Television viewers are in for a treat as yet another directorial by Kashif Nisar — Raqeeb Se — premiered on Wednesday night. Earlier, the drama’s biggest highlight was that it marks Hadiqa Kiani’s acting debut, however, the first episode has established that this drama belongs to all the women involved in the story including Sania Saeed, Iqra Aziz and Faryal Mehmood.
The story of Raqeeb Se revolves around a Sakina (Hadiqa Kiani) who leaves her house with her daughter Meera (Iqra Aziz) due to domestic violence and visits her former lover Maqsood sahab’s (Naumaan Ijaz) home to seek shelter. Interestingly, there love story is so epic and tragic that his wife Hajra, (Sania Saeed) and daughter, Insha (Faryal Mehmood) knows it by heart.
The writer and director has taken the best route for such an intriguing storyline by opening the drama with Sakina’s entry in Hajra’s home without any prologue. It is sudden and yet very subtle and all credit goes to Sania Saeed for her impeccable acting prowess that even the heaviest of dialogues sound like an everyday conversation. A women-centric story written by Bee Gul, Raqeeb Se sets a benchmark when we witness a wife facing her husband’s first love and not complaining, whining and throwing a tantrum about it; rather she tends to her wounds, listens to her and cares for her daughter. It achieves another milestone when we see their daughters facing each other with humility. Unfortunately, sensible and dignified women without any hidden agendas are a rare sight in our TV dramas these days.
Naumaan Ijaz as Maqsood sahab is the voice of reason in the drama. As a husband who has never hidden his feelings for his first love, he is torn between fulfilling his familial duty and or caring for his wounded lover. However, I believe Hajra is the soul of this drama because the sheer brilliance and confidence with which she carries herself is remarkable and a treat to watch. The strength of her character shows even when she continuously confesses an undying connection between her husband and Sakina by calling her ‘Aap ki Sakina‘ and ‘Tumhare Maqsood sahab‘. She has raised her daughter to be the same, who despite being baffled by Sakina’s presence, is empathizing with them.
In contrast, Hadiqa Kiani’s Sakina is the heart of Raqeeb Se. As a reluctant, dejected and broken half, she sacrifices her pride to secure her daughter’s life. She is nothing like Hajra but is as warm and amiable. The contrast in their personalities is what makes the triad more compelling. I’m glad that Hadiqa has given us one more performer to root for as her nuanced and refined acting has portrayed Sakina’s fortitude beautifully. She has chosen a great script and role for her debut and this will leave a mark.
Iqra Aziz as Meera and Faryal Mehmood as Insha are good in their parts. They are both strong individuals who have the potential to be each other’s support system but is it possible? Perhaps, they will be at loggerheads with each other in the episodes to come due to their parents. However, one thing is for certain that women outshine the rest in Raqeeb Se, be it the actors or the writer (not taking any credit away from male actors or Kashif Nisar).
Watch the first episode here: