A twenty-one-episode drama serial, Sammi was produced by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP), in partnership with the Center for Communication Programs Pakistan, MD Productions and Hum TV. It was broadcast in the prime time slot of 8 to 9 pm on Sunday nights from January to June 2017. The overall objective of this entertainment education product was to raise knowledge on a range of mother and child health issues prevalent in Pakistan. Specific messages on inter-spousal communication, family planning, and son preference were woven through the episodes and embraced by the characters. Set in a village in Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab, the drama had an intricate script penned by the renowned Noor ul Huda Shah and directed by Saife Hassan, both of whom need no introduction in the field of drama and entertainment.
The story centered on the antiquated and rigid custom of Vanni or forced marriage of a girl for a crime committed by a male relative. This is symbolic of the value of women and how that plays out in a community’s understanding of gender. In particular Adnan Siddiqui who played “Rashid” the Chowdhury’s key henchman conveyed the pathos of social and cultural prejudices and oppression that are still common in some rural settings. Sammi was hailed in reviews as intensely engaging and thought provoking and created a stir by highlighting critical cultural and social norms that are not discussed in Pakistani milieu. The nominations in three categories of the prestigious Lux Style Awards further reinforces the positive response to “Sammi” and bear testimony to the high quality of writing, direction and acting that came together seamlessly to create this important drama serial.