Standing out in stark relief against the other mostly banal stuff on TV these days Sannata continues to gain strength with every episode. What I am enjoying here is the way director Kashif Nisar is narrating writer Saji Gul’s well-knit script. Though I am annoyed by the FB spoilers, giving away the plot line of the first half, the unexpected twists and turns, smooth segueways between the past and present, and strong performances by the talented cast have kept me hooked so far.
Picking from episode 4, where I had last left off, now that Pari is all grown up and Ruqqaiya more of a friend than a mother, the equation between the two women has begun to change ever so subtly. Azam’s arrival into this predominantly female household marked a pivotal moment in the story. With a charming, easy going man in the house, quite unlike the sullen, dour women in her family, Ruqqaiya cannot help but become painfully aware of Pari’s impending womanhood and her own advancing age, seeing Pari as a rival rather than a daughter. Though Azam has indicated his interest in her, but watching him fooling around with Pari in the gardens of their dilapidated haveli, she cannot but wonder about Azam’s true intentions. Why is he going to this trouble on Pari’s behalf? Is he genuine in his efforts to help her, or does he have other ulterior motives?
As for Pari, she too finds herself attracted to Azam; hidden under all the playful banter and the name calling are some serious sparks of attraction. But then she is unlike other girls of her age; far from being a carefree teenager, Pari’s shoulders are weighed down under the strain of her mother’s wrongdoing. This immense psychological pressure manifests itself in form of epileptic fits, the symptoms of which are read variously by the ladies of the household. It is on one of these cure-finding trips to the dargah that Pari attracts the attention of the dholwala, who sees Pari as a manifestation of all that he ever desired. Where and how the dholwala’s attraction plays out in Pari’s life is still a question mark.
The most interesting and unexpected twist so far has to be the look back into Naseeban’s memories. Beautifully interwoven into the narrative of the present, this glimpse into the past has me intrigued. Who was that man?? I can’t wait to see how he fits into Naseeban’s life and what happens to him eventually – is he still alive in the present? I loved the air of mystery and suspense created around the haunted tree by the director and his DOP, Rashid Abbas.
Quite often when we are introduced to characters in our serials, it is as if they have sprung out of nowhere, thankfully though, this is so not the case here. I am thoroughly enjoying how each and every character here has a story to tell. What is great here that each background story is told in a different way. We’ve heard Ruqqaiya’s recounting, and now we are seeing Naseeban’s past unfold. It is almost as if every character is standing outside of themselves narrating their story, looking inside from the outside, if you will.
In terms of execution, Kashif Nisar is doing an excellent job breathing life into Saji Gul’s script. The DOP deserves special praise for his camerawork. Saba, Sajal and Danish are giving a good account of themselves. Sajal in particular has been very good so far. I do wish though that she learns to go easy with her makeup and excessive backcombing of her hair. Yumna Zaidi’s appearance was a pleasant surprise. While these actors are good, it is the seniors who are shining here. Simi Raheal’s appearance was an absolute treat. Watching her, Samina Ahmed, Nadia Afgan, Adnan Shah Tipu, and Nargis Rasheed, I could not help but be reminded of our classic dramas, which were less concerned with the bells and whistles and focused more on the nitty gritty – writing, directing and acting. A loud shout out to the producers and the team of Sannata for going against the prevailing norm and bringing us quality entertainment.
Back to the story, Azam’s return, with his step mother Najma in tow, has set the stage for further developments. Looking forward to seeing what transpires in the next episode and if Bi Apa permits Pari and Ruqqaiya to go to the city for a different kind of ilaaj…
Written by SZ~