Rubaru – face to face – opens as a story of two friends Sarmad and Tipu, college buddies who are returning home to Pakistan after finishing their college stint in Turkey. From here the story moves rapidly as it takes just one look for Sarmad to fall hook line and sinker for his friend’s cousin, Shabeeh. So adamant is Sarmad upon marrying this girl that even though Shabeeh is already engaged he refuses to take no for an answer. The fact that he is very eligible, young, handsome, rich and sans the usual rishtedaron ki toli, makes it easy as pie for the elderly naani to break off her granddaughter’s engagement and give the green light to Sarmad’s proposal.
With this proposal life seemed to have made a 360° turn for the bechari orphan heroine; after all who would’ve thunk that a Prince Charming would come in and rescue her from getting married off to an older, unsuitable guy, a hurriedly arranged match by the not-so benevolent members of her extended family. Included among these is her first cousin Kiran, who is engaged to be married to their cousin Tipu. Kiran is the anithesis of Shabeeh. Whereas Shabeeh is compliant and quiet natured, Kiran is everything but that. Though she wants for nothing in life, this girl is nevertheless mean, spiteful, insecure and short-tempered. Weirdly enough though, none of her shortcomings seem to make a dent in Tipu’s blind affection for his longtime mangetar. In short order the two couples are married off.
From hereon the narrative slows down considerably as these marriage brings to light a darker side to Kiran and Sarmad, catching Tipu and Shabeeh off guard. Kiran shows her true colors as a jealous, insecure wife, and Sarmad reveals a sinister aspect of his personality. Though he seems completely normal in his everyday dealings something seems to snaps within Sarmad every time he comes rubaru with Shabeeh. So far we have seen him torturing her in many ways, but what is interesting here is that he shows remorse after every such act. For sure Sarmad has psychological issues, but the exact nature of his ailment is yet to be revealed.
Though not the next best thing after sliced bread, Rubaru started off on an intriguing note. The story so far has thrown up several questions I look forward to being answered: What happened to Sarmad’s parents? Why was Shabeeh’s mother disinherited from her share of the family property? What is wrong with Sarmad? Why did Sarmad break off his engagement to the stunning Neha to marry Shabeeh? Why is Kiran so insecure about her relationship with Tipu?
While the story holds out promise, I cannot but be peeved by the characterizations. I get that Shabeeh has not had an easy life, causing her to retreat within herself, but where does it say that she has to be turned into a gaaye bigger than our other gaaye of a heroine? Why is being quiet and introverted equated with dumbness in our recent spate of dramas? Surely any girl with half a mind would question her husband’s rough treatment on their wedding night. Why doesn’t she look into the reason for his quicksilver mood changes rather than fixing his breakfast and asking about her husband’s deceased parents as she roamed around this darkened mausoleum and wondering about its previous owners? In this latest episode Shabeeh did not even bat an eyelid when they returned home to find Neha waiting outside their house… not even one question??
Kiran is another one who seems to be huffing and puffing in a more than an OTT way. The whole getting up in the middle of the night to check on Tipu’s calls and her obsession with his phone was ridiculous. I hope there is a valid reason for this couple’s continued presence in the story, because at this point their scenes seem long winded and quite pointless. A lot of this has to do with the actress playing Kiran, I wish there was a more experienced actress playing this part. Among others, I am a Syra fan but so far I find her lackluster here. I hope we see a livelier Syra in the later part. Tipu, Saba Faisal and Behroze Sabzwari are unremarkable. Salim Mairaj is a fabulous actor but so far he’s had nothing to do here. I hope he has more to do here than just play the creepy caretaker with the chalky grey hair. Though it is a pleasure to see Sultana Zafar back after a while I do wish naani did more than a groan endlessly and spout of stereotypical lines. Of all the actors we have seen so far, we saw glimpses of Mehwish and Adnan is yet to make an appearance, I am enjoying Faizan Khawaja’s portrayal of Sarmad the most. The brooding intensity he brings to this character makes for a great watch.
Rubaru started off on a strong note but the past two episodes have been relatively slow. Couple the erratic pacing with Shabeeh’s flat-lining and Kiran’s shuk, and I’m not as gung ho as I was after the first episode aired. Hopefully director Saife Hasan can keep the narrative in check and help his characters find their stride sooner rather than later.
What about you all? How many have checked this one out? Looking forward to reading your take!
Rubaru ~ OST
Written by SZ~