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Shehr-e Zaat – Episode 2

SZ . 31

Baji, tere haath mein kuch nahin hai…

It’s been a few hours since I watched the second episode and I’m still mesmerized. This was a fabulous second installment and a lot happened here. But, aside from the apparent story, of the gorgeous Falak, the long suffering Hamza and the arrogant Salman, unfolding onscreen, it is the subtext that has really caught my attention. Even as Falak was bursting with excitement at having finally met Salman Ansar, the embodiment of her unrealized dreams and desires, I was pondering over the chooriwali’s pronouncement. Was she implying that despite all her worldly goods Falak was empty handed? Or did she mean that lines on Falak’s hand had been rendered meaningless as to the point of being blank? What does it mean to have pointless lines? Do we render them meaningless by our own actions? How does one then restore meaning to these lines? Is it even possible? How does/Can one go back to rectify past errors? The more I sift through the multitude of meanings embedded in this one line, the more I find myself beguiled by the charms of this intriguing shehr we have been invited to step in to. So much to enjoy, explore, and discover…

Too often we see serials open with a bang, but only a week or so in we realize sadly they had flattered to deceive. Gladly, so far, this is not the case here. Shehr-e Zaat continued its winning streak as the pace never flagged and the narrative moved along evenly. The characters continued to be fleshed out as we got more of an insight into Falak’s me-myself-and-I world.  We also saw more of Mehrunissa and her hi-fi lifestyle – talking about supporting charities but cribbing about helping the maid with her daughter. Naani made a brief but impactful appearance, her carefully measured steps beautifully contrasted against Falak’s long impatient strides, her calm demeanor juxtaposed against her constantly exasperated granddaughter. Hamza, though irritated by Falak’s flightiness, is so in love with her that he usually gives in without too much resistance. Though there are no overt confessions but just his testiness at hearing Falak drool over Salman is enough of a giveaway. And, talking about drooling, wow – Salman Ansar is totally a hunk and it is easy to see why even a self-obsessed girl like Falak is all gaga over him. So yes, all the philosophy and pondering aside, I am so totally waiting to see the chemical explosion next week as these two gorgeous but over inflated egos collide.

Yaar ko hum ne jaa ba jaa dekha…

Given the layers of meaning that exist in a text, it is always a challenge to maintain the integrity of the written word and preserve its essence while bringing it to life in another medium. Shehr-e Zaat is not a simple tale and Umera Ahmed’s subtext is not easy to convey. Kudos, however, to Sarmad Khoosat and his talented team of actors, technical crew, and support staff for showing us what it is to take a beautiful story and translate it on to the screen. I love how the manifold meanings of Hazrat Shah Niaz’s kalaam have been explored and the play of words exquisitely used to highlight the richness of the onscreen narrative. The shifting meanings of yaar, the exploration of the pleasure and pain of the journey from majazi to the haqiqi, the ecstasy of finding the beloved who is zahir but chupa – truly a connoisseur’s delight.

In short, therefore, what makes Shehr-e Zaat a standout for me is the fact that it engages my attention on so many levels, be it the visual, the narrative, or the intellectual. It requires me to pay attention, watch carefully, and stop multitasking. In short it compels me to THINK, a word seldom associated with entertainment these days.

My one peeve today was with the recaps and precaps. What was going on with the never ending (3 minutes!) recap, and why the heck was the precap for next week the same as the one we were shown for this week? Please, someone needs to pay attention. Also, did anyone else wonder how Falak was able to use the intercom during a power failure??

These irritations aside, I am already looking forward to next Friday – rarely has a week seemed longer…


Written by SZ~

Follow me on Twitter:  SZ_DramaPakistani  (@sz_dp)

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  • hira

    does any one know the name of the piano music played in meri behen maya

    • Kriti Talwar

      Yimura river flows in you

  • SZ

    @meeza: Hey! welcome to DP! Thanks for reading and enjoying the review :) Yes SeZ is making us all think and re-think all those things we never stop to pay attention to in our daily lives. Yes, these lines are very deep and meaningful and do indeed point to the future.Lets all wait and see ke aage kya hota hai :)

    Now, dont be a stranger and continue commenting. I hope you will read the rest of the SeZ reviews, along with other drama reviews, and comment on those as well. Looking forward to more from you!

  • meeza

    omg, exclent review by SZ. N the cmnts by othrz r also good. Loving da drama. Em nt so mature to analyze the meaning behind tere hath mai kch nhn h bibi dialgue, bt i thnk its abt whts going 2 happen in futre wd falak, tht old lady lookd at falak, hvng pain in her eyes as she knew whts going 2 happn wd her, nd she had no cntrl on tht. As she fell in love, married salman, nd thn the turning point. Bt maria xplaind her point of view v wel. Em loving her cmnt. Nani charactr iz awsme. Her nasihats to falak may changz sme yungstrz who r going on da wrng path.

  • SZ

    @Afia, Annie & Zahra: Isn't it interesting how we all remember Rushna from her basically 2 scene role in Humsafar? Has to be the kamal of the scene before the dinner party scene that we all remember her so well! ;)

    @Afia: you can also see Mikaal in Talaafi on PTV, in Aadha Din Poor Raat on Geo, and in ManJali also on Geo these days (these are the ones I know of – there may be more) — chhaye huye hain bhai sahab har jagah! :)

  • SZ

    @SK and Afia: So true about Mahira and her look here – really well thought out and executed… she's truly turning into a style icon for our generation .. during the week, I usually go back and watch SeZ once again to drool over her clothes and accessories :)

    @SK: I think it was pretty clear that they were not condoning the act of showing hands – infact if I remember correctly Hamza even tells her that showing hands doesn't mean anything and its a waste of time etc. From my understanding, the larger point was to establish Falak as a live in the moment, excitable, and hyper kind of girl who doesnt stop to think before she acts… and I took the dialogs as hinting that no matter how blessed she is with worldly goods, there was still something missing in what she thinks of as being her very full and rich life …

    Anybody else has other thoughts?

  • Afia Qazi

    Enjoyed the episode and the review. Mahira's acting well. I love her whole look in this show. Mekaal looks awesome :) His acting's also really enjoyable nowdays, be it DureShahwar, Dil hai chota sa, kuch pyar ka pagalpan bhi tha and now this. proud to see such great pak talent all around..and yes I recognized rushna from humsafar.

  • SK

    Really nice drama… Have to say Mahira is looking gorgeous, loving her outfits and she is playing her role really well. As for the hath wali, not to keen on that being such a focal point of the episode. She is not Allah, so she really does not know what's going to happen to Falak, and hands don't tell you anything, it is shirk to do that. I hope there is some lesson that it is wrong to get your hands read, and not just brush it aside that it is fine to do it, Just like when mazhars are shown, again not a fan. Other than that, liked it a lot and looking forward to thenext episode.

  • SZ

    @Javeria: Thanks for posting this on Umera's FB page and then sharing her response. Its always gratifying to know that viewers' feedback is being read and acknowledged.

    Wow! I guess zaroorat is indeed eejaad ki maa — battery powered intercoms… what'll they come up with next!

    And thanks for all your comments – keep them coming – its great to read all the thoughts generated by this drama… seems like we're in for quite a ride this summer :)

  • Annie

    thanks SZ for adding my comments to the kosher list ;) And yes I forgot to mention Rashna! really enjoyed her performance too and I was trying to place her – thanks for the Humsafar reference! Great to see some credible acting talent in the supporting categories.

  • mazhar

    It is not Kajal alone Mohib looks so over done in every HUM TV dramas these days,in order to look young and fit the role i think he is not realizing he looks sooo!!!!!!!!! :)

  • javeria

    Umera has responded on her face book to your review

    Umera Ahmed

    Thank you for this detailed feedback. Falak used a battery powered intercom which is relatively expensive but its getting increasingly popular in our country due to long, unscheduled power outages.

  • zahra

    @SZ i dont have words to praise ur review, simply awesome n yes i recognized rushna as host of that dinner party in Humsafar, i m also luving her performance as rushna, she is doing great job

  • Sadaf H

    Great review, for an amazing drama.As you said @SZ it really makes you think, vast tracts of unused neurons start slowly cranking in to gear without me realising it. There are so many levels to this drama (Thank you Umera Ahmed ), I'm not sure I should pity Falak or not as she seems to be the author of her own soon to be misery,her (non) relationship with Salman looks like a train wreck waiting to happen. I know that the characters of Nani and Hamza were not in the original Novella but I am sure they have been added to make us empathise with Falak, after all someone must see good in her.

    Mahira is doing such a great job as Falak , totally self centered and so aware of her own supposed specialness.

  • Ash

    Your reviews are seriously out of this world! Thats all i can really say after reading it over and over again and still wanting to keep reading! Thank you! These will be more looked forward to , then the episode itself!! =)

    Loving the pace of this drama, and Falak's character, whom i am pretty sure many of us if not most can relate to. Not caring about a single soul except ourselves, all about the materialistic lifestyle, wanting the best of everything and thinking we are more superior then everyone else! Isn't that how everyone is ? So does that mean ke humare haath mai bhi kuch nahin? Is it because she gives religion no value so her destiny is empty or unwritten? i dont know but after that pity look the choori wali gave Falak while departing was more powerful then her dialogue itself. As if she felt sorry for Falak, kinda gave me goosebumps.

