December , 2014


We take Dramas Seriously!

    Sajeela , Sajeela ,Sajeela , will you never change ?  A hint dropped here , a ...
Saima Chaudhry, our beloved designer from Faisalabad is BACK and thank God for that! Honestly, ...
    Shaak, betrayals, badlaa. The seeds of suspicion have been sown and looks like we will ...
First of all, let me just say that I miss Tariq Road and its chat ...
Quelle surprise! Who knew Dania would give in so easily to young love? Double surprise ...
I enjoyed watching this latest episode primarily because there was a lot of Maya in ...
Today as the credits rolled up to Zindagi Gulzar Hai, I just realized that despite ...
Aap bohot khush naseeb hain ke Falak jaisi haseen larki ab aap ki zindagi main ...
From the highs of last week to the frustrations of today’s episode. Mostly because the audio ...
    Are people really this easy to manipulate ? Gaythi Ara has learned from Masters of ...

Archive for the ‘Humsafar’ Category


Posted by Sadaf On April - 16 - 2014 17 COMMENTS


One of the strongest and perhaps most prevalent threads in the tapestry that is South Asianculture is the belief divine or karmic retribution. The subcontinent has little patience for “the randomness” of life explanations and open ended philosophy of the West: we look for finite conclusions to finite situations. Now I realise this put the producer and director between a rock and a hard place, Farida had to be punished without knocking into that other pillar of our society: honouring your mother. One of the main underpinnings of the Humsafar story is that Asher trusted his mother above his wife Khirad. So I think they chose the easier option and gave Farida a nervous breakdown rather than allowing her to be abandoned as in the book.

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Asher never willingly confronts his mother despite the absolute confirmation of her guilt. He blames himself, bangs his handsome head on a barrier before jumping into a car to fetch Khirad. He can barely meet her gaze now knowing how abominably he treated her but manages to cook up an excuse to bring her home. Again he does not confront his mother or blame her till she starts haranguing Khirad at the door.  I found this the most disturbing part of the finale.

Fawad, Mahirah and Atiqa had us enthralled. I am sure the entire country held its breath when Asher said “Bas Mummy Bas” ….” Hareem meri beti HAI, agar iss baat ka koi saboot nahi hai tho saboot iss baat ka bhi nahin hai key main Baseerat Hussain ka beta hoon “  Even then Farida is not willingly to accept any guilt or shame “ tum ,tum mujhe galiy dey rahey ho..?” I have to commend Atiqa Odho for carrying off that entire mental break down scene alone in her room but for me this was not a satisfying conclusion to her track.download (19)

The best of this entire episode was the reconciliation between Asher and Khirad, beautifully done; it has to be one of my favourite scenes out of all the dramas I have ever watched. Fawad and Mahirah carried the whole thing off with such subtlety; we could see the ebb and flow of their emotions as Asher negotiated his way back into Khirad’s life. The shake of Khirad’s head had him worried but then she admits that she is tired of struggling through life without him. I know some people think Khirad should never have forgiven Asher but as Farhat Ishtiaq herself has said “Khirad and Asher loved each other so there was never a question of them not reconciling” I really don’t think Khirad let Asher off the hook that easily, the ending scene shows it took time for them to reach some kind of level of trust.download (20)

Poor Sara was in my opinion unnecessarily killed off and I think Khizar, who played the most iniquitous role in the entire plot against Khirad was let off too easily. Zarina really did pay the heaviest price for her really quite minimal involvement. Farida never really lost Asher but Zarina lost her only daughter. Again Hina Bayat’s scenes were heart breaking so there really was no need for that awfully fake wail of “saroooo” each time she picked up her daughter’s framed photograph. Perhaps I really am a little absolutist but let’s just say I would not have cried too hard if Khizar or Farida got accidentally run over by a bus.images (22)images (96)

Of course I adored the final scene of the happier family running around in the rain and despite my reservations about Farida I was left with a happy smile by the end of the program. I hope all our regular readers and commenters have enjoyed watching this serial again as much as I did. This serial, these characters, will always hold a very special place in our hearts. It is a rare event when all the factors that make a serial come into such perfect alignment. The writing, the production, the direction and the fabulous acting of all the parties made this show iconic and an unforgettable part of our culture.

I have the last episode of Humsafar on DVR so I watched it just as it was broadcast, sandwiched between promos of Bilqees Kaur, Durre Shehwar and Mata e Jaan Hai Tu. This really illustrated how spoiled we were: Daam on Sundays with Kuch Pyaar ka Pagalpan during the week .In my naivety I imagined that such rivers of milk and honey were unending and being the eternal optimist I am still hoping that those days will return. The singular most powerful achievement of Humsafar is that it managed to unite a huge, diverse and geographically fractured viewing audience around its characters. Despite all the options available to the viewing audience both in Pakistan and outside it .Despite the slews of gyrating naked images from Bollywood or the even more graphic violence and sexuality presented to us from the English language channels so many people from so many diverse backgrounds chose to watch this simple story sans any intellectual frills or flowery dialogues. And that ladies and gentleman is the power of love. download (9)

written by Sadaf

PS a shout out to all our old reviewers of Humsafar when it originally aired SZ , DB and Faraz ..It is easy to review something after you have watched it from beginning to end a thousand times but reviewing it the first time is more difficult .I loved readibng all your work :)





Posted by Sadaf On April - 9 - 2014 12 COMMENTS


This episode may well be an argument against sending your children to Ivy League Universities. In between crying myself into exhaustion I managed to get incredibly frustrated with Asher; despite all the supposed critical thinking skills and analytics he should have learnt at Yale, he still needs a full confession from his mother to believe in Khirad’s innocence. Sarmad, Fawad and the Dop do a masterful job of showing Asher fighting himself over the growing holes in the story he had accepted against his wife and here lies the crux of the matter: why were they just holes? Any sane man would have questioned Khizar, any sane man would have questioned his mother or at the very least questioned Khirad.download (16)

There are two letters in this penultimate episode and full marks to Mahirah who managed to bring just the right amount of pathos to those lines. The end of her letter leaving Hareem with Asher asking permission to speak to her daughter occasionally and begging him not to cast aspersions on her character always has me in tears .The second letter and the way it was presented is a tour de force. So much of the power of this old fashioned story of love and betrayal lies in the modern way it was shot and the way the director visualised each scene.Farida’s confession can be heard in real time but Asher is shown listening and walking at a slightly slower speed as if he is slowly waking from a dream or breaking free of the alternate reality he had held on to for so long. This episode was skilfully edited and each track skilfully woven together so at no point did anything become overbearing or the audience left wanting.download (15)

images (22) There are two camps in my household: team sympathy is me who feels Sara should have lived and team Judgment aka my husband who thinks that was the only logical end to the Sara-Asher-Khirad love triangle. Either way we both agree that Hina Bayat tore our hearts out with her performance in this episode. She is an amazing actress and an asset to any production lucky enough to have her. That telephone conversation between Farida and Zarina was amazing and then her grief as she sat in her dead child’s room. Bass kamal hogaya.images

 At this point Humsafar had the entire nation (Including the non-resident diaspora) in its thrall so when the producers (?) decided to increase it by one episode there was much gnashing of teeth. As I remember it (do correct me if I am wrong) there was also a religious holiday which meant that the actual finale was delayed by yet another week. Considering the merciless way perfectly good serials are being diluted now it seems our disappointment was misplaced. The finale did require two episodes or at the very least an hour and a half “super episode” to tie up all the loose ends.images (94)

Now my complaints which my poor husband has to sit through each time:

  • Why on earth did Khirad leave her child to the tender mercies of Farida? The woman was a monster and Asher was not going to be home all day.
  • Tell him, tell him, tell him, tell him, tell him for the love of God, tell him.
  • Who is looking after Hareem when her guilty as hell father runs of to Hyderabad?
  • What is wrong with Asher, why can’t he question his mother?
  • How is that four foot ka Security guard going to “throw six foot of well-honed muscle that is Khizar out exactly?images (96)

There are people in my house who insist that this should all be swept away under the blanket term “dramatic licence” and yes it did make for the most amazing viewing. I know this is a long review but I cannot resist talking about Asher and Khizar’s confrontation. Finally……….. Asher did what he should have done in episode 11.

written by  Sadaf


Posted by Sadaf On April - 2 - 2014 40 COMMENTS

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“Mein tumhein khud maaf kar raha hoon”


“aap ki iss ala zarfi ka shukriya…….ab hum chalein ?”


Now that Hareem’s operation is successful Asher realises that his wife and daughter may leave at any moment. He tries to connect with Khirad who cuts him off at every point because she has quite sensibly decided never to rely on this man again. The scene where Asher takes he hand and Khirad pulls it away, covering it with her duppattah stood out for me more than the later sequences of Asher sitting on the stairs or even of him crying in front of a mirror in the hospital washroom. It took a long time for someone as supposedly intelligent as Asher to finally question the events which led to his current state of misery. He just cannot reconcile the simple, honest girl he married or the dignified, honorable woman before him with the conniving woman he saw at Khizar’s apartment. However that level of critical thinking doesn’t last too long, one glimpse of Khizar and a few choice words from his mother set him straight back to square one.images (59)


When I first watched this episode I was quite literally hopping mad, “akhir Kiyun ?” I shouted at the TV screen. After watching countless drama serials and Bollywood movies I had been conditioned to expect reconciliation the moment ‘The Man’ realises his mistake. Most of them allowed for a few dialogues expressing some perfunctory doubts on the injured heroines part as in “Aap ney mujhe bohat satiya hay Murad/Abdul Wajahat” before she forgives and forgets. Although I have to give Asher full credit for being able to “forgive’ his wife for what he thinks is full on adultery and admitting that despite that he still loves her; this time around I could not help feel disgust for  his sheer arrogance in not doubting his version of events. Not once does he ask Khirad what her side of the story was except as a sneering taunt about what happened to her honesty?images (56)


images (57)           Fawad and Mahirah were amazing in the sequence by the shore which required so many changes of mood and expression, all of which needed to look spontaneous. Asher swings from comand, to plea to anger and again to plea and again to anger and finally desperation as he tries to gather his scattered emotions. Endearing one minute and exasperating the next he began to sound like an unhappy little boy whose toy wouldn’t work. Being a failed literary snob I would like to compare it to Darcy’s initial proposal to Elizabeth Bennet in its passive aggressive, subtly insulting intensity and tone. Khirad was quite right in rejecting Asher while it did my feminist heart all kinds of good to see the look of control and power on Mahirah’s face.

            As usual we must spare a moment for Sara and her descent into a self-destructive spiral of spite and jealousy which will not allow her to live in a world where her wishes are not fulfilled. Again I wonder whether her Zarina did the right thing by never addressing how ridiculous Sara’s assumed victimhood was; neither did she try to right the wrong she acknowledges she had a part in.

images (58)There are times when we have to support the better side of a person no matter how much we love them. The promos for the next episode pointed to another suicide attempt and this was not part of the novel. I still wonder if Humsafar would have been better if they had stuck to the original story for Sara. images (47)

written by Sadaf



Posted by Sadaf On March - 27 - 2014 24 COMMENTS

“Mein tum se nafrat karney mein Haar gaya hoon”

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This had to be one of the most heart wrenching episodes of Humsafar, I blame the entire team but mostly Sarmad Khoosat. People ask why I like certain directors and I ask them to watch this episode and then talk to me. This kind of episode requires control; control to keep the pathos without slipping into melodrama. The beautiful use of the OST, Mahirah,Fawad,Naveen and Atiqa’s acting hit every note at just the perfect pitch .Many times we forget to praise the producers of a serial ,let me correct myself here :producers such as Momina Duraid who have the rare ability to combine artistic vision and commercial viability are the ones which have raised Pakistani dramas to the level of success they are enjoying now. Otherwise we would all be drowning in the current sea of banality and TRPs , such daring , creative people are keeping excellence afloat.

Asher and Khirad are shown in perfect harmony in their anxiety and fears for their child. The scene where Asher finally lets go of any lingering resentment or anger he had towards Khirad is so wonderfully done. His hesitance to touch her and final acceptance that not to, is impossible for him brought a collective sigh of relief from the entire viewing audience..challo shukr hai we all said ..It can only get better from here.download (25) images (49)

Khirad breaks down several times in Asher’s presence but as soon as she realizes Hareem is out of danger her guard goes up again. Asher however has burnt his bridges, like most men he makes a decision moves forward .The scene of Khirad falling asleep while Asher tries to make sense of his feelings, his admission that basically he still cares for her drove me insane at the time! It was as if the whole resolution had been snatched away by an evil fairy, or a trick had been played on us viewers to prolong the show. Now however I think it was necessary. The way Khirad turned her back reminded me of all those times Asher had turned his back on Khirad when she had wanted to talk to him .What a good lesson for Asher. Despite seeing Khirad’s character was just as honest and straightforward as he had originally thought it never occurs to him to question what happened to split them apart.images (90)

Much as I loved Asher and Khirad’s scenes I have to say one of my all-time favorites has to be the Asher’s apology to Sara in the beginning of the episode. Fawad as the desperate father and Naveen the desperate lover, blew me away with their performances .I felt so much pity for Sara not least because understanding anyone’s pain, even Asher’s, seemed beyond her. She could barely stand the sight of him by the end of their conversation and look in Asher’s eyes as she refused to forgive him showed that he finally recognized her true nature.images (48) Meanwhile Farida’s plan is falling apart but she is nothing if not persistent, failure is just not an option. I found Farida’s character beyond the usual villainy in our dramas. There seemed to be a touch of almost clinical psychopathy about her, the inability to empathise , the single minded confidence in her own judgment and the sense of self entitlement that even poor Sara could not match. images (33)

written by Sadaf


Posted by Sadaf On March - 18 - 2014 15 COMMENTS



 This episode seemed like a race to a climax. The web that Farida had woven around Asher was well and truly unraveling and funnily enough not due to any effort on Khirad’s part. I remember thinking how stupid Farida was ,because if the ultimate goal had been to marry Asher off to Sara ,well how was she going to deal with Khizar when he found out ? To me that was an obvious plot flaw, then I realised that Sara was being used too and that she really was just a foolish bystander in all of this . Farida really didn’t think anyone was good enough for her “shaandaar “beta …love that dialogue but I am jumping ahead of myself.

Khirad stands up to Farida’s intimidation tactics and I think the entire viewing audience must have clapped when she said “ Mein tab darti thi jab mein aap ke betey ke saath rehna chahti thi ab mein lanat behjtee hoon aap par ,aap ke iss ghar , aur aap ke betey par”. Twice Khirad reassures Farida that she has no interest in staying with Asher and there is a change in her demeanor. The Khirad sharing the house with Asher before Farida came had softened a little, making him; even offering to cook but the cold harsh reality of life was brought back by her mother in law’s constant threats. As to Farida, well I had always thought her character would soften especially with her sick granddaughter but as we know she will break but not bend.images (19)

I kind of felt sorry for Sara who is her own worst enemy. Yes I know she is proud, arrogant and conceited but still here was her last chance and she let it go. Again her mother Zarina could have one to Asher and fixed the situation but no she sides with her blood ties rather than the truth and the rest now seems inevitable.video_xmqnqh

Mahirah and Fawad were totally fabulous as worried parents .Those scenes still brought tears to my eyes .Asher and Khirad, united for their child. The child actor who plays Hareem was so sweet; her sad little gaze at her parents after Asher announces she is going for surgery the next day was heart breaking. Poor Asher was having a hard time understanding the situation. How could the loving, innocent wife he remembered become the adulteress? The photo albums remind him of what his anger never should have let him forget. The entire audience is holding their breath, counting the minutes , the hours till the the truth is revealed.images (52)


Posted by Sadaf On March - 12 - 2014 5 COMMENTS



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In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage ;

