Genuine characters displaying genuine affection and depicting logical reactions are a rarity in Pakistani dramas these days. This is why men like Shayaan from “Cheekh” come across as such genuine, lovable characters – they are not common to see on television. It is not common to see a husband support his wife against his family – unless of course, she’s manipulative and demonic, in which case he will support her every move. Case in point being Surkh Chandni, featuring Mukhtar (Hassan Ahmed), a brother who dotes on his essentially evil wife, Shumaila (Mansha Pasha) and wreaks havoc on the lives of his entire family because of her actions. Therefore, a character like Ammar (Osman Khalid Butt) shines bright like a diamond in this otherwise grim, upsetting story. Watching Ammar’s love for Aida (Sohai Ali Abro) and his unwavering loyalty is what brings the audience back for more each week.
In episodes 9 and 10 of Surkh Chandni, Aida’s plight goes from bad to worse when her pictures are plastered all over the neighborhood, triggering Mukhtar’s “Ghairat” – ghairat which provokes him to kick Aida out of the house. He tells her that she has 2 days to find a place to stay, because he will no longer allow her to be in a home with his young daughter. Badar (Rashid Farooqui), Aida’s father, is overcome with feelings of helplessness as he is unable to care and provide for her daughter, unable to offer her protection from society or even the words of his own son. Badar’s state of mind begins to spiral.
Ammar pushes forward in his efforts to secure a job, marry Aida and take her away from her overbearing household. The ever-supportive and kind lover, Ammar not only understands Aida’s pain, but feels it intensely on her behalf. He struggles with his inability to help her more and is constantly encouraged by his mother to better himself in order to provide Aida with what she needs. Ready to marry Aida, Ammar happily prepares for their Nikkah the following day. However tragedy strikes before this can happen.
Badar, in a moment of despair, seeing no way out, commits suicide. His body is found by Aida and the family mourns the loss. Unfortunately for Aida, she is further isolated by this act of her father, blamed for his death not only by her brother, but also by her grieving mother. As Ammar fights for Aida’s rights and offers support, he neglects his newly acquired job and is fired – pushing his plans of bringing Aida home further away.
In the end, we see an emotionally distraught Aida attempt to slit her wrists before changing her mind and walking into Jawad’s house and then Jawad’s room with a knife, lifting the knife to stab him. Episode 10 ends here and the audience will have to wait for episode 11 to see whether Aida stabs Jawad or backs off. Either way, it’s great to see Aida finally fighting against her situation. Sohai Ali Abro is doing a great job as Aida, allowing the audience to truly feel for her as an individual and understand her pain. Likewise, Osman Khalid Butt is making an impact as Ammar. In the scene where Aida is grieving over her father’s death, Osmaan’s performance in Ammar’s breakdown is heart wrenching. Special mention has to be given to Asad Siddiqui, who is bringing Jawad to life as a truly despicable character.
It is important that women see the strong side of Aida and see her push forward, moving away from the negativity in her home environment. Once supported, she has now lost the support of her mother and her father is dead – leaving her at the mercy of her evil sister in law and brother. In situations like this, viewers find themselves heavily rooting for characters like Ammar, praying that he can get Aida out of that bad situation so she can learn to live once again – and fight against Jawad.