Islamic countries are often criticised for having regressive laws or traditions that curb the growth of their women. Though Vani, a custom in which young girls or women are punished for the wrongdoings of their male relatives, is illegal in Pakistan, continues to thrive. Sammi features Mawra Hocane (last seen in the 2016 Hindi feature ‘Sanam Teri Kasam’) as a young woman who is asked to pay for her elder brother’s crime. Though the central protagonist is shown to be a victim of the Vani system, the show focuses on some other important female characters and brings to fore the atrocities levelled on them by a ruthless, patriarchal society. Naheed (Nadia Afgan) a nurse by profession is ill-treated by her brother and his wife. After her father’s death, her brother usurps all their ancestral property and even asks Zaira to shell out a rent for staying in her own house. Salima is often taunted by her mother-in-law for bearing five daughters and not being able to conceive a son. While Rashid (Adnan Siddiqui), her husband, is not as unhappy as his mother, he also pushes her to keep trying unless she bears a son.
Ten episodes have been aired so far and each of them has focussed almost equally on all the aforementioned tracks and other sub-plots embedded within them. The pace of the show has been pretty good and it has managed to keep one entertained by throwing surprises once in a while. One is dreaded to see Sammi being at the mercy of a lady who sternly tells her that she would give her shelter only if she agrees to join her ‘dhandha’. To one’s relief, it is revealed that the lady expects Sammi to work in her salon/spa. Chandi (Sania Saeed), the lady, does not turn out to be as cruel as she had seemed at the onset and you see a brighter glimmer of hope as her son Salar (Ahad Raza Mir) a good-natured young man, returns home and is drawn towards Sammi.
The show benefits from a terrific line-up of actors who have been cast appropriately and deliver memorable performances. Mawra Hocane, who is known for playing aggrieved characters in most of her serials, portrays the role of a woman who has been wronged by the society. Mawra depicts the anguish and sufferings of Sammi effectively through her expressions. Adnan Siddiqui, soon to be seen in the Sridevi starrer ‘Mom’, strikes a fine balance between showing the character’s tough and vulnerable side.
As the story unravels, you are startled to see the kind of regressive mind set some people have in today’s day and age. You are also saddened to see the kind of pain and agony women are made to go through in the name of culture, traditions and religion. The ten episode old show has definitely managed to impress one and one hopes the pace does not get slackened and the message, it intends to put across, does not get diluted as it marches towards its finale.
(Sammi airs on Hum TV in Pakistan. People residing in other countries can watch the show on Hum TV’s official YouTube channel.)