Sammi ~ Episode 1 Review

Sammi

Jointly presented by Momina Duraid’s MD Productions and Center for Communications Pakistan, Sammi made its debut this Sunday on HUM TV. Revolving around themes of patriarchy, feudalism, blood feuds, familial honor, all of which in turn give rise to deplorable customs like vani, Sammi has been penned by the veteran PTV era writer Noor ul Huda Shah and directed by Saife Hasan of Sang-e Mar Mar fame.

Sammi opens on a very cheerful note in a gaily decorated house where wedding are preparations in full Sammiswing – women practicing dance moves, local singers serenading guests with traditional songs, a typically stressed bride’s mother looking over preparations, men of the household not ready yet,  – and Sammi, the shy young bride-to-be, happily surrounded by her friends. All in all just what is to be expected in any shaadi wala ghar. This upbeat mood, though, is very quickly dampened and by the time the episode ends Sammi’s life has changed forever.

As an opening episode this was an effective introduction and the narrative flowed smoothly. Writer Noor ul Huda Shah’s name needs no introduction to those who’ve watched PTV classics like Jangal, Ajaib Khana (a personal fave), Marvi, and the more recent Ishq Gumshuda on HUM TV; she has written extensively about the status women in a feudal system and so is on familiar ground here. I am excited to see her return to her writing roots. Director Saife Hasan is fresh off the super success of Sang-e Mar Mar and expectations are high.

The cast boasts some of the best actors in the businessSammi with the seniors Irfan Khoosat and Simi Raheal leading the pack. Names like Rehan Sheikh, Adnan Siddiqui, Sania Saeed, Nadia Afgan, Madiha Rizvi, Saman Ansari ensure we will get to see some stellar acting here. This serial also marks the return of Mawra Hocane to TV as she plays the titular character of Sammi. Newcomer Ahad Raza Mir and singer Bilal Khan round up the cast.

With all these ingredients and MD Productions’ aesthetic sensibilities firmly in place, showcased from the very first frame, I had expected a little more story telling, a bit more complexity in the first episode, but that was not the case here.

In recent times we have seen several serials dealing with the question of women and the outdated but still prevailing perception of them as mindless, voiceless, useless pieces of property, important only as a commodity Sammito be bought and sold at will. HUM TV’s own Sang-e Mar Mar deals with similar issues and the newly started Pinjra on APlus also purports to be on the same issue. I know there are bound to be differences as the story progresses, but for now I walked away with a been there done that feeling.

Everything that unfolded here we already knew thanks to the promos and the OST and all the publicity surrounding this project. Also, all the events seemed too pat too straightforward, the villains clearly identified from the get go and Sammi easily designated as the victim, till the point she empowers herself.

Alongside the vani track, foundation for the inter-related theme, necessity of family planning for maternal health care, has also been laid out with Salima, Saman Ansari’s character, who plays Adnan Siddiqui’s wife. While I absolutely concur and support the need for educational stories it would have been 16252384_703233473171403_8391619250843992216_ogreat if everything hadn’t been oversimplified and laid out so easily, a little been of narrative complexity and subtext would’ve gone a long way in keeping viewers interested. I realize this is only the first episode so will follow along in the hopes of the story finding its feet.

While I was disappointed with the story itself, it is always such a pleasure to see Irfan sahab and Simi ji on screen. They are absolute delights! Rehan Sheikh is always great to watch and Madiha Rizvi was fun dolled up chaudhrayen, am looking forward to seeing how their characters plays out. Saman Ansari is playing a beleaguered, over burdened bahu, biwi and maa here and it 16251810_703232463171504_8679373343665378190_owill be good to see this woman on the road to empowerment. Adnan Siddiqui seems to be playing the textbook bad guy and I can hope there is something of interest in his character other than the fancy getup.

As Sammi, I enjoyed  Mawra in this episode. She is not only lovely but also has an appropriately innocent air about her. I thought she expressed the required range of emotions very well, which is great because in order to care for her fate, it is vital to believe in the actor essaying the character, and Mawra, I think, fits the bill well.

Given the tepid opening I am not sold as yet, but with Sania Saeed, Nadia Afgan, Ahad and Bilal still to make their appearance I will hang in there and keep my fingers crossed.

Written by SZ~

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46 replies

  1. Totally agree with your review.. I felt it was bit rushed.. Not that i mean it should have taken 3-4 episodes but it was so straightforward and simple.. Idk if i would be able to explain like As in the fight between pervaiz and nadir(?) to me seemed forceful.. Snd thus I couldn’t feel the severity of situation.. It was Mawra that made me feel bit sad at the end but it wasn’t complex

    Also i didn’t understand when maryam , Sammi’s friend ..she was taking care of her children or her sisters? First I thought they were her sisters but when sammi said pehle apni maa k bachon ko sambhala aur ab apne bachon ko.. So did they indicate child marriage too?

    Like you im too looking forward for Sania Saeed, also didnt know about Nadia Afghan.. Hope it then makes an interesting watch.. For now.. Bit naye

    • @Rehmat: Haina! Good to know you and @Asma are with me on this one .. I feel better now – thank you 🙂

      From what I understood, all those kids were Saman Ansari’s and Maryam’s siblings .. I think she meant that basically a girl’s life in that particular scenario is all about raisign children, no time to think about herself or her needs or desires .. a related theme here is the zacha bacha issue and its implications .. The promo for next week shows more of that track so lets see … BTW, wasn’t that girl lovely, the one playing Maryam?

      • I have to admit I had no intention of following this one. The promos had put me off so much.. It seemed to have such a strong Udaari hangover feeling.. but khair ur review urged me to watch and it turned out to be an interesting exercise as I was constantly comparing it with Pinjra and SeMM all dealing with the same/ similar issues…
        I’m all up for getting the story started magar koi tou dhang ho yaar! My biggest beef with the ep was the lamest dialogues I’d heard in a long time!!! honestly it made great actors look so so silly! Idk I simply couldn’t digest Irfan Khoosat’s character.. we get it it’s abut khoon baha and selling off the daughters but using terms like ”malik” and ”milkiyat” and ”qurban” like 50 times over sounded so lame and almost retarded!
        The feud was so unreasonable ke hadd nahin! First the abba’s stupid demands then the brother’s 360 degree turn – woh bhi aisa ke jigri dost ko jaan se hi maar dya.. – woh bhi aise holnak tareeke se! . what utter nonsense!!
        I thought Mawra was glowing. She looked so pretty and what an amazing smile she’s got! – shame we hardly ever get to see it in our dramas! That was the only thing going for the drama magar buss… abb for the next 6 months we will see her in her usual full on rota dhota, mazloomiat ki dokan mode.. A plea to the drama makers and Mawra – please please can we not see you / her in some different roles where we can see more of that lovely innocent smile..
        If its betweem Sammi and Pinjra, despite its OTT-ness and loud-ness in every sense possible so far I’m def team Pinjra – there’s more depth in the story and the characters, and no real fear of preeching.. or a 6 months long advert campaign.. But bring SeMM into equation and I’m team SeMM all the way!!!

      • Re Maryam : I think she was the young Rumaisa who used to watch muhabbat ie subh ka sitara with her dad.. no? – yes she was lovely here!

        • @FA: uff!!! Muhabbat Subh ka Sitara?!?! You remember that masterpiece? 😱😱😱 I have deleted it from my memory .. was too traumatic ! 🙈🙉🙊

          • Hahah wow FA you even remember young romaisa.. your memory mashaAllah:)

            SZ.. haww hoe can you forget kash me bakri hoti?? Or no what was tht wishful thinking of. Romaisa? Me machli hoti ya me chriya hoti.. tauba.. a nightmare

          • @SZ @Rehmat that’s scarred me for life!! I still get nightmares about the junk she used to collect under her bed and her “i wish i was a duck / fish / cow ” .. And it all started from watching that stupid star with her dad… It was actually bugging me ke where id seen her before and then the it came back 😐 – not a happy thought right?! Lol

            • @Rehmat, @FA: Uff those were fun days … the reviews that serial inspired! I went back to re-read and this one still makes me laugh! I have never done this but these excerpts from one of those reviews are hilarious!! And yes, I apologize in advance for this chichorpan .. but i had to share these …

              “As if Romaisa isn’t bad enough on her own, we have her ‘ishq mein andha boss Nabeel. The fact that he gifted her a Blackberry makes me question the soundness of his mental faculties as well. Theek hai, he is totally smitten by this new hire, but surely even a blind man can see this gaaye is simply incapable of operating such a complex phone … dher saare button aur woh bhi itne chote chote! Add to that the fact that he chose to give her this pyaar ki pehli nishani in the tackiest gift bag ever has now sealed the deal for me. Romaisa and Nabeel deserve each other. She wants a Prince Charming and dreams of living in a swanky castle and he wants a woman who is pure as driven snow. Does a functioning brain figure anywhere this equation – no it does not!”

