On the road

February 12, 2023

Conversation around Sar-i-Rah shows that the viewers have an affinity for stories that have remained untold

On the road


he latest play to make waves and generate discourse on online platforms is Sar-i-Rah. The first episode of the drama series aired last week and, because of its unique theme, it instantly captured everyone’s attention, especially on the social media.

In Sar-i-Rah, Saba Qamar is back in full form. The expectations were sky-high, considering the actress’s previous body of work. Qamar was outstanding in the Bollywood film Hindi Medium where she starred opposite Irrfan Khan. She also outdid herself in Sarmad Khoosat’s Kamli

The drama is proof enough that the actress has grown tremendously. Insofar as the expectations were concerned, Qamar did not disappoint her fans.

The first episode of Sar-i-Rah opens with Rania, played by Saba Qamar, showing off her moves at the mehndi ceremony of a future sister-in-law. Soon afterwards, the viewer is introduced to her fiancé, also her first cousin. This man is besotted with her and they have been engaged for six years.

Things take a turn when Rania’s father suffers a massive heart attack. He survives but can no longer work. All their savings are spent on his treatment and Rania ends up secretly borrowing Rs 40,000 from her fiancé so she can clear the hospital bills.

The writer has tried to convey a lot in the first episode. We know that Rania was taken out of school after matric and that all the money was spent on her brother’s education, who is in his third year of BBA. The family had been saving up to pay for his final semester but these funds had to be used for the father’s treatment.

Rania’s brother is compelled by their mother to find employment. However, he refuses to drive his father’s taxi, thinking it is beneath him. So Rania decides to take the task to hand herself. She announces that she will be driving her father’s taxi.

Horrified by the idea, her parents and brother try to dissuade her but she fiercely defends her decision. Rania says that she is determined to be her father’s support and bail her family out of this difficult situation.

When her aunt announces that she will break off the engagement, Rania gives her a piece of her mind. She tells her that this provides her with a perfect excuse to break off this long engagement as her son earns well and is educated so she feels that he is too good for a girl who is not well-off, not very educated and cannot bring a rich dowry,

On the road

Rather than the oft-repeated themes, the viewer will see a play where the protagonist is a woman on a mission and one who will let nothing stand in her way. This lends a certain element of freshness to the production, as the audience has had its fill of weak and subservient women, used and abused by their spouses and in-laws. 

Saba Qamar enacts her part extremely well. The gradual transformation from a meek woman venturing out into a man’s world for the first time to a woman who faces people head-on and is no longer afraid of the consequences is portrayed admirably.

Rania is relentless and firm. She refuses to give up and tries to register her taxi with a cab company. She is advised to change and upgrade her taxi instead. That is out of the question and she decides to carry on and persevere.

Fazila Qazi plays the role of her mother, Saba Faisal that of her aunt and Agha Mustafa her fiancé.

The play is off to an explosive start and will be raking in the TRPs for its producers, judging by the overwhelming response to the first episode. Rather than the oft-repeated themes, the viewers will see a play where the protagonist is a woman on a mission; one who will let nothing stand in her way.

It is wonderful to see a strong female lead. It lends a certain element of freshness to the production. The viewers have had their fill of weak and subservient women, used and abused by their spouses and in-laws.

Haseena Moin, the renowned playwright was known for casting strong female leads in her plays and was a strong advocate of women‘s empowerment. The media must make an effort to shatter stereotypes and portray women as strong and empowered individuals, not afraid to take up the challenges they face.

The play also shows how all the money in the family is spent on a son’s education while the daughter is neglected. Ironically, it is her who steps up once there is hardship.

This plot arc sends a very powerful message to the viewers. We must stop treating our daughters unfairly. We must empower them so they can fend for themselves and their families should the need arise. For our society to advance and keep in step with the times, we need to encourage more women to join the workforce.

Kudos to Saba Qamar for taking on such a powerful character. I am sure she will do justice to it. The trailer for the second episode promises more excitement.

The writer is an educationist and can be reached at gaiteeara@hotmail.com

On the road