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Archive for the ‘Shehr-e Zaat’ Category

Shehr E Zaat – IK Safar ..

Posted by Sadaf On November - 10 - 2012 22 COMMENTS

There are two opinions on Sheher e Zaat, the first held by myself and I think the majority, is that this a very special drama that has helped us analyze and dare I say improve our lives in a very spiritual sense.The other minority opinion is that this is another crude attempt at forcing more conservative religious views on an already weary public. The majority opinion is found among regular viewers and The minority opinion held by those who watched in passing .However I come to bury Caesar not to praise him,so let us not quibble over who has the moral high ground. Let us think of it for a moment in a purely commercial sense. Such a highly successful series deserved a congratulatory salute at its end and HumTv decided to hold their equivalent of a parade this Friday. When you connect with a drama serial as a lot of people have with SEZ, everything about it is interesting, I wanted to know about the production, the cinematography, the difficulties and the fun the SEZ team had . To a certain extent that was what I got. I loved seeing Mahira, who was her bubbly self and the ever beautiful Samina Peerzada,whose annoying Nanni character had acted as the voice of guidance throughout the serial. It was good to see the other actors such as Mohib Mirza and the producers discussing how they got to make this project. I am not sure that I buy the story that they were not expecting SEZ to be a commercial success, but who knows perhaps they did invest so much money and time purely for the love of Art. Whatever their motivation something good and lasting was created. The writer Umera Ahmed was not seen but I think she may not be one for public appearances but her work was roundly appreciated by all especially the producers. We even got to hear Mikaal Zulfikaar’s disembodied voice from some shoot he was at.

Azfer Rahman was an impressive host, pleasantly asking the right questions and actually listening to the answers. I was more embarrassed than Mahira by the bloopers because there were several heavy dramatic scenes which I cried through which seemed to be pretty light when seen like this. Samina Peerzada revealed that she had done her role in the state of wudu because she had taken this as an act of worship to be accepted by Allah. A beautiful sentiment for sure. Despite these highlights I felt the viewer was cheated. Where was the creative visionary behind SEZ who had breathed life into ink and paper? Where was Sarmad Sultan Khoosat? This “parade” was a far cry from the joyous shout of exhilaration we felt for the Humsafer special. It seemed a little dim and contrived .I had read Sarmads official Face book status that he was disowning any connection to SEZ and thought this might at best a joke or at worst a mistake. I think all the fans of SEZ are sorely disappointed at this situation. SEZ is an interesting, well written story but there are many out there, it takes  imagination to translate such a thing to the  medium of our screens. I hesitate to print gossip, but it is a fact that Umera ahmad did not like Sarmad’s addition of the dialogue”

The following dialogue in drama serial “Shehr-e-Zaat” was not written by Umera Ahmed. It was added by the director without the consent of writer and the writer have complained against this to the production house.

“Cheezein beyhaya nahi hoti hain un say jo kuch mansoob kiya jata hai wo unhey beyhaya ya baahaya bnata hai. Haya bhi nazar mein hoti hai aur beyhayyai bhi.”

Admins : Umera Ahmed Official

Earlier in the series there had been an incident when a character played by Sarmad had used a Humsafer ring tone in a very self deprecating way, and He had to apologize. We the viewing public has no idea what went on behind the scenes and quite frankly it is none of our business. What is our business  is that the person who created this beautiful journey has for some reason distanced himself from it.If we look back on the Humsafer special, Sarmad came across as a humble , generous individual full of praise for others despite being the guiding light for that historically successful serial. Making a judgement would be like shooting in the dark, so I for one am going to wait and see. We all hope that there is a quick and easy resolution to this whole situation. Sez would be nothing without Sarmad and we hope to see him back taking the credit he so richly deserves.

Written by Sadaf~

Shehr E Zaat Finale!!

Posted by Sadaf On November - 3 - 2012 34 COMMENTS

Shehr e zaat has not been an easy drama to review , anything involving such a heady, intoxicating mix of religion, social commentary and acute observation of human nature was never going to be instantly digestible.Each episode hung around me like some elusive aroma I had to define before the next one began.Let me begin by saying this was not the perfect ending or what I had hoped for but just as Falak learns what the saints and sages have always reminded us: nothing is perfect except Allah and our wishes are like grains of sand blown along the vastness of time. Tabinda leaves Salman, We do not see her leaving and we do not see her taking the valuables from the house. All we see is Salman Anser’s surprise, his shocked disbelief and then his dawning realization that the letter left for him on a coffee table was true. It was sadly predictable to see him licking his wounds with the Mother he had so rudely turned out of his house in the last episode. How often children feel they can openly abuse their parents and yet when all hope abandons us they are the one harbor in a sea of misery.

I cannot praise Mikaal Zulfikar enough, words fail me. He usually plays these give a damn ,playboy characters with such throw away ease that you forget how talented he is .Wow just wow, he covered such a range of emotions in two minutes that in an average drama it would have taken two episodes to cover. If I could I would give him a standing ovation , this was not an easy or sympathetic role yet by the end of the episode you see the once arrogant , proud ,Tiger of a man laid low like a wounded beast and despite myself I felt a trickle of pity seep from my reluctant heart. On a lighter note (and my regular readers know there is always a lighter note), I cannot help mentioning Mikaal’s perfect looking hair. How does this happen? Come hell or high water his hair looks immaculate,the one time it was tousled  just a bit and it still looked good….Even Mahira’s hair was out of control now and then depending on her characters mood  but Mikaal seems to possess some secret weapon …none of us have :)

Falak’s journey has reached a point where she too can pity Salman without desperately hoping for reconciliation. She thinks she does not care for him and even when she visits him in the hospital and he begs her to stay or visit him again she leaves him with a grace and equanimity that he does not deserve.When she comes home and stands in front of her mirror the past comes back to remind her how they came to this parting of the ways. I guess Sarmad loves his mirror scenes and Mahira did an excellent job. I cannot help but be reminded of Asher staring at the hospital mirror in Humsafer as he tries to make sense of his feelings for Khirad .In Falak’s case the viewer gets the feeling of release , here at last was some of the indifference she had been hoping for. Obsessive love or even regard for another’s opinion can so often become its own subtle form of bondage, a constant walk on the edge between heaven and hell. I freely admit to being soppy and weeping through Falak’s prayer as she also lay weeping on her prayer mat. “Why does he want me back now? When I am not asking for him, Allah” she says. To say I enjoyed the scene where Falak turns down an offer of reconciliation from Salman would be an understatement. Enjoyed is a very small word, let us use exulted instead. Falak says she has become numb, a block of ice as she discusses this with her Naani .I am not sure her Naani gave her the right advice but there is one thing backing that advice up which trumps all others,the Quraan. The human heart is a capricious thing , blowing hot and cold with every event,there is only one consitant ,everlasting source of wisdom and that is Allah. Allah asks us to forgive, it is as simple and awe inspiringly , monumental as that.  Allah asks us to forgive. How jealously we human beings guard our forgiveness for others but expect it to flow like rain from the heavens for us

A part of me really hoped for something better for Falak but despite all her hard earned indifference Falak still cares for him . Her parents are understandably upset at any reconciliation, still she returns to her errant husband but on a new stronger basis than mere attraction. The scene where she throws the bust of Salman to the ground was very satisfying and his almost childish confusion at her actions showed  how far he has to grow. This was your “Mohabbut’ he says , ‘ No it was just a symbol’ she replies ,the real thing of value is their relationship which they must now build. I am glad that Falak and Salman’s daughter was shown painting and making little figures so that no one got the impression that these things are somehow intrinsically bad.The bust that Falak made was only bad because of the obsessive earthly love Falak associated with it. As Imam Ghazalli says in his masterpiece the Alchemy of Happiness:” the effect of Music and dancing is deeper in proportion as the natures on which they act are simple and prone to emotion, they fan into flame whatever love is already dormant in the heart, whether it be earthly and sensual, or divine and spiritual”

For some reason there was no mercy for Mehrunissa, played with great style by the ever talented Hina Bayat. I cannot agree that Falak’s mother is the source of her troubles. My hackles naturally rise when parents of any sort are mistreated or blamed as I really adore my own. I understand that she did not give Falak a strong spiritual foundation and that was wrong. It has also taken her a long time to grow and soften but there are plenty of people who give the best religious tarbiyat and yet their children turn out to be monsters and vice versa. Personal responsibility should also figure into this equation. I have personally witnessed heedless, arrogant parents produce, sweet, loving religious minded offspring simply because Allah is Raheem and that is his will.This could have been a dreadful character but Hina somehow softened her to where we all wish to advocate for her. I missed Nadia Afghan in this episode but she was perfection in the last few episodes.

This entire serial is a beautiful work of art. Though I cannot always agree with Umera Ahmed’s vision, her writing is both spiritually moving and deeply sincere. Every phrase was poignant and intellectually stimulating and as always with Umera Ahmed’s work, unforgettable. As a viewer I want to say thank you to Hum TV and Seventh Sky production houses for bringing us this wonderful, thought provoking serial.

The best part of this serial has to be the flawless direction by Sarmad Sultan Khoosat, for respecting the intelligence of the viewer and bringing us so close to Falaks incredibly simple journey. Yes I know the last two episodes were stretched a bit but we only noticed because the rest of the serial has been so stellar. Sarmad ji you cannot complain if we complain sometimes, because you are the one who has spoiled us with such heights of perfection…we want cake everyday! Mahira was the perfect choice for Falak, she has made leaps and bounds as a performer and has won our hearts. She has carried this serial and made Falak not some strange, foolish creature in a story but a living, breathing person; we can all see a reflection of ourselves in.

 Allah ki mohabbut ke sivay har Muhabbat par Zawal hai….

 

Written By Sadaf~

This website and its content is copyright of Dramapakistani.net  – ©Drama Pakistani 2011. All rights reserved.
Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.

Shehr e Zaat Episode 18

Posted by Sadaf On October - 27 - 2012 17 COMMENTS

I think I just met the Devil today. It was not a meeting I asked or hoped for but useful none the less. I have to thank Sarmad Khoosat and Umeraa Ahmed for arranging this unwanted, unnerving encounter in today’s episode of Sheher e zaat. There are so many dramas, so many films I have seen that it is rather hard to impress any image on my admittedly jaded mind; but the conversation between Tabinda and Salman in the cool evening of their garden is not one easily forgotten.What should have been a pleasant exchange between a couple very much in love seemed instead an indictment of Salman’s behavior . The saddest part being that he seemed so completely ignorant of any nuance in Tabinda’s words.What kind of a woman are you ?” he asks playfully, she replies quite seriously “Qayamat “(the end of the world or judgement day). I cannot praise Nadia Afghan enough, how did she manages to create that feeling of subtle menace and apprehensions in what were just a few casual phrases. How often have we heard those words in song and film and passed them by like wild flowers growing on the side of the road? But here they have taken on a different meaning altogether.

For any other drama last week’s episode would have been more than good, but SEZ has spoiled us into expecting a certain level of excellence which I am happy to say has returned this week. Falak is still going through her “azmaish” but has reached a new depth of self understanding She visits her naani often and even goes to a the wedding of the daughter of the annoying, poor relative whom she used to avoid.As she silently compares her own wedding to the simpler one she is attending. She comes to a realization that despite all the money spent and preparation made for her wedding none of it had made her life a success. This has become a common theme in  not only Pakistan but throughout the Diaspora of Pakistani communities living abroad, There is much emphasis on a well planned and exciting wedding and no thought or effort given to the actual marriage itself.

Salman’s Mother pays an unwelcome visit to the ‘newly weds’. I really love the line where Tabinda says “now don’t tell me I have put a magic spell on your son” because that is so often how we excuse the bad behavior of Men in particular.’ He is obsessed ‘ ‘ she has some strange hold on him’ are the cliches we often use to avoid laying any responsibility at their door. This episode illustrates so clearly that the Devil needs no great subterfuge to enter our hearts and minds just those little open gates our nafs leaves unlocked. Reason becomes our greatest enemy because we all have an excuse. Salman felt Falak was not concerned enough about him; instead of taking his commitment to his marriage seriously he let his disappointments grow. Instead of communicating or trying to connect with his wife he let another women enter his consciousness .Salman is terribly impressed with Tabinda’s eloquence and her perceptive little quips but Falak can see that Tabinda ‘s words are like a dagger to the heart. I am actually glad Falak is not shown to berate or belittle Tabinda and accepts both her own and Salman’s part in the failure of their relationship.

One person I keep forgetting to praise in this whole drama is Mikaal. He has played his character so seamlessly that I have to keep reminding myself the poor man is only acting and not get too angry with him. He has even managed to make his relationship with Tabinda’s character look plausible .Hina Bayat is someone I must also commend. She is a wonderful actress who hardly needs my praise, but what a great job she has done with this role. This is not the ordinary parent /child relationship, we see Mehrunissa growing with her child. All she wants is what is best for Falak and yet she cannot understand the transformation her daughter is undergoing. She not only suffers for her daughter but is blamed by her own Mother and then more subtly challenged by Falak too. Yet she never comes across as bitter or angry.Just a loving mother confused by the challenges life keeps throwing at her.

After she learns of Tabinda’s pregnancy, Falak very reluctantly signs the papers for Khulla (a type of divorce in Islam initiated by the woman).I am glad they showed her unwillingness because divorce should never be taken easily.  If we met the Devil today, I think we also met an angel .Falak meets a strange woman by the sea shore who disappears in matter of moments. Before she goes she asks Falak what she truly wants. Mahira was amazing she had me in tears, her expression was so helpless, her hair blowing in the wind,she cut a hopeless figure.  I want Allah to look at me , “mujh pey Allah nazar daley’ even though she feels herself unworthy to ask for anything . The woman reminds her that when a Mother and child are separated, the Mother is even more desperate to be united with her offspring than the child, There is a hadeeth that says Allah has divided his love and mercy into seventy parts, one part he has given to the world and the rest he keeps for himself That one small part is all the love we show each other in this world but the rest, the greatest part of love and mercy Allah alone can show us.

Written by Sadaf~

This website and its content is copyright of Dramapakistani.net  – ©Drama Pakistani 2011. All rights reserved.
Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.

Shehr-e Zaat Episode 17

Posted by Sadaf On October - 20 - 2012 42 COMMENTS

Technically Sheher e Zaat has always been marvelous; shot in a way that almost makes you forget there is a screen between the viewer and the actors, as if we are all sitting in the same room sharing the same space. Falak followed her Naani’s bad (in my opinion) advice to go back to “her” house or rather the one that she had shared with Salman and meet her rival. Rival or “Souten/Soken” is a bad word it implies a competition where there is none. Tabinda has already won this game. I am reminded Of Aiman and Faysal from Maath and although it seems harsh I am not that disappointed .Salman is deserving of Tabinda , Falak deserves much better.

The conversation between the two women was very interesting. This is Umera Ahmed writing, so no vulgar shouting or accusations, instead a subdued almost detached Falak while Tabinda carries on like a steam roller. The best exchange had to be when Falak asks Tabinda if she knows the value of a painting which the latter has put to dust in a corner. Tabinda whose unsavory background has been mentioned in a previous episode and who had an affair with Salman while he was still married to Falak ,declares she doesn’t like the immodesty (behayaiee) of the pictures subject. Falak replies quietly that modesty and immodesty are in a person’s eyes and we see that which our inner heart reveals to us. When Salman arrives Falak witnesses firsthand the rapport he and Tabinda share and through a thankfully judicious use of flashbacks she realizes the lack of any real intimacy she had had with Salman. Still she has to ask Salman one more time why he prefers Tabinda to her and he says in that, cold unyeilding way Mikaal is such an expert in; that he felt Falak had not taken care of him , that she was not as invested in him as she should have been. Falak and the viewer are amazed but we are all fools if we had expected a different answer. The contrast with Salman’s relaxed and loving attitude towards Tabinda and his cold indifference towards Falak could not have been more pronounced.

In the rest of the episode we see Mehurunissa’s arrogant facade finally begin to crumble a little as she too realizes that no matter how perfect she thinks her daughter is Salman values Tabinda more. This is the first time we see her pray, something we should have seen much earlier.What balanced out this episode was Falaks wandering in to the servant Quarters and seeing for the first time how they lived. The servant Imam Deen lives a much harder life than Falak but is always grateful to Allah and again Falak is made to realize that she is still in better circumstances than many.Although repititious I actually liked this, because it reminds us all to put our problems in perspective. On a lighter note,what it is to meet the “worthy poor”. Call me a socialist but I always thought rich and poor were subject to the same vices and temptations. By a stroke of great luck though, all the poor people Falak ever  meets are God fearing grateful sorts. ;)

What I did find strange was Tabinda accusing Falak of having no Amal (good deeds) what so ever. Now I know Falak was vain and self obsessed but she had no affair before her marriage,she was by all accounts respectful to her parents and loving to her Naani . She even had quite loyal friends and Hamza her college friend had been desperate to marry her. Can she really, can any human being really be that devoid of any small goodness? Strangely, Tabinda, who has conducted an illicit affair, given away Falak’s belongings and been rude to Salman’s father, feels herself morally superior to Falak. But I suppose that too is human nature , justify our worst actions by picking holes in the  other person to produce some kind of dubious moral equivilancy to quiet our consciences. The promos for next weeks episode leave little room for hope of a reconciliation, in fact they show Tabinda and Salman proudly announcing a pregnancy. I hope that the writer allows our (yes she is our Falak,) a little grace before we bid her adieu .That little scene in front of a mirror she passes was so sad and shows how good an actress Mahira has become. I end with hope that next week Falak moves on to something better.

