Honestly I didn’t see this coming so soon. You know, the light at the end of the tunnel, or perhaps in this case, little light but at least, the end. Well props for not stretching it to the current TRP max of 28.
This one belonged to Adeel Husain. His Zeeshan was firm with his parents and his sister and remained the voice of reason while most other folks addled brains were out to pasture and were also not afforded the luxury of voice or opinion. That he felt duty bound to take care of them in a loving and dignified way speaks to the fact that he must have been adopted because as we know all the other apples in this basket are rotten to the core. He did however, have the better end of all the stereotypes here.
Maham tugging at his heartstrings was the right touch of credibility and the slow pacing of the last few episodes brought home the fact that change is in store for Romaisa and Zeeshan though it is slow and will take time. So no rushed walking into the sunset ending but escape for Romaisa all thanks to Zeeshan.
And that troubling image this drama perpetuates is what is indeed shocking.
When Zeehan calls out her lack of anger at her situation as an abnormality, he isn’t far from the truth. Often the readers too have wondered about Romaisa’s intellectual capacitance and limited IQ and the directors lack of direction succeeded in making her look like a complete and utter moron. I think with her slow reaction time and brain processing prowess, am afraid she does have some serious issues. Drama shrinks must make a killing no?
Once an Allah miyan ki gaye, always a gaye – waiting for someone to either led her to slaughter or to the pasture. If character growth was too much to ask, the director refused to even give her a voice. Forget her own voice, she wasn’t even allowed to come to her own truths and realizations. And don’t point me to that lame voice over it doesn’t count.
All of her realizations were spoken by Zeeshan to which we got a halfhearted voice over of “Meine yahi socha tha….aur ye bhi meine baad mein socha tha…Theekh keh rahe hain app jo bhi keh rahein hain…” So poor orphan child first needed a man to buy her hand and then she needed another knight to save her from a life in the kitchen and its confines. Correction: moneyed men.
In case you missed it here is the moral of the story: Girls listen up your education, learnings from life and your very own self are nothing. Please hand in all degrees and head to the kitchen and cry into the kheema (saves namak). Sit quietly and wait for a man to come in and save you. Why speak when you can look pretty crying silent tears. In fact, don’t speak at all. Let the men do it for you na?
Do these directors, producers and channels even think for a second what images they are propagating? We live in complicated times and when Pakistani women are standing up for their rights these regressive mindsets are dragging them back to the 15th Century where Romaisa came from.
You would think that having women writer (Umera Ahmed) , producer (Momina Duraid) and director (Sakina Samo) would raise the bar on this project and allow for women’s perspective, sadly all they do is present the patriarchal values dictated by men. Or TRPS. Or both.
When you make an adaptation of novel (or is it novella?) that is already in print, the audience is looking for some vision and new interpretation to turn the written word to visuals. Any vision or novelty was sorely lacking here. These strong, thinking, independent women who could have turned around perceptions, reduced Romaisa to property: first to be bought and then bartered and in the end gave her no agency to her own life.
The lock, stock and barrel of zalim characters as a foil to a bechari mazloom ladki didn’t bring on the waterworks. Even with glycerin. Though of course, this is an Umera Ahmed drama so no surprises there. Only black and white, the good and the bad. Also thank you for making a primer on how to be a lalchi khala, mean step-sisters, zalim saas and nand along with lessons for evil bhabhi and dewar Next time at least try and introduce conversations that don’t just revolve around money or at least find some synonyms for jayadat .
Lack of nuance was the biggest misstep here. We need nuance to recognize ourselves in these characters. We all have daily struggles with good and bad and no one lives their lives as cardboard cutouts. Ok, ok I know. Too much to ask.
I guess I started watching for the right reasons and there I was not disappointed. There was plenty of eye candy to go around. There were very few highs – all of them involving some combination of Nabeel and/or the dream team of Nabeel and Zeeshan. Though if you are going to show a man in uniform keep at it for more than 20 odd minutes out of 960 OK? (Petition for more Adeel here).
Nabeel was actually an awful character - as an enabler, harasser, buying his way through life. It was only because Mikaal Zulfikar added some nuance and boatloads of charm that it worked. Also, he has grown as an actor which was a pleasure to behold not that we need much persuading to be charmed by him.
Sanam Jung as Romaisa with her lack of expression could have done so much better if she was given some or any direction other than keep it stupid. Simple. Adeel Husain, terrific as always (see above). Only now I want to see him in a different role. No more second marriages and you have our permission, go on, be a bad boy for a change.
Over the top but highly enjoyable performances by Farah Shah and Mansha Pasha along with that adorable little Mahum were also some of the highlights. But alas, all that eye candy wasn't enough to hold this fluff together.
A big thank you to all the readers and commenters for sticking this through though we lost some very wise souls on the way. Lesson learnt. If eye candy comes in wrapped in regression then I am going to have to kick it goodbye. Hard.
On a more positive note however, I am now President of the Adeel Husain Fan Club so come on folks let’s get going. Petitions don’t sign themselves you know.
MM (aka A musing Muslim)