Baaghi ~ Episodes 6-8 Review

Do dreams come true? Can the impossible become possible?

A few days into her move to the city Fauzia Batool would say yes.

All those film stars whose fame she’d envied, the glamorous models whose looks she’d wanted to emulate, the colorful world of TV she’d wanted to inhabit – all were now no longer just a naïve starry-eyed girl’s day-dreams. No.

One phone call from an advertising exec and just like that her life has a new direction, a new option.

Abid’s wandering eye, increasing abuse and growing fondness for the T word had shattered any hopes that Fauzia’s might’ve nurtured for her marriage. This violent, philandering Abid was not the man she had married. Gone was the gentle charming man who had promised her the sun, moon and the stars. And it was not just disillusionment from her husband but also from those around her that had her falling into misery and despair. But with a child and without any familial  and/or financial support where was she to go?

Gohar’s interest in her pictures shows her the way out. An invested backer, a glamorous makeover and a peppy photoshoot – Fauzia Batool’s dreams are on the verge on turning into reality.

Give and Take. Kuch Do aur Kuch Lo

Fauzia had always dreamed of becoming a star, a somebody. But that a price would be exacted for her dreams to turn into reality had never quite factored into Fauzia’s calculations. Here she was in the city but at what cost? She has already lost a child, what else was she going to lose on her journey to stardom? Would her dreams have been better left unrealized? Would it all be worth it in the end?

Eight episodes in Baaghi has a fantastic plotline and a fascinating protagonist but is yet to deliver on its potential. So much of Fauzia’s agency has been diluted by this halfway apologetic, halfway rationalistic narrative. The first seven episodes were marked by unimaginative, bland writing. Apart from Fauzia every other character was straight out of the clichéd box, and not just that but half-baked as well. Where did Fauzia’s brother disappear? Her other abused sister? Chaudhry sahab had stepped in to solve Fauzia’s problem once before why wasn’t her summoned when it came to reading the riot act to Abid?

Philandering, abusive men are an accepted fact, almost a norm in Fauzia’s village, why then is she so shocked? Sure, she expected better from her lover, but why did it seem like all this was a revelation to her? What was her brother’s reaction to this? Getting well-known actors to play bit roles is a sure shot way to attract audiences, but giving them something to work with would have helped anchor not just the narrative but also added some much-needed gravitas to the central character.

I am enjoying Farooq Rind’s direction but the pacing of the narrative leaves a lot to be desired. The rural part of the story took seven belabored weeks to drive home the point that Fauzia had no choice but to leave, but then when it came to her actually leaving it was over in a blink of an eye? Just like that she was in Gohar’s office and things start to happen? Her makeover too was elided over very glibly. All of a sudden she knew how to walk like a model in those killer heels? I get the need to move on but not at the cost of fluency.

While I complain about the writing and editing, I have nothing but high praise for Saba Qamar’s portrayal of Fauzia. The way she has slipped into the skin of this very complicated character is praiseworthy. While her makeover did not have as much visual impact as it should’ve  (she was always too sophisticated for a gaonwali) Saba’s expressions and body language more than made up for that lapse. I love the way she conveys Fauzia’s iron coated fragility. If for no other reason, Baaghi is a must watch for Saba Qamar. Ali Kazmi is very good as Abid, conveying both his charm and menace convincingly. I am hoping we get to see Khalid Malik’s interesting character evolve. Of the rest, Irfan Khoosat, Simi Raheal, Sarmad Khoosat, Saba Faisal, Nadia Afgan all have left an impression even with their stock characters.

All in all here’s to hoping  Baaghi comes alive with this new turn in Fauzia’s life. What do you guys make of Fauzia’s move to the city? Looking forward to your take!

Written by SZ~

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15 replies

  1. Actually I was fine with the cliched characters. You could call them cliched but for me they were realistic. Qandeel was murdered in the name of honour by her brother at the end of the day. She came from a very conservative village in South Punjab. I think the characters portrayed are quite accurate. I do think there’s some exaggeration but it’s building up to the climax where she unfortunately became a victim of her society’s backwards notions of Izzat and ghairat. You need context for why things are the way they are and the show did a really good job of it.

    I didn’t like the city episode as much. My favourite bit was when Fauzia has her makeover & goes to see her boss. When she exits, she realises she’s all made up and tries to walk like a confident modern city girl/model would walk. So subtle but so well portrayed by Saba Qamar. Only she could do this.