Written by Sadaf~

This website and its content is copyright of Dramapakistani.net  – ©Drama Pakistani 2011. All rights reserved.
Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.

Shehr-e Zaat Episode 16

Posted by Sadaf On October - 13 - 2012 28 COMMENTS

Has anyone heard of the unfortunate woman who got on a flight for Canada from Europe and woke up ten hours later, totally refreshed but in China? After watching this week’s episode I know exactly how that poor woman felt.

Most of the episode today was a little ho hum; as usual the promos had left nothing to the imagination. In fact one of the thorns in my shoe about this production is that the entire story seemed to have been given away in the initial promos rather than hints to intrigue the viewer. However this is a common complaint with many dramas and I thought , hey get over yourself  .In the beginning we see a dejected but contemplative Falak lying on a her bed.The scene was very well done , no glamour, no makeup and no over dramatics just a person with defeat etched on her face. Downstairs Naani has come on a visit and is mulling over the situation with Falaks distraught mother. Meherunissa is still her old self and for some strange reason discusses applying for a Khulla for Falak. Nanni (surprise) warns against doing anything without Falak’s consent and as such things take time Mehrunissa says that of course that will be their first priority. Now I ask why, as Salman had so happily and recently offered to divorce Falak , when her Mother challenges him at the hospital after her daughter’s breakdown? I can understand Falak’s parents reaction but why exactly a Khulla, is that another symbol of their false pride? Perhaps they don’t want to be seen as the ones cast aside so they are trying to do the ‘casting’?

Falak has forgotten how to pray and does not even remember the relatively simple rituals of Wudu. When she visits Nanni’s house she is taught by one of her Nannis simple students, a humbling experience for one who has flown so high. Still she learns with humility and prays with her grandmother. She reads the Quraan at first haltingly and does not even remember that first lesson of so many Muslim children Surah Fatiha. I know this is meant to illustrate how secular her life has been so far, but didn’t we cover that already? As the episode progressed, I kept wanting to see Falak move on ,it seemed as if she was spinning in the same groove. Her Nanni advises her to return “home” as in to Salman. It’s still your home and you still have a relationship says Durreshehwar oops Naani. Falak listens and promises to consider the option despite what would be any woman’s deepest reservations in such a situation.

Till this point, although predictable the story made the sense we have grown accustomed to. Here was our pleasant flight to Canada, first class thanks to 7th Sky and Hum TV. We had the extra leg room, extra chocolates and a cozy sense of knowing our near future. Falak blames her mother,”aap ne mujhey namaz nahin seekaeey” you didn’t teach me how to pray or read the Quraan ,she accuses her Mother. In times of trouble most of us tend to blame those around us for our failures, its human nature. Agreed Meherunissa is at major fault, I cannot imagine how anyone let alone those living in a Muslim country could make such an omission. Her mother counters with, I didn’t  want you turning into a “molviani”. Immediately my hackles are raised, if I pray, fast or fulfill the basic obligations of Islam does that make me a “molviani” . Why is that a bad word anyway? Bear with me we are still ostensibly headed to Canada. Poor Meherunissa then gets a double dose of guilt from Nanni,who tells her that while “Ilzaam nahin lagaa rahee” I am not blaming you BUT sometimes the actions of the parents result in bad consequences for the children. Now bechari Mehrunissa is sitting tortured on her stairwell contemplating her mistakes.  “Ladies and Gentlemen we have reached China, remember to take all your belongings when you disembark.” Do bad things only happen to bad people? As Drama Buff pointed out in comment to one of SZ”s reviews, plenty of religious, “good” women go through difficulties and sad divorces without being as materialistic as Falak . I have seen simply dreadful people enjoying guilt free lives without once mentioning their Malik’s name except to curse someone. My mother has always taught me to pray for Allah’s mercy because he might test us as he has tested those who were better than us. The inference that had Falak been religious this would not have happened is standing like ten ton elephant in the room and I’m sorry I’m just not used to the smell.

Our own beloved Prophet (PBUH) has warned us about those who perform religious rituals to be seen of Men and if memory serves me right Qaid e Azam warned Gandhi Ji about the use of overt religious symbols. Much as I admire Umera Ahmed, I strongly disagree with the message these scenes give. Then is the opposite true, does eveyone who believes and worships in the prescribed formulas achieve perfect lives? Allah is thankfully a great deal more forgiving then human judgment I am sorely disappointed. It’s not that I wanted a mundane happy ending for Falak, but I was just expecting better. While a religious background might,nay will help you deal with and indeed overcome the difficulties of life it certainly is not going to protect you from the roller coaster that is kismet. While I understand the concept of personal responsibility, I don’t think that is the message being sent.

So our intrepid heroine follows the advice of  Naani and goes to “her ” house because Salman hasn’t yet physically pulled her out by the hair so who knows he is probably waiting for her. …. I love Tabinda, or rather Nadia Afghan who seems to be poking fun at this highly charged self important couple of Salman and Falak . Humour aside ,here  I am back on board with Umera Ahmed and that trip to Canada. This is the writing of Umera Ahmed I love.Where a women can face her greatest fears and difficulties with honor and dignity. Falak goes through her house looking at it through a stranger’s eye, when she reaches her room she sees the disgusting mess Tabinda has made the disarray of clothes and baubles and you can tell she wonders how Salman bears it. Well next week is the last episode and for some strange reason it feels like a showdown even though Salman does not seem to have changed at all. Tabinda very confidently calls him to come and send Falak away and from the promos it seems likely her confidence is warranted.

Written by Sadaf~

PS:  Here’s my article on Shehr E Zaat that got published on Express Tribune

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/14184/shehr-e-zaat-a-spiritual-romance/

 

This website and its content is copyright of Dramapakistani.net  – ©Drama Pakistani 2011. All rights reserved.
Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.

Shehr-e Zaat Episode 15

Posted by Sadaf On October - 6 - 2012 16 COMMENTS

Once we realize how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things, our worries, our fears become even less important. What about my self esteem and all those messages people keep sending me on Face book to “believe in yourself “? Well, let me counter with another question, which ‘self ‘? No, you haven’t clicked on the wrong link this is still a review for SEZ, but the nature of this drama is so deep it invites such questions, questions we shouldn’t answer too quickly.

In this episode we see a new Falak who now walks with her eyes open. She can see the beggars on the street and how each of their lives are just as significant as hers. Her heart has softened to such an extent that she goes to the house of a little street urchin knocked down by a passing car and asks about the family. She gives his sister money, because that’s all she has to give and comes home ashamed because she had been wallowing in pity for herself when others are suffering much greater difficulties.The scene where she helps her servant’s daughter to read a Sufi parable about how loving our fellow Man can lead us to loving Allah was serenely done. I am so glad long sermons and swathes of dialogue were avoided. The message was delivered in a sweet and simple way. I love this calmer Falak, and strange to say till Salman’s telephone call she seemed to have forgotten him or at least pushed the pain he had given her to some safer, more distant part of her mind. We only saw Salman for a couple of scenes and he was acting like a jerk in both. First arguing with his mother in the worst possible way and then in a strange phone call to Falak, informing her of his wedding to Tabinda. After reluctantly asking her how she is, he wonders if she will come back. Does that mean he still somewhere in his heart has feelings for her or perhaps more likely, he has some latent sense of guilt?

Falak also argues with her mother throwing her expensive shoes and clothes around her room,shouting that these were the things that kept her distanced from God. I simply loved the line where she says that at least if she had been poor it would have kept her connected to Allah even if only through need.It would be easy to look at Falak and say this is not me, this is not us but we would be lying. Sometimes we are all Falak, sometimes we are all heedless. The scene between Salman’s parents was priceless. I knew Salman had to take after someone and Quelle Suprise it turned out to be his mother. Apparently, she had persuaded Anser to cheat his sisters out of their inheritance and had cut off all relations with her in laws. Anser says quite rightly that this is not a test but a punishment,but still the woman is blind and refuses to accept even the possibility of her own culpability .In the old days , my mother tells me that much would be made of a family’s background before an alliance would be formed .One of the deciding factors being whether the mother kept good relations with her in laws and extended family,because what a child learns unspoken from its parents behavior is often greater than the official lessons we suppose we are giving. How brilliant of Umera  Ahmed to turn a test normally used for the girls’s parents on its head and apply it to the boy’s side.

I am also rather glad that Falak was not shown running to Humza for comfort every five minutes , she has stopped using people.Her parents want aKhulla but all they have to do is ask for a divorce, Salman has openly offered it to Falk’s mother. The lack of communication between Falak and her mother is sadly amazing. Neither Sher Afghan nor Mehrunissa have realized the extent of their daughter’s attachment to Salman, even if it is one sided.It seems unlikely Falak will agree to such a detachment.

Mahira is going from strength to strength as an actress. I suppose it helps to be that beautiful, but even there she kept her makeup to a minimum. I wish a few other actresses would learn to show their skin instead of painting themselves up. My two complaints are the lack of Mikaal  in this episode and I know I’m not the only one .Oh and the other one is pure mischief, if only they had shown us Salman and Tabinda’s wedding and just a tantalizing glimpse of their marital bliss. I sorely miss Nadia Afghan and it would have been comedy gold. Proud, snobbish, arrogant Salman Ansar and the wonderfully unimpressed bumpkin Tabinda.

Written by Sadaf~

 

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Shehr-e Zaat Episode 14

Posted by Sadaf On September - 29 - 2012 14 COMMENTS

What happens after a storm or tornado hits? A strange calm usually overtakes the place that had been a maelstrom of screaming winds and lashing rain. People start to survey the damage done. What can be salvaged, what is irreparable and must be replaced? Well a storm came to Falak’s life, she had heard it’s distant rumblings for sometime but found nowhere to hide from its unyielding force. Gone was her reliance on the little complacencies she had so cherished in her life. Her looks, her wealth, her education and her social position were nothing; they couldn’t guarantee the happiness, the security she craved. If last week’s episode was a visual delight, this week’s had a lot more dialogue and was for listening.”There is nothing left between us “she tells her Nanni. They speak of Allah and the lack of Allah’s presence in her life but not once does she blame Salman for her predicament. She sees her present crisis as the result of her own failings. How rare it is for humans to analyze themselves or ever admit that they might be the authors of their own misery. How much effort is spent on  a child’s education, the best schools, the best clothes and of course the best kind of rishta. Yet sometimes we neglect to school them in their relationship with Allah. I am sure Falak knows how to pray and probably has read the Quraan in Arabic; after all she lives in Pakistan. But when it comes to the actual problems of her life she seems to have no spiritual underpinning to deal with them. She admits her greatest mistake was forgetting Allah and her Nanni reassures her that it is never too late.

It’s funny how when people get married they often forget the close friends they had when they were single. I think this is particularly true for women because we are told since day one,concentrate on pleasing your husband, mold yourself to his wishes to preserve your marriage don’t be distracted by friends or even your own family. This is so prevalent in our society that it is presented as a virtue in itself.So now that Falak is alone again; her real friends Rushna and Hamza come and visit her. To commiserate, to soothe to advise.But each time Falak refuses to listen and refuses to blame Salman for her present predicament. I found this rather inspiring, often women and Men in this situation wallow in their misery and spend their energy on tearing down the cheating spouse. Nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade but the best revenge is always to live well and I think Falak is on her way.It was funny the way people keep offering to take her to a psychologist because she wants to rely on Allah.I suppose it takes us right back to the Sufi saints who forsook the material comforts of this world and were considered mad. I cannot say that I enjoyed the scene with Falak rubbing wet sand over her face , It didn’t do anything for me but what did were the flash backs to all the ceremonies and milestones of her life with Salman ,which she had thought would anchor him to her but never did.We are all guilty of this. How much importance do we as a society give to birthday gifts and anniversary parties as a proof of our own importance? Lavish weddings and poor marital relationships are becoming a norm, with much higher divorce rates

On a lighter note, I was horribly jealous of Falak’s wardrobe and the way Mahira floated around looking beautiful in those amazing suites. Now, I thought, the glamorous part is over and my heart will be at ease. No such luck. Despite the lack of Makeup and the simple cotton suites she still looks amazing. This entire serial is giving me a severe inferiority complex, does no one have a bad hair day or forget to match their shirt and tie in this world? Why does Mikaal have to look so perfect every time I see him, does he even sweat like us ordinary mortals? Even their servant is asking more intelligent questions than me (with Nani in a earlier episode). I guess this is MY azmaish  :)

The most memorable and perhaps most heartwarming scene for me was with Hamza. I freely admit to weeping through it’s entirety. Mohib Mirza is ideal as Hamza,such a talented actor. When He asks Falak to leave Salman and how he will treat her I almost wished she agreed. But Falak’s character shows a great deal of principle and decency by reminding him gently that she is still committed to Salman and he (Humza) must honor his commitment to his new fiance.That entire scene blew me away both Mahira and Mohib were amazing. We are constantly bombarded with messages from the media that we should listen to or follow our hearts. But what if our heart wants something patently bad, something that is not honorable,something that hurts those we love. What a great change has come about in Falak who always followed her desires.

I have sometimes complained that while I love watching a serial written by Umera Ahmed, her characters are too absolute, just black or white with no nuance. Well I might have felt that for MAAT and MZZBN (both great in their own right) but I am beginning to change my mind. After watching Qaid E Tanhai and now Sheher E Zaat I feel a strong element of compassion in her work. In any other story Falak would have been the villainous, demanding, arrogant first wife while Tabinda would have been the unassuming heroine,who soothes an ill treated husband’s heart. I am a little disappointed with the way Tabinda has been presented, couldn’t she just have been an ordinary girl overwhelmed by Salman’s wealth and looks? But Umera Ahmed is a deeper thinker than me, so Tabinda is something more. Perhaps even a character building test for Salman. Overall this was a good episode which may not have moved the story on but showed Falaks growing self awareness. To finish let me quote a poem I was forced to learn in High school by my well meaning English teacher:

“…..the small, the scorching ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay…”….

Written by Sadaf~  

 

This website and its content is copyright of Dramapakistani.net  – ©Drama Pakistani 2011. All rights reserved.
Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.

Shehr-e Zaat Episode 13

Posted by Sadaf On September - 22 - 2012 20 COMMENTS

Some things are too great, too vast to be captured by the meaning of a single word or a single phrase, but sometimes a look or a glance is enough. The look Salman gives Falak when she sits waiting for him, dejectedly rolling that terrible bottle of acid, said everything. No greeting or salaam for her this woman, with whom he had shared every intimacy of life; just a rather annoyed inquiry as to why she had gone to see Tabinda? If you have seen a statue , a truly beautiful one such as those which line the great Museums of Rome and Paris you would recognize that pitiless gaze encased in the smoothest white stone.This was an incredibly moving and deep episode,and perhaps with a few minor caveats , the best so far.

How beautiful Falak looked as she dressed to kill in her lovely green sari and a bottle of acid in her hands Her voice reasoning out an evil act she was prepared to commit in her desperation to gain back Salman’s attention What an amazing scene, her confrontation with Tabinda was.No raised voices, no accusations, no negotiations just the knowledge of absolute defeat on Falak’s part and the slightly contemptuous look of indifference on Tabinda’s face. Was there just a touch of pity in Tabinda’s eyes as she watched Falak’s wordless exit. I cannot praise Nadia Afghan enough, she seems ideal for this part , a woman who has more than mere looks to support her through the difficulties of this life .A women with confidence and intelligence, One thing I am grateful for is that there were no long sermons in this episode ,with such a spiritual theme ,it would have been easy to slide into long scenes of rhetoric.But the director has very wisely chosen to show rather than tell in this episode.

When Falak comes home after remembering the damning words of the fakir she takes of the beautiful earrings Salman gifted her not so long ago and tries to wipe of the the blood red lipstick she wore to emphasize her beauty .She takes a shower fully clothed as if she can wash away the foolishness of the past and the misery of the present. Full marks to Mahira Khan for doing justice to this very difficult episode .If I have one complaint it is the scene where she notices the rags tied to the tree , that didn’t work for me.in fact I found that part the least convincing and possibly irritating. Those who have read the novelette tell me the faqir’s words are an integral part of the story but as the truism goes: what works in a book might not work on the screen.You are welcome to disagree with me gentle reader . Even the scene with Hina Bayat, when she discusses the role of a woman. It could have been tedious but it was sincere and easy to watch. By the time here nervous breakdown is over and she is not eating breakfast with her mother , the viewer knows the change has come .she doesn’t react hysterically or angrily to Salman’s callous avoidance of her but accepts with quiet dignity that this is a test, an azmaishs, she brought on herself.They say when you hit rock bottom the only way is up,and after this I suspect Falak will become better both physically and spiritually.

This episode may have been about Falak’s awakening but it was also very much about Salman too.  His character mirrors so much of Falak’s own behavior toward her old friend Hamza, it would make me smile if it were not so cruel.It’s such a cliche to say hat’s off , so I’m going to say instead a round of applause please for Mikaal Zulfikaar who alone could make Salman’s character work. Anyone else and this character would have come off as entirely villainous or less harsh than he needs to be.  He has lent Salman’s role a subtle charm his character may not deserve .Mikaal seems to excel at playing La Belle Dame Sans Merci. It’s not just his undeniable good looks but that studied nonchalance, that absolute sangfroid in the face of Falaks mounting hysteria. Falak’s situation is such a nuisance for Salman,not a big deal as he complains to his parents.He really cannot see her pain.

From what I hear this is more of a short story written by Umera Ahmed rather than a novel and at some points in past episodes there has been a very slight drag factor, but not in this episode. I can only be grateful to such writers for giving such meaningful stories and characters that provoke us to  think rather than lulling us into a numbing sleep of sureties and conventions.

On a lighter note, I had to smile, no let me admit it, laugh,after Salman’s conversation with Tabinda. He has exhausted her already; she seems to see right through him. She has probably met Men like him before and seems totally unimpressed. I’m reminded of when Falak called Salman and he was too busy watching sports to answer her. I loved her line about Men being irritated by the very women they have promised before Allah and his Prophet (SAW) to honor as their wives.

I think there are probably a great many lessons to be learned from this story but the one I picked up from this episode in particular was that  human beings may be cruel to one another ,they may devalue and make a mockery of their relationships and promises to one another but Allah , the eternal never turns from us, Allah  values us even if we have no value.

 

Written by Sadaf  ~

This website and its content is copyright of Dramapakistani.net  – ©Drama Pakistani 2011. All rights reserved.
Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.

Shehr-e Zaat – Episode 9

Posted by SZ On August - 25 - 2012 36 COMMENTS

Main bhikari nahin hoon
Main ne kabhi kisi se kuch nahin maanga

After have gotten her Prince Charming, followed by a lovely wedding, and now living a blissful life in her beautiful castle, Falak might be forgiven for thinking that she is now a central character in her own little fairy tale. Lulled into what is sadly destined to be a temporary sense of security, floored by  Salman’s open appreciation [finally!!] and swept away by his charm, Falak has chosen to forget past insecurities vis-à-vis Salman, her dismay over  his arrogance and boorishness all purposefully swept under the metaphorical rug, out of sight, out of mind. The fact that at one point she was so driven to despair that she asked her maid for a taveez, to win Salman’s affections, is something she has willed herself to forget, and honestly speaking who among us would want to keep reminding ourselves of the unpleasantness of the past. It’s easier to move on – forgive and forget is what we’ve been taught from day one. But, hold on, what makes Falak different here is that, she has not just forgiven and forgotten, but she’s actually relishing all that she has now as her due right. It is this precise na-shukri wala attitude that naani has been trying to warn her against from day one, and this is what the faqir reiterates as well. But Falak, of course being the Falak that she is, is in complete denial that there was ever a point where she had actually desperately wished and asked for anything, hence her confident avowal: main ne kabhi kisi se kuch nahin maanga!

No matter how much of a Falak, Falak was being, it was lovely to see the warm interactions between Falak and Salman. His palpable excitement at the coming baby, as evidenced by his involvement with the decoration of the nursery, was a well-done subtle touch highlighting his emotional investment in this relationship, no matter how it might have started out. I am so glad that time was spent in establishing this switch in the nature of the relationship between our two protagonists, laying the foundation for the stark contrast in Salman’s behavior as it starts changing from the next episode onwards. Falak’s conversation with Rushna went a long way towards establishing Falak’s bury-her-head-in-the-sand attitude, and also answered the question regarding Hamza being MIA at Falak’s wedding – he was in Dubai.

The phone call between Falak and Hamza was illuminating to say the least – truly Shehr-e Zaat is a story of mirrors and reflections. Even as Hamza was being spurned by Falak, who remained unaware of his romantic interest till he proposed to her, he too was unknowingly spurning someone else’s love, because he was so enamored by Falak. Now, with Falak married and therefore out of reach, he was able to see this other girl in a different light, with the result that he is now distributing wedding cards to friends. It was interesting to see Falak contrasting her love for Salman with that of Hamza’s for her. Now that she is sitting pretty and secure, it is easy for her to say she would’ve died if she wouldn’t have gotten Salman. These lines gave me a pause and had me wondering – we make such big declarations so easily and glibly… is life that easy to take? Can we take away something that we are unable to give in the first place?

The scenes between naani and Falak and Mehrunissa have to be some of the most tenderly done scenes I have seen in recent times. The bonding between the three women, their small, almost unnoticeable, gestures of affection: Mehrunissa rubbing lotion on her mother’s hands, Falak carrying naani’s heavy handbag while showing off her house, were so beautifully done that it’s hard to remember that this all fiction. I loved the way Mehrunissa excitedly shared her daughter’s good news with her mother. Similarly, Falak’s unabashed delight at having naani visit her house was an absolute treat to watch. An unexpected bonus was the visible joy that naani expressed at Falak’s desire to have a daughter. Loved the fact that she didn’t berate Falak for not praying for her firstborn to be a boy; a minute detail, but so vitally important that such messages are continually reinforced. Samina Pirzada, Hina Bayat, and Mahira Khan must be related somewhere up there, because such chemistry is almost never seen. Kudos to all for giving us these magical moments to savor!

Finally, the iconic scene that we’d all been waiting for since the first promos aired. Needless to say it lived up to all my expectations and beyond. Munawar Saeed is a class act and he pulled off this scene impeccably and delivered the meaningful lines beautifully. I only wish this scene had been trimmed a bit off at the end, leaving more of an impact on the viewers. This minor peeve aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the way Falak’s lofty claims, her being an artist with the ability to see beauty even in gandagi, were immediately challenged by the shot of the muddy water and the fakir making mud balls, lovely use of the dialogues and the visuals to add that extra layer of meaning. Add to that the OST lyrics in the background, about the yaar being omnipresent, juxtapositioning Falak’s majazi yaar who is zahir, with the faqir’s haqiqi yaar who is chupa, and you have a sequence elevated beyond the realm of the ordinary. Definitely a scene I will go back to again and again to decipher the layers of meanings. Excellently done Sarmad!

Shehr-e Zaat is now beyond the halfway mark and so far I have never walked away disappointed. There is so much to savor and relish here –  intellectually and visually –  that I am continually engaged as a viewer. There might be a couple of lapses here and there, and some scenes could’ve handled some trimming, but overall this serial is in a class by itself. The entire cast deserves a huge round of applause. The technical facilities have all been topnotch. Above all, Umera and Sarmad, you guys rock!


P. S.
This is my last review of Shehr-e Zaat; a huge shout out to everyone who read, appreciated and commented on my reviews. I’ve enjoyed watching this gem of a serial and sharing my thoughts, but unfortunately,  my professional commitments make it impossible for me to continue. Sunday’s review of the Bilqees Kaur finale will be my last one for DramaPakistani for the immediate future.

 

Written by SZ~ sz.reviews.dp@gmail.com
This website and its content is copyright of Dramapakistani.net  – ©Drama Pakistani 2011. All rights reserved.
Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.

Shehr-e Zaat – Episode 8

Posted by SZ On August - 18 - 2012 8 COMMENTS

Why is it that even after having gotten her heart’s desire, Salman, Falak still feels unfulfilled? She was very familiar with his boorishness, so why does Salman’s attitude bother her now? Though she had earlier assured Salman that her love would be enough for the two of them, why is she now yearning for more? Why is she haunted by doubts and misgivings? Why is she now annoyed with him and his mood swings? What is that indefinable something that still remains elusive?

The clue to understanding Falak’s dilemma lies in naani’s gentle reprimand: do not make Salman into something he’s not; do not turn a mere mortal into divinity. He cannot give you all that you want, he cannot be all that you want. Salman is after all only human, warts and all, do not go look for perfection in him – he is not and cannot be perfect, that is an attribute reserved only for God. It is only to Falak’s infatuated eyes that he appears flawless and special – otherwise he is as flawed and as ordinary as anybody else around her.

For Falak, naani’s gentle rebukes and Rushna’s well-meaning advice all fall on deaf ears. Asghar Gondvi’s exquisite lyrics give voice beautifully to Falak’s silent response to all these mashwaras: They who admonish me have not seen the one who is my haasil-e imaan; they have not seen my beloved the way I have. No matter how much other beauty might be around me, everything pales  when compared to one sight of my beloved. The particular use of this poetry, referring to the poet’s ecstatic description of the Beloved’s beauty and his love for the Beloved – God, to highlight Falak’s mindset, aptly reiterate naani’s earlier reproof, Falak has equated Salman with divinity, put him on a pedestal and made him the master of her destiny. Lovely use of esoteric poetry in the background to substantiate the difference between majazi and haqeeqi, adding so much more depth to the onscreen narrative and tying up so many threads, without long preachy dialogues. Excellently done!

Suffice it to say, Falak dances to Salman’s tune. One clumsy apology, one word of semi-praise from Salman is enough to raise her to the seventh heaven, and his temper tantrums fling her in to the deepest and darkest of abysses.  Having lost all sense of self, so desperate is Falak that she is willing to go to any length to get Salman’s love, including stooping as low as requesting the maid to bring her a taweez and dhaga, which would ostensibly keep Salman tied to her.

What Falak fails to realize is that while she is driving herself into a frenzy over Salman, there is so much else around her that she blithely takes for granted. Though she doesn’t she see it that way, there is so much to be thankful for in her life. Rather than offering shukranas, for all the blessings which she’s been showered with so generously, Falak takes it all in her stride as her due right. But again as naani points out to her daughter, there is an eventual hisaab for everything. All israaf, luxuries, over indulgences, useless expenses, all have to be accounted for; be they rich or poor, all are equally answerable for their actions, words, and deeds.

Though both mother and daughter laugh off naani’s words, one is left with a disquieting feeling that despite their easy dismissal, the day of reckoning is not as far as many of us might think it to be. Even though the servants feel they are only ones who are to be held accountable, it is actually the same for everyone across the board. In the eyes of God all are equal, whether one walks on foot or travels in a chauffeur driven car, all are same, all held to the same standards.

Shehr-e Zaat continues to mesmerize, enchant, and enthrall. Each episode opens up new avenues of reflection, taking us all a step further along the path as we make the metaphorical journey from wujood to zaat, compelling an inward  consideration of who we were, who we’ve become, and where do we go from here – truly a connoisseurs’ delight. All actors are doing complete justice to their very complex characters. The technical and creative crews deserve applause for their efforts. Above all, kudos to Umera and Sarmad, the writer and the narrator, you guys keep hitting it out of the park every week!

Do I need to say I’m in love?

 

Written by SZ~ sz.reviews.dp@gmail.com
Follow me on Twitter:  SZ_DramaPakistani  (@sz_dp)

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