‘Cheekh’ just makes you want to scream

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Saba Qamar and Bilal Abbas Khan’s much-hyped drama Cheekh has finally drawn to a close and we couldn’t be more relieved.

Despite all the phenomenal performances by the lead actors, the drama and storyline was stretched way beyond its snapping point and was getting ridiculous and unrealistic with every passing episode. What began as an ambitious and game-changing project, Cheekh soon went downhill as the makers behind it tried to keep the audiences engaged by introducing one twist after another.

The first 10-12 episodes were brilliant and had you on the edge as Mannat (Saba Qamar) battled all odds to get her murdered friend, Nayab, justice. The plot was realistic and understandable. But after the case of Nayab’s murder went to court, everything started going downhill including the script.

There were lots of unnecessary turns and twists which turned a perfectly good drama into a Star Plus soap opera. I mean what was the point of sending Mannat to the pagal khaana and drugging her into becoming sleeping beauty? Or scaring Mannat’s mother into testifying against her own daughter? Agreed that our justice system is extremely flawed but itna ziada? And in the quest for justice, Mannat lost her mother, husband and unborn child. The message the drama seemed to give out was that if you fight for the truth, you’ll end up getting ruined in the process – Not sure if the makers were trying to encourage women to speak up or discourage them from ever raising their voice.

The middle of the drama was dragged for no reason and you just ended up skipping most of the scenes. Because of a lack of a proper build-up, the final episode of the drama ended up being rushed.

The last episode began so abruptly with Mannat reopening Nayab’s case and representing herself in the court that you had to pause and go back to the previous episode to see if you missed anything. As expected, the makers had to give the drama a happy ending, so the series ended with Mannat getting justice and Wajih on death row. The final scene was absolutely absurd, with Wajih having read the whole Quran and justifying his actions because previously he wasn’t religiously enlightened. He then proceeded to shift the blame to his elder brother Yawar for not stopping him from doing bad things and always shielding him from the consequences of his actions. More so, in the entire scene, Haya cried as if Wajih was the victim.

Meanwhile, Mannat becomes unnecessary. She just sits in her corner and looks up to the sky and thanks God for making an example of her.

Khuda misaal banana ke liye na, hum sab mein se kisi eik ko chunta hai…aur woh eik, mein thi,” she says. I mean…

Even Nayab’s father was nowhere to be seen.

The plot aside, the cast of the drama probably delivered their finest performances to date. Saba as the headstrong and unabated Mannat was amazing. Bilal as the conniving and manipulative Wajih was remarkable. The two leads shared amazing chemistry on screen and their scenes together were so strong that you’d end up holding your breath without realising. His performance in the last scene was so strong that it gave you goosebumps. He actually ended up making you feel sorry for Wajih the killer. If he doesn’t win an award for Best Performance in a Negative Role on at least one award function, award functions should be officially be cancelled. Emmad Irfani as the doting, loving husband conflicted between his wife and family won hearts and frankly redefined the typical Pakistani drama husband. That’s definitely a win. The rest of the cast also gave superb performances. A special round of applause to director Badar Mehmood for bringing out the best in his actors.

On the whole, Cheekh lost itself somewhere in the middle. Where it could have been a rule-changing Pakistani drama, the makers decided to play safe and follow the traditional route.

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