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Archive for the ‘Hum TV’ Category

LAA: episode 6 review

Posted by Sadaf On July - 13 - 2014 4 COMMENTS

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At this point I just want to sing Lalalalala laaa from sheer annoyance. After such a promising start this serial seems on a fast track to mediocrity; full of irrational reactions , trite clichés and perhaps the worst crime ( a HUM TV specialty) an over bearing  background score which ironically only serves to emphasize the weakness in the direction . Let me explain something to the powers that be: I do not need the man who seems to have a ladle stuck in his throat singing “AAAA..AA” every time Danyal ex –Malik/secret Sayyad is supposed to be upset .The actors expressions, his dialogue, the tenor of his voice and the context should be enough. The back ground music should be a subtle enhancement leading the viewer to the main action on the screen without overpowering the image.

This was the least engaging episode yet because so many of the situations did not make sense. Why did Laila drag Danyal to an orphanage, which seemed to have remarkably well fed and well-kept children (who seemed suspiciously like ordinary kids in a park)? Why would a well-educated, good natured man like Danyal suddenly react in such a cruel way, calling the children worthless, because their parents had rejected them?

Then we have Naina , who agrees to marry a complete stranger then suddenly refuses to wear the jewelry his family gifts her in favor of the Taveez Danyal gave her . This should have been a powerful scene but it seemed flat and unedited. It strikes me as incredibly strange that neither Naina nor her parents are interested in doing any background checks on Dilaver or even talk to him. Their biggest concern seems to be how elaborate or simple the wedding will be .The only interesting scenes are the ones with Khalid Malik, his Dilaver might be a cartoon but at least he is consistent.

This serial is well below the high standard HUM TV has set and despite all the money spent on the production at this point the story seems to be drowning in shallow water. Here is another example where the director and writer are not on the same page , so the essence of the story is lost.  Mikaal is a good actor and this serial’s major attraction, but just like Fawad Khan even he cannot make this into a silk purse. I will be watching next week in the hope of some improvement.

written by Sadaf

 

LAA: episode 5 review

Posted by Sadaf On July - 6 - 2014 23 COMMENTS

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Although I enjoyed watching this week’s episode of Laa, I cannot help but mourn the loss of depth in the story line. The initial episodes had seemed to promise a criticism of our cultural obsessions with Hasb o Nasab and cast but the moment Danyal turns out to be a secret Sayyad it made a farce of the whole question. I realise the point may have been that either way it doesn’t matter what Danyal’s heritage is but it seems too glib, too easy. So not only is Danyal a secret Sayyad but a ‘prince” of sorts: the secret son of a feudal lord who carry the special title of Gadi Nasheen i.e they are also spiritual leaders or Peer in the community from whom people seek Laa blessings and prayers. However he has no proof and cannot explain his difficulty to either Naina or Dilawer Shah who must be his Half-brother. Again Mikaal is making this entire situation work and proving again what a versatile actor he is.

I wish I could say the same about Sadia Khan who seems to let every other scene down. Both confrontation scenes between Naina and Danyal had the power sucked out of them despite Mikaal’s best efforts. I still don’t understand why Danyal cannot explain himself to Naina at least? I can put Danyal seeing Naina at Dilawer’s house down to plausible coincidence but him running a marathon behind her car to the main city of Nawab Shah makes the whole thing look silly. Surely there were better ways for the director to show these meetings and connections? Perhaps Danyal could have got a lift or something?images

The sudden connection Dilawer feels towards Danyal is reasonable enough but again it could have been more believable if they had taken a little time to build the relationship. Khalid Malik plays the archetypal arrogant feudal lord with a lot of gusto and actually makes the stereotypical role a little more palatable. We finally got to meet Daii Maa this episode as she chose Naina for Dilawer’s . this is where Seemi Raheel steals the show again with one glance at her new samdan's (daii Maa) simplicity leaving me with at least one smile for this episode . Daii Maa , played by Rabia Noreen, is (so far ) the villain of the piece. Naimat Khan tells Danyal that his daughter was killed as punishment for him not killing the infant Danyal.laa 3

 I have put all expectations of nuance and detail to one side and decided to sit back and enjoy the ride with this serial. The story still has a lot of promise and is still more engaging than the majority of serials on air.Mikaal is providing all the right star quality, the main cast has some good chemistry between them and I am hoping that Sabreen Hasbani’s role will come up with the depth . I think I mentioned in my earlier reviews that this story reminds me of the kind of action adventure stories I read as a child; Treasure Island, The hound of the Baskervilles, and the Moonstone and so far nothing has proved me wrong.

written by sadaf

Rung Hum Sitaray Review Episode 7

Posted by Faraz On June - 30 - 2014 9 COMMENTS
Salaams to everyone and a late but hearty Ramadan Mubarak to all readers

Once again, I hope more and more readers tune into Hum Sitaray's Saturday treat Rung. 

