Saba Qamar’s “Cheekh” has been a show of interest since episode one first aired months ago. Since then, viewers have been hooked on Mannat’s trials and tribulations regarding her fight for justice for her friend’s death. A show that promised to raise its voice against injustice and project victory for the less powerful, Cheekh seemed to boast of a great message. Unfortunately, Cheekh at present has failed to leave the impact viewers desired. With only one episode left, the audience is still waiting to see Mannat sit up and take charge, fight fearlessly and display that the underdog can come out on top with sheer determination and internal strength. Instead, viewers are grappling with the idea that Mannat stands for the very reason why individuals (specifically women) do not fight for their rights. Women do not fight against injustice because they are rarely heard, told to keep silent and, in the off chance that they choose to speak out, they are put at the center of insults, degradation and loss of dignity – if not worse. Unfortunately, losing her unborn child, losing her mother and, essentially, losing her sanity and freedom, Mannat’s situation on screen has not been a bed of roses nor has it particularly been a picture of strength and positivity.
The latest episode, episode 25, did not show as much movement as one would expect. Shayaan (Emmad Irfani) and Yawar (Aijaz Aslam) face off when Yawar visits Shayaan at home. Shayaan, visibly upset, does not bow down to Yawar’s demands. Yawar suggests Mannat and Shayaan move to America and put all of this mess behind them. At this time, Shayaan lets Yawar know that he is no longer trustworthy and their relationship has been badly affected by this entire situation. At the hospital, Mannat comes face to face with an unwanted visitor, Wajih. After seeing him, Mannat loses control and attacks him, taken away by the medical staff. Despite the doctor on duty’s protests, Mannat is given injections of morphine and other medications that are slowly making her unstable and out of her senses. As Shayaan continues to fight for Mannat’s release, the doctor informs Shayaan and Ramzan (Noor Ul Hassan) of Mannat’s mistreatment, with his conscience and inability to help his patient weighing heavily on his mind.
On the other end, Hayaa (Azekah Daniel) overhears Wajih (Bilal Abbas Khan) confessing his sins regarding Nayab’s (Ushna Shah) murder to his friend. Overcome with grief, Hayaa confronts Wajih at home as Wajih deflects the conversation – which only cements Hayaa’s anger towards her brother. At the end of the episode, Shayaan, in a rage after witnessing Mannat’s condition, heads over to Yawar’s home to confront Wajih. Things take an ugly turn when Shayaan pulls out a gun and in the middle of a tussle between the three brothers, the gun is set off.
With the next episode rumored to be the last, it’s left to be seen how the show wraps up. There is no easy, neat way to end this show at this point. There is too little to be done in too little time. Who was shot with the gun? Did Shayaan kill himself? Did the gun strike Wajih or Yawar? That’s an entirely different story arc in itself. Mannat’s sanity, Mannat’s release, Mannat’s fight for justice and Wajih’s sentence – can this all be wrapped up in one more episode? That’s the bottom line at this point and it is yet to be seen whether the show can end in a satisfying manner. At present, the show has focused on more misery and less on a powerful scream against injustice.