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The Khaas finale showed that Saba can be happy without a man — but we already knew that

The Khaas finale showed that Saba can be happy without a man — but we already knew that

For a drama that normalised leaving a bad relationship, did it really have to end on such a bitter note?
Updated 25 Oct, 2019

Hum TV’s drama Khaas ends on a disappointing note, once again reinforcing the trope that a divorced woman can never find joy or a fresh start. Maintaining ratings, with what can only be described as 'misery porn' has become an addiction for our drama makers.

To be fair, the end does present us with the positive image of a sensible, practical woman, who trusts her own judgment and is unafraid to live her life without a husband.

But the sudden death of Fakhir (Haroon Shahid), the second husband and better man, pushes the same subliminal message that there are no good men and if by chance one appears, don’t ever trust that fate will allow him to stick around.

Khaas didn't rely on cliches

Khaas started of on a rather typical premise: a pretty girl marries a good-looking man with a similar education and wealthy background but their relationship sours.

However, like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, after a few episodes, the drama picked up speed, showing a depth and maturity of writing that is too often missing from our screens.

Saba (Sanam Baloch) is married to an unrelenting narcissist, Amar (Ali Rehman), who demeans, gaslights and constantly humiliates his new bride while his blindly adoring family looks indulgently on.

This is the crux of the story but what made it stand out from the sea of dramas about abusive, angry men and nobly suffering heroines was the heroine’s ability to survive and escape.

Amar was an emotionally abusive man who was a full-blown narcissit.
Amar was an emotionally abusive man who was a full-blown narcissit.

Khaas stood out less for what is showed and more for what it didn’t show .

Saba understands her husband is both abusive and unfaithful and doesn’t meekly take it. Instead she defends herself and demands better treatment.

Viewers were not forced to watch the usual dragged out ritual of abuse and sorrow of a wife trying to make her one-sided marriage work so she can prove she is “good“ or “worthy”.

Rather, we saw a woman with self-respect and resources who moves on and out of a bad relationship.

To be fair, the end does present us with the positive image of a sensible, practical woman, who trusts her own judgment and is unafraid to live her life without a husband. But the sudden death of Fakhir (Haroon Shahid) pushes the same subliminal message that there are no good men and if by chance one appears, don’t ever trust that fate will allow him to stick around.

Saba’s parents were another cliché our dramas love: not trusting their own daughter’s character, incredibly relying on Amar’s lies instead but even that ridiculous gamut was quickly exhausted. The parents did not force Saba to marry a clearly shady man because “talaq aik daag hai“ ( a common dialogue and much-loved sentiment of our writers).

Despite their mistrust, they valued their daughter enough to do a background check on a potential proposal and rejected someone unsuitable.

The normal scenario in Pakistani dramas that show a woman making her own decisions about a relationship was upended, and instead of falling into another disaster, Saba finds happiness.

Saba's parents eventually let her make her own decisions.
Saba's parents eventually let her make her own decisions.

In a shocking display of actual parental love and concern, her parents give Saba their blessings to marry Fakhir focusing on their daughter’s happiness and wishes rather than trying to mollify the a) mohallaywallay, b) irate relatives or c) an angry sibling.

Such storylines are so rare that each week I expected Khaas to reverse course or get stuck in some familiar, regressive rut, only to be happily surprised that writer Sarwat Nazir had given us something that was beyond the usual clichés.

Especially gratifying was the complete lack of halala (an Islamic concept meant to deter men from abusing women with constant threats of divorce) which has been turned into a lurid game of marital musical chairs by drama producers.

The show deserved a better finale

Better still, there was no, all powerful cunning woman, ruling and manipulating everyone’s lives nor a specific villain other than Amar’s unyielding, self-love and ego.

The serial’s popularity also provided a hopeful sign that might encourage a return creativity and authenticity from the easy, stereotypes and commercialism that have become the norm.

How I would love to praise writer Sarwat Nazir for this refreshing story and despite the fantastic script, the way she snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at the end is giving pause for thought. One note of thanks I can give is the lack of rehabilitation for Amar; everyone can grow or change but not a narcissist, that kind of internal wiring is permanent.

The final episode of what has been an excellent serial was chock full of flashbacks, giving viewers a weak and repetitive experience in place of the thoughtful innovative ending Khaas deserved.

Killing off Fakhir in a car sudden accident after some obvious foreshadowing in last week’s episode left a bitter taste in the mouth of viewers not as impressed with the kind of poetic wretchedness that makes stories like Devdas so popular in the subcontinent.

Why couldn't Saba have a happy ending? She never needed a man, she just wanted to be loved and respected.
Why couldn't Saba have a happy ending? She never needed a man, she just wanted to be loved and respected.

Perhaps the worst crime of this ending is the way it killed off one of the few good men on our screens. Drama makers work overtime to vilify men as abusers and promote toxic male behaviors as normal, even ‘romantic’ therefore acceptable.

Seeing a positive, supportive man onscreen who wasn’t ruled by suspicion, what people would say or his own pride was obviously too good to last.

Khaas has been a great serial to watch. Danish Nawaz isn’t quite Yasir Nawaz yet but hopefully with this well-made serial, he will grow into his own unique style.

In the end, Amar is left alone.
In the end, Amar is left alone.

How I would love to praise writer Sarwat Nazir for this refreshing story and despite the fantastic script, the way she snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at the end is giving pause for thought.

One note of thanks I can give is the lack of rehabilitation for Amar; everyone can grow or change but not a narcissist, that kind of internal wiring is permanent. Again, he managed to fool his friends but not Saba.

Khaas has been a pleasure to watch. Fabulous understated performances from Ali Rehman, Sanam Baloch, Haroon Shahid and Hira Tareen made this great show so, so memorable.

Comments

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M. Saeed Oct 25, 2019 12:35pm
The child born of Saba was not given the slightest care. The most inappropriate and just off the hand anybody's child was picked up without even matching the getup of parents.
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Zainab Oct 25, 2019 01:05pm
Watched full on you tube n loved every bit
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AaDi Oct 25, 2019 02:35pm
I understand fakhir's death . This show woman can survive on its own. But what about ammar?What was his end. He is a narcissist. Shouldn't he be punished or get any sort of remorse?
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Sadaf Zehra Oct 25, 2019 02:51pm
It would have been better if Ammar’s character had been killed off, if they REALLY had to kill someone
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TIM Oct 25, 2019 03:22pm
One thing I don't get - Faakhir, the messiah, was actually responsible for creating these problems for the lady in the first place. Tell me - a married woman (or man) visiting another man (or woman) without telling anyone, and then receiving his (or her) phone calls? How is that supposed to fly? Flip Faakhir to Fakhira and you will see my point.
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Pareek Oct 25, 2019 03:55pm
Bingo. Have written to Hum TV the same. Sad n disappointing end to an otherwise fabulous series which was totally uncalled for. Good people deserve to live longer. Not all are supposed to die young. Fakhir had already made Saba quite strong and this twist wasn't appreciated. Instead, Amar should have made to look a changed man after all the thrashing he received.
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Naly Oct 25, 2019 06:21pm
Agreed with the writer, killing her husband to portray Woman’s strength was bit melodrama. And second thought was character Amaar- once a self egoistic person always remains one in some shape or form. Overall engaging drama with highs and lows, perhaps some adjustments in the ending episodes could have made it ”Classic”
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Umair Oct 25, 2019 07:20pm
@TIM What about the married MAN (AMMAR) visiting another lady complimenting whoever he could find except his wife, demeaning her whenever he could and when his wife questioned him his answer was always "she is my friend. you need to open your mind" why the double standards?
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Ajay Gupta Oct 25, 2019 07:53pm
It was necessary to kill Fakhir to show that under no circumstances would Saba go back to ammar even though they were both single & hurting. Emotional abuse is terrible. Why isn’t anyone getting this? A remarkable serial, overall.
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isha Oct 25, 2019 10:25pm
@TIM thank you for pointing out how fakir is no saint . found his obsession with his friends wife creepy. Also the writer invalidated saba's divorce by making her confess her problems with ammar to his actual friend fakhir who does this?. also fakir it seems took advantage of the mess saba was in to end up in her life
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Washington's View Oct 26, 2019 07:02am
Most of HUM TV's dramas, or should I say Pakistani dramas have a strong storyline but the conclusion of the dramas is unrealistic. I think the drama writers, producers, and directors must also focus on positive and smartly solving the issue, whether a weak male or female in a patriarchal society.
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hzub Oct 26, 2019 08:59am
Thank you for writing this. The ending was deeply disappointing and very much not needed. There was no need to show that Saba could live without a man - she had already shown that by being unafraid of having her first marriage break. She deserved a happy ending. I don't understand what is with drama makers and their need to have women suffer in dramas? Do they want to put viewers into a depression? Any good male character people love they kill off. First Shayan now Fakhir. You cant expect to see happy women in Pakistani dramas.
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hzub Oct 26, 2019 09:07am
@TIM Amaar was a narcissist before Fakhirs friendship with Saba started. And please tell me - why is it that everyone is so unforgiving of a woman making a mistake? Saba never had an affair with Fakhir but she even acknowledged that forming a close friendship with him was a mistake. Yet people blame her for the marriage ending? It does not matter if Fakhir was there or not, Amaar was a narcissist husband having an affair regardless
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AbdulHaque Shaikh Oct 28, 2019 12:25am
It is just TV drama. Do not take too seriously and bore people with long tedious commentary
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Aaaaa Oct 30, 2019 07:02pm
End is very bad saba donot deserve it.
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