When the promos of “Ruswai” initially went on air, it came across as a show where women would, once again, be seen as victims, suffering at the hands of society and their families. However, audiences took the show to be different based on writer Naila Ansari’s involvement with the drama, who has a reputation for writing strong female characters. Director Rubina Ashraf also spoke at length about her intentions behind the drama, showing how men within families should support their female family members and how the character of Hamzah should serve as an example to men in our society. Episode 1 served as a basis for the storyline, showing the family dynamics in the very different households of Sameera and Salman, two individuals deeply in love, but facing family opposition.
In episode 2, Hamzah (Osama Tahir) stands by his decision to refuse to set a wedding date with Warda (Minna Javed) until Salman (Mekaal Zulfiqar) and his family bring a Rishta for his sister, Sameera (Sana Javed). Salma (Irsa Ghazal) and her husband (Usman Peerzada) are disturbed, but Salma is unwilling to bend. Meanwhile, Salman visits Sameera at the hospital while she’s working and discusses the situation with her, but Hamzah catches him there and makes it clear that he is not welcome around his sister until he sends a formal proposal. Later, while Salman and Warda are out shopping, Pinky (Sharmeen Ali) joins the two, but Salman finds himself in an awkward position when Sameera and her sister bump into them. Pinky makes it seem as though she and Salman are close and excludes Sameera – which increases Sameera’s doubts.
When Sameera can visibly see that Salma is hell-bent on setting Salman up with Pinky (Sharmeen Ali) on top of the already on-going issue with Hamzah and Warda’s relationship, she makes a very intelligent decision. Instead of allowing herself to be a pawn in Salma’s game and be taken out of the picture by force, she chooses to retain her self-respect and has an honest discussion with her family. She puts importance on the wedding of her brother, sympathizing with Warda and the fact that Hamzah and Warda are already bound by a Nikkah. She decides that it’s more important that their marriage take place without any trouble and makes the decision to step away from Salman herself. When Salman’s parents finally give in to their son’s demands and realize that it is in their best interest to get Salman and Sameera married, they are shocked when Sameera’s parents inform them that Sameera has rejected the proposal, choosing to further pursue her education and go abroad. Salman is also angry and storms out.
What’s refreshing about “Ruswai” is that Sameera has a strong level of family support behind her. She can see the writing on the wall and is aware that Salma, her to-be mother in law, does not like her and is doing everything in her power to get Salman married to someone else. She is not a dim girl and decides that instead of wasting time on a futile relationship, it’s better to focus on her career. This is rare to see in a drama and it’s even more rare these days to see the type of family support Sameera is getting with this decision. One can only hope that she continues to receive this support even after the story takes off and tragedy strikes.