again that the ratings game can be won quality productions that don’t wallow in clichés .

 

Superficially the Gulistan Khan family is one of the most respected and influential in the area, but theirs is a house built on sand. Their wealth is based on interest and moneylending, their middle son is not only a thug but a rapist who preys on unwitting girls, while Khan himself is the unrepentant murderer of his own sister in law Rakshika. Noman Ejaz is a masterful actor and his performance as Gulistan Khan is an authentic portrait of the complexity of human nature. A man of contradictions, Khan despises petty cruelties and although authoritarian can be quite kind and forgiving to those who don’t break his moral code; yet he is unrepentant about beating his sister in law to death for the “behaya” dancing in the rain.

Director Saife Hassan shows translates this story through the restrained lens of cold  reality, minus any frills or distracting colours. Given a brilliant script, Hassan has maintained the suspense and thrill of this story till the last episode.  Sange Mar Mar is jam packed with stellar performances from a cast that has done complete justice to some difficult roles. Sania Saeed is simply outstanding as Gulistan Khan’s wife Shamim, and owns the finale with understated power . Similarly Tipu Sharif, Omair Rana, Uzma Hassan, Najib Faiz, Kaif Ghazanavi, Sharmeen Ali and Beenish Raja have made each of their characters uniquely memorable and indispensable pieces of the main narrative. Mikaal Zulfikar brought a lot of star power to the show even though Aurang was not quite the romantic hero the audience expected. A weak man, Aurang was strong enough to destroy his father’s ledgers but not strong enough to stand up to Palwasha or his sister Bano.

The break out stars of this serial and perhaps this season may well be Masroor Paras and Kubra Khan. Kubra Khan has given us a beautifully controlled performance as Shireen, endearing this character to millions. Shireen is no bholi larki nor is she the typical mazloom aurat wronged by society, although trapped by circumstance she is stubbornly determined to be the master of her own destiny. Afridi is one of those rare male writers who understand the female psyche: from the bonds of sisterhood to the desperation of woman completely alone.  Shireen is willing to endure a beating to the death to protect her friend Durkhaney but her patience finally gives way, and she allows herself to be blinded by anger and jealousy to accept Tora Khan’s proposal.

Tora Khan is arguably one of the most fascinating characters created by Afridi and Masroor Paras has done complete justice to this flawed, sad man.  There is no denying Tora is a villain, directly or indirectly he is responsible for much of the murder and mayhem, but Paras shows us his pain as well as his anger . Thankfully unlike the current fashion for empathizing with rapists and villains to the point where their “ suffering “ becomes equivalent to the victims ; Afridi does not hesitate in calling a spade a spade and does not allow Tora to escape his own responsibility in choosing the course of revenge.

Haya and Ghairat are constant themes in this story and the words pepper every other conversation between the characters because these concepts lie at the root of the brutality they inflict on each other .Unlike personal dignity which is maintained by individuals through restraint and self-control, honour culture is about reputation and is always backed up by threat of immediate violence if disrespected. All of the murders depicted and the domino effect of retribution are deeply rooted in the concept of maintaining an image of public “honour”.  Sange Mar Mar presents us with an unflinching appraisal of the insidious nature of  a system  that controls women forcing them to pay for the mistakes of others.

Apart from Sange Mar Mar , there are two more dramas on air dealing with the issue of vanni : Aplus Tv’s Pinjara and another Hum Tv serial Sammi. While each story differs, one striking feature they share is the way sisters are bartered to save a brother. In each case formal law enforcement and state authorities are undermined by local and tribal authorities and decisions are made are according to what is most convenient to the men involved.  Such message oriented dramas are a welcome change and may well serve to educate and  hopefully raise awareness.

Sadaf Haider

This review also appears in Dawn.com and Dawn Images

I couldn’t say everything in the newspaper review but just like many others I was a little disappointed in the final episode but on reflection I think that is less Afridi’s fault and more my own . I think we are so used to pat , happy romantic endings that a small shock , is in order ,at least now and then . I often say that life is often unfair so let it at least be fair in fiction , well yes, but not always ..  I might have wanted a sweet romantic ending if Aurang had been even slightly worth it but sadly he wasn’t . The “happy ending” ended for me exactly at the moment when Aurang didn’t stop his sister from beating Shireen to death , it ended for me the minute he stepped back from his natural inclination to justice and kindness at  Palwasha’s silent request . Such a person is ultimately worthless . Aurang didn’t need to love Shireen in order to stop the abuse . Even Aurang’s love for Palwasha was more a product of his mother’s approval and pushing than some deep inner desire .

What I had hoped for Shireen was that she might move on from this whole situation and leave this entire crazy family to its own devices . Shireen is an heiress , she could have found some one else even if she wasn’t. Much as I hate to say it Afridi’s characterization of Shireen was spot on . Shireen allowed herself to be  Vanni ( a degrading circumstance ) just to reach Aurang and like a spoiled child she too followed the path of revenge . Sadly women ( and men) often undermine themselves and their best interests just like this .

Meanwhile  I hate Palwasha because she is cruel and  petty and I wish , wish , wish we could have just one or two more episodes in which MS annoying as hell Palwasha found out what it was like to be in Shireen’s shoes . Afridi has very neatly turned the situation on its head and Palwasha is now the one “responsible ” for the murder of three men through her brother Tora .

 

8 Comments »

  1. Smm was very good drama nd has story is vry gd i like to see the next seson of smm drama plz meri requst per amml kry thinks .

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  2. Loved the review Sadaf, thank you.

    Story of SMM was the real hero of this play. All the characters were mere humans.
    I was satisfied at the ending. Everyone got what they deserved, rather everyone reaped what they had sowed.

    Loved acting by everyone. A special shout out to Sania Saeed, Nouman Ijaz & Uzma Hassan. Only weak actor was Kubra Khan. She really needs to work on her dialogues delivery & expressions.

    Can’t wait to see another play by Mustafa Afridi.

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  3. Bilkul sahi, in short, the drama was fab, and so are your reviews, love both of them. Came across an intelligent comment on fb, where the person said that Palwasha through her behaviour answered her own question that she asked Gulalai many episodes back, kya tum mere saath bhi aisa hi karogi. Anybody can be/act nice in normal conditions, but your real character shows when you are put to a test. Palwasha failed miserably at that. Remember how she was smilingly asking torah if aurang has come to know shirin’s so called characterlessness.-mean.
    Shirin stood true to her character, still obsessing somehow about the mirage called Aurang, couldn’t get easily rid of the childhood fantasy and Torah gave her the final blow and probably brought her to senses. Her character was still sympathetic, she did nobody wrong but herself. Now when I look back I marvel how rich the story was, the plot converging and diverging with so many layers..but I really think the ending was a bit incomplete. The last was a good episode, but shouldn’t have been the last. How would it be if Aurang shot Torah knowing he was the murderer of his brothers..how would the dynamics of his relationship with Palwasha change then.. I’d have loved to see more, the story had so much potential to be explored even more…And I didn’t want Pari to end up like that, where she has no sense of things..I’d have liked to see her come to realise how and what she got wrong and how horribly evil she had been and then remain lonely for the rest of her life.
    Talking about potential in the story Shirin’s future, Durkhaney’s marriage, etc..hmm what about season 2, we want a happy and complete ending.
    Nevertheless in awe of Mustafa Afridi’s writing.

