Atiqa Odho as Raheela in Pardes – She’s firm yet sensitive, she’s a possessive mother with a single-minded purpose, yet, despite her selfishness, she seems to have earned our respect, and sympathy?
I ask my daughter in-law brain. Why has Raheela managed to get under my skin, and why am I even appreciating her single-minded, steadfast resolve to see her son succeed, despite all odds?
Probably because … Atiqa Odho has played this one so credibly that I’m stumped!
A round of applause for Sarwat Nazir (writer) for scripting such a relatable character who admirably transitions between positive and negative. Negative characters have often spoiled the game in Pakistani dramas by turning viciously toxic & hugely unrelatable. However, we see a refreshing change in Mansoora of Pyar ke Sadqay, Mansoor (Omair Rana’s character) in HKKST & even Asim in Pardes.
Marina Khan has directed the cast with sensitivity
The characters exhibit relatable emotions in such a way that they are not OTT, urging us to listen to them & not merely write them off as another toxic character – case in point, Raheela.
When she deals with the barrage of negativity from Rohail & Sheema with stone cold silence, we feel for her. When she relegates Ayman & Ibaad to separate rooms, we feel she’s being too harsh. When she is forced to attend an emergency Nikah for her son, we sympathize with her, and then, when she tends to Ayman in her pregnancy (like a mother in-law, not a mother), ticking off all the right boxes but without excessive show of emotion – coz that would have been quite unnatural and un-Raheela-ish, we appreciate her gesture. When she advises Ibaad to not play phone tag with Ayman & focus on his work, you relate to the mother in-law in her, right?
And that’s what she is, so why would we want her to go against her nature?
Yes, I am able to empathize with Raheela – and although she irks my ‘daughter in-law sensitivities’, she sometimes manages to just win my heart. There are many Raheela’s in my life – they try to be fair to others, but maintain a purposeful agenda – isn’t that what every one aims for – so why blame her for self preservation?