Drama serial Ranjha Ranjha Kardi began on Saturday evening and thankfully, offered a storyline that at least appeared to step beyond the hackneyed realm of family drama and/or social tragedy. How the plot evolves is something we’ll have to wait and see but as far as first episodes go, this one was strong and promising.
Written by Faiza Iftikhar and directed by Kashif Nisar, Ranjha Ranjha Kardiis the story of Noor Bano, a young girl born to a family of garbage picking nomads, who has dreams and aspirations to do much more with her life. The beautiful and equally talented Iqra Aziz throws herself into character and it has to be said that she is, so far, heart and soul of the story.
As a young girl, Noor strays into the verandah of Amaan Jannateh, a pious widow who lives in the village and teaches children how to read the Quran to earn a respectable livelihood. She takes Noor under her wing, guides her through religion, reading and writing and eventually, life. Things like wearing a dupatta, doing the wuzu, washing her hands before eating, not putting her dirty feet on the bed, not licking a bowl of halwa clean…these are things that Amaan Jannateh teaches Noori. She faces some opposition from the village women, who object to the presence of a ‘choori’, an extremely derogatory term used for women who do menial labour like picking garbage and cleaning toilets. It is also a term that usually refers to non Muslims from this community but Noori’s religion is unclear. She doesn’t know how to read the Quran and pray but she learns because her guardian takes a stand for her.
Noori grows up under Amaan Jannateh’s watchful eye and starts dreaming of a better life. Amaan Jannateh refers her to a former employer and Noori gets the chance to work at a garment factory in the city. Confident, fearless and excited, she leaves. We see her life begin to change. The first episode opens with Noori running away, but where and who she is running away from is still ambiguous.
The most refreshing thing, other than the fact that a pious woman is shown to have a soft corner for a social outcast, is Noori’s fighting spirit. Rather than getting weighed down by social pressures, she is feisty and takes problems head on. She fights with her mother, her father and literally snarls at any man who approaches her on the way to work. Unafraid and bold, Noori certainly isn’t your average tragic heroine.
There will be challenges in her life, we suspect, which will rise in her relationship with Sahir (Syed JIbran), after which she will marry the mentally challenged Bhola (Imran Ashraf). This much we can assume after seeing the promos and teasers. We just hope Noori doesn’t lose her fighting spirit on the way.