Sange Mar Mar finale
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.
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 .