TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Raqeeb Se – Episode XXII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Raqeeb Se – Episode 22 (2021). The new TV series is directed by Kashif Nisar and is a production of Momina Duraid Productions. Raqeeb Se is a HUM TV Production.

(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ Crew

  • Directed by Kashif Nisar
  • Written by Beegul
  • DOP by Hassam Mairaj
  • Music Composed by Hadiqa Kiani
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

Raqeeb Se is the newest HUM TV Production and is once again the collaboration of the award winning Writer/ Director duo of Bee Gul and Kashif Nisar. 

The title of the show is heavily inspired by a poem from the legendary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz when the young poet fell in love with a girl next door in Sialkot. But alas, as luck would have it, she one day unexpectedly left the city, only to be reunited years later when Faiz was already an established poet in the circles of Urdu literature. This encounter inspired Faiz to write a poem “Raqib Se!”. The backstory of this poem plays a crucial role in the premise of the show.

 + Main Cast

  1. Hadiqa Kiani as Sakina
  2. Noman Ijaz as Maqsood
  3. Sania Saeed as Hajra
  4. Faryal Mehmood as Insha
  5. Iqra Aziz as Ameera
  6. Saqib Sameer as Rafiq

+ Plot

Raqeeb Se is a call of Maqsood’s dark past that could potentially destroy his present life. In order to escape her abusive husband, Sakina, along with her daughter Ameera, flees from her village to find shelter at her former lover’s place, Maqsood. Unfortunately Maqsood, who still holds a grudge against Sakina’s past actions, refuses to aid her in her most dire situation. But his wife, Hajra, seems much more sympathetic to the situation and lets Sakina stay at their home till things are figured out for the future.

But can Sakina be trusted to stay out of Maqsood’s life or will they be tempted to rekindle their lost love and in the process, destroy what Maqsood and his wife Hajra have built together?

+ High Points

i – As the show is reaching its conclusion, an abundance of sharp screenwriting, performances and set pieces are on display. Characters are confronted, lines have been drawn and revelations have been made. And it’s great to see that the whole cast is up to the task.

ii – Episode 22 is probably the first in the show that Insha really gets the limelight. A lot of the episode was centered around her, she gets to confront the truth and perhaps once and for all, come to terms with it. I have criticized Faryal Mehmood’s performance during dramatic scenes in the past but I’m glad to say that she was more than up for the task when it really counted.  

iii – Insha’s journey from a naive, impressionable girl to a mature woman was very awe-inspiring. A lot of credit should go to the writing of Beegul and performance of Iqra Aziz as both aspects were brilliantly realized onscreen. The scene between Ameera and Hajira was modest and restrained but was nonetheless impactful (and quite possibly, my favourite scene of the episode).

iv – Once again, the cinematography was outstanding for this episode. I am always of the belief that a picture does tell a thousand tales and Raqeeb Se is excellent in depicting visual stories. Just take this framing as an example here:

Framing through the open door, characters engulfed into their surroundings, Insha’s face exposed, it gives the audience a sense of illusion that (perhaps) we are the ones eavesdropping into their private conversation. This kind of visual artistry is sadly missing from a lot of Pakistani TV shows but Raqeeb Se has always been pretty much consistent with its production quality. 

v – MAJOR SPOILER ALERT COMING UP!!! (If you would like to avoid it, please skip to Overall section)

So a lot of fan speculation and theories were proven true, Insha is, indeed, not the daughter of Maqsood. And this is a revelation that truly pays off. Why? Because they did set up this twist throughout the series and slowly built it up to its crescendo. So when it is finally revealed, it feels earned. Of course, it could be argued that it was perhaps a tad bit too obvious as many viewers already speculated it but sometimes, predictability is not detrimental to the show. The plot twist works fine to the context of the story. Although I do have another issue to this revelation but I’ll get to that in the low points section.

 + Low Points

i – Even though the revelation of Insha was great, I am completely perplexed why the creators decided to reveal it at the BEGINNING of the episode?? Guys, this is TV episodic writing 101! Make an earth shattering revelation at the END of the last episode so that the viewers would tune in for the next episode for more clarification. Right now, it feels like the show just wanted to get it over with and the payoff could’ve been utilized a lot more than it should have.

ii – The end of the road for Insha and Abdul’s short lived marriage. Where Insha’s revelation worked, this plot element, for me, just fails to live up to its expectations. From what was built up about Abdul’s character till now, I cannot imagine him having the cunningness to manipulate someone he loves without Insha realizing it. It was never even well hinted at and comes completely out of left field. If the divorce angle was really necessary, the reason could have been the obvious one that Insha was just sick and tired of playing “mama” to Abdul’s manchild personality. In this very episode, Insha does confess that fact to her cousin Kashif and that reason alone could have been more believable as compared to Abdul playing her to his future endeavours. Unlike Insha’s, this plot twist doesn’t work at all because it was never well set up to begin with. The show needed the marriage to end and here we are. 

iii – Also Rafiq Ali’s emotional scene with Sakina was a total bust. There is already too much going on in this episode and by the time we get to Rafiq Ali’s emotional outburst, the audience is completely drained out. You can’t expect that in one hour runtime, the audience should empathize with Insha’s secret upbringing, Ameera’s realization of her naivety towards life, the falling apart of the marriage between Insha and Abdul, the unsolved future between Maqsood, Sakina and Hajira and now, we are suppose to care for Rafiq Ali? It’s already an uphill task to empathize with him since he is a wife beater and the scene between him and Sakina doesn’t work in this episode. I hope that’s the last we see of him as his character arc should be done and dusted by now.

+ Overall

With a major plot revelation and confrontations, Raqeeb Se is full steam ahead to its grand finale! 

 Rate: 3.25 out of 5 stars

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