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Shehr-e Zaat Episode 14

Sadaf . 14

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~  


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  • Sadaf

    @ Sara I can see your point. However Salman was never grounded or wonderful, in fact he was even shallower than Falak. I think the story you suggest has been played out in many dramas . But Falak's spiritual growth rather than her punishment for being vain might be what Umera is aiming for .

  • sara

    Completely agree with Sumaiya. I would've liked to see salman as a wonderful and grounded individual and Tabinda as a down-to earth and hardworking individual and both unintentionally falling in love with one another and salman being torn between his love for her and his commitment to his wife. The message of inner vs outer beauty would have been very strong in that scenario. By painting salman and tabinda as villans, the focus of the story has shifted to sympathizing with 'poor' Falak, which has killed the whole point of this story. Don't understand why this unnecessary drama was needed to an other wise strong and beautiful story

  • Sadaf

    Tabinda's character has certainly suprised a lot of us. Most people cannot understand the fussy ,rather vain Salman falling for such a vulgar, crude woman who lacks any obviouse charm. But isn't that the point ? Falak's pride in her beauty, class and wealth is shattered into a million little pieces simply because of that. I am rather glad there is no competition between Falak and Tabinda. In too many dramas it's always the woman's fault, it's never about the jerkish behaviour of the Man. His needs were just not being met so of course he must look else where,right? Then if simple, sweet, caring wife number two bores him , he can move on again…because his needs must be met ,right… wrong. The word Commitment was used more than a few times in the last scene of the episode for good reason.

  • SK

    @ Sadaf…great review once again! Yes Mahira did look amazing, she carries off the simple look so so well, I love her with less makeup, there's such an innocence about her! Really good episode, next one looks even better!

  • HK

    agreed with Rya.

    Really, I fail to see what's so wonderful about what nadia afghan is doing, it's not a difficult character to portray, her acting is decent, nothing extraordinary.

    And her character is loathe-some to be honest, cannot imagine what on earth about her could attract Salman or any other man.

  • Rya

    Well honestly I found Nadia Afghan's portrayal of Tabinda to not be up to par. I think playing a really crude character is fairly easy and that's what she did, instead of playing a more layered character that is at once charming and vicious and calculative. The way Nadia Afghan has portrayed Tabinda, no one would fall for her. She could have at least shown some more attractive expressions, some feigned sincerity, some charm…and then some sharpness and wit. The Tabinda we get is the run of the mill crude, pan-eating, mono-expressive character…I don't know how people are appreciating her this much.

  • sundas

    i think tabinda is perfect for salman …Y ??? coz Allah says achay mard achi auraton k liye hain aur boray bori aurton k liye

    salman got what he deserved ….he was always shallow and very difficult kinda like tabinda ….he fell in love with her becoz Allah wanted to teach him a lesson

    it was time for falak to become a much better person …a person salman does not deserve …simple is that….

  • Sadia

    Oh boy!!!!! What a rootlu epi. The scenes once again were too long. The whole epi had 7-8 scenes. Falak with nani, Falak with mom, Falak with Ruhna, Falak with saas, Falak at the beach, Falak with Hamza….. The End. The only comedic relief was provided by Tabinda. I love her. It was my only favourite scene today.

  • Sumaiya

    Great review. I find Tabinda's character quite unbelievable, i'm pretty disappointed too. They've portrayed her far too uncouth and any which way i try to imagine, i just don't see someone like Salman falling for her under any circumstance. I imagined Tabinda's character to develop as a lower middle-class working girl with nothing to offer in the looks department but very intelligent, witty and charming. Somebody hardworking, who values money and feelings etc. It did not have to be a negative, brash character. Nadia Afghan was superb in the scene, but as any other character, I would've loved the role, but knowing this is Salman's Tabinda, nah, not working for me.. Other than that, brilliant acting and dialogues. Sadly, i find Falak's predicament quite relatable.

  • Sadaf

    @Fatima, You know that bothered me too, that's why I mentioned it in the review. Having said that i have noticed the abandoned spouse always blames themselves ,saying "I neglected him/her" or "I wasn't good enough" . I am glad Umera Ahmed has got Falak focused on this as a test rather than degrading herself . Ultimately it is Salman's choice to do wrong rather than what is right.This is so nicely illustrated by Falak's conversation with Humza.

  • Mona S

    Lovely review to a lovely & mellow episode. Compared to last week, this week's episode was rather slow. My favourite scene was the one with Tabinda in it. I love Nadia Afghan, her portrayal of Tabinda is amazing, but I fail to understand what could a sophisticated man like Salman find attractive in a crude person like Tabinda. My only objection in this week's episode is that why was Mikaal shown for only 1 scene.

  • nm

    yar kl match k baad mujy to drama ki smj hi nai aa rai thi:PPPPP

  • Fatima Awan

    Thank you for the review Sadaf. Mahira was brilliant in the scene where she goes to visit the place where the faqeer once was and also Hina Bayat's expresssions were priceless. The Hamza Falak scene was the highlight of this latest episode.I am glad Falak gave Hamza the answer she did bcz she was so right.

    Yes, I totally agree with you Sadaf, Tabinda is so repulsive, how could Salman be attracted to her…he was waiting all his life for THAT!

    One thing that confused me was Falak's dialogues when she is talking to Rushna and says ke Salman se sub kuch Allah ne karwaya hai…does that mean we human hold no responsibility for our actions? it is Salman's "nafs" just like Falak's and everyone else's that made him go after Tabinda (something he desires) just like falak explains to Hamza later on…loved that part. I agree that it was Falak's fault that she married a man who did not love her.

  • junaid

    very nice thought process, very possitive.

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