Revolving around Kanwal’s tragic death, Baaghi’s last episode brought together deep emotions and strong performances to portray an important message that might have gone amiss with the plethora of brutal reactions that came about when Qandeel Baloch was actually murdered by her younger brother. The serial, especially its ending, returned to her a sense of empathy and humanity that was lost on the majority of the nation when she was murdered.
“Ab tou burai khatam ho gai na?” her voice questions the audience as the serial ends. “Logon kay ikhlaq bhi bach gaye? Muashara teekh hogaya?”
As we know, it was the most loved younger brother who was behind Kanwal’s murder and a series of flashbacks to simpler times during the climax makes it extremely powerful. It should be noted that it was only when Kanwal decided to give up her lifestyle, which was her means of income, and settle down that had her family feel neglected. Previously they were upset when they found out about her double life, but it was the news of her marriage that brought about a more drastic reaction. The younger brother was now suddenly concerned about the family’s ‘honour,’ questioning who she is marrying and how she is abandoning them without any other source of income. The murder was taken up on grounds of ‘honour’ but in reality it was the economics of the situation that drove it.
Another moving point was when we see the mother begging the father to forgive the son, claiming that having already lost her daughter she can’t bear to lose the son too. The thought that her murderer will be acquitted for this unforgivable act evokes anger in the viewer, but then it takes a moment to empathize with what the mother is going through. Her family has fallen apart in an instant and she is desperate to save it from more damage and heartbreak. That said one cannot assure that she would have felt the same had her daughter murdered her son.
There are elements and people – like the controversial Mufti Qavi – who have been eliminated from the serial altogether; one finds that understandable as the story was dangerous enough to narrate to begin with.
It’s allowing Qandeel, known as Kanwal in the drama, her humanity is what’s the most important element. She was portrayed for her love for Sheheryar, who accepts her for what she is. She’s shown for her selfless friendship with Gogi, portrayed brilliantly by Khalid Malik. Showing the reaction of Kanwal’s loved ones to the tragedy made for a series of extremely emotional scenes. Osman Khalid Butt, in our opinion, delivered one of his strongest performances of his career and reduced everyone to tears as he breaks down at the news of her death.
It is Saba Qamar’s brilliant performance, summed up in the short monologue at the end, that encapsulates the purpose of making a show like Baaghi; to make one think about the harsh judgments we pass everyday, what our society really needs to ‘cleanse’ itself of, plus of course the most bizarre concept of honour killings in Pakistan. An important step in using the television platform for an important cause, one hopes to see other such shows portray their social messages with similar finesse and sensitivity.