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    • Thank you so much Gul , for my part I have always looked forward to your comments and this one was a pleasure to read .
      I agree with you about Pari , it would have been fantastic to see Pari gain some self knowledge and learn by through her suffering . However I think women like Pari and Bano are very set in their ways , they have a hard core of complete selfishness and lack of human empathy that doesnt allow much room for change . Pari reminds me of one of those tagic figures from Greek tragedies like Narcissus , her punishment is to forever believe in her own avricious dreams. With each episode this womans evil quotient kept going up and I would ask myself when will she stop . What had Shireen actually done to Pari ? even when Shireen’s life lay in ruins , it wasn’t enough for Pari , she just couldn’t resist taking just one more dig even if it meant lying on the Quran. this is what sets her apart from all the other women in this serial and especially from say Palwasha . Palwasha is essentially a decent person who tried to treat Shireen with respect and kindness . However like most of us average human beings she was weak and couldnt forgive Shireen threatening to take the ( un) glittering prize that is Aurang away , she couldnt be magnanimous in victory . However that is still a minor failing compared to Pari. I kind of see Palwasha as a warning of asmaish whereas Pari is a warning of Azaab .
      High five on the praise for Mustafa Afridi , he really is an amazing writer .I asked him where his charcaters come from and he said that Tora is actually based on a man from his village with a few modifications . a man who could get people to do things but unlike Tora he had never actually killed anyone !
      I think Faiza Iftikhar has also said this in a previous interview with me . Good writers dont just pull people and situations out of thin air ,, they are observers and take things from reality … which is often a lot stranger than fiction .
      Ok as to season 2 I have seen a comment by the serials producer Momina Duraid hint at something like that . She said that they had left things open ended deliberately saying ” we have a surprise for SMM fans inshallah .There is a definate reason for us to leave to many questions unanswered. so be patient and you will not be disatisfied. ” To me that hints at season 2 .
      I wonder how that will play out ? I hope Shireen doesnt get pregnant becuase that is a real possibility seeing as the whole scene of Shireen lying on Tora’s bed was rather pointedly shown . I am putting my hope in Mustafa Afridi being a much better writer than that. Plus I really am sick of women obsessing over one man and never learning their lesson despite humiliation after humiliation . Please if there is a season 2 let Shireen grow up and away from the Aurang obsession . Personally I want to see Bano learn a lesson . Tora’s rejection was just not enough as far as I am concerned .

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  4. Hmm I am not offended as much as I am amused . . If my ideas don’t agree with yours its all wrong ? Khair neeyat par murad .. if you did not mean to offend me I wont be .. its amazing how passionately we take these dramas and respectful disagreement is always welcome .Tragically I spent a good day writing this review but alas to no avail .
    This kind of comment reminds me of the good old ZGH Days but I digress… . When a review is to be printed in a newspaper as this was , I keep it brief and focused on the main points . Firstly because of the space limit and secondly because people reading dont have the time to sit poring over reems of analysis of about every single character’s motivation .
    To answer your comments about Shireen and Aurang , I understand that a lot of people cannot look beyond the fact that someone hurt them or upset them and so are probably happy to let them hang out of revenge . I think that was one of the writer’s best made points . It takes strength of character to rise beyond our own feelings and do the right thing . Haq ki baat karna is never easy . I feel Shireen was very much in the wrong to even try to come between Aurang and Palwasha who were in love but the fact that Palwasha stopped Aurang and that he stopped has taken a lot of the sheen off their characters . Its easy enough to be nice when things are going our way but true character is when we stand up despite our own feelings .
    Perhaps I missed something but although Palwasha knew Aurang since childhood , the interest was mostly from her side till Shamim told Aurang she wanted Palwasha as her bahu . I seem to remember Aurang’s rather surprised and irritated reaction when Palwasha rather boldly ( for that conservative area and culture) grabbed his hand as he was leaving . Aurang is very much his mother’s son and he started to look a lot more kindly on Palwasha after his mother’s hints. Nothing wrong with that , its often the case in conservative cultures .
    I have already talked a bit about Bano in other reviews but her conversation with Shamim was just another repeat of many they had . Bano begging Tora to give her baby was something that was bound to happen and Tora was bound to refuse . Bano has Zero feelings for Tora and to certain extent she knows the monster she helped create. That plea for forgiveness was more about let me get a baby and then I will show you . I didn’t believe it for a minute and neither did Tora .
    Shamim killing Tora was a master stroke but personally I had hoped Shireen shot him for killing her brother and ruining her life . Tora passed on the nasty rumours he had created to Palwasha and the gleam in that woman’s eyes as she contemplated if Aurang knew was just another example of how we women plot our own fall from grace .

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  5. I have loved ready your reviews but the review for this particular last episode I found to be lazy and unintelligent. I’m really sorry for being so harsh but you can do better if you watch again with a different eye next time 😊.

    Palwasha was perhaps insecure?
    Aurang as you mention weak & human after all. Palwasha was his childhood love. He lost 2 brothers. He wanted to stop the beating but his father and wife didn’t allow. What about Bano’s dialogue with her mother? Sania
    Saeed’s totally unexpected action to kill Tora?

    I personally think it was a great ending. I was happy to see a different and more likely outcome in reality ending as oppose to typical hunky dory, clinche ending.

    I only recently discovered Pakistani drama and am loving it! But you have been an avid follower of dramas and the industry.

    Forgive me if I have unintentionally upset you!
    Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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