Last weekend’s episode of Cheekh was disturbing to say the very least. By now viewers are already acquainted with the evil brother in the trio i.e. Wajih (played by Bilal Abbas Khan). It has been established by episode 15 that whether Wajih is psychotic or just a spoilt brat who has a colossal male ego, he definitely has no remorse and hence doesn’t seek forgiveness. He continues to harass Mannat and now even her mother is at his mercy.
Interestingly, Cheekh is one current Pakistani drama which dares to realistically explore the varying nature of men in our society. The play convincingly shows three brothers, two of whom have diametrically opposite personalities. There is a menacing character such as Wajih who has no regrets and will stop at nothing. His brother Yawar (Aijaz Aslam) is an accomplice in all his crimes as he has turned a blind eye not only to the cruel murder of Nayab, but is also a co-conspirator in Wajih’s wicked schemes.
The story thus far made it certain that as Yawar doesn’t have children, he brought up his youngest brother (Wajih) like his son. Hence, he will overlook all his mistakes or gloss them over. Episode 15 has opened a new chapter in Yawar’s book; one that may have contributed to Wajih’s toxic masculinity.
Yawar has been entangled in conspiracies and lies before it all began. He cannot father a child and he has conspired to make his wife Shahwar (Maira Khan) believe that it is she who cannot conceive a child. This new angle in the narrative highlights Yawar’s double standards. Firstly, he has given all his attention and love to Wajih to fill the vacuum in his life, completely neglecting Shahwar. Secondly, one cannot expect rationality from a person who can betray the trust of his wife. It is futile to expect that Yawar will ever understand the suffering of Nayab, Mannat or their families. So no surprises there when the teaser for the next episode shows how Yawar ruthlessly mentions ‘aisi larki (Mannat) ki tou jaan lena banta ha’ [a girl like her deserves to be killed].
On the contrary, Emmad’s character – Shayan – seems as if he is from a different world. Shayan has not only stood by his wife, but also showed compassion and understanding. As any human being, he also faltered and had his moments of doubt about Mannat. However, his momentary lapse is a humane reaction in such complicated situation where a man has to choose between his family and his wife. Shayan has now openly challenged Wajih to stop his cowardly acts of torturing Mannat’s mother as this won’t change the reality.
There is a strange dichotomy in the household as one man (Aijaz Aslam) is a chauvinist who is suppressing his wife and overburdening her with his insecurities, while the other man (Emmad Irfani) has proved to be a support system for his life partner. This new depth in the narrative is intriguing as we are eager to find out how Shahwar will react when she figures out the missing piece in the puzzle. Will she doubt that Yawar, who lied on her face for years and left her in misery and pain, is right about Wajih? Will she support Mannat and testify against Wajih in court? The answer to all these questions will gradually determine if Wajih and Yawar will suffer for wreaking havoc in so many people’s lives.