Khaas is a show that evokes many different emotions with each episode. At times, it’s more understandable and digestible to watch something tangible or, to put it simply, visible. When viewers see physical abuse on-screen, it’s understood – this is bad. Bardaasht karo (Tolerate it) is what our society says when women complain about unkind spouses. South Asian cultures have generally promoted this idea that women should accept their husbands as they are, complete with bad behavior. As verbal abuse is not something particularly highlighted in our society, Khaas has become a hot topic of discussion. On one end, some have misconstrued the show to depict a hero with negative traits, not understanding that he is not intended to be a “hero.” On the other side, women on social media have been criticizing Sanam Baloch’s character as stubborn, making excuses for Ammar’s character. While this debate has kept Khaas in the news, the message at the heart of the show is clear – abuse is abuse, whether it’s physical or verbal.
In episode 10, Faakhir (Haroon Shahid) stops by Saba’s house to drop off a book that she left at his place. Saba (Sanam Baloch) and Faakhir share a warm conversation and Faakhir invites both Saba and Ammar to a mushaira (poetry reading) at his house. When Saba passes the message on to Ammar, Ammar calls mushairas boring and Saba begins to insist, saying that art creates sensitive people and those people bring beauty to the world. This comment is halted by Ammar’s declaration that if such is the case and she is sensitive, where is her beauty? She neither brings beauty to his house nor to society. He follows up this harsh comment by telling her that she’s welcome to attend Faakhir’s event on her own, but he won’t be joining her.
Preceding this scene, Saba and Ammar have a discussion over Ammar’s car troubles and Saba asks Ammar why he didn’t simply take her car. Ammar says “Jo ehsaan leta hai uska sar hamesha jhuka rehta hai. Ammar ehsaan karta hai taakay doosron ka sar uske saamne jhukay” (A person who takes favors always has a bowed head. I do favors for others, so their head remains bowed in front of me).
Ammar has a conversation with Saba’s father, Faraaz (Behroze Sabzwari) on the phone and agrees to come over for dinner, but once he hangs up, he tells Saba that he has no desire to go and that she should handle the situation. Saba is angry, but in an effort to cover for her husband, she tells her mother, Sadaf (Lubna Aslam), that they have alternate plans. Unfortunately, when Saba attends Faakhir’s mushaira (with Ammar’s permission), Ammar tells Faraaz that Saba declined the invitation herself so she could go to the mushaira, an event she’s attending without his permission. He puts Saba down, making her seem irresponsible not only to her own family, but his own as well.
At the mushaira, as Saba is leaving, a guest mistakes Saba for Faakhir’s wife, putting Saba in an uncomfortable frame of mind. Later, when Faakhir calls her to attend another event, she informs him that it’s not appropriate for him to call her and he should call Ammar next time if he needs anything from her. While Faakhir is hurt, he seems to understand her words and berates himself for crossing a line.
Hypocrisy at its best is displayed when Ammar meets a recently divorced classmate of his and comes home to Saba full of praises for the woman. Ammar is impressed with her independence and hard work towards her profession – something he won’t allow for his own wife. However, Ammar is not aware that his wife is up for hire at his office, a fact that will be revealed to him in the next episode.
Throughout the episode, two things are made particularly evident. One, indications are made in several scenes that Saba is pregnant. This will be an interesting twist in the tale, but one hopes it doesn’t point to compromise and the writers don’t use a child to wrap up the story happily for Ammar and Saba. Second, Ammar’s sister is very clearly interested in Faakhir – this story arc does not serve any logical purpose other than to create more problems for Saba where it’s not needed. In episode 10 itself, jealousy has begun to rear its ugly head and it’s not entertaining in the least bit.
This episode is jolting as to the height of Ammar’s narcissism and ego. His inability to put anyone above himself or even allow a person to be on the receiving end of respect is outstanding in the most negative way. Few scenes in Pakistani dramas have been able to induce this sort of anger and disdain. Ali Rehman Khan is doing a brilliant job in his role as Ammar and he may be one of the most unpalatable characters in Pakistani television history and that’s a compliment not only to Ali’s acting, but also to the writer. At this moment, Khaas has kept true to its theme. One hopes they do not falter and see the story through to the end. Faakhir’s character is the light in this story and one can only hope both Faakhir and Saba receive the happiness they deserve – hopefully together.
Watch the episdoe here: