Monday, August 28, 2017

Baaghi - Urdu1 - Drama in Focus

By: Hamza Shafique

Saba Qamar is truly a versatile actress. Her projects are always unique and every time she manages to out shine her previous work. Also, Urdu 1 is one such Pakistani private TV network that seems to take particular interest in biography adaptations and they do so with excellence. So naturally when I heard Saba Qamar will be portraying Qandeel Baloch (the controversial Pakistani social media celebrity, click here to know more) on Urdu1s new drama serial Baaghi, I got really excited.

I intentionally waited for a while to compile my review and now with five episodes down I can safely say that we have classic in the making. There are still few elements that could have been done better but we can ignore these looking at the overall product.
Story line is based on the life of Qandeel Baloch so it is how it is. Shazia Khan has written the script and she has kept it tastefully unbiased. My biggest worry with the project, when I saw the teaser, was that writers might portray her from conservative angle as a loose character women who has regard for no one or from feminist liberal viewpoint as a victim. Which is not the case here, at least for the first five episodes, storyline is very balanced and she appears to be a normal ambitious human being. We get to see this strong willed yet naive character who is stupid enough to cross all the limits to do what she believes in. So, at times you feel she is wrong and at times you feel she is a victim, I am sure conservatives and feminist groups who have used her life, might not be happy about it. I read that the writer had blessings of the parents of Qandeel Baloch and its visible in the narrative details.
Farooq Rinds direction is a delight to watch. The portrayal of village life feels authentic, doesn’t look staged/forced and is there through out. What I mean is, when a production has certain unique cultural elements involved (e.g. village life) directors usually focus on the village lifestyle elements in the pilot to set the scene and then later on we don’t get to see much of the details. But in Baaghi village lifestyle is embedded into the narrative with the perfect balance. It doesn’t over power the narrative that it gives out the feeling of watching a documentary neither it completely disappears from it. Farooq Rind’s style of storytelling is also good. There are some negligible editing issues, but the other elements of narrative covers for them and unless you are watching from an eye of reviewer you may not even notice.
Saba Qamar imitating one of the shoots of Qandeel Baloch
There is no doubt about production, its top notch. Every department from Camera work, Music, costumes, set designs etc. fits well together like puzzle pieces to form one great picture.
Saba Qamar yet again impresses as Fauzia Batool aka Qandeel Baloch. This girl is on a roll all her work recently is memorable (except Lahore Se Aagay, where movie was a dud but her performance was still better). When you look at Fauzia you can’t believe that this is the same person who portrayed a high fashion model in Besharam or an Indian dominating housewife in Hindi Medium. Saba Qamar displays all the aspects of Fauzia Batool accurately and as an audience you will connect to her immediately. Saba Faisal is one of my favorite actress from the older lot. Saba Faisal’s performance in Zara Yaad Ker is still fresh in my mind. She had one of the most memorable and impactful dialogues from that show. Off course the dialogues were written perfectly but I believe what made them so memorable was Saba Faisal’s close to perfection performance. Here yet again she slips into the character of Saba Qamar’s Mother with ease. After Saba Qamar her performance is the next to look for. To know what I am talking about, check out the scene, where she is in kitchen working and hears about the engagement of Fauzia Batool, being finalized, by her dad outside in the yard. Rest of the cast is also decent and delivers with in their scope.
Saba Faisal with Saba Qamar
I just hope Sarmad Salman Khost can get rid of his continues constipated expression, even on the cover image of drama we have same expressions. But Nadia Afgan as Esma (Fauzia's sister-in-law) is my least favorite when it comes to performances. Her performance is very inconsistent. Her Punjabi accent along with her expressions seem forced at times and get on the comical side un intentionally. It reminded me of her irritated performance from her earlier sitcom “Shashlik”. So far Osman Khalid Butt’s character hasn’t made an appearance on the show so cannot comment on his performance at the moment but I believe he also has a pivotal role.
So far in first five episodes we have witnessed well knitted, unbiased, close to reality depiction of early life of Pakistan’s unfortunate social media sensation. I believe it will continue to stay at this level and scale that it’s on right now.
Urdu1 has a YouTube channel (like all Pakistani TV networks) and you can watch Baaghi in HD legally on YouTube through their official channel, So if this Eid long weekend you are planning to stay indoors then I will suggest have a Baaghi marathon, highly recommended go check it out.

Urdu1 You Tube link :

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