One of the most anticipated dramas of this quarter, Surkh Chandni, premiered its first two episodes on Tuesday night and from the onset this one appears to be an intense story. The drama depicts the journey of an acid attack survivor and that’s a tough subject to portray. We expected the play to focus more on the elusive yet harsh realities of our society and less on melodramatic circumstances and Surkh Chandni delivers.
The lead pair, Amaan and Aida, played convincingly by Osman Khalid Butt and Sohai Ali Abro respectively is a delight to watch for the two are head over heels in love with each other. However, their exchange of affectionate declarations isn’t mere rhetoric. The duo’s reality is depicted far from a stereotypical couple; Aida silently suffers at the hands of her mean sister-in-law, Shumaila (Mansha Pasha) and selfish brother, Mukhtar (Hasan Ahmed), while Amaan is helpless due to his unemployment. Apparently, the villain in the story is a neurotic nosy neighbor, Jawad (played by Asad Siddiqui) who can’t seem to fathom that Aida refuses his proposal and no indeed means no!
The subject of consent is big a debate in our dramas these days with Inkaar and Cheekh already dealing with the issue. Surkh Chandni highlights much more that come with consent; so far we’ve seen women with different natures either aiding or abetting a harasser like Jawad. His mother treats him like an entitled spoilt brat who deserves everything he puts his finger on. Jawad is a divorcé and it has not been revealed yet what evil schemes he pulled with his mother to break his first marriage. Shumaila encourages him for monetary gains or perhaps she just despises Aida for no reason. Mansha has portrayed a negative character for the first time on-screen and she has played it to a tee, making us cringe on her selfishness.
Sohai plays a docile and sensitive Aida, who despite facing taunts and tantrums, is resilient and hoping for a better life with Amaan. Osman looks promising in his role; Amaan is calm, composed and someone who walks the talk. He is Aida’s confidant and it appears her only hope as just before her wedding day, Aida promises herself that she won’t ever come back home.
The intense drama of obsession and revenge boils down to Jawad throwing acid on Aida’s face to ruin her life for good. The heinous plan was again (though probably inadvertently) supported by Shumaila. From the looks of the next promo, the intensity and emotional upheaval will amplify in Surkh Chandi with Aida’s survival story alongside the psychological trauma and societal pressures that ensue. Though what remains a constant is Amaan’s undying love for Aida and his compassion to stand like a rock with her against all odds.
Kudos to Shahid Shafaat for dealing with such a grave subject sensitively. We hope writer Asma Nabeel’s script remains apt and impartial without turning it into a game of blood and thunder.
Surkh Chandni airs every Tuesday at 8pm on ARY Digital. Watch the first episode here: