Imran Ashraf and Yumna Zaid’s Inkaar: Exploring A Dark Reality And The Justice System
TV/Streaming Reviews

Imran Ashraf and Yumna Zaid’s Inkaar: Exploring A Dark Reality And The Justice System

Inkaar, starring Imran Ashraf and Yumna Zaif, shows Imran portraying Rehan in an alarmingly realistic fashion, as a reflection of society

Episode 15 of Inkaar has propelled the show forward in an interesting way. Inkaar is a show that is loosely based on the Khadija Siddiqui case and with the first episode alone, viewers knew this show would be different than the norm. Up until now, viewers have witnessed Hajra’s (Yumna Zaidi) turmoil and the incidents leading up to Hajra being stabbed by Rehan (Imran Ashraf). While the last few episodes have seen Hajra recovering in the hospital and dealing with the physical and emotional fall-out of the crime, with episode 15, the story has now moved into the courtroom. 

Interestingly, the story took a unique turn that was unexpected by viewers.  Rehan, in his overconfidence and belief of his actions being valid, confessed his crime and described to the police, in exact detail, his crime on Hajra.  He describes the stabbing as an unplanned attack, one committed out of anger and passion.  He goes on to restate this declaration in front of a judge in the courtroom, only to have his lawyer declare him mentally imbalanced and he is ordered to seek a psychiatric evaluation.  Rehan continues to pursue Hajra throughout the episode in an eerie way, openly declaring to Shayaan (in front of Hajra) that Rehan and Hajra had a court marriage and she is his legal wife – a declaration in court that would possibly absolve him of any wrong-doing.  Despite the fact that domestic abuse is an entirely different conversation, Rehan’s words paint a grim portrait of the battle Hajra faces in the future.  Imran Ashraf deserves a round of applause for his role in Inkaar.  His portrayal of Rehan, a man who believes he has ownership of a girl simply because he desires her is a realistic depiction of men that exist in our society – and it puzzles, alarms and scares the viewer all at once.

On the other end, Shayaan (Sami Khan) continues to grapple with his guilt.  His mistrust of Hajra cost him his relationship with her and this is something he is unable to forgive himself for.  Seeking forgiveness for his actions, he leaves the comforts of his father’s home and lives in unlavish conditions as he continues to appear in court, supporting Hajra every step of the way.  While Shayaan was wrong in his mistrust, his flaw is very different from Rehan’s, as Shayaan’s flaws are human flaws and only make Shayaan more relatable.  Sami Khan has a knack for portraying these kind, but flawed characters.  He inserts the perfect amount of human error wrapped with a thin layer of sincerity and, as always, it works.  His eyes speak volumes.

Last but not least, we see Hajra (Yumna Zaidi) and Hafiz Sahab (Rehan Sheikh) appear for their continuous court appearances.  Hafiz Sahab stands tall by his daughter, supportive and protective, portraying the father every woman wants (and needs).  Rehan Sheikh deserves a standing ovation for this character, so lovable and earnest in his portrayal that the viewer waits for his scenes.  Yumna Zaidi as Hajra is not spoken about as much as the male actors as of yet – and that’s for a very simple reason.  At this moment, Hajra is a victim.  She is emotionally hurt, physically hurt and has been rejected by many people in society, including her to-be father in law and her own brother.  She feels betrayed by her fiancé, a man who was supposed to stand by her and believe in her.  Most importantly, she is now untrusting of men and relies solely on her father for support.  Hajra will stand up and Hajra will shine soon enough, but until then, Yumna Zaidi’s portrayal of Hajra speaks volumes in her silence and stares.  She has built an aura around Hajra that, despite her protective stance, speaks for Hajra’s pain.

Inkaar has hit a point in the show where the viewer expects it to have hit touchdown.  A slow, but compelling buildup, this drama is now ready to take off and touch upon the justice system in Pakistan.  Will Hajra receive the justice she so deserves?  Or will she, like so many before her, face rejection and disappointment from the justice system built to protect and support citizen?  Only time will tell.

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By Sophia Qureshi
Pakistani Drama enthusiast, Bollywood fan, elementary school teacher, writer, reader, photographer, lifelong student and mother