Henry V


Khirad may have been a little lonely in the last episode after all playing happy families with an estranged husband and very sick daughter cannot be easy. I have this fantasy in my head that if left to their own devices these two would have made it up , there anger melting slowly but surely. Khirad resolve had melted quite a bit ; last episode she made Asher tea and offered to cook dinner. However the reality of the situation is that they do not live in a vacuum, Sara is beside herself with rage and disappointment and immediately contacts Farida with the news that Khirad is back. At first Farida can barely credit Asher with that much independence of thought or subterfuge but like the best poker players she wants to bluff it out and see what she can get away with. Farida is such a wonderfully relentless evil character, who feels not aborting her own grandchild was an oversight on her part and is not for one minute guilty at causing her own son so much pain. Atiqa Odho made her if anything more palatable and did not allow her to disintegrate into a caricature either.download (15)

This episode belongs to Khirad, if anyone had missed the memo about this being Khirad’s story they should have got it now. When Asher asks her about Hareem’s delivery ,Khirad refuses to gain his sympathy or accuse him of letting her down. Mahirah was simply fabulous in the confrontation scene with Farida, without that intensity it would all fallen flat.images (34) Khirad tells Afsheen she is not expecting a reconciliation, she actually reassures Batoola Khala about the job loss and explains her decision to leave Hareem with Asher . Hareem and Hareem alone is her focus. At this point I am reminded of Kashaf Baji from ZGH who had a much better life but was convinced the world was out to get her. The reason I make this comparison was the spate of articles put up by so called liberals calling Khirad’s character regressive and Kashaf’s a symbol of modern independent womanhood. Khirad had literally decided never to depend on Asher again. She is impressed with him as a father but still finds him lacking as a husband.” He did not protect me, he was weak” she tells Farida while Khirad defends her daughter like a tigress from Sara and her mother in law.

Asher is sinking further and further into a state of confusion. He expects Khirad to manipulate him, to play games, to show some part of what he has convinced himself is her conniving nature. He overhears Khirad’s conversation with Afsheen and far from being reassuring him it awakens more unease and perhaps a little disappointment in him. Farida has lost her son; the game is up, barring the details. Asher refuses to hear the allegations his mother keeps repeating against Khirad, breaking a glass because he cannot bear to listen. There is no doubt Asher is already softening towards Khirad despite his denials.images (33)

Poor old Sara, ( fantastic acting from Naveen Waqar)if only she would listen to her mother and move on. It feels as if this is less about Asher himself than her own ego: how could anyone prefer that backward woman over her? next week sees the return of Khizar (AAAARGHHH).download (14)


Posted by Sadaf On March - 5 - 2014 30 COMMENTS


I think at this point in the story Humsafar as a serial had gotten so popular that it had become a national obsession. There were series of great cartoons about it from around episode 12 and a lot of people who hadn’t seen it from the first episode had managed to catch up or at least grabbed enough of the story to be thoroughly involved. Everyone was rooting for Asher and Khirad to get back together and in this episode they did. Despite their constant “yeh sirf Waqti Samjhota hai”, Khirad’s attempts at nonchalance and Asher’s sniping subconsciously it was all over. Sarmad Khoosat presented tableaux after beautiful tableaux of the three of them in very normal family situations which should have been horribly uncomfortable but instead flowed as smoothly as a stream of silk through an expert’s hand. images (29) There were no voice over’s needed to explain the character’s feelings their expressions and judicious use of the unforgettable OST was enough.


