“Ruswai” could be seen as a typical story of “watta satta,” on that we’ve seen many times before – what happens when two siblings marry two other siblings and how are these relationships affected when one couple faces a problem? This isn’t anything new. However, this time, the show not only focuses on this issue, but incorporates an even greater issue: What happens when a serious tragedy takes place and how is the “victim” (or survivor?) perceived in our society after this? Women are treated differently in our society and not given the level of respect they deserve. Director Rubina Ashraf spoke about the purpose behind making this drama, stating that while we raise sons, as a country, we do not always raise good men – and in this story, she strives to show how good men should behave and support the women in their lives.
In the first episode, we are introduced to Sameera (Sana Javed) and her family, which includes her brother Hamza (Osama Tahir), a sister and her parents Mehmood (Mohammed Ahmed) and Zakiya (Seemi Raheel). This family is depicted as a tight-knit, loving unit. Sameera is a doctor and has been in a relationship with Salman (Mekaal Zulfiqar) for the past 4 years. Hamza has also recently had his nikkah with Wardah (Minna Javed), Salman’s younger sister. While Salman and Sameera are very much in love, Salman’s mother, Salma (Irsa Ghazal), is very much against this relationship and wants to get Salman married to a different type of girl. She is also against the concept of “watta satta” and makes it clear that she doesn’t want to marry both her children into the same family. This becomes a point of contention, as Salman is unwilling to give up his love. When Sameera’s family visits Salman’s family to discuss a wedding date for Hamzah and Wardah, Hamzah puts his foot down and states that Sameera and Salman’s marriage date should be set soon, or else…..
The most refreshing scene is the last scene of the episode where Hamza takes a stand for his sister, making it clear that if Sameera’s marriage isn’t fixed to Salman soon, Hamza will be forced to take action regarding his own marriage to Wardah. What sets this scene apart is that while Sameera’s parents are willing to bend and sacrifice Sameera’s relationship with Salman for the sake of their son, Hamzah himself is unwilling to let this go and defends his sister with a very stern stance. Osama Tahir has had some nice roles in the past, but in this first episode, his performance really makes his character stand out as the most likable character (so far). It’s clear that Hamza will be Sameera’s greatest defender and that role itself is what makes “Ruswai” come off as different.
While the first episode is kept fairly straight-forward and focuses on dynamics between Salman and Sameera’s families, viewers are already aware of what is upcoming in the show regarding Sana Javed’s character Sameera. Considering Salma does not like Sameera already and is doing everything in her power to break off Salman’s relationship with her, it will be no surprise that Salman’s mother will be the greatest critic and voice of scorn after Sameera faces an unspeakable horror. How the story unfolds from this point onwards will be interesting to see. It manages to hold the viewer’s interest and keep the audience waiting for episode 2. The show is off to a good start!