    Now everyone will ponder and look within themselves, and that is the only place one can find answers. The message the morning show gave was awesome and i really hope thats how people look at it and dont take out the wrong message from the drama. Religion is something that is purely between one's self and its God. As long as we keep that balance between deen and duniya i am sure hamare haathon ki lakeerain khaali nahi hongi.

    I am really looking forward to see how Falak finds the answers to all her questions and what leads her to find zaat!

    I agree with Hina Bayat's dialogue "Allah to malik hota hai, magar insaan ko bhi kuch zimadari hoti hai." – We feel like we can just sit back and jo hoga Allah malik hai, malik hai only if we make the effort as well. How can we expect everything to be okay and accept everything as it is if we ourselves are not putting enough effort or trying our level best..We know just how to complain about the wrongs and hardships and not strive to make them come to ease.

    @Maria – Umera is only pointing fingers at whoever feels like its being pointed towards them, whoever feels that they lack faith. Who says that one cannot run after materialistic things while, and i dont think its about running, its about what we feel is right for us. Khair what i am trying to say is, it all depends on the person itself how they balance both their faith and their worldly desires. "dil ajeeb shai hai, ajeeb cheesain mangta hai, ajeeb cheesain karne ko kehta hai" – Falak.

    Imaan / faith insaan ke andar se paida hota hai, so find that in yourself and when you do its there to stay, and you can completely live life in whatever way you feel is the righteous way and agar haaton se sab kuch mit jata hai toh phir your imaan is weak, only you yourself can change that.

    I guess this will be more like a wake up call for a lot of people..

  • SZ

    Hey Guys, Thank you thank you, thank you, much appreciated!

    Loving the discussion and how all of us are enjoying the layers of meanings in the story. Finally something we can actually sink our teeth into and discuss, rather than talking about random stuff :)

    @Annie: LOL@ the kajal comment – it is indeed a huge distraction ;) Yes, the rich women NGO track was cliched, but hopefully its just a one time thing used to establish Mehrunissa's character (what's up with the fascination with this name??).

    @Maria: Lovely analysis :)

    @howzzat: I'm with you in that the story took really took off this week, and I think given that this a relatively short serial (around 17 eps) hopefully there wont be too much time spent on preachy dialogues.

    @hoorean: Thank you – I'm glad to hear you're enjoying reading my SeZ reviews :)

    @Afrin: Indeed, so much to be analyzed here … Infact hadn't naani said something similar in the last episode too where she told the barking dog to stop acting like a nashukra insaan… I have a feeling we'll see a lot more of the barking dog analogies as the story progresses…

    @Ghada: Yes Mikaal appears to be a very good fit for the role of the dashing but arrogant Salman Ansar… looking forward to seeing more of him in the upcoming episode :)

    Apart from the analysis, did anyone recognize Rushna as the host of that memorable dinner party Ashar and Khirad had attended in Humsafar….
    How I wish that the "Offical" FB pages would list all the actors along with their characters. I'm really liking Rushna here, and wish I knew the actress' name to give her due credit.

  • SZ

    @Annie: Nahin yaar, not moderating anything – I just fished your comment out of the spam folder and had to approve it as not spam – now we're all good to go :)

  • Annie

    Never mind now I see it is awaiting moderator approval. Good idea to add that "check".

  • Annie

    my comments did not post and when I tried to repost them it told me that I was double posting. Tried a 3rd time and still no go. Can someone check the "junk comment folder" please :)thanks!

  • hoorean

    Would i praise the drama or the review following it by SZ. Actually confused :) As afrin said both are in competition with each other. Looking forward to both.. And now i also want to explore the shades of this shehr with this drama.

    SZ i wasn't a big fan of your reviews but after these 2 Shehre zaat's reviews i'm totally flattered on your writing style.

  • sanam

    Waooo SZ as eneryone said your review for SeZ are good enough. I have no words to praise how much i liked it and the drama as well. Umera's meaningful story, Sarmad's direction and Mahirah's portryal of Falak all what i am totally in loved with. Only 2 episodes and i am completely hooked. The OST of the drama is itself enough to make one hooked to it. SeZ power is actually lying in its meaningful context.

    @ Maria- loved ur explanation. It touched my heart as ''teray hath m kuch nhi hai '' dialogue.

