Nowadays we see a lot of dramas on our televisions that raise a spectrum of social issues, from child molestation in Udaari to honor killing in Baaghi. In Cheekh the veteran actor Saba Qamar takes up the challenging role of Mannat, displaying her incredible acting skills alongside the villain of the story Wajih played by Billal Abbas. Wajih is an egotistical and entitled cliché rich boy shown in every Pakistani drama these days however what is refreshing is the role of Mannat.
Television dramas in Pakistan have been the foundation of the revival of Lollywood since the last decade and have a huge audience around the world. With dramas such as Cheekh that raise a multitude of social issues and have such a huge reach, it leads the way for us as the audience to become more mindful of problems often silenced.
Cheekh’s lead actor Saba Qamar has by far been my favorite part of the drama, she is an impeccable actor and has even gathered acclaim for beyond the border for her role in Hindi Medium
Cheekh shows a deep friendship bond between Mannat and the victim Nayab played by Ushna Shah. Mannat treated Nayab like family and to see her go through this tragedy is naturally very traumatic for her. Yet she takes up the duty to ensure that Nayab gets justice and steps in instead of any man including Nayab’s father Ramzaan. This is unusual but surely commendable, as a common theme in Pakistani dramas when women face adversity is that a man will step in to save the day. It is refreshing to see Mannat keep her emotions in check during the court proceedings and give us a strong female role model.
She became a force to be reckoned with as the drama progressed, fighting head on with Wajih and Yawar who according to the world are the epitome of innocence and piety yet she sees through it all, with little support from her husband Shayan. Writer Zanjabeel Asim Shah beautifully portrays the physiological dilemma of a woman who faces the choice between her family and her need for justice and her incredible perseverance when she chooses the latter.
What I liked about Cheekh is the diversity and depth it gives to its female characters. They are real and multi-faceted and the problems they face don’t seem farfetched. Women are often subjected to columns in Pakistani dramas either they are good or evil, pious or malicious. This concept is quickly changing with writers and directors picking up storylines such as Cheekh that require strong females at the forefront.
Dramas in Pakistan are the curators of many talented actors and directors alike. They have a huge reach and social issues that are often suppressed by mainstream news media maybe presented to the audience in a subtle way through these dramas. A well-received drama such as udaari sparked a whole movement against child molestation and news started to give more coverage on the sensitive issue as well.
I for one enjoy such dramas thoroughly they keep you at the edge of your seat and if the characters such as in Cheekh are nuanced it makes the audience emotionally invested and sets the stage for a more impactful ending.