Popular drama serial Sabaat is all ready to air its last episode this coming Sunday. The drama, which has been highly praised for its writing and presentation, has caused a boost in the popularity of its principal cast. On one hand, Mawra Hocane and Ameer Gilani gave the Pakistani drama audience a new onscreen couple to swoon over, and on the other hand, Sarah Khan proved her versatility as she shed off her mazloom aurat image and flawlessly executed the character of the antagonist.
However, there is one more actor who was initially promoted to play an important character in the show who gained little to nothing from the drama – Usman Mukhtar. And with the drama serial approaching its end within a week, we can’t help but wonder, did the makers of Sabaat just use Usman Mukhtar to boost the drama’s ratings?
Hot after the success of Anaa, Usman Mukhtar was one of the most in-demand new actors in the drama industry. His stint in Anaa where he played the role of Altamash, a serious, no-nonsense man with a dark past, got him much praise. The character of Altamash which Usman played with a mature grace and charm made him the new heartthrob in town. Altamash seemed to have walked straight out of a romantic Regency novel and much of its credit went to how Usman Mukhtar played him. The audience simply loved it.
Therefore, it was no wonder that any project Usman chose to do next would have grabbed the attention of all the fans that Anaa had given him. Which is exactly what happened when Usman was announced to be a part of Sabaat. His fans on social media shared their excitement about getting to see Usman once again in a role that was initially promoted to be on the same lines as his breakthrough character in Anaa.
Usman was heavily featured in Sabaat’s promotional material. His face was featured alongside the other three main characters of the drama. He was also part of the show’s official OST video. By all means, Usman Mukhtar was being promoted as one of the main characters of Sabaat. However, contrary to the promotional material, the show itself turned out to be a different story.
Not only did it take the show 12 episodes to officially introduce the character of Dr. Haris, played by Usman Mukhtar, the character once introduced failed to make an impression. The other three main characters of Sabaat were crafted with such care, each given believable layers that make the characters quite memorable. And with all the hype and mystery around the character of Dr. Haris, the audience was expecting to be blown away by him in a similar way.
But not only was Dr. Haris introduced rather plainly, his original track in the show received quite a harsh backlash from the audience. Dr. Haris, a psychiatrist was shown to be falling in love with his patient, Miraal. To think the professional, ethical, and moral implications of showing such a thing were lost on the makers is quite a baffling fact to come to terms with, considering how every other track in the show has been dealt with finesse.
Speculations about the originally written track written between Haris and Miraal being changed at the last minute to curb the backlash began to fly around, and they seemed to be holding the weight. If the makers had roped in Usman Mukhtar in the show with the intention of having him re-create the same magic he did in Anaa opposite Naimal Khawar, the makers of the show really failed on that front as they gave the Haris-Miraal storyline problematic foundations to begin with.
Kashif Anwar, the writer of the show, revealed in an interview recently that Sabaat was lucky to have Usman Mukhtar play the role of Dr. Haris. Speaking to Fuchsia, Kashif Anwar was asked about the purpose of Dr. Haris in the story as the character seemed to be going nowhere. And the writer confirmed that the character of Dr. Haris got the attention that it did purely because Usman Mukhtar was the one playing him.
“Had any other actor played Dr. Haris then he wouldn’t have gotten this kind of attention. But people sat down to specifically watch Usman Mukhtar in the show.”
With the writer of the drama himself confirming, albeit not in direct words, that the character of Dr. Haris was meant to be a kind of secondary role that got attention because of the actor playing him, it is not hard to believe that Usman Mukhtar was handed the short hand of the stick with Sabaat. Even Usman’s own fans are disappointed with the way the show wasted his potential as an actor.
In the same interview, Kashif Anwar did reveal that there is still some impact that Dr. Haris is yet to make. However, to have a character have its one single moment of glory in the show’s very last episode does not compensate for the way it has been wasted in the rest of the show.
It is no secret that dramas that are written in the script and the dramas that ended up going on television are often not the same. So many changes happen to the script in between the writing and production stages. Could it be that Usman was promised a different kind of treatment in Sabaat that the show failed to deliver him once he had signed on to the show? Who can say for sure.
Usman is a wonderful actor, and more importantly a responsible artist who is vocal about the messages attached to the projects he is associated with. His character and track in Sabaat do not seem to reflect Usman’s philosophy as an artist in real life, which only furthers our suspicions about some kind of foul play in action here. But anyway, this is all just speculation on our part.
We hope that Usman’s future projects have him play a character that does justice to his acting skills as well as satisfied his fans.