Monday, April 28, 2014

Shukk - The REAL End

False alarm, false alarm, false alarm.  What was promoted as the last episode (last week) was, in fact, the 2nd last episode.  So what we all believed was an incomplete, incredibly heart-wrenching ending was actually just the end of a normal episode.  Haha.  Now let's discuss the REAL end of this show.

Were 30 episodes necessary to tell this story?  Looking back, yes, the last 5-6 episodes were tedious and really felt prolonged/dragged out.  However, after finally watching this Saturday's episode (April 26), I now feel the "slow" nature of the show was necessary.  Yasir Nawaz is definitely not a dimwit - he knew exactly what he was doing and proved once again that he's an amazing director.

Over the last several months, we've seen train wreck after train wreck with the marriages of Ehtesham-Sehrish, Ali-Sania and, of course, Sehrish-Ehtesham-Sania.  While team lines were drawn between the fans in the form of Team Sania and Team Sehrish, neither side was right or wrong.  It was all about perspective, which made the arguments and debates that much more interesting.  The beauty of this show was that it projected a realistic situation - one that showed that there isn't black and white in real life.  Everything is grey.  Sehrish wasn't evil, but was definitely mislead into destroying her own home.  Sania was the furthest thing from a home-wrecker, but found herself in a situation where she was viewed as one by the world.  Ehtesham was not an unfaithful husband, but "shukk" brought him to a place where he was bouncing between his loyalties to two women.  And that was the beauty of Shukk, a show where there isn't right and wrong, but rather a distinct picture of what happens when "Shukk" enters the life of a married couple.

On to the actual episode:

I think what was brilliant about this episode was the incredibly HONEST depiction of Ehtesham & Sehrish trying to bring normalcy back to their lives.  We see Ehtesham trying to be a good husband again and be faithful in his marriage to Sehrish, despite his discomfort being with her.  We see Sehrish struggling with her dissatisfaction towards her present situation, despite finally having Ehtesham "back."  Yasir Nawaz doesn't leave us in the dark with only acting to depict this - we are privy to the inner thoughts of both Ehtesham and Sehrish, which really strikes a chord.

I think one of the best moments in this drama was the scene where Sehrish runs away to the coffee shop, because she feels haunted by the memories of Sania and Rumi in "her home," which no longer feels like her own.

On the other end, we see Sania desperately trying to cope in a life without Ehtesham.  She's trying to finally be independent and live for only her son.  However, Rumi's attachment to Ehtesham isn't so easy to break and he falls ill.  It is then that we witness the most eye-opening scene of this show:  a Sania-Sehrish showdown.

Sania calls Sehrish to pass on a message to Ehtesham:  She wants him to explain to Rumi that they can no longer live together and to say goodbye to him.  Instead, Sehrish herself shows up.  Sehrish accuses Sania of using her son to keep Ehtesham in her life, while Sania rebuffs that