  • howzzat

    I didn't comment on last week's episode of SeZ because honestly speaking I found it to be too preachy for an initial installment. But this week's episode was different and breezy. I first of all was completely bowled over by the magnanimous beauty of Falak's character. I was curious to see whether Mahira would be able to pull off that, ''selfish arrogant streak'' of Falak's character after reading the novellete. And not only does she make you forget that she was ''Khirad'' but makes you notice the very small mannerisms of this character. Simply put, Mahira has come into her own as Falak.

    Moving on the story, like Nani said,'' Pehle apne banaye huye buddh sey pyaar ho jaata hai.. phir apne aap sey ishqq ho jaata hai.. Phir apne aap ko aadmi kaamil samajne lagta hai…'' Exactly yahi sab hua! That's what I love about UA's writing. She makes you think. Makes you judge yourself. Make changes. Overall a big thumbs up for this episode.

    @SZ: Like everyone else said, your reviews for SeZ are simply turning out into masterpieces. They are simply divine.

  • Annie

    Zabardast review again SZ :) I LOVE how this drama is taking us all on a journey, an exploration into ourselves. Sarmad and the actors mentioned something similar on JPJ that it was a journey they went on as well while filming this. I think this probably Umera's toughest script writing assignment yet and so far she has not disappointed me. I am so so glad that it is not a story about saas-bahu-shohar-US-UK-pyaarvyaar. This stuff is much deeper and Mahira was right – how do you capture that in your acting? We'll have to wait and watch :-)

    I love your third paragraph! Truly there are so many layers to the OST.

    I also LOVE the piano music being played as the background off and on – it sounds beautiful and fits so well.

    I enjoyed Naani's comment "yeh kya pehan rakha hai" and Falak's response. Such a Naani-granddaughter thing to say ;-)

    I found the whole "charity/NGO/naukar" bit very cliched but I'll let that go for now since it is more of a sidetrack.

    @Maria – excellently put! great analysis! Truly our soul yearns for its maker but we keep on running after our "khwaishaat" conveniently forgetting the purpose of our creation.

    Mohib aap ki aankhon ka kajal hume bohat distract karta hai. Kuch kajal Amna ke liye bhi ghar chod aaya karein ;-)

    And yes the Hum TV preview creation team needs to be re-evaluated because they show the wrong previews most of the time!

  • I really liked today's episode! It was so good! And like you said, I kept thinking about what churi-wali said, "tere haath main kuch nahi hai" I am so looking forward to more! I <3ed Mikaal in today's episode!

  • javeria

    that can be really interesting as you have opened the door for theorizing this could generate very interesting discussion apart from the main story aspects of the play.

    @maria very nicely put

  • Afrin

    I don't think this has been discussed yet, but did you guys notice the implication of how Falak and Mehrunissa say the poor people keep on asking, even when their bhook is satisfied their neeyat is not, kind of like all people with Allah, yet HE never turns away.

  • Maria

    I agree with Afrin*, what should we really comment on, the analysis or the drama?

  • Maria

    SZ I totally understand where you are coming with regards to the fact that this drama actually makes you think and you need to go to a certain level to peel of certain layers of meaning. I think from my interpretation of the scene “tumhare hath main kuch nahi hai” and if we extend this to a bigger metaphor and tie it to the overall story so far from the drama so far (as I have decided I am not going to read the story), I would say indirectly Umera is pointing a finger at all of us. Hameray pass bhi kuch nahi hai. We all lack faith (imaan). we are all running after materialistic worldly things and we look down on people who are lesser then us and look up to those things that we don’t have and we all are in a monopoly to want more and more and more. Wajood ki talab hi mangana hai..right? Through this hustle bustle of life, we completely have forgotten why we are here in first place and thus hum saab kay hathoon main say sab kuch slowly mit taa ja raha hai… Just like you said we need to all stop and think about our actions and can we look back and rectify the errors of our ways, is it even possible? I am very curious to travel on a journey to explore these questions with Falak..

    Thanks for such a compelling review and interpretations. I agree with Marvi, what should we really comment on, the analysis or the drama?

  • javeria

    SZ i guess i will soon run out of apt run for praises,great,fab, fantastic,amazing,inspiring.I will leave the rest for next time.One Sherezat the play certainly has the mystical aura around it,especially due to its Ost.I have listened to it so many times,it caries such a deep meaning which you have explained so well from ishq e mijazi to isqe hiqaqi.I think we have a very powerful duo in form of Sarmad and Umera here.

  • Afrin

    @SZ, seems like your review is in competition with the drama itself. Hard to say if I should comment on the content of the screenplay or its analysis here. One thing is for sure–the next several fridays will be very looked forward to for both events. I have read the novelette but this adaptation is explosive. To say everything (including your review) is awesome would be an understatement!

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