“Cheekh is a cry of despair. [A s]tory of originality being suffocated in the race for quantity and mediocrity.”
Written by Ali Moeen, directed by Naeem Khan and starring the ever fabulous Rehan Sheikh along with brilliant actors like Rashid Farooqui and Saleem Mairaj, Cheekh is a telefilm I have had on my watch list since 2013, since Hina Bayat recommended this one as do-not-miss-TV. It took some 4+ years but last week I finally managed to find it online and promptly saved it on my playlist.
I don’t know if you all have the same problem, but when something comes so highly recommended I am almost afraid to watch it – achi nahin hui tau dil toot jayega type bekar khayals.
Khair, for this one I needn’t have worried.
Barely five minutes in and it became easy to understand why Hina had recommended this telefilm. And that’s precisely the reason I think it will appeal to you all as well.
Cheekh is the story of a TV writer Jamal. His writing has garnered him fame and fans and his scripts are aggressively pursued by eager producers. Ek telefilm likh dein Jamal sahab, please ek serial likh dein, mera career ban jayega, please …
For someone seemingly so in demand Jamal is surprisingly irritable and embittered, angry with the world at large. Why is disjunction? It is pretty clear he is desperately in need of funds – bijli cut gayi, phone cut gaya – why then has he not written in over five years? Why won’t he agree to the producers’ pleas? They are willing to pay top dollar.. what more is he holding out for?
As the narrative unfolds Jamal’s hat dharmi starts to make sense … but for how long can he live by ideals alone? Can principles feed the man and pay his bills? Is he in the right or is he just a fool who refuses to move with times. As I continued to watch Jamal’s heart wrenching dilemma I was reminded yet again of the question posed in Manto’s Toba Tek Singh: Pagal kaun… andar waley ya bahar waley?
Brilliant as it is on the storytelling front, this telefilm is made all the more poignant on account of all that it reveals about functioning of the drama industry these days. I am often asked why I am so critical of producers and channels, well this telefilm tells it all.
Holding nothing back, Ali Moen’s script lays bare all those ugly truths that nobody will own up to, at least publicly, and goes a long way towards explaing why stories of this ilk are a rarity. That a telefilm of this caliber remains unsung and uncirculated is an absolute shame.
Suffice it to say that if you have more than a fleeting interest in dramas, and are looking for something more substantial than an exchange of coy glances then this telefilm should find a place in your watch list.
Written by SZ~
Cheekh ~ Part 1
Cheekh ~ Part 2