At the hospital we see how Asher is taking care of everything and Khirad finally has someone to share this heavy burden with. The strain a child’s illness can put on a family is huge and to carry it alone even more so .In their relief they forget to observe the distances and formalities their anger had placed between them. Despite Khirad’s appearance of strength the audience is shown her desperate loneliness when Asher takes Hareem away to read a book. I loved Mahirah in this role and that scene amongst so many was heartbreaking. Instead of breaking down though she begins to pray because that spiritual strength is what got her through such difficult times. Khirad is not the mazloom aurat which so many half-baked criticisms of Humsafar are based on, she is a strong woman who does not fall at Asher’s feet (Damn !!) asking for justice or even accuse him of letting her down. She is working to support herself and Hareem and is planning ahead for a future without Asher.images (31)


Asher’s confusion is plain to see, since he has come to doubt the image he had formed of Khirad he expects to see the lying, conniving individual he has formed in his imagination to explain the situation. He asks Hareem who told her to always tell the truth, he expects Khirad to be angry and retaliate to his taunts; he expects a reaction from her which just isn’t forthcoming. His frustration, physical

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and emotional is so well captured scene after scene.When he pushes Khirad against the wall because he had to lie to his mother, again when Hareem asks for a brother. This was the famous “set the screen on fire chemistry” that had us all hooked.images (30) The visit of the Canadian friends encapsulates their situation perfectly. The visiting friends who have no clue what happened in the last Four and a half years, apart from a little formality can see no distance between Asher and Khirad. Despite their superficial denial both Asher and Khirad are happier than they have been in a long time. Asher is even trying to give up smoking.


Meanwhile Sara has not given up on Asher, she knows him so well she immediately picks up on the change in his behavior. What a confrontation scene between her and “the family” in the restaurant. Asher standing up and literally threatening Sara at the implied insult to his daughter certainly made the audience’s day and we were all left waiting breathlessly for the secrets to unfold.download (11)


One thing I must mention despite my long review was the sheer self-centered complacency of the Sara, Zarina and Khizar. I found the clinical ,casual way Zarina and Sara discuss what Khizar has done and how they assess his character disturbing .It was as if Khirad was not even human and what had happened to her had little or no importance in their eyes .




Posted by Sadaf On February - 26 - 2014 15 COMMENTS

download (6) The problem with anger is that it resolves nothing. Khirad may have gotten the last word in the previous episode but all it did was provoke an already frustrated beyond endurance Asher even Further. The episode begins with him rushing to his office to tear up the file she had presented to him earlier that week. Again he cannot get past the photograph of his daughter and we see him making a life changing decision. In that one emotional moment he accepts completely that Hareem is his daughter and his responsibility, immediately calling Raza and asking for the best pediatric cardiologist in town. We are sometimes so busy discussing Fawad Khan’s star power that we forget his popularity is firmly based on his talent as an actor. This scene was one of the most moving in a serial full of excellence. Despite the screechy Violin playing in the background, here was a moment so poignant no one could be failed to be moved to tears.images (18)

Again this is matched by Mahirah as she returns to the scene of her misery and disgrace .Those unforgettable scenes of her entry into a place she probably never thought to see again. Farida’s echoeing taunts , Khirad’s painful meemories and Asher’s complete ignorance are beautifully juxtaposed by the director. Even to the most casual observer, Asher and Khirad’s attraction and yes, deep attachment to each other is obvious despite the various tricks and games they use to suppress and hide it.Khirad has built a wall of ice around her heart to protect herself and Asher hides his hurt behind anger and contempt. The first time I watched this it made me angry but this time I smiled through Asher’s almost juvenile attempts at putting his errant wife in her place. The way he ignores Khirad, concentrating solely on Hareem is all meant to not only punish his wife but perhaps a latent wish to get a reaction from her. It is as if Khirad has frozen her heart and decided never to react and most importantly never to explain or ask for understanding. The only time she reacts is at Asher’s mother’s name something he notices but cannot comprehend.download (7)

There is such fabulous screen chemistry between Fawad and Mahirah: we can see Asher and Khirad subconsciously slip slowly back into their old roles both determined not to spoil anything for their innocent daughter. I had to smile at Asher’s over protective attitude towards Hareem, telling Khirad off for “upsetting” his daughter. Poor Khirad is so grateful for his support that she refuses to take the bait and will not react to Asher’s taunts. I found the whole father daughter dynamic between Asher and Hareem incredibly sweet and true to life. It makes a pleasant change to the constant drone of “daughters are a burden” in most dramas. That whole thing with the medicine and Asher’s angry banging on the door, reminded me of my own husband and any time I scold my daughters a little too much. Despite what our dramas tend to show, in my experience : fathers are extra protective and extra sensitive where their daughters are concerned. At this point in the drama I really wanted to point out to Asher, yes …your daughter ….but Khirad is someone’s daughter too.images (19)

A word about Hareem .For such a young child she did a fabulous job but just one thing bothered me, her talking about herself in the third person …it is a drama varna that kind of thing sounds crazy in real life. khirad's-daughter


Posted by Sadaf On February - 20 - 2014 13 COMMENTS


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The problem with Humsafar is an excess of riches .. Almost every time I watch an episode I want to say: “this was One of the best episodes” or exclaim over how compelling the narrative was or how intense the emotional interactions between the characters were without sounding like a broken record.  Well here goes the broken record again ….  In the novel Khirad getting out of the Rickshaw and confronting her estranged husband Asher was the opening sequence and if I must say so masterfully written by Farhat Ishtiaq. While reading these passages I could feel Khirad’s conflict, her desperation. The whole situation was brought beautifully to the screen by Sarmad Khoosat and his team. download (4)


Similarly Asher had not gotten over his anger (how could he?) at his supposedly unfaithful wife who now had the audacity to present herself before him without a hint of the shame he thought she should feel. The expressions on Fawad’s face from surprise to cold fury to withering contempt brought the depth of Asher’s pain and confusion home to the viewer. However angry I was with Asher’s character I could see that from his perspective this was just as painful as for our victimized heroine .The most significant part of this scene was the fact that despite Asher’s sneering anger, despite his smoldering resentment he could not bring himself to throw Hareem’s photograph away. Deep, deep inside him there was a part of his subconscious telling him Khirad was telling him the truth.images (92)


This episode showed us a changed woman. Gone, perhaps forever was the naïve, young girl who wanted Asher’s approval, Khirad was now a mother and had kept her thoughts with in that circle of concern. I couldn’t help but contrast this attitude with the other model of motherhood we are shown in Farida who manipulates her child’s life to satisfy her own ego. All her concern for Asher’s wellbeing rings hollow when she has stolen his happiness. Asher goes through the transformation of parenthood too. When He discovers Hareem he doesn’t let his anger at Khirad come between him and his duty or love as a father. I loved how Hareem found her father, the scene was unbelievably sweet. Immediately counteracted by Asher’s almost childish “ I hate You” hissed at Khirad . Hats off to Mahirah and Fawad for creating such amazing screen chemistry. Khirad is trying to be indifferent to Asher’s contempt but her pain is just below the surface. It is anger that saves her..The episode ends with her slap in the face dialogue about taking HER daughter Hareem to the doctor and the audience feels some satisfaction.download (5)


A final word about Sara, poor thing has been hanging around for four and a half years with little success. The reason Asher is a memorable character is partly of course due to Fawad Khan’s charisma but it was a lot to do with the character Farhat Ishtiaq wrote. While the world is full of unfaithful, convenience oriented easily changeable people there are still those who see fidelity as a virtue. There will always be those who honor their feelings above their circumstances even if they are often in the minority. images (12)


HUMSAFAR WATCH PARTY : Episode 13 and 14

Posted by RB On February - 9 - 2014 42 COMMENTS


In light of last week’s radio show on “Heroines” in Pakistani Dramas, this review will be solely devoted to the women of Humsafar. Yes, yes, I’m sure much can be said about the men (actually much has been said!) but I’m going to continue with the theme and explore some interesting issues that I felt were imperative to the narrative and what I took away from the story. For the sake of continuity I’m going to cover Episodes 13 and 14.

Let me begin by prefacing (brace yourself!) that Ashar was never worth it. He didn’t deserve Khirad. He was a weak man, kamzoor, and I don’t see how women defend him and his decisions. As Khizer says: “All is fair in love and war”, I guess, but this isn’t about the men.

We can all agree that Humsafar is by in large a “woman’s” drama. And boy did the women shine! Khirad, Sara, Farida, Zarina, and Batool Khala were flawless in embodying their characters. It was these women that truly made Humsafar the success it was. Moreover, the series drew upon time-tested stereotypes: garib lekin acchi tarbeeyat ki ladki (aka Khiard), padhi-likhi shehri lekin morally bankrupt ladki (Sara), chaant aur shatir saas (Farida), her well-meaning but spineless accomplice (Zarina), and last but not the least the angel in Hyderabadi heaven, Batool Khala, and made them work perfectly on-screen.

Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen such standard portrayals of women. Countless examples come to mind and many that were discussed in the radio show (side note: I highly recommend a detour to the radio show if only to catch the debate around Haseena Moin’s female leads in Tanhaiyaan). So, how does Humsafar differ or comply?


First up, we have Khirad. Until now we’ve seen seen her as sanjida, somber, sambhali hui ladki, she might not be rich and attractive as Sara and her posse but she’s definitely intelligent, grounded, and well brought up. In these episodes we find that the treatment meted out to her by Ashar and Farida has led to her questioning her own self worth. As she shares with Batool Khala her experiences, we get a glimpse into Khirad’s emotional state.

Various scenes highlight this aspect. Khirad recollecting Farida’s challenge or begging to speak to Ashar, “Baccha, kiska baccha” and “Mujhe apna phone dain, Batool Khala.” What we see is a conflicted girl on the verge of motherhood waiting, pleading to redeem herself. I wonder, though, why must she prove her innocence? If you love someone and trust them (yes, I’m talking to you Ashar), would you not give them that one chance to explain, if not explain then at least to ask them why?

She goes from waiting to redeem herself to giving up on Ashar, her true love, and finally, we see a strong woman emerge at the end of the ordeal. With Hereen’s birth, Khirad can no longer be weak. She needs to live and love for her daughter. A transformation brilliantly captured by Sarmad Khoosat. The scene in the hospital with Mahira Khan’s voiceover was simply brilliant. Everything worked: background music, lighting, camera angles, costumes, and acting. Simple yet evocative. Here we see a strong woman well-aware of her limitations but by no means limited by them.

Khirad’s strong words like “Mein tumse saamna ab siraf roz-e-hashar chahati hoon”, “Tumhari saari takhat khaak mein mil jaye gi”, “Jab mujh par zulm hua to sabse baday zalim tum thay” are testament to a change in Khirad. Call it her transition from being a girl to a woman or whatever else you can imagine but point simply being we, as an audience, transition with Khirad from being mazloom to being strong, to letting go of our past and moving on. For this I give the team snaps up (No, this doesn’t end here I have yet to talk of the finale!).

H2On the other hand Sara exhibited the worse traits of her kind. She’s rich, sophisticated, articulate, and can have any man she wants, yet, she’s obsessed with Ashar. Between these two episodes her obsession continues unabated. From confessing to Farida that uskay pyar mein bahut takhat hai to hounding Ashar needlessly, Sara with all the advantages of her upbringing, social position, background, and education constantly seeks Ashar’s approval and attention.

It’s as though she’s outwardly strong but inside she’s just as fragile and delicate as Khirad. The scene that caught my eye were the jump cuts from Khirad to Ashar to Sara each engrossed in their own thoughts. Khirad as she contemplates her next move while playing with her wedding ring, Ashar as he tries to escape his memories by reading a newspaper, and Sara trying to find strength to go on as she does yoga, was another beautifully shot scene and guess what it had no dialogue!

The three other women, Farida, Zarina, and Batool Khala, offer more nuance and substance. Even though Batool Khala has serious reservations about Farida she encourages Khirad to talk to Ashar (even if he’s acting like a complete child), Zarina who constantly has doubts the ill-fated venture, and Farida as she’s genuinely concerned about Ashar. Far from your stereotypical good-bad dichotomy.

Perhaps the strongest episodes in the entire series, I can never forget how they end with Khirad arriving in Karachi to speak to Ashar. His swanky office building juxtaposed to her dupatta clad figure in an auto! No wonder we love Humsafar. It’s not the men or women it’s the camerawork!

On behalf of Sadaf,

RB (Tweet me!)

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