It was a strong episode, in which the story made a monumental shift from being an improbable tale of unrequited love to one man’s loss of entitlement and coming to terms with his newfound conscience. The drama serial is at a cross road where, rather than obsess over Mir Hadi’s ‘happily ever after’ with Sanam Khan, one is contemplating whether he’ll be convicted or acquitted for the crime he committed 28 episodes ago.
To be honest, he doesn’t deserve to be acquitted, and all Feroze Khan fans who are pleading for Mir Hadi’s happy ending, need to ask themselves this question: would they be able and willing to forgive their brother’s murderer? It would be next to impossible and one is grateful to both Asma Nabeel, the writer and Anjum Shahzad, the director for not even presenting that possibility.
Instead, the story has become about crime and punishment, about the corrupt society we live in and how power play is at work everywhere. The episode came in the wake of the recent acquittal of Shah Hussain, who brutally stabbed law student Khadija Siddiqui 23 times last year, and throws light on Pakistan’s defective or rather horrific legal system. We see that legal system in play in Khaanias well but we are also presented with the hope that justice can be served in Pakistan. At this point in time that can also be taken as a rather Utopian concept.
Mir Hadi, coming to terms with his recently awakened conscience, confesses to his crime and asks the judge for a death penalty so he can pay for his sins. His father, the irredeemable Mir Shah, fakes a heart attack before the judge can give a verdict and therefore successfully postpones it by five days. The court is adjourned till then and we are left wondering what Mir Hadi’s fate will be.
It’s complicated. One on side, Mir Hadi did shoot the defenseless, innocent Sarim in broad day light; he did harass Sarim’s family into signing his pardon and he did make Khaani’s life impossible by stalking her. On the other hand, he is genuinely sorry for his sins and he has gone down the Sufi path of selflessness.
He’s still human, which we realize when he faces Arham, who – for the first time – appears flawed and petty. In a completely churlish move, he visits Mir Hadi in jail and really rubs in the fact that he’s married to Khaani while Hadi is rotting in jail. Hadi appears cool and collected when he faces Arham, hears him out and then dismisses him just as impersonally. It’s only when Arham is walking away that Hadi breaks down, sobbing, and cries out, “Meri Khaani, you already killed me with these two words!” Feroze Khan aces this act and then packs in another emotional sequence when he sits with his friend Ali, who is just as impressive.
Given the soft spot we have developed for the character of Mir Hadi, combined with a sense of justice that his crime must not go unpunished, it’s very difficult to come to a conclusion for drama serial Khaani. Hadi must not be forgiven, but must he be given the ultimate capital punishment, the death penalty? Is there no ease in law for a man who sincerely repents? One feels, at this point, that Mir Hadi should either serve a life sentence or serve minimum sentence and live the rest of his life at the shrine, where he has found peace. Whatever the ending, we have an estimated two episodes to find out as the drama approaches its end.
- This article was first published in Instep Today on June 6, 2018