Geo TV’s Qayamat starring Ahsan Khan, Neelam Munir, Amar Khan, and Haroon Shahid is amongst the most sought after television shows of the (new) year and has naturally received a polarising response for its content and characterisation by its audience and critics. Directed by Ali Faizan and penned by Sarwat Nazeer of Main Abdul Qadir Hoon fame, one certain element of the play has received unanimous appreciation and that is Amar Khan’s stellar performance as Samra.
Limited variety of female characters
Pakistani dramas are frequently criticised for offering limited variety and controlled dimensions to female characters. The set prototypes of a girl next door or a damsel in distress, make it hard for fresh talent to get noticed in the barrage of monotonous characters and narrowed storylines. The concept of ensemble casting also makes it rather difficult for a supporting role to be the scene-stealer. It takes a great performer to be noticed and liked by the audience despite the presence of more popular and experienced artists.
Qayamat’s latest episode was crafted with intense scenes ranging from themes such as domestic abuse, toxic masculinity, oppression, infidelity and misogyny all being essayed through Ahsan Khan’s character, Rashid, and Amar Khan who plays Samra. Despite being cousins, the two belong to contrasting socioeconomic classes in the society which leads to Samra being oppressed by Rashid after their marriage.
Amar’s scene-stealing performance
Despite playing a stereotypical role which also has elements of repressiveness, Amar makes her character likable by not dramatising her vocal tones and also keeps her nuances subtle. The Dum Mastam actress has gotten into the skin of her character and makes it authentic with appropriate utilisation of wardrobe, jewelry, and make-up. Her performance is as natural as it can get. The bonafide performer makes sure she never goes overboard with her expressions and lets her eyes do the talking where words can’t.
She stands tall in front of senior actors such as Ahsan Khan and Saba Faisal and holds her own in the scene where she is asked by Ahsan’s character to swear upon the holy book to prove her innocence and righteousness as he doubts on her for being in an illicit affair with her friend’s brother, Saad, before marrying him. Her artistic transition of expressions from angst to helplessness to being emotionally firm is top-notch. The sequence where she stuffs her mouth with a piece of her shawl while crying to control the sound of her screaming pain gave us goosebumps and also made the eyes water.
Samra also bags some of the most impactful dialogues in the screenplay, when Rashid imposes his gender superiority on her by saying that “Main tumhara shohar hoon, admi hoon, jo dil me ayega karunga”. Samra reverts back sarcastically “Admi hain, shohar hain, kuch bhi karne ki ijazat to nahi hai, magar ap kuch bhi kar saktay hain”. She also builds the strength to expose her husband when he suspects her of stealing jewelry that was gifted by her in-laws, making her character different from the prototypes of a conventional damsel in distress of our television dramas.
She completely wins us over and leaves a mark on us with her tear jerker performance and leaves her fans asking for more of her in the forthcoming episodes which promises even more intense scenes going by the promos.