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Baaghi episode 15


There is something about reviewing and for that matter watching Baaghi that makes me feel as if I am shooting arrows in the dark. I personally dislike mazloom aurat stories and would never have watched this serial if it were not for the Qandeel Baloch connection. Yes, I know Qandeel was a tragic figure and her life was not at all the stuff of fairy tales or true romance, but one thing this drama consistently ignores is that Qandeel wanted to be in the lime light and if she could achieve that by making risqué videos or any other means she would do it .

After trying to maintain her principles, Kanwal Baloch realizes there is no way to make money except by compromising and doing exactly what she swore neither Gohar (or any of the men who had propositioned her) would  ever make her do . The scenes at Gohar’s office were so sad. The way Kanwal had to humble herself in front of  Gohar in order to be part of his sleazy business was   very depressing . Saba Qamar is such a masterful actress, she brought every nuance into play. I think I cried through the entire episode (which is why I hate Mazloom aurat stories, I am a stupid ,soppy bucket of emotion and it gets exhausting ) .There was worse to come ;  for me, though  Kanwal’s suicide attempt was awful to watch,   the truly miserable part was her pitiful happiness at buying some perfumes and shoes in exchange for  her body. While Saba Qamar and Khalid Malik scanned the “branded” shoes, perfumes and sunglasses with all the excitement of children opening a box of sweets the shadow of what those things had cost hung quietly in the air.

Saba Qamar and Khalid Malik are fabulous and make this friendship look easy and natural. I especially like how Khalid Malik isn’t overplaying the gay stereotypes and going overboard with the mannerisms. Maybe actors and writers can tone those things down in the future and understand not all gay people fulfill those timeworn tropes.

Since Gohar has already spent a lot of money on grooming Kanwal  , she receives much less than she was expecting as her wages . Women in Kanwal’s situation are often taken advantage of in this way. Even if Kanwal had earned twice as much, Gohar and his ilk aren’t the kind to play fair anyway. For some reason suicide attempts are the flavor of the month at the moment. The shocking suicide of The heroine in Mohabbat Tum sey nafrat Hai , Dr Zubia jumping in the YKS finale and now Kanwal. While Farhat Ishtiaq has explained that Zubia’s attempt was not what she wrote in her script, I would love to ask the other writers what they are thinking? This is a shocking, insidious trend that directors and producers are using for dramatic effect, but it sets an incredibly bad example for vulnerable people watching. This brings me back to why Baaghi is such a difficult drama to review, despite my admittedly limited research, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence anywhere of Qandeel attempting suicide . No doubt she may have gone through moments of absolute despair, or desperation and at times life can seem unbearable, but is this another ratings grabber or something she actually went through?

Putting the negatives aside I must say this is an excellent package of what passes for entertainment for the masses. The acting and direction are all excellent. This week’s episode in particular was faster paced and had me glued despite my irritation with the fictional additions to the story line. Umera Ahmed is one of Pakistan’s most masterful storytellers and together with writer Shazia Khan she has pieced together a fascinating fable of loss and tragedy. Farooq Rind is back on my good directors list, despite the misery of this story he has kept it all going at good pace with just an occasional dip into melodrama.

Meanwhile back in the pind /goan/village Ruby is getting exactly what she deserved. Abid is back to his old tricks and has managed to a patao a new girl , plying her with gifts and romantic nonsense. The writers present a clever little juxtaposition of circumstances: the foolish village women allow Abid to take advantage of them in their quest for trinkets, just as Kanwal barters away her self-respect for branded shoes. The message is clear , if Kanwal or any of these women had an education they could earn the money to buy these things themselves .if they had an education or any understanding of their religion they might not be such easy prey.

Of all the characters, I feel the most for Kanwal’s parents who are the least selfish, just trapped by poverty and ignorance. Kanwal’s mother wants to educate her children, but can see her younger son slowly fall into bad company because she cannot pay the school fees. Her father can barely make ends meet but, refuses to put his daughter down, both struggle along trying their best to provide for their family. Sarmad Khoosat was back as Kanwal’s selfish brother and his shouting match with real life father the great Irfan Khoosat provided a bit of light relief.  I hope we get to see more of Sarmad in this role, where he is much more believable,  than the nakaam angelic ashiq he plays in Teri Raza. (Better still PLEASE come back to direction – we need a movie from him!)

Next week’s promo shows us Kanwal begging to hear her child on the phone, while her hard-hearted sister in law shuts her off. The promo had me blubbering in advance so Allah malik hai when I watch next week. So I am taking the required vitamin B complex to strengthen my nerves and extra fluids well in advance so I can cope.

Sadaf Haider

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