Cheekh is a drama that airs on Saturdays on ARY Digital at 8 pm. Saba Qamar, Bilal Abbas and Aijazz Aslam star in this mystery thriller. Cheekh revolves around the death of a young woman and the pervasive misogyny that plagues our society.
Mannat (Saba Qamar)’s friend Nayab (Ushna Shah) has been murdered by Wajih (Bilal Abbas). Cheekh begins with the story of a happy go lucky group of girls who are sisters in law. Haya (Azekah Daniel) and Mannat are not just sisters-in-law they are friends too. Their third friend, Nayab, is someone who they really like and want their brother (Bilal Abbas, aka Wajih) to get married to. On the night of some wedding festivities, Nayab falls from the top of their house and dies. Police says Nayab was also sexually assaulted.
Wajih confesses the crime to Mannat. Nayab had come from a very poor family. Her father, Ramzan (Noor ul Hassan Rizvi) tries to file a case against Wajih but fails. In the recent episodes Mannat finally gathers the courage to fight her dead friend’s case and files an FIR against Wajih. Wajih is sent to the lockup.
Cheekh has many strong points. The first being that it lends support to the idea that breaking silence is not easy. But it’s important. Cheekh is also powered by a lot of strong performances, most of all by its lead protagonists, Saba Qamar and Bilal Abbas.
There are many valuable takeaways from Cheekh and the optimistic bit about the drama doing well is that it will encourage showrunners to make more and more dramas that show an empowered woman at the centre of it. Saba Qamar’s portrayal as Mannat is an incredibly strong, empowered one. Yet she is not entirely fearless, which makes her human. As someone says, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the knowledge that something else is more important.
Bilal Abbas as the lead antagonist is the very definition of male privilege. Someone who absolutely cannot take no for an answer and is extremely shocked when a girl refuses his advances. Props to Zanjabeel Asim Shah for writing a captivating thriller and also clearly outlining the flaws in toxic masculinity that lead to violence and crimes against women.