    My main issues with the show is that I think it leaves out important details. For example Qandeel was in a forced marriage, then with aabid by choice who also turned out abusive. She left & had to work on Daewoo buses as a hostess? (Not sure what they call them) to make ends meet. She also did other odd jobs to make ends meet. This is far more realistic than showing up to the city & getting a modelling gig straight away along with a rest house, maids, makeup artist etc. It also would have made the story more interesting and given a stronger motive for her actions. Becoming a social media star wasn’t just a way out of abuse & achieving her dreams for her, it was also about escaping poverty & a life of blue collar jobs.i understand the show had time constraints but they could have employed better editing, left out the faltu scenes and actually shown the details.

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    • @ASK: Hello! Welcome! Fab to read your very well-put comment!

      I share your concerns and concur with points you have raised. Life, and particularly QB’s life, was never that easy and as 1, 2, 3 as shown here. But see how smartly the makers have moved away from their earlier claims of this being a biopic (as per their disclaimer) so if one starts complaining abt truth vs reality then they get away with their disclaimer. Basically they have raked in all the publicity by using QB’s name and presented us with this weak diluted version of a real life story.

      I hear you about the village characters being relatively more relatable, but even within that the sudden acquisence of everybody based on what the chaudhry said, then her brother’s silence follwed by his unexplained absence, particularly after the glowering still, where he looked like he was ready to murder Fauzia, needs further explaining. The way honor killings work in our society people do not wait for years to murder their sisters, they do not allow them to live happily with their choice of husband, flaunting their happiness for the world to see.. that Abid turned out to be a loser is besides the point, warna tau as per this story Fauzia basically got away with it all …

      Also, the homor killing part is still very much an open question.. it is under judicial review and we still dont know if it was as simple as what we were initially told. And that is another question as to whether this was the right time to do his serial… why not wait for a while do proper research and do work on this rather than this neither here nor there version.

      We have seen (documentary films), heard and read so much abt QB’s poverty, but if you go by this version there is none of that..this Fauzia and her family does not look or act poor ..

      Basically, after the first episode and the disclaimer wishy washy ness I stopped thinking of this in terms of a biopic and am going with it as a drama made purely for entertainment .. but even within that there are loopholes galore as you point out so correctly.

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  2. I thought this was a good episode in that the narrative had good flow, and the plot was tight and well controlled. But the rest of it left me cold. I didn’t even enjoy the makeover and photoshoot montage as much as I thought I would, because I couldn’t get out of my own head.

    Basically, the question going through my brain the entire time was whether it could really be that easy for a village girl–a divorced (?) village wife with a child, no less–to simply escape to the city and make it big. I mean, doesn’t it require too much suspension of disbelief to think that not one of the random people she encountered in the city tried to exploit her, despite her lack of formal education, sophistication, and any sort of support network? How could the show just pretend things could be so easy for a woman like Fauzia?

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    • Yes! All this was too easy too pat.. To some degree or the other I think all of us are having similar problem with this serial. The makers are asking too much of us viewers. I had given up on this being anything to do with QB but ab tau is mein bhi loopholes ..

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  3. Hi SZ…I finally got time to catch up on some of the drama’s so here is my two cents. I think we will see the exploitation pretty soon. Just like her relationship with Abid the shine and luster of this dream will shatter too. I read some of Nina Kashif’s comments on social media and she admits they only took bits and pieces of the QB story and just created everything around it by themselves. So no research whatsoever. The question therefore in my mind is will the ending be the same or will they show something else entirely? Either way this has to be Saba’s best performance to date and that’s after her phenomenal act in DW, which in some ways was a similar character who had a dream to become something other than just a housewife and who also had a philandering, no good husband. Anyways I am enjoying this drama looking forward to how it unfolds.

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    • @Seher: Hello Hello! How are you? Missed you 🙂

      Yaar, I gave up on this having anything to do with QB’s story, Im just watching this now as a regular drama which cashed in on a dead woman’s name and notoriety to gain publicity. Ending might be same, or approximate it, because they have already started showing the younger brother getting angry hearing ppl gossip about his sister. Other alternative is that with Obi’s character being there and with scenes of them going to dargahs etc, she might be shown to “reform” (whatever that might mean for the makers). So lets see …..

      My peeves with the drama makers aside, nothing can take away from Saba’s hard work and effort in getting us to invest in her character’s journey. And so yes, you are absolutely right, like you I too am watching this purely for Saba. Warna tau itna ziyada off hai ke its hard to buy into their basic premise.

