TV Serial


Social Class Battle Lines

By A. Ahmed | December 2020


HUM TV’s most popular serial ‘Sabaat’, produced by Momina Duraid, recently concluded. The serial was an interesting watch as it related to most of the hard realities of our society. It was a tale of prejudice and antagonism between different social classes. The serial showed how Anaya, Miraal, Haris and Hassan’s lives were entwined.

Directed by cinematographer-turned-director Shehzad Kashmiri, famous for ‘Bin Roye’, ‘Dil-e-Muztar’, ‘Zindagi Gulzaar Hai’ and ‘Mata e Jaan Hai Tu’, the serial opened with Miraal (Sarah Khan) who played a rich spoiled brat and believed that money could buy anything. Her father Seth (Moazzam Ali Khan) supported her in everything she did, even her negative thinking. He felt that because he had lived a difficult life, he did not want his kids to experience the same. Though Miraal’s mother (Laila Zuberi) and grandmother make her realise the values of life, she was not in control and egoistic. She even controlled her brother Hassan’s (Ameer Gilani) life who study at a university.

Viewers were introduced to a middle-class family where Anaya (Mawra Hocane) lived with her father Aziz (Syed Muhammad Ahmed) and mother Bushra (Seemi Raheel). Anaya was an ambitious, confident and strong-headed girl for whom her values were important. She studied at the same university as Hassan and beat him in a competition. The feud between the two perfectly highlighted the class difference between the elite and the middle-class.

Impressed by Anaya’s confidence, he started liking her and soon proposed to her. Though they got married, Miraal kept on interfering in their matters. Soon her grandmother died and she was disturbed. She started seeing psychiatrist Dr Haris (Usman Mukhtar) who fell in love with her and guided her. But she went one step further by making Hassan think why Anaya had been promoted in her job and not him. Hassan also believed that Anaya was having an affair with her boss Yasir (Kashif Anwar) and confronted her. Without much argument, Anaya left the house.

The last few episodes were quite dramatic as Miraal realised her mistake after suffering an accident that paralysed her. She then confessed to Hassan what she had done with Anaya to make their relationship bitter.

The most heart-breaking scene was between Miraal and her dying grandmother when Miraal read the old woman’s diary and realized how similar the two once were. Anaya’s scenes with her parents were the most compelling parts of the serial. The scene where she welcomed her father home on the day of his retirement perfectly captured the relationship she had with her parents. Also, her confrontation with Yasir was a wow moment for all women who have faced similar harassment at some level.

Miraal was a refreshingly new take for Sarah, as compared to her previous roles. She portrayed the spoilt rich brat quite brilliantly. Her transition from a shallow character in the beginning to a sensible girl at the end revealed more complexity. Mawra has already proven her mettle in serials like ‘Sammi’, ‘Daasi’ and ‘Angan’ and her character Anaya was also powerful as she came across as liberal, strong-willed, optimistic and affectionate. Ameer and Usman as Hassan and Haris were both convincing and relatable. While Hassan depicted his emotions well, Haris seemed to be the mature guy. Bushra as Anaya’s mother perfectly represented why parents need to give their children space yet be there for them.

Writer Kashif Anwar brings across some heart-touching thoughts on screen. His take on the issue of working women, workplace harassment, aging parents and estranged couples was presented with great sensitivity. Ali Sethi and composer Naveed Nashad also did great work with the soul-stirring rendition of the title track.

Sabaat did a phenomenal job in raising social issues with maturity, initiating conversations and making us question the norms. One of the positive things about the serial was its depiction of sexual harassment at the workplace which is very much common in Pakistan. It is good to see Pakistani dramas showing us something other than saas-bahu stuff. We must put an effort to motivate strong-minded female leads who care about making an impact in society.

The most effective line of the serial explained it all: ‘Jung kabhi khatam nahi hoti, sirf mahaaz badalta hai’.