After watching Samiya Mumtaz in Dukhtar and Moor, one was afraid that this talented actress would fall victim to typecasting by Pakistani cinema; that fear was enhanced somewhat in Udaari. Not only was she playing the character of a doting, helpless mother, but she also did it with such finesse that at this point it seems as if nobody could do this role better than her. Therefore, we were glad to see Samiya play an urban character in Jeevan Hathi, but even more so in Faltu Larki, an ongoing TV serial airing on A-Plus.
Samiya’s character in the aforementioned TV serial is strikingly different from the kind of work we see her do on screen. Compared to her other characters, Samiya’s role in Faltu Larki is borderline ‘evil’ as she plays the second wife of a man whose first wife also lives with them. As the play progresses further, we see Samiya doing all the things expected from an evil woman in our society. She wears excessive make up, constantly quarrels with the first wife (played by Hina Dilpazeer) of her husband, using every occasion to hurt her by reminding her how much the husband loves her and spends on her. She is in conflict with her husband’s son, who refuses to accept her as his own. We eventually see her delving into black magic as well to hurt those who come into conflict with her.
Yet we don’t particularly despise Samiya’s character when she comes on screen. Usually evil characters have the ability to make you hate them instantly, but Samiya brings her own characterization that makes her character likeable. For instance, she is alluring and charming, which is why we can understand why her husband fell for her and continues to treat her like a princess. It is her charm that is giving her power over the household.
However, this likeness for someone evil also has to do with the fact that her character isn’t entirely dark. Thankfully, the writers of the show have balanced it out. Sometimes you see Samiya being the hero of the moment, for instance when she tries to fuse tensions between two families during a family wedding. Luckily, Pakistani television is seeing a turn in the way characters are written. As opposed to stark ‘bad’ and ‘good’ people, we now see bad people doing good things and vice versa.
Samiya is completely in her element, and because of her performance, we can see that she is also happy to finally be playing a different character that is not dependent on the men in her life. On the other hand, the men in Samiya’s world are dependent on her, whether they know it or not. After six episodes, Samiya has made her place in the world of Faltu Larki and now we will wait and watch to see what chaos she brings to the household next.