              “Unlike his bubble brained elder brother, Zeeshan is so much saner. Looking at his family it’s not hard to figure out why he prefers to keep his distance from the rest of the loony toons. Ever since we’ve met them, all this khandaan thinks and talks about is the used car and Nabeel’s shaadi! Kiya yaar, have these airheads forgotten the really important stuff – what to wear at the next ladies lunch or worry about which designer bag to buy next?! As if his family is not bad enough, becharey ki biwi is also off in the head. Every single conversation of theirs invariably begins and ends with Nabeel. Why can’t these two talk about something else for a change – aur kuch nahin tau mausam ka haal? Zeeshan, my friend, here’s a muft mashwara – dump her. I can assure you there will a long line of women at your door within seconds. Trust me not everybody is as blind as she is! Yes, blindness is the theme so far…. we have an oblivious to the world heroine, her khala’s family blinded by the smell of money, the hero blinded by love, and his family by greed. “

            • @SZ hahahaha kia kia yaad dila dia lol … Ufff We had so much fun – all at the expense of such a ghatya drama! Ufff they were all aik se barh ke aik there… Waise dekha jae to Sammis lot are just as bad / blind as romaisas khala and nabeels family..🤔…. Shudder!!!!!!

            • Hahaha! Kaun bola ghatiya tha?? Acc to the team it was a masterpiece. I can never forget how I was blacklisted and accused of being anti them after I dared to call their “masterpiece” a complete dud… taubah!

            • Hahahahah SZ that was so funny.. man v had a ball during these reviews..
              Itne bure dramas bhi don’t take out our creativity n sense of humour ..thanks for sharing

  2. I also didn’t know that nadia Afghan and bilal khan are also part of it. Other then that completely agree with your review. I just love noor ul hassan experession during jirga. Hope fully I have mentioned the right name.

    • @Asma: Hello! New Year’s greetings! How’ve you been?

      Yes, Nadia and Bilal ar e both part of this .. it does have a lot of people doesnt it! Now I just hope they can balance everybody’s parts and not cut out stuff as the episodes start airing ..
      Noorul Hasan was indeed effective, yes you have the right name .. he was also in Dil Muhalley Ki Haveli.. thank you for highlighting his part.

      Looking forward to continued convos on this thread 🙂

  3. Wow, they just threw us right into the deep end in the first episode, didn’t they?

    At first, this show and Pinjra bled together a bit, because they’re both so similar in setting (colorful village, stock characters speaking thet Punjabi, etc), but unlike Pinjra, Sammi didn’t really take time to let the plot unfold, and I was a little stunned by the speed. I was also stunned (like on the level of being slapped in the face) by the degree to which nobody really cared about what happened to poor Sammi.

    I didn’t fully understand the cause of the dispute between the dulha and Sammi’s brother, or rather, I don’t understand how it escalated that quickly?

    • @RK: LOL! Welcome to the la la land of Pakistani dramas .. things unfold at the speed of light when the powers that be wish them to be and at other points you can wait and watch grass grow!

      See, thats exactly what my issue was .. why be in such a rush to get to the “real” story.. why not spend an episode or so on getting us to care about the characters or feel emotionally invested. The dispute looked so convenient and so ineffective in its execution… its not just you even I was like hain? yeh kya ho gaya? In their rush to make you feel for the poor victim they have so very conveniently turned everybody into caricature like villains .. it would’ve worked if we had been shown how the parents had a history of prioritizing their son over the daughter …. but nahin, ab mazloomiyat ka chakar shuru till someone comes to rescue this damsel in distress … oh and heads up, Sania plays a dhandhe wali aurat here … fun times ahead!

      So after Sammi and Pinjar .. which first ep scores higher for you?

  4. Hayee you giys are so true about speed of the drama’s.. my plan was to start watching after 2-3 episodes. happy lives, Intro wintro guzarjai ga but then read your reiview and I was like haiinn sb first episode mein hogia. I am not watching pinjra infact can’t convince myself to watch it. The title is enough to put off. I mean khuch bi bna daita but a girl in a pinjra is bit too much for me. I will read your reviews first and then decide ;P

    • Asma: check kar ke dekh lo .. you might enjoy it. I was reading stuff online and seems like we are the odd ones out, everybody else seems to be onboard with this ..
      Pinjra: I know! Marketing le doobi is project ko .. the name was bad enough abd then they added in that title card .. wonder how they thought this would entice audiences .. khair let’s see how this one develops so far I’m on board .. keep checking reviews and see where they go with the story.

