What It's Like To Play Nasir Khan's Mother On The Night Of

Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO.
The Night Of saga comes to a close this Sunday, August 28, and I am not mentally prepared for it. There are so many loose ends to be tied up, and so many theories that need to be addressed. Not to mention that so many characters have left us confused by their actions (most notably, Nasir Khan).

In episode 7, Naz's mother, Safar Khan (Poorna Jagannathan), exchanges chilling dialogue with her son's attorney, Chandra (Amara Karan) in the bathroom of the courthouse. Safar asks Chandra of Naz, "Did I raise an animal?" — because, Safar says, only an animal could have so brutally murdered the victim, Andrea Cornish.

This pivotal scene is the first time viewers are granted access to the thoughts of an otherwise silent and mysterious character. In an interview on Medium, Jagannathan said that while "it's tough" expressing her character's emotions with only a few lines, it does make her give a more "stripped-down performance."

The actress also spoke for her character, saying she feels that Safar is slowly realizing she has lost her son in more ways than one. "There is something that makes her go and search Naz’s room right in the beginning and start looking through his things [in episode 2,]" she said. "You see the shift very subtly in the beginning. She finds condoms and a Maxim magazine. Not a big deal for a young man to have those things in America, but culturally where this family comes from, they become a big deal — a symbol of the fact that he has veered from the strict morals they brought him up with."

Unfortunately, the interview offered no new clues about what to expect from the final episode. The closest we got was this final quote: "If Naz is innocent or guilty, it doesn’t matter because everyone has already lost something they will never find again." That something for Naz is the trust of the most important woman in his life — his mom.
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