Inkaar, Episode 18: Character Assassination and the Implications of Guilt

Inkaar, Episode 18: Character Assassination and the Implications of Guilt

In Inkaar, episode 18 touches upon victim-blaming, shaming and the dismissal of guilt based on a woman’s character
Inkaar, Episode 18:  Character Assassination and the Implications of Guilt

Unlike other shows, Inkaar has set a pace for itself, one that fails to let the viewer down. Each episode is captivating and, quite honestly, each new episode is better than the last.  What sets Inkaar apart is its stark realism and its unwavering loyalty to telling a story without softening the blow for the viewers.  And when telling a story about the justice system, is it possible to tell one without hardships?  The justice system is flawed, favoring the powerful over the true victims – and in Inkaar, the story follows this track. 

As the episode opens, Shayaan (Sami Khan) returns home.  His parents happily welcome him, but the visit ends in a war of words between Shayaan and his father (Noor Ul Hassan).  Shayaan vents his frustrations towards Hajra’s (Yumna Zaidi) case after the death of Gullu Baadshah (Iftikharani).  He asks his father for help in acquiring the CCTV footage for the case.  His father’s calculations and manipulations are evident in this scene, attempting to control Shayaan with his conditions on helping Hajra, which include Shayaan forgetting Hajra entirely.

What’s most interesting about this episode is a discussion carried out by Shayaan and his father – one that discusses society and their views on people. Gullu Badmaash carries the title “Badmaash” in his name, a man who is considered “bad” by society, but for Hajra, he was ultimately a hero.  For people in his neighborhood, he served as a protector in ways unimaginable.  The support Gullu Badmaash provided for Hajra was immense and his loss had an unfathomable effect on her case.  Hajra and Hafiz Ilyas (Rehan Sheikh) vow to continue their battle, if not for Hajra herself, then to avenge the death of Gullu Badmaash.  With Gullu Badmaash out of the way, Rehan’s (Imran Ashraf) lawyers are now free to attack Hajra from all corners – and they do.

Rehan’s lawyer, played by Ali Tahir, calls Mansoor Jamal, Hajra’s head of department, to the witness stand.  It is here that Mansoor Jamal begins his character assassination of Hajra, declaring her characterless by informing the court of her “multiple boyfriends.”  When Shayaan angrily intervenes and sets out to clear the record, he is handcuffed and removed from the court for creating a disturbance.  He is sentenced to jail time for the duration of the trial.  Sami Khan is brilliant as Shayaan in this episode, depicting Shayaan’s inner conflict, love and anger all in one go. 

As always, the scenes between Hajra and Hafiz Ilyas are the most heartwarming.  Its wonderful to see Yumna Zaidi and Rehan Sheikh’s chemistry as father and daughter, the support Hajra’s father provides for her being the backbone of the show.  However, in this episode, Hafiz Ilyas and Hajra are delivered a gut-wrenching blow from their lawyer as he returned their fees.  Stating that he does not accept payment for cases lost, the writing is on the wall.  As Hajra meekly asks if they could appeal the case after losing, the lawyer apologizes and says he cannot take the risk of a second loss.  In this moment, Hafiz Ilyas continues to provide his daughter with support despite his own feelings of loss, pointing to the sky, indicating that she have faith in God.  One cannot praise the acting in this scene enough.  Both Yumna Zaidi and Rehan Sheikh deserve a standing ovation.

Due to lack of witnesses and evidence, Rehan is given a verdict of not guilty, setting Hajra’s attacker free into the world – but also with hopes of “acquiring” Hajra again.  His arrogance shines through as he politely bids goodbye to Hajra’s father, leaving the father-daughter duo visibly shaken.  Imran Ashraf has to be lauded here, he does a great job as the pompous, arrogant Rehan.  Things go from bad to worse when Hajra’s brother begins taunting Hajra over the verdict, declaring that she has shamed the family.  Hafiz Ilyas takes him into a room and takes his anger out on his son physically in a moment of weakness, tired of hearing taunts and unable to hear them in his own house. 

At the end of the episode, we see Rehan angry with his mother when she does not commit to asking for Hajra’s hand in marriage for him.  As he continues to pester her, she snaps and slaps him across the face.  This is a telling moment for Rehan as up until now, he placed his entire trust in his mother, considering her weak and believing she will do whatever he wants.  This move may indicate a shift in Rehan, one that sees him moving towards his father and stepmother in loyalty.  Such a move could create a situation more dangerous than the present one.  Will Hajra appeal the case?  Will Rehan continue to pursue Hajra romantically?  Will Hajra forgive Shayaan?  How the situation unfolds from here, time will tell.  

Watch the full episode here:

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