  5. Oh haan re Adnan Siqddiqui : I have a feeling he is more than just a text book bad guy.. he is pbbly the only man in the drama (so far) with some shades other than black .. he does the job because that’s his job.. his job is not to think.. judging by the way saman ansari is questioning him about the life he had promised her and his reaction to her death in the promo, I think there’s a human side to him and there is heart burried deep inside this robot..

  6. Dear Sammi fans/followers/watchers/review readers:

    I have tried my level best to write a review for the second ep, but for once I am actually speechless. I do not want to diss the efforts of the producer, writer and director, but if this is the kind of work that top tier creatives can come up with then hamarey dramon ka allah hi hafiz hai … this is one of the worst scripts I have seen in a while and its been handled even worse. I feel sorry for the actors who’ve had the misfortune of working on this project..

    If and when the serial takes a turn for the better please let me know and I shall catch up. Till then, I am closing the book on Sammi. This thread will, however, remain open and all are invited to continue their discussions – pro or con- about this serial. I shall in the meanwhile go nurse the migraine I acquired while watching the crying, screeching, shouting, sermonizing….

    • Oh dear! That bad, eh? What happened to Saife Hassan here? Waise I was just reading your comments above re: Subh Ka Sitara – SZ, Rehmat, FA – haven’t laughed so much in ages. I’m going to read that thread!

      • @VZ: uff! I cannot begin to tell you. The script is written following a color by numbers manual. You can literally see blocks marked out. Lectures about value of girls, about too many children, about feudalism, etc. You had brought up writing earlier, well here you see the mirroring technique in use. for every bad, black character there is an equally good, white character. So we have the good chaudhry vs the bad chaudhry, the evil mother vs the caring loving mother, the bad chaudhrani vs the good chaudhrani, the good loyal servant vs the conniving one… matlab ke it’s utter nonsense .. and if that is not enough you then the ost conveniently tells you the story for the next ten episodes … and if you still don’t get it the chaudhrani listens to sang-e mar mar ka dil wala ost while the other woman is locked up begging to be freed.. and if you are still not getting it and not on the verge of tears yet then you have the ost playing in the background with profound lyrics such as: the world is playing with me …😷

        You ask abt the director, what are the producer and writer thinking coming up with such a brilliant script to begin with?? The director, I presume, is going along with it all .. you should watch how ott the acting is ..poor poor actors .. my heart goes out to them.. if this is what the cream of projects look like then you can just imagine what the rest must be like #rantoverfornow

        Re: MSKS: uff you have to read all the threads after the first couple while we still had hope .. then it was madness! But see there we could still have fun, but here ….. I can only go take a nap .. Sammi does not deserve any ounce of my sense of humor ( no matter how ghatiya it might be)

        • SZ, you are right, the director can only work with what’s in the script.Didn’t expect this from Noor ul Huda Shah.

          Lol at the mirroring technique! And to think they were giving free advice to other channels not to copy the same idea – I dearly hope not. There are subtler ways to pass on a message, plays like SeMM prove that audience are intelligent enough.

          I watched Pinjara, will leave a note on that thread.

    • @SZ.. omg wisest decision you have made.. wth was in episode… overly melodrama.. repetitive scenes.. and dialogues.. i have never ever seen such doll up Vani… pora din puri raat guzri.. next morning she has blushon and looking so fresh like flower.. like seriously guys even sammi felt situation wasnt severe tabhi itna dikha bhi nhn.. sorry I’m being cheeky but by the end of episode.. i was inch awaay to make my self bald😠 and i was super surprised on maryam ki talks on aba ki dusri shadi., tum ne beta nhn dya.. and pervaiz (?) The deceased guy parents.. they were just all over the drama.. itna rona itni shouting… baseless senseless.. and looking at Pinjra makes you feel the vani thing . Sorry to bring up Pinjara..couldn’t resist

      • @Rehmat: oh thank god you feel the same way! I’ve been reading so many tareefs about how great and how important project this is .. well for any drama to make its point it has to make dramatic sense first of all .. here it’s like throw everything in the pot and hope it’ll all work out somehow ..

