Drama serial Sammi, that began on Hum TV yesterday, held a cruel and yet much needed mirror to the abhorrent practice of vani, in which jirgas pawn off young girls to settle feuds and enmities. Rampant in rural areas of Pakistan, in this case the Punjab, the drama is the story of a young girl, Sammi, who is set to marry to the debonair and gentlemanly Parvez when her brother Waqas, in a scuffle over haq meher, murders him. Her parents agree to trade her off as vani to her father in law (to-be) in exchange of a pardon to the accused.
Vani is a common practice but what is more damaging and perhaps disturbing as it extends to the mass psyche is the level of misogyny we saw in episode one. Here are three instances that almost made the blood boil…
1. “Are you Sammi’s malik?”
First came the indication that Sammi is a commodity ‘owned’ by the father and then the brother. She is objectified in the worst possible manner.
2. “Consider yourself lucky that your life could be of use in saving your brother’s!”
Sammi’s mother begs the young girl to happily agree to the vani (not that she has a choice) and actually tells her that she’s fortunate that her life will be put to good use in saving her brother. As if the girl’s life has no value at all.
3. “Sammi is dead to us now.”
Sammi’s brother Waqas, who was shown to be a loving and protective brother, turns a blind eye to Sammi when he’s saving his own life. He completely disowns her when she’s pleading him to save her.
In this entire episode, I have to say that all performances were stellar. Mawra Hocane especially, albeit a bit too urban for her rural character, emotes effectively and manages to win the viewers’ appreciation and empathy.
While watching one hour of tragedy isn’t the ideal way to spend a Sunday evening, I have to say that episode one of Sammi was intriguing and I am curious to know what role Adnan Siddiqui will play in the long run and of course, how Sammi survives it all.