In my review of drama serial O Rang Reza’s first episode, I argued that Sassi, played by Sajal Ali may be a father-fixated girl, for her abnormal inclination towards her father renders her a character possessing a complex psyche, termed as ‘electra complex’ by Neo-Freudian psychologists. Secondly, it was feared that her idealisation of her father Khayaam (Noman Ejaz) which exceeds its limits might result in something dangerous, for Saji Gul is known for incorporating mysticism in his plays, and human idealisation has no place in mystical teachings.

In his play Sanata, when Tipu Sharif fell for Sajal Ali, he was asked to leave the shrine in which he worked, for the worldly love put obstacles in the way of divine love. The fear related to Sassi’s intense love for her father takes the form of reality in the 5th episode of O Rang Reza  when in her endeavour to please him, she performs along with Sonia Jahan (Sana Fakhar) in a gathering, probably believing that her father who admires Sonia Jahan so much would equally appreciate his daughter aspiring to be a similar model. Things turn out to be unanticipated. Sassi’s father slaps her and tells her that she is not a ‘tawaif’ (dancing girls who are considered coquettish as well). The slap scene results in two revelations. It is not only that Sassi who was idealizing her father excessively and had never been beaten by him received her first slap and got shocked at it, but what is to be noticed is the male hypocrisy hidden behind this slap. Equally shocking for Sassi as that slap is her multi-faceted father who has turned out to be a typical eastern man whose standards vary from woman to woman. Where he demands a chaste, compliant and a submissive woman as his wife, he desires another category of women in order to fulfil his pleasures, the one which Sonia belongs to. The revelation of this fact is what may have baffled Sassi, for her expressions in the slap scene reflected deep confusion. The confusion might have arisen from the following questions: Is her father a hypocrite who treats different women differently? Has he been doing wrong to Mumtaz (Irsa Ghazal)? Is he a patriarch who would rule his daughter as he has been ruling his wife? what is Sassi’s own place in the house? Does he really love Sonia Jahan or is she just a tool with which he can play?

Whereas Sonia Jahan is concerned, she has turned out to be a shrewd and experienced woman from the industry, who happens to be well-aware of the double standards of men, as a consequence of which she does not care anymore what they think, which is evident from the fact that she is indifferent towards people’s comments on her bold photoshoot. This woman who made it clear in the 4th episode that she is nothing but an illusion is not confused and has not set herself on any journey of self-actualisation like Sassi. She knows herself and knows the world. It is a result of that which makes her curious to know whether Khayyam, who admires her and composes poetry in her name really loves Sonia as a human being, or is he too after her persona on screen. Her bold shoot seems to be one of her tricks to test Khayyam’s honesty towards her. It remains a matter of curiosity what Khayyam is after: her real personality or the model Sonia? Is he living in reality or in illusion?

The third woman, Mumtaz (Irsa Ghazal) has revealed herself as the perfect wife and the perfect mother of people who are related to her through blood. The only problem is that Mumtaz’s mortification both by her husband and her daughter has kept her from knowing her worth. What Khayyam is doing and what he has revealed about himself suggests that in order to show off to the world that he is chaste and respectable, a wife like Mumtaz is the best. Not only this, but what eventually befalls such hypocrites inclines them to revert to their servile wives, who are ever-ready to welcome their husbands no matter how much wrong they have done to them. The question which Sonia has put before Khayyam will tell how much Khayyam needs a woman like Mumtaz. That her bold photoshoot has somewhat disturbed him does hint that he is after the apparent Sonia, and if that ideal breaks, he will have to run to Mumtaz. Secondly, it is Mumtaz whose examples are being given to Sassi now by her father in order to represent an image of a respectable woman. What Sassi has been doing to her mother and what her father has been doing to her will now probably come as wrong before Sassi. She might come to realize now her mother’s worth and courage who has spent her entire life with a hypocrite like Khayyam.  This state of not knowing her importance in which Mumtaz dwells might help Sassi in making her journey in which she will learn what sort of a man runs the house and what he demands from his women. She might also learn to be humble, to be obedient to a mother after knowing what her father has actually been doing.

O Rang Reza  takes on the topics of patriarchy, hypocrisy of eastern men and the place of women in Pakistani society in a very different manner as compared to other dramas. It isn’t directly or through commonplace incidents that characters are being revealed. The characters are developing. They are growing and setting off on journeys in which they will come to know themselves as well as the people who surround them.