Review: O Rangreza, episode 23.

One of our favorite dramas to be aired is “O Rangreza” starring Sajal Ali, Noman Ijaz, Bilal Abbas and Irsa Ghazal. Have you caught up with the latest episode? O Rangreza episode 23 can be watched here. (For a further look back check this out.) Watch and read on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdZ4nupL8lw

 

Sajal Ali stars as ‘Sassi’ the rebellious daughter who has decided to act in films because that is what she had always wanted to do. She was inspired by her father’s (Noman Ijaz, as Khayam Saani) muse, “Sonia Jahan” (Sana Fakhar). And now, as luck and life should have it, Sassi is playing the life of “Sonia Jahan” in the fictional story of the film she has now landed the role of. Sonia, on the other hand, has fallen sick and needs to live in Khayyam Sani’s house. Khayyam’s first wife, Mumtaz (Irsa Ghazal), is has a feeble voice and a kind demeanor that basically allows everyone to walk over her. It’s interesting to see Mammo (Mumtaz) to see in a position of power that she does not exploit. Sassi is diabolical and has decided to taunt Sonia with the fact that she’s doing Wajeeh Kamal’s film. Wajeeh Kamal (Omair Rana) is Sonia’s ex husband and film producer/director who will be doing Sassi’s film.

 

Sassi’s brother, Tipu, is a good-for-nothing manipulative, UK-returned man who has brought his friend “Meena” (Sonia Mishal) along. Meena is often exploited and abused by Tipu. Tipu owes a lot of money from loan sharks and has his fingers in many messy pies. Meena, tired by this constant abuse and exploitation, turns to Qasim (Bilal Abbas), Sassi’s cousin who is besotted with Sassi. Meena converts into a Muslim and wants to be with Qasim in order to find ‘comfort and love’.

While Saji’s writing is admirable in creating conflict in the characters and there being no ‘hero’ or ‘heroine’ or comfortable satisfaction in the ends of the various story arcs, what I found slightly problematic was Meena’s conversion. In Pakistan many Hindu woman are forcibly converted into Muslims by powerful men and groups – so witnessing that was slightly uncomfortable. It is also strange that Meena does not see the various pitfalls of the system she is fantasizing. She admires Mammo whose husband left her for another woman and likes the house she lives in which is marred by various serious conflicts and lack of empathy and regard for everyone else. Sure, Mammo is empathic with Meena and that’s probably the small sense of protection that Meena feels but that is all what Meena may ever get in that house. She admits to Sassi that all this is her escape from the life that she has lived – but I think we all know this won’t take her too far away from the life she’s running away from.

Notable to mention Sana Fakhar’s acting in the recent episodes where she is all but stripped of her glamor quotient and dressed in plain shalwar qameezes with minimal makeup. In fact, in the recent episodes her make up is more about showing bruises and pain instead of highlighting her cheekbones. Sana is a very strong actress, as the recent episodes have shown, and it is wonderful to see her really delve into her character. You see how good an actor/actress is when they have minimal glamor and glitz to amplify their performances.

All the actors and the direction is pretty great so far – even if the pace has slowed down a little in terms of momentum. While there is a lot happening (Meena’s conversion, Sassi’s film, Sonia’s illness, Tipu’s escapades) it still feels like a build up to something bigger. Perhaps something more sinister and more difficult to deal with. At the end of it, O Rangreza will make you want to question everything about yourself and your beliefs about life.

Watch the full review of episode 23 here.

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