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  4. SZ…I missed our gup shup too… just got caught up in this Hurricane Irma… I live in FL but thankfully was out of town, however it took us some time to get back…but shukkar allah ka everything is good now. anyways I hope to catch up with O rangreza sometime this week as well. So then I will check out all your reviews 🙂

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  5. I wasn’t watching Baghi, had planned not to start it until thesis and exams were done. But wuhi jesay hota hai, I did, and binge-watched 8 episodes then 9, 10 the other day. It has affected me deeply. I cried like a baby. Then I watched more real videos of her, and connected some missed points like the last paragraph of ASK’s comment tells. As far as I can recall, she sought refuge in Edhi homes, then did all those jobs, and here we see her directly coming to the office, and grooming ever so quickly. If you see the real photos of Qandeel, her initial stages were very different from that polished, stunning look she achieved. Saba Qamar already looks too pretty, too confident (like when “Kanwal” went to the girl’s hostel in this epi) you get what I mean?

    This “weak diluted version of a real life story” as you say, I now agree. And that makes me sad because the least she deserved was a better portrayal. Today when I needed so bad to rant about it and finally found a friend who understood, she gave me this other perspective about the loopholes. She also had doubts about the talaaq part when QB goes, mard ho tou do talaaq. What if she didn’t ask for talaaq like THAT in real? Because aik image aisi arahi hai, you might not agree but in my view it’s so, ke Fauzia kept leaving things that came in her way. This was not the real case. Because in one of the real interviews of her parents, her dad says she came home and complained to her mother about her husband “not me, but her mother” – that she was electrocuted – and her mother told her to go back. Of course they couldn’t, wouldn’t, and shouldn’t show high level abuse on TV, but this isn’t a simple thing. It wasn’t a TV pe kam nahi karnay dia, or ana ka masla between that jhagra ke han okay you keep threatening me, so give me talaaq. It wasn’t so simple, that’s all I’m trying to say. She faced much more. Then again, in one of her real interviews she said she brought the son with her, but he was too sick (they stayed at Edhi homes) and then ppl told her to return him cuz khudanakhwasta kuch hogya toh they will file a case against u. Yahan pe it’s different.

    Baqi, I am loving, loving Saba Qamar Zaman. Total adore. I wish I could meet her. I also wish I could meet QB’s sisters and friend… You know because what the most painful part is? The other real characters are all alive, and just there. Be it a religious cleric or the talent show pe bezzati karnay walay loug or the mother or the father or the husband or the KID. Everyone. Like you pointed out about the case of honor killings still going on, maybe they could’ve waited and made a better, more informed piece. But I love Baghi for what it is. For showing where SHE came from. For challenging our thoughts and judgements and for a lot more. Phir kabhi.

    (thanks for reading if you did, eeh.
    hi as well.
    Maria)

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  6. @randomly abstract: Hey! Haww!! Yeh kya bhai?? I always read all the comments – dont shuk that at all! 😀

    Ok, so if I am reading you correctly, think we are on the same page re: how easy and glib it all is being made to look here. I understand they cannot show the degree of abuse that she or other women in her kinds of situation (unfortunately so much more common than we would like to think), but they could atleast try and give more plausibility to the narrative we are seeing on screen here. She was dirt poor – the guardian documentary is heart wrenching to watch – and even just those visuals, of the stark poverty were enough to drive home the reason that she aspired to do better than that .. that she was tortured etc is a whole other deal .. but afsos this tv version is really a travesty .. I just wish they had not used QB’s name to sell the story .. call it the story of a girl who rose above her circumstances but please dont pretend to sell this as her [non]story ..

    That said, absolutely! You’re spot on. Saba Q is the heart and soul of this drama and it is entirely to her credit that she makes this girl’s journey as believable as it is, despite the fact the visual narrative does not support the textual narrative this girl, Saba, compels you to believe, and I dont think there is anyone else around who can do that .. carry an entire drama on their shoulders .. a huge round of applause for her.

    I am glad to know Baghi touched you. For me, it did/does nothing, other than making me fall in love with Saba’s talent. I had expected something grittier 😦

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    • Haha, to be honest, I love this space for being able to frankly rant and rave about it all. So I know you read comments, it’s just that I was kinda losing a proper plot in my speech lol.

      Yes, I too think no one else could’ve done it as well as Saba. Just hoping they take it now as it deserves to be.

      Thank you for your wishes as well. ❤

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