For me, Tanhaiyan, as written by Hasina Moin and directed by Shahzad Khalil, was not just a drama serial. It was a journey upon which we embarked with Zara (Shehnaz Shaikh) and Saniya (Marina Khan). We cried with them when they lost their parents, we felt their anguish when they lost their house, we laughed silly at Saniya's pranks directed at Qabacha (Behroze Sabzwari), we watched sadly as Zara turned into a workaholic, and we smiled as romance blossomed between Zara and Zain (Asif Raza Mir). It was a whole package of emotions and in the end, we heaved a sigh of relief that all characters, in their own way, found their happiness in life. Even today, the mere word 'Tanhaiyan' takes me back to my childhood days and makes me overcome with nostalgia.
When I first heard about Tanhaiyan's sequel being prepared and going on air, I purposefully kept myself well away from Facebook pages and even the promos - I didn't want to set my expectations so high that they would come crashing down within the first episode only. To be honest, I was a little skeptical about the sequel in the first place after the disastrous experience with Mera Saaein 2.
In any case, I watched the first episode, with only one question lurking at the back of my mind: If Shehnaz Shaikh is not part of this serial, then what have the writers (Hasina Moin and Mohammad Ahmed) done with Zara? She was the main character after all, so the only way to deal with the absence was to kill her off or send her off to a foreign country with a high-flying career or tell the audience that she decided to leave Zain and marry Saad Salman after all! Apparently, this mystery is not just in 'real-life' - it is in-built into the story's main plot. Zara has been absent from the lives of Saniya, Aani and the rest of the gang, too! Was there a fight? Did she vow to not speak to anyone before she left? Well, your guess is as good as mine!
I found this episode a little dragged out - the entire Zara's absentee birthday party could have been crisper. The scenes with Bibi (Durdana Butt) and Chandni (Saniya's new maid) were given too much screen time and in the end, I forwarded through them. On the positive side, we were given a brief but thorough insight into most of the characters from the original series, and how they have grown over the past 25 or so years which was definitely interesting and intriguing to watch.
Overall, the episode was quite mellow. There were some brilliant strokes of comedy here and there. But did it click? I would say: Not yet, but I hope we get there in the end!
Written by Drama Buff (firstname.lastname@example.org)