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Another drama that left an impression on me was GeoTV’s Saij, starring Nabeel as Raheel, Naheed Shabbir as Dua and Nousheen Shah as Romana. The drama has a lot of elements that I like dislike, we have the multiple marriages angle, the parental blackmail angle, the fear of how a broken engagement/divorce can ruin a woman’s life, and a man failing to protect his love, but despite all of that I felt that Saij had a good message about valuing the outsider, and that message left such a deep enough impression on me that I still remember the drama today. The word “Saij” kind of means “Wedding night bed”; it is the bed that the couple spends their first night in.
The story begins with Raheel living in America. We find out that Raheel has been abroad for a few years, but that he used to like Dua before he left. His sister, Rashna, thinking that she is helping him, tells his parents of his preference for Dua. The parents, geniuses that they are, decide to set up a match between Dua and Raheel. Without consulting their son, they advertise the engagement and set a date for the wedding. When Raheel comes back to Pakistan, he is faced with a fait accompli. When he tries to protest the match, his parents guilt him into going through with the wedding, citing the loss of their own honor and the damage that a broken engagement would do to Dua. Here, I’m a bit foggy on the details, but I believe that despite the fact that he has a valid reason for refusing (he is already married to Romana), Raheel does not explain his reasons for refusing. Either that, or his parents know about the wedding and guilt him into going through with the second marriage, thinking they’ll convince him to stay afterward. Raheel capitulates to wedding Dua without telling her that he is already married and giving her the chance to back out! He plans on returning to America and leaving Dua behind after the wedding.
Romana comes after her husband when Raheel repeatedly delays his return to the United States, and the truth comes out about his marriage. Romana reveals that the two have been married for two years. This revelation causes the business relationship between Raheel’s and Dua’s family to sour. Additionally, Rashna’s marriage to Dua’s younger brother, Kamraan, is also at risk because of Raheel’s previous marriage.
Every person in both of the families is out to protect Dua. They beseech Raheel to leave his first wife and stay with Dua. Even when Romana accepts the fact that Raheel has a second wife and is willing to share her husband, Raheel’s parents are not willing to accept her as a daughter-in-law. They do not want Romana to stay and be a part of their son’s life; they are only willing to accept Dua and want only Dua in their son’s life. And they do not care how unfair they are being to Romana. Romana has no family and no one to support her in the face of this backlash, and makes the best decision she can under the circumstances.
Dua, seeing how Raheel’s first marriage is tearing the family apart, tells Raheel to take her to America, where she would be willing to live a quiet life. Once everyone realizes that Dua will be leaving them, they go, one by one, to Romana and ask her to take care of their precious Dua. Romana is hurt and irritated by this, and demands to know why is it that Dua is the only one who needs protection. She is an outsider, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t deserve love and care. She is heartbroken by the solidarity that has kept her out of that family circle. She also knows that if she takes Raheel with her, he will never be able to return to the fold again. In the end, she returns to America, leaving Raheel behind.
I loved this drama for its characterization of the woman that was born and raised in a foreign land and the fact that she has worth too. Even if she does not share the same background as you, the drama reminds the audience, she has rights and feelings and needs to be valued, as well. We don’t know much about Romana, except that she has no family. When she comes to get her husband, she is open about staking her claim. Once she sees how important Raheel is to his family, she is willing to stay and is willing to accept another woman in her husband’s life. She is willing to remain in Pakistan, when her life is in America. Despite all of that, she faces rejection on all fronts. Her in-laws do not want her in their son’s life, regardless of what sacrifice she is willing to make. Every person in both of Raheel’s and Dua’s family treat her as the outsider, even though Dua is the one who was the unknowing usurper. In a situation where neither woman deserves the blame, Romana takes the punishment because her departure will be the only thing that will make the families happy. In the end, she is the one left alone through no fault of her own. I liked Romana’s grace under fire, her ability to coolly look at things and make the compromise, and her vulnerability at the end when she asks Kamraan whether she doesn’t deserve some consideration, as well. I like how the drama makes us feel sympathy for this outsider, and doesn’t demonize her so that we can minimize the wrong done to her.
I believe that this drama is worth a watch just based on this one character. I disliked the parents because of the pressure they put on Raheel to marry, despite knowing that he did not want to marry Dua. I am so over the fact that elderly parents can pretty much guilt their children into doing what they want in dramas; it’s not like these elderly parents have to live with the decisions they force on their children. I also disliked Raheel for betraying his wife by marrying another, and for putting Romana in a position where she had to make the sacrifice. Once again, we have the example of a man that falls in love but is an utter failure in protecting the woman he married. I felt nothing for any of the other characters, even Dua, who just had to be there and be nice. But Romana made this drama worth a watch, and I liked Nousheen’s portrayal of Romana.
I’d say … give it a watch if you have the opportunity.