Cheekh is a drama that dominated our social media feeds not just because of its stellar cast but also because of its compelling and highly entertaining story and script.
We would be glued to our screens, waiting eagerly every week to see what would happen next. At first, to find out who murdered Nayab (Ushna Shah) and then, to be stunned by the dramatic yet predictable revelation of Wajih (Bilal Abbas Khan) being the culprit, and of course, to watch the romantic and supportive husband Shayaan (Emmad Irfani).
Cheekh Tortures Audience With Its Plot
However a few weeks ago, all was ruined when Mannat’s (Saba Qamar) mother gave false evidence against her daughter declaring her to be mentally unstable. This lead Mannat to be admitted to a mental hospital. Well, we were all shocked, angry and so so disappointed without knowing that the torture didn’t end there.
To the viewers’ utter disappointement, a few episodes later, everyone’s favorite character, Mannat’s husband (Emmad Irfani), was also killed. All I can say is that agar aap nay kissi sey budla lena ho tau make them watch Cheekh, and just sit back and enjoy sweet revenge when they watch a few episodes of the drama (more like the middle, when they are thoroughly into it).
I am not exaggerating if I state that the writer played with the emotions of the viewers in the worst possible way. Why do I say that and why do I feel so strongly? …Hear me out.
Why I’m Disappointed With Cheekh
Dramas are one of the most powerful tools, for not only do they mirror our society but also play an instrumental role in shaping people’s minds and opinions. They can give you hope, dreams, inspire you and sometimes even guide you. They are also the most affordable and vital source of entertainment.
Cheekh deprived its viewers of both these values. It took away the entertainment part, it made us frustrated, disappointed and extremely angry with the way the storyline progressed.
Now let’s come to the second part. The biggest problem I have is the drama using the line “Khuda badtareen sey guzaar ker behtereen say nawazta hai”.
Really?… So what was the behtereen (excellent) part that happened to Mannat? She was left all alone, with nothing to go on in life, she lost every person in her family, she went through a torturous time … is this the definition of ‘best’ for the entire Cheekh team?
We as a nation have to stop using this line for all the bad things that happen in our lives or around us. (And dramas such as Cheekh have to stop reinforcing it). I refuse to believe that Allah wants to keep giving pain to someone. We and those around us are responsible for what happens to us, to the people around us, and to the society in general.
If Haya (Azekah Daniel) had been more sensible, if she had taken a stand at the right time, if Wajih’s friend had been more responsible … If Mannat’s jhitani had spoken up, (when she realized something was wrong), things would have been different.
Standing up for what is right and that the truth comes before family, friends, and ties – this is the simple rule. If we all follow this rule, we will witness fewer tragedies. We can improve the lives of many people, many cruel things can be prevented from happening. That’s the theme we need to focus on instead of using this phrase, again and again, to justify tragedies that might have been prevented, had we taken charge of our lives and stood up for the wrongs in our society.
Strong Beginning & Weak Ending
In the beginning, the writer and director followed an engaging, natural and interesting script. Mannat’s internal struggle about what to do, how to battle with herself, how to arrive at a final decision. When her husband and Wajih’s brother Shayaan return, and how he is also double-minded about things. The viewers could identify with this conflict and appreciate it.
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Cheekh developed Mannat’s character as a strong and brave woman, then she mysteriously transformed into someone submissive and weak. She was strong charactered when she was all alone in the beginning. However when she had her husband’s support plus Haya, why didn’t she keep fighting? Kuch to logical ho is sub main …Why couldn’t we witness a real legal battle, where we could understand the loopholes in the system? Why couldn’t we see how Mannat and Shayyan put their intelligence to better use? Whatever steps she took in the end, why couldn’t it all be done earlier? When Haya finally realizes, why couldn’t she help them earlier?
Why couldn’t Cheekh give hope to us? Why couldn’t Cheekh teach us how to fight this system and battle it out? Are we saying that all is lost in Pakistan, and we have absolutely no hope? Then why put everything right in the end?
Why couldn’t we show a happy ending for Shayan and Mannat? Why couldn’t Cheekh show that God helps those, who help themselves? And it’s not God, it’s our very own decisions and cowardice which leads to pain, injustice, and cruelty? Do we realize that it’s our khamoshi (silence) that’s responsible for a lot of the pain we suffer?
It’s also sad to see influential actors like Saba Qamar and Bilal Abbas supporting themes that give little or no hope to society. I have no doubt that if this cast was replaced by lesser-known actors, this drama would not accumulate much viewership. So a huge responsibility falls on the shoulders of these celebs.
Is Cheekh A Precursor For Far Worse Dramas In The Future?
If we cannot understand what was wrong with Cheekh then we should not complain about what’s happening in society, and the quality of drama scripts repeatedly thrown our way. If we do not protest, then we deserve Cheekh.
The drama would have delivered on all counts if the writer had paid heed to the social message that is so important for our viewers. Ranjha Ranjha Kardi is one such example – how they wrapped up the story and gave hope and inspiration to the audience, we are thankful to the entire RRK team for that. Maybe more writers should take pointers from them in the future.
Dramas are not only meant to reflect what happens in our society, but also, deliver a social message for viewers to understand that there is hope, we can be in charge of our destiny, and life does not have to be miserable because other people in our lives make it so. We expect this much from our writers, and while some have delivered by raising pertinent questions, and giving hope to the masses (who watch these dramas), some fail miserable – Cheekh tops the list of these failures.