      • @RK: oh do watch ep 2! You have to! And as to what went wrong.. there is a fab noor jahan ghazal (from the film Anarkali) that describes my response to that aptly:
        Kahan tak suno ge
        Kahan tak sunaaoon
        Kitne hi shikwe hain
        Kya kya bataoon…

  7. Hi SZ and Desi Ranters and Ravers
    Wasn’t so deeply committed to Sammi. But with the entrance of SS, this play made a 180 turn for me.
    Best line in all the episodes thus far by SS “Ladki khubsurat ho to shadi ke bazaar mein bech do; nahin ho toh lunda bazaar bech do magar apni marzi se jeene mat do, Saale….”

    Wah! SS does know how to light up the screen and steal the show hands down!

    I’m on board now.

    JR
    Over and out

  8. So…I’ve now watched all six episodes of Sammi so far, and at the risk of being judged by all of you, it’s actually not terrible at all.

    Sania Saeed finally puts in an appearance in Episode 4, and I have to say she’s the best thing about the whole show. No surprise there. She’s fabulous no matter what role you give her, and…ok, I’ll stop and not go on and on about the magic that is SS on screen. Seriously, if you watch Sammi for any reason at all, watch for SS.

    The show’s real problem is that it’s not very subtle in its handling of the important social justice issues of the day. The plot constantly keeps hammering viewers over the head with the issues: not just vani, but also family planning, girls being less valued than boys, nursing as an unacceptable profession for women, illegitimacy, disability, etc. Yes, yes, we get it! Women suffer in our desi society. But can you please be a bit more subtle about it? Good grief.

    Also, the supporting characters are all so flat and one-note, whether it’s Sammi’s parents or the chaudhry who first condemns Sammi. In one episode, after Ba Fazal breaks down and refuses to marry Sammi (because he has a conscience and a backbone, I guess), the chaudhry gives her as vani to his own son, who is all of 10 or 12, and this boy is such an odious little brat that–in her only show of agency so far–even Sammi throws him out of her room. It was just cringe-worthy all around.

    • Ok finally here – apologies for the delayed response.
      So Sammi- Yes, SS is the star of the show ..the only reason to watch as you and @JR have both aptly noted.
      Rest, I think we are pretty much on the same page, except that I refuse to engage seriously with a serial where I have to ffwd pretty much the whole ep. That said, I have skipped around to get a general sense of what’s going on but so far I’m extremely disappointed. I have the same issues that you do with the dumbing down of the narrative and the inclination to dump all possible issues in one story. My biggest disappointment though is with the writing. Noor Ul Huda Shah is a very senior writer, someone who has given us classics in the 80’s and 90’s. In addition to being a screen writer she is also a very well known Sindhi short story writer well known for her no holds barred writings on women’s issues. In addition to all this she is also known for her commitment to promoting and empowering women in the media, helping bring more women into the field etc and has been the head of a channel, APlus, and dramas like Pehchan were produced under her watch. She is now at HUM and holds a senior executive position there. Given this history, I was very excited when I first heard that she was coming back to writing for TV. The first ep was disappointing to say the least but I still gave it a go and watched three seriously… bas that was that. To see such pathetic writing from someone so senior, someone who is actually a master of the craft come up with such a shoddily written script is more than I can bear. Were it any other writer I would put it down to channel/producer pressure etc but this coming from someone so senior 🤐
      Given this serial is funded by outside sources the usual TRP excuse does not hold true in the case so why such inept, immature writing?
      As you rightly said why this hitting us over the head with issues.. yes yes we get it. I am not dumb and fully understand that not all viewers are like us and many need to have things explicated, which is fine but does it have to be done in so clunky a manner? There is nothing organic about the way the narrative flows and even the applause worthy lines are added in a very contrived manner as are the ngo lectures. Also I am now developing a severe problem with this policy of preaching on the one hand and then dishing out regression on the other. Case in point SeMM.
      So yeah, this one is a no go for me . I will keep a casual eye on it but am not going to bother reviewing this.

      But, this is just my personal opinion. Please don’t let my views hold any of you back from sharing your thoughts and discussing the various pros and cons on this open thread.

      I have actually been meaning to open a thread where ppl can discuss the various serials they are watching. I just don’t know how to go about doing that .. any ideas?

      • Maybe you can have a monthly “What are you watching” post where people can share whatever they’re watching, what they’d rather be watching, etc. If the discussion ends up ranging beyond the actual shows, maybe that’s ok?

        • Count me too in saying only SS is worth to watch in Sammi.. rest all is crap.. i was watching this with ffwd mode and as you guys rightly said.. so much going on with zero interest level …

          Yes SZ that will be great idea to do so.. qadam baraho hum tumhare saath he 😉

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