A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Last Episode (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saife Hassan and written by Mustafa Afridi. Sang-e-Mah is the spiritual continuation of the saga introduced in the Hum TV drama Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016). Sang-e-Mah is the acting debut of the famous Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam and the drama is a Momina Duraid Production.
- Directed by Saife Hassan
- Written by Mustafa Afridi
- Produced by Momina Duraid Productions
The drama Sang-e-Mah serves as a spiritual sequel to the show Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016) with Noman Ejaz, Sania Saeed and many others returning to the same cast and crew. The drama deals with life in the Pakhtoon region of Pakistan and explores such hard hitting topics like forced marriages and integral family relationships. According to the director, Sang-e-Mah serves under similar themes as its predecessor, in a three part trilogy, ending it with the next planned show, Sang-e-Siyah.
+ Main Cast
- Atif Aslam as Hilmand Khan
- Nauman Ijaz as Haji Marjaan Khan
- Kubra Khan as Sheherzaad
- Hania Amir as Gul Meena
- Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz as Hikmat Khan
- Sania Saeed as Zarghuna
- Samiya Mumtaz as Zarsanga
- Omair Rana as Mastaan Singh
- Najiba Faiz as Harshaali Kaur
- Hassan Noman as Badam Gul
Sang-e-Mah is a story of a dysfunctional Pakhtoon family in the tribal regions of Pakistan where pride and honour mostly triumphs over empathy and forgiveness. The show deals with issues such as young love and opposing families who are engaged in a tribal battle with one another.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!! Please read with caution:
+ High Points
i – A credible, thought-provoking and at the end of the day, entertaining finale to the Khan family saga from Laspiran. The final episode certainly delivered, bringing this tale of love and revenge to a close. Was it a satisfying conclusion? It solely depends on what you wanted from the show. Even in my previous reviews, I always compared Sang-e-Mah to a Shakespearan tragedy and that is exactly how the curtains were closed at the end. Props to the writer of the show Mustafa Afridi who brought a creative twist ending to the tale. Although I was aware that Haji Marjaan Khan’s days were numbered, the ending did take me by surprise and left me pondering well after the last image of the episode left my tv screen. The show was far from being a masterpiece as it had its share of problems but I can safely say, the conclusion to the show was immensely satisfying.
ii – This was the final time we got to see Marjaan Khan and his wife Zarsanga together and without a doubt, their performances were just on another level throughout the show. Both veteran actors have such beautiful on screen chemistry that they can literally end each other’s sentences. The terrible secret that they shared made their love all the more stronger and perhaps passing away together was the only way they would have liked to depart from this sinful world.
iii – The climatic scene at the Jirga was brilliantly presented and directed by Saife Hassan. The dialogues were mostly pitch perfect, including the “little white lie” by Hilmand to drive Masha’allah Khan out of Laspiran once and for all. Even though it was not entirely realistic, I did immensely enjoy the proceedings and thankfully, the women’s revolt was played with a certain realistic restraint and never went overboard.
iv – In a sea of “Saas/ Bahoo” dramas with poor, cliched writing and production, Sang-e-Mah had the guts to leave its viewers with a tragic ending that would leave anyone cold with a lingering, haunting image of the two aged lovers, found leaning on one another and waiting for their reunion in the afterlife. But was the tragic ending warranted? I can see arguments to both sides of the spectrum but regardless, I’m sure it took a lot of courage from the creative team to stick to their guns and go with the ending that I’m sure left half of their viewers dissatisfied (mostly because they wanted a happy end to the show).
+ Low Points
i – There’s not much I can criticize about the finale, apart from the fact that the Jirga and the impending problem of Gak. The issue was certainly oversimplified and the solution came rather quickly with no real thought behind it. I wish the show would have put in a bit more effort into it, making it more realistic and believable.
ii – Masa’allah Khan should have been used more in the show. He was barely in a couple of episodes and even then, he showed more grit and tenacity than any antagonist in Sang-e-Mah. This character was unfortunately introduced too late into the show and was immensely underutilized.
+ Overall and Final thoughts on Sang-e-Mah
Sang-e-Mah was engaging and at times, thought provoking but with such a stellar cast of actors like Nauman Ijaz, Sania Saeed, Atif Aslam, Kubra Khan; it never reached the level of quality that it had every right to be. And most of the blame lies solely on the writing. First of all, Sang-e-Mah should never have been 26 episodes long as some felt an incredibly forced hour of content with no real substance. Even though characters like Marjaan Khan, Zarguna, Zarsanga, Mastaan Singh were great to witness on screen, main characters like Hilmand and Sherherzad felt underdeveloped and under performed (including their forced romance). Unfortunately, this show did no favors to the amateur actor Atif Aslam who is too much of a novice to pull off such a complex character of Hilmand. The never ending pseudo philosophy and constant sulking in each scene left an undesirable taste in my mouth. Sherherzad on the other hand, had a back story that no one asked for. Instead of exploring her “fish out of water” character (a city reporter who was forced to deal with the male chauvinist society of Pakhtoon), we got a tired, recycled childhood abuse story that only made the show feel tacky and unrealistic.
The production of the show was yet another home run for Momina Duraid productions as they prove time and time again that you do not need constant overbearing music in the background to provoke emotions out of your audience. Great framing, excellent cinematography made Sang-e-Mah such a pleasant viewing.
In conclusion, Sang-e-Mah was a show that had the potential to be a modern classic but sadly, settled to being just better than most current Pakistani shows. Lesser episodes, more sharper writing could have done wonders but that is not the show that we got to witness. What worked for the show, worked to its highest potential; what did not, left a permanent stain on its legacy.
Rate: out of 5 stars
Overall Series Rating: out of 5 stars