Wow, just loved this episode! The episode starts with Sania asking Zafar about his dad and we find out that he had married a second time and had left young Zafar and Bajjo all alone. This was a huge grief but it's really nice to see that Bajjo and Zafar have handled themselves with much maturity and haven't overwhelmed themselves with that sad part of life.
This episode focused on Sania and Zafar and their natural yet beautiful chemistry. Imran Aslam and Kiran Chaudhry portray a married couple that was free from the done-to-death marital relationships we see in today's dramas. In their conversations, I could feel for both Zafar and Sania, whereas in many dramas the viewer might feel for only one of the two spouses. Sania wants Zafar to ask his boss for a promotion and wants him to achieve a higher level in his profession, saying "Tumhe basically aik easy life chahiye".  Zafar replies saying that "Acchi kaasi job hai, I get paid well...toh- what else do you want?" Sania replies: "Status, position, power, more income, SUCCESS". The last word clearly describes Sania- Success. It's not that Sania only cares about success nor is she all about a materialistic world. She only wants a stable life for her and her family. On the same side, I feel for Zafar. He has a great position in poster service, the job is compatible with his timings and the pay is decent.
The next scene is really sweet. Zafar comes to Sania's office as a a surprise and wants to go out somewhere to eat, but Sania refuses as she is really busy with a surgical procedure. However, Zafar doesn't constantly argue with Sania on why she doesn't take out time for him but they make a deal that on her day off, Sania will cook for him and see a movie together. I love how they handle the situation instead of constantly fighting because if that was to happen, I would blame Zafar for not understanding that Sania is a doctor and that the profession demands a busy life. But Zafar is sweet and understanding, so  - no tension:)
It was really funny when Sania wakes up Zafar for a walk and he's sleepy to get up for it but when he does, he gets super tired and runs off to a resting area.
We also find out that Sania is pregnant however, is not ready to have a child. Zafar convinces her that together they'll be able to take care of any future difficulties. They get a really cute baby girl and name her Abeer.
Sania then again asks Zafar: "Does nothing motivate you to achieve something, something big?" Zafar replies : "I have achieved everything; I'm happy with what I have." It was really sweet when Zafar says : " I wanted you -you're with me, I wanted a good job- I have it, nothing else."
And another delightful episode passes by. Lovely acting by both Imran Aslam and Kiran Chaudhry. The beautiful write-up by Amna Malhi and Maliha Haider  and direction by Ali Tahir is highly commendable. Kudos to team Rung and hope it stays beautiful till the end. Do share your comments and I look forward to reading them:)

 

~~Written by Aisha

Laa Episode 4

Posted by RB On June - 29 - 2014 21 COMMENTS

As-Salaam-Walaikum, Khawateen aur Hazrat! Aap sabh ko Ramzan Mubarak!

I'll be filling in for Sadaf this week, so, any and all opinions are mine and not a reflection on Ms. S. It's been a while since we've met for a regular review. And boy does it feel good to be back!

Writing a review is never easy, writing a review for a series you don't watch is even harder, but the hardest of them all is when you dislike a series and you're supposed to write an unbiased review. So here I am stuck between a rock and a hard place (take note there is an "and" and an "a" in that sentence).

Much has been said and written about Laa. Sadaf gave us a very honest opinion elsewhere another blogger (in our rather small Pakistani blogger-verse) couldn't stop singing its praises especially those of "Sarmad Sehbai's well-written first episode". Now, call me blind but Laa is a big (not-so-)hot mess from the first episode on. The writing might be flawless (and I'll get to that) but the execution is far from it.

In my opinion, Sebhai's strength is his writing yet (and I speak only for myself) I am unable to see the power of his words in Laa. The magic of words, something our language has an innate ability to convey, is easily and very adroitly expressed by Sehbai. For instance, in Mah-e-Meer (and we've only seen the trailer) I can hear it, I can feel it, such that every nuanced rendition of the word chaand has a power to it that is indescribable. Loss, pain, pathos, suffering, these are just a few the emotions that his words have the power to convey. Then why does everything fall flat in Laa. Is it the delivery? Is it the execution? Is it the casting? Is it an emphasis on the visuals?

Sehbai's emphasis on the visuals is a recurring theme. We see it in Mah-e-Meer, we see it here, and I'm pretty certain we'll see it again. Now, I am a visual person, hello(!) I study architecture, so I'm fairly certain that I can maneuver my way around visual intricacies but when the visuals become overpowering at the expense of good writing, good acting, and good direction, then, I have my reservations.

Why do I have reservations?

Well let me start at the beginning of this week's episode. Everytime Daaniyal's BFF takes his name in that shrilly, high pitched voice of hers, every hair on my arms rises up like goosebumps. Dialogues that had (considerable) depth - what with that whole idea of Laa, a negation, a negative - were fed to us as though we were watching an episode of Sex and the City. Depth requires grittiness, depth is not pretty, depth is being hurt, depth is being vulnerable, and I saw none of the grime and grit in Danniyal's reaction. For a man whose life has been shattered, his world broken, Danniyal seems to be in a state reminiscent of a really bad hangover - his loss reeks of artifice.

Sorry Meekal even you couldn't pull this off with your dimpled and gora cheeks, as you rush off to the dargah to seek solace. Although you do look very good.

Now, I know the feeling, the number of times I've headed to Hazrat Nizamuddin for matters far less trivial than what Daaniyal has gone throughis testament to the power of belief, which I understand, but why, then, do I have a hard time watching it and (more importantly) believing it. I'm having a hard time empathizing with any of these characters and that makes for a less than stellar viewing experience.

If Daaniyal's shattered life lacks depth then Naina's heartbreak feels equally unreal. Sadia Khan comes across as very pretty mannequin with no capacity to emote. Harsh as this might be, I say this because it seems to be a recurring trend with HUM TV, the channel that gave us both depth and emotion in Humsafar, Shehr-e-Zaat, Dastaan, and Durr-e-Shawar, to mention but a few.  So why the likes of Laa, Ahista Ahista, and Janam Jali, and why now? Kyun? Have we run out of compelling stories? Are our directors on a sabbatical? Kya writers ki maat mari gayee hai?

With so much pain to draw upon all Naina and her mother can concentrate on is izzat wala khandaans. The number of times I've heard izzat wala khandaans at home with their rishtas makes me gag but another story, another time (woh kya kaha tha Manto nay...). Another sequence that could have been riveting and moving was Naina's acceptance of her mothers will - mein shaadi kay liya taiyar hoon aap jahan karna chahain kar dain. This scene could have made the entire episode had it been dealt with maturity. Instead we were served a melodramatic, background score-laden goodbye to Laa, Daaniyal's nishaani with Naina.

As if on cue enter trouble (with a capital T), which goes by the name Laila. Again bad casting here - this was a role meant for Saba Qamar. Laila is ostensibly the key to Daaniyal's questions but she also comes laden with a treasure trove of secrets. One of those secrets being Dilawer. This addition tightens our plot and we're slowly on our way to more drama, if only it was the kind I'd want to watch.

Till Sadaf gets back,

This RB signing off (Tweet me!)

P.S. Dilawer does carry that mustache off with panache.

LAA: episode 3 review

Posted by Sadaf On June - 22 - 2014 6 COMMENTS

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There is a corny old song which begins “you always hurt the one you love; the one you shouldn’t hurt at all” which like most clichés rings sadly true. Danyal is confused and angry but in the process he manages to hurt not only Naina but his parents too. I felt really bad for the Maliks, after so many years they are again childless as Danyal sets of on quest of self-discovery. I really wish Danyal had been kinder to his parents ,who actually love him more than anyone else in the world.Mikaal plays Danyaal so well that it is easy for the audience to connect with his dilemma, and we all know jab khoobsoorat log rotey hain tho hamdardi thori ziyada hee hoti hai.

Talking of beautiful people , Naina did not have much to say in this episode and actually did better than last week .Her struggle deciding whether or not to keep Danyal’s Taveez and her near silent disappointment played out well. Her mother played by the wonderfully expressive Seemi Raheel could not underplay anything and managed to keep me smiling.

So Danyal is not a Malik, that veil has fallen: so who is he? The only person who might know is Naimat Khan, the stranger whom Danyal keeps bumping into. Naimat Khan invites him to Nawabshah, telling him that that it is Danyal’s Taey Amma who is his biggest enemy .She wanted Naimat Khan to kill him but instead he was given into the safekeeping of the Maliks. In the tradition of a good mystery Naimat Khan refuses to tell him why or when this happened, saying “the time will come.” Danyal also meets another stranger played by Sabreen Hasbani at the train station. From the promos it seems their relationship continues to where Danyal visits her house. Watching Sabreen Hasbani is always a treat and I am sure her role will only add to the story. At this point, just like Danyal I am not sure who to trust. Naimat Khan might easily be manipulating the truth for his own ends and was the meeting between Danyal and Sabreen Hasbani’s character really just a matter of chance?

It is always nice to watch a serial where in the hard work has been done for the audience, so just sit back and enjoy the show. The threads of the story line are deliberately scattered but seem to be slowly drawing into a nicely woven narrative which is leading the viewer forward without the usual distractions of side tracks.

Sorry this review is late and a little short but hopefully there will be more to say next week.

written by sadaf

Rung Hum Sitaray Review Episode 1-6

Posted by Guest Reviewer On June - 18 - 2014 23 COMMENTS
Salaams to every one who is reading this review. This is my first time posting a review for a drama and hope you readers enjoy it. First of all, I would give a shoutout to Sadaf and RB for encouraging me to write a review for Rung. Likely, I wouldn't have written this review if it wasn't for those wonderful critics.
 
Okay, here we go. Rung airs on Hum Sitaray every Saturday at 8 pm. It is directed by Ali Tahir. I know that Ali Tahir was someone from Mikaal's family in Muhabbat Subh Ka Sitara Hai. He was also Resham's scared husband in Geo Tv's Tar- E- Ankaboot. The write-up is by Amna Khalid Malhi and Maliha Haider. The drama stars Imran Aslam as Zafar, Kiran Chaudary as Sania, Asma Abbas as Maimoona who plays Sania's mother and I don't know they guy's real name who plays Sania's father but in the drama, he plays Dr. Ashraf. Shaista Jabeen plays Bajjo- Zafar's mother. I know people hate Asma Abbas from Janam Jali but to love how great of an actress she is, you gotta watch Rung.
 
6 episodes have taken place and it's a pleasure to say that I'm in love with it! Rung begins with the confident teenage Sania and her loving parents. Maimoona constantly advises Sania to achieve to highest level in education. She wants Sania to become a successful doctor. Dr. Ashraf, on the other hand, is more soft with his daughter. Like any father, he wishes the best for Sania but doesn't constantly place her under the pressure cooker.
On the other side is Shaista Jabeen as Bajjo and her son is Imran Aslam who plays Zafar. Imran Aslam is an excellent actor who's talent was wasted in Rukhsaar. However, he's back to being flawless in Rung. Imran Aslam plays Zafar to perfection. There's a charm yet maturity we see in his Zafar.
Zafar and Sania have been childhood friends as well as cousins,as their mothers are sisters. In a conversation, Bajjo suggests to Maimoona that when Sania and Zafar grow up, their marriage should take place. Maimoona, not being sure, says that she cannot make a decision right now as she wants Sania to pay attention to her studies.
 
As years go by, Sania and Zafar grow up and don't meet a lot as Sania is busy being a doctor and Zafar a businessman. As they do meet up in a celebration party kept for Sania becoming a doctor, Sania and her parents see how mature Zafar has become- pointing to the fact that Maimoona starts thinking about their marriage. The moment when Maimoona announces that Sania has achieved what she has tried so hard for was a moment to cherish. All the hard work of Maimoona paid off. The loving relationship between Maimoona and Sania is a delight to see. Also, we don't see much loving relationships in today's dramas.
As Sania starts her job at the hospital, her high confidence is challenged when the doctor in charge tells her not to think that she knows everything but Sania is headstrong and gives back a firm answer every time. It's fun to see a strong female lead, which Kiran Chaudary for a newbie brilliantly performs. She has also sang the ost for Rung.
The twist comes when Maimoona and Dr. Ashraf go to the hospital for a check-up as Maimoona experiences a minor pain- Maimoona has leukemia. The shocked expression and grief the couple expresses is flawless. Finally her daughter had become what she had dreamt of and the news of likely death had come upon her. Dr. Ashraf, being a very loving husband, starts thinking what he'll do without his beloved companion, which he delivers naturally. Finally we see a husband who considers his wife to be equal to him and the respect and love present in Maimoona and Dr. Ashraf's relationship is fresh to the eyes. Maimoona, as she is on her last stage, requests Sania to get married to Zafar, to which Sania - although hesitant at first - agrees to. The recent episode has shown their marriage and the next episode aims to explore Zafar's family side.
 
Rung for me is a very special drama. It not only offers a fresh out of the box story, the characters shower a sense of warmth and comfort in all directions. And hey,in today's world of scheming characters and "ghissi pitti" storylines, who doesn't want a natural and new script to delight themselves with. I am not guaranteeing that this drama will appeal to everyone. However, I assure that if anyone wants to watch something light yet brilliant in terms of emotions, natural characterizations, and a heartwarming story, I would sincerely recommend all drama lovers to watch Rung.
~~Written by Aisha

LAA: episode 2 review

Posted by Sadaf On June - 15 - 2014 27 COMMENTS

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Finally an entertaining family drama with interesting characters which addresses social issues without rubbing our noses in the sermon. Suffice to say I really enjoyed this week’s episode of LAA and any reservations I had last week are happily cast aside now all we need is a Taveez which makes sure that the quality of this serial and story are maintained and perhaps even taken up a notch or two to give it that sheen reserved for serial which we love enough to recommend to our friends or better still want to watch again and again just to relive the pleasure of a good scene.download (33)

Mikaal the actor is back, he is perfect as Danyal Malik. The first half of the drama showed us the slick city boy taking full advantage of Naina’s sudden attraction for him,playing her along to win a bet with his other talangey type friends. I simply adored the scenes of Danyal and Naina wandering around the back streets of Lahore’s famed Liberty market (which may well by my most favourite place in the world too). As usual Mikaal adds his own brand of easy charm to character which might come over as a little mean and carries the whole premise of the film ….oops did I say film ? Well it seems like one, with beautifully shot scenes, great production values and a story which has depth. In a few scenes that, flippant laidback Danyal Malik is gone forever when he overhears his and Naina’s father discussing the fact that he is adopted. Mikaal again brings the gravity necessary for such a life changing event without losing the essence of the main narrativeimages

Naina’s character is simply wonderful, Sarmad Sehbai has written a woman of substance who is strong and outspoken but does not cross the line to rudeness or vulgarity. Real women are like this because honourable women are not afraid to speak their minds or make decisions because they have their moral compass well set from the beginning. Sadia Khan is no doubt beautiful and her character has just the right chemistry with Danyal. She is playing Naina very well but here and there she does fall a bit flat.

We see flashes of the mysterious stranger and in the coming episodes we will probably find out who Danyal Malik really is. In the meanwhile a disappointed Naina must return home.

Will the real Faruq Rind please stand up and take a bow for this great episode and tell the guys who is directing Mere Mehrban to come and learn from him. I have to give a shout out to the Dop for a job well done and the person who did such an excellent job of=n the background music too. Qavi Khan , and especially Seemi Raheel just added more great flavour to the mix. Loved the exchange of looks between Mikaal and Seemi Raheel …simply brilliant! Well done team Laa,   you have me at least waiting with excitement for next week’s episode

written bySADAF

 

LAA: episode 1 review

Posted by Sadaf On June - 8 - 2014 58 COMMENTS

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LAA Kalima Sharif Ka Pehla Harf ..is ka matlab hai Nahi ...Laa hasb e Nasab, Laa Manafaqat, Laa Jhoot ...Laa Darog ...Laa Jhoot... laa Havs"--------------  Laa is the first word of the Islamic declaration of faith …there is no God But God ..it means “not ‘ or “ without” like the French term Sans… without family status , without hypocrisy , without falsehood, without greed. My Urdu may have let me down so if someone has a better translation you are welcome to add to the conversation.

Laa begins in the manner of a thriller with a swirl of images from past and present, deliberately intriguing the viewer into the hope that there might be more to this drama serial than just the simple romance between Danyal Malik and Sayeda Naina Razzi. Danyal Malik is a cheerful idiot who has somehow managed to complete an MBA and qualify for an American University, without gaining an iota of sense or maturity on the way. He fancies himself a master marksman and we are introduced to him trying to shoot some defenseless animal for fun. I am a Mikaal Zulfikar fan but he just did not look young enough for this. Danyal and his silly friends egging him on to patao some girl really looked forced and I think unnecessary.  Sadia Khan’s introduction seemed equally forced; with her pro forma fight with Danyal at their first meeting. Having said that the scenes of them alone and their other conversations were good to watch and they seem to share a certain chemistry right from the beginning.download (33)

Naina’s parents are Sayyads (for those who don’t know this term they can trace their ancestry back to the Prophet Mohammed’s family) and are in Lahore to see an equally ‘well born’ young man for their daughter. Danyal is a Malik (landowning feudals) …….or is he? There is a stranger who waits to speak to Danyal, one who may put all of Danyal’s background into question. That stranger is Naimat Khan who we see in the beginning sequence as peasant whose precious daughter Amina has died, possibly murdered, after being threatened by some Feudal Malkani.images

This serial is written by Sarmad Sehbai and seems to be an interesting story. The script is well written, aiming for a depth that we seem to have lost in recent times. I like the fact that the cast system in Pakistan is being addressed, often times we brush this under the rug using code words and sleights of expression to cover what is plainly distasteful to say out loud yet exerts such influence on our lives. More importantly I get the feeling this story maybe about self-discovery and how we perceive our identity. The Saieen Baba who sells a taweez to Danyal hints at this deeper meaning: who are we without our names, our family histories and all the lies we tell ourselves ? Farooq Rind’s directing is just passable in this episode at least .There should have been a lot more editing and at times it seemed a little disjointed. I have high hopes of this serial, Mikaal and Sadia look good together and Mikaal at least is a good actor. Most of all , finally a story which addresses deeper societal issues without lecturing or condescending to it’s audience.

written by SADAF

Bunty I Love You Episode 20 – Finale

Posted by RB On May - 19 - 2014 45 COMMENTS

bunty-i-love-you

Ek zamanay ki baat hai jab ek chottay say jazeeray par bahut makhluq rehtay thay. Unhi kay saath duniya ka har ehsaas: Khushi, Ghum, Ilm, Mohabbat aur bhi kai saaray ehsaas wahan rehtay thay. Ek din khabar aayee kay jazeeray doobnay wala hai aur sab ehsaason nai jor-shor say jaanay ki taiyari kar li siwaye Mohabbat.

Mohabbat nay bada israar kiye ki woh akhari minute tak jazeeray kay saath rahe gi.

Kuch dinoo baad, jab jazeera doobnay hi wala tha, Mohabbat nay soocha ki woh aab madad maang lay. Tab usnay ek baday say jahaz mein Daulat ko jatay dekha aur kaha: "Daulat, mujhe apnay saath lay chalo?" Daulat nay jawab diya: "Nahi, meray jahaz mein sona, chaandi, aur bhi kai tarhan ka khazana hai. Tumharay liye koi jagah nahi."

Tab Mohabbat nay Ghuroor ko ek aali- shaan jahaz mein jatay dekha aur phir say kaha  "Ghuroor, meri madad karo!" Ghuroor nay kaha: "Mein tumhari madad nahi kar sakta tum bheegi-bhaagi meray khoobsurat jahaz ka satyanaas kar do gi."

Aaisa kai bar hua. Jab Ghum pass say guzara to jawab mila: "Mujhe akelay rehnay do", jab Khushi pass say guzari to apnay deewanaypan mein usnay Mohabbat ki awaaz bhi nahi suni.

Tab aachanak, ek boozurg ki awaaz aayee: "Idhar aao, Mohabbat, mein tumhe aapnay saath lay chalata hoon." Mohabbat khushi say jhoom uthi aur apni khushi mein boozurg ka naam poochna bhool gayee. Jahaz kay kinaray pohonchtay hi boozurg chala gaya. Shukarguzaar Mohabbat nay ek aur boozurg, Ilm, say poocha ki mujhe bachnay walay ka naam kya hai.

Ilm nay kha: "Uska naam hai Waqt."

"Waqt?" Mohabbat nay kaha, "Lekin Waqt nay meri madad kyun kari?" 

Ilm nay muskura kar kaha: "Waqt say behtar Mohabbat ko kaun pehchan sakta hai."

They say all stories have a beginning and an end. Is it any coincidence then ki har mohabbat ki shurwat hoti hai aur "the end" bhi.

When I first started watching BILU I thought it was a the same old journey of a girl who becomes a woman after she's married to a much older man. Boy was I wrong! Our girl happened to remain exactly that, a girl, our boy on the other hand did become a man. Alas, too little, too late.

From the moment Dania ran over Boy Wonder, I knew their paths were star-crossed, perhaps, one more than the other. To say that there were obstacles on this road would be an understatement. From Amir's infidelity, to Mehvish's swift departure, Beenish's test of love, Zain's daaghabaazi (let's hope that's the only baazi in this picture!), and Seherish's little game all thrown in a large stockpot with Babaji's, Kutta's, detectives, tarkhi buddhas, and a very trusted ADC aka Qutub-u-din, Bunty I Love You was certainly not short on twists or rather steep turns!

Within this game of obsession and double-cross, Patel was my one source of introspection. Like a haunting spectre (quite literally too!) week after week he had me coming back for more of his poetic words of wisdom. From his anguished Dania "To phir tum sisak, sisak kar maar jao gi" to the rather profound "Mohabbat fitratan azaad hoti hai", his words, right from the beginning of this series were what had me hooked!

In all honesty, I'd given up on BILU after episode ten solely because I couldn't relate with Dania's obsession (Allah'Talah ka shukar hai) but the complete 360-degree turn that the writer (Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar) and director (Siraj-ul-Haq) gave me after Beenish's zahar kha lain tactic caught me completely off-guard, and in a good way!

Endings they say give us the ability to retrospect. Therefore, in retrospect, I much rather sit through the rather mediocre middle few episodes than have changed the course of events.

At this juncture, I'm not craving for more nor am I left with thousands of unanswered questions, in fact, I am happy at a timely end and more importantly how almost every major plot line was neatly tied together without a loose end in sight. We know Beenish is happily married and is living her ever after (at least someone is!), Seherish is engaged and pushes Bunty in the right direction, Zain is enjoying his moolah, Mehvish is probably doing more of the same, and Amir, well, he's finally been forgotten if not forgiven.

Then, why I am a tad bit sad?

Every sign in this episode pointed to a less than happy ending but I never ever thought it was going to be Boy Wonder! From Qutub's foreboding "Dinner par miltay hain" to Dania clutching a dibbiya full of poison the scene was set for a tragic conclusion. I won't go into details solely because I want you to enjoy the episode and come to your own conclusions, but I'll definitely share mine with you.

Yet another googly! In a series that's thrown one surprise after another is it any wonder that it goes out with a bang!? And most things about BILU were bang-worthy. The writing, for instance, was simply stellar simultaneously deep and eloquent. Patel's dialogues will live with me for longer than I hoped they would.

Yet, writing alone cannot make a good series and I was more than satisfied with the actors. Saba Qamar, Abid Ali, and Afzar Rehman were flawless in their roles. Interestingly, in this episode I saw Bunty coming into his own. He didn't look odd coupled with Dania, I guess, love does have that effect! Actors playing Qutub and Abdul Samad did justice to their respective roles as well. Not once was I left stranded between acting and writing, as has been happening of late.

Then, there's the music. There were episodes where I wished they would have steered towards silence, yet, even then both the OST and the background score were haunting and left me with a sense of loss and longing, exactly what they were meant to do. Need I say they were well-used too!

Finally, BILU was the first drama I reviewed from start to finish for DramaPakistani. In the process, I've made many mistakes and I've learnt a lot. A quick browse from the first review through to the more recent ones will show how much I've evolved and for the better might I add. This journey would not have been the same without all of you - readers, commentators, my fellow reviewers (shout out to MM, Sadaf, and Kanwal!), and most importantly Faraz. Thank you for the opportunity!

I began with the story of Love and Time in the hopes of stressing that BILU is not a happily ever after, it was never meant to be, rather it's a tale of the here and now.

As I conclude, I'm reminded that exactly thirteen weeks ago I said "Love always betrays" and indeed it does.

Till we meet again!

This is RB signing off.

Muhabbat Subh ka Sitara Hai– Episode 23 FINALE

Posted by A musing muslim On May - 17 - 2014 14 COMMENTS

Mohabbat-Subh-Ka-Sitaara-

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)

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