Drama serial Gunah: A sin you must commit to

KARACHI: Over the years, Saba Qamar and Sarmad Khoosat have both, collectively and individually, proven that they can bring magic onto our screens. When you add powerhouses like Rabia Butt and Juggan Kazim to the equation, the result is a force to be reckoned with. And the drama series Gunah is testament to that very fact. An illicit love affair, scandal and crime, Gunah is not your run of the mill drama.

Written by Mohsin Ali and directed by Adnan Sarwar, the mini series is only 6 episodes long. Naturally, Gunah doesn’t waste time in getting straight to the plot. What happens when the wife of the strongest man of the village runs off with a boy half her age? Scandal ensues. And at the heart of the scandal is none other than Malik Hayat Khan (Sarmad Khoosat). At first glance, you feel for him. Left with two traumatized sons and shattered pride, he’s left to deal with the aftermath of his wife’s infidelity. From the hushed whispers of the villagers to his wounded ego, one would expect him to show a bit of vengeance. Either towards his wife Gul Noor (Juggun Kazim) in trying to track her down or towards her family. Instead, he wants to close the chapter on his wife and rebuild his life, along with his in-laws, back up again. Sarmad Khoosat plays the role brilliantly. The authority oozes out of him and so does his anger, but he also shows his vulnerability towards his family and his love interest. Playing such a complex character isn’t easy but Khoosat pulls it off effortlessly.

Recently appointed SHO Sahiba (Rabia Butt) doesn’t buy what Malik Hayat is keen on selling and she suspects something is amiss. Unlike her predecessor, she isn’t afraid to hear the whole story and absolutely isn’t afraid of Malik Hayat Khan. Watching Rabia Butt as the SHO is a treat. For once, her story isn’t riddled with the typical gender power struggle. Instead, from the very minute she makes her appearance on screen, she commands the room. There isn’t room for nonsense or doubt but as the drama goes on, she does show a soft side especially towards her right-hand man, Nabi Baksh, which is as funny to watch as is heartwarming.

There’s no forgetting Saba Qamar who plays Gul Noor’s younger sister, Mehru. Once Mehru is introduced into the story, things begin to fall in place and all that we thought we knew in the first few episodes turns out to be wrong. Mehru is the problem child, jealous of elder sister who was the poster child. And she wants what she can’t have so she will go to all lengths to get it, no matter who she hurts in her wake. Qamar has the ability to embody just about any character and she plays the evil sister brilliantly in the drama Gunah. The cold calculating looks, her obsession, and her grief (about her own plans going wrong) make our skin crawl and hate her character with a vengeance.

On the other hand is Gul Noor (Juggun Kazim). The perfect daughter who fell from grace. Yet, something doesn’t add up to her story. She loves her sons, is a devoted wife and just doesn’t seem like the kind of person to just abandon her life and run off with another man. She’s also a worried sister. She wants what’s best for Mehru and doesn’t want her to be forced into a relationship the way she was. There is a stark contrast between the two sisters and that makes the conclusion all that more impactful. The final episode, as everything falls into place, is difficult to watch because of how wonderfully Kazim displayed the emotions anyone in her place would have shown.

The way the story in Gunah has been told is what keeps us on the edge of our seats. We’re given versions of the same story in bits and pieces and often without context and we make up our minds based on that. But then we’re given more pieces of the story that don’t seem to add up. It seems like a run of the mill murder mystery plot but in the last few minutes of the drama, we realize that it isn’t actually the case! What makes Gunah stand out beyond just the plot is the acting, not just by the main characters, but by the supporting characters as well! Ahmad and his mother’s relationship is as pure as it is heartbreaking and watching his mother sob for her son will break your heart. Rahim’s blind devotion to Malik Hayat is unsettling to watch. Nabi Baksh’s character is a break in all the intensity. They all add to the story to make it all that interesting to watch.

If you haven’t watched the drama, you probably should! It’s a one of a kind mini series that only the likes of Sarmad Khoosat and Saba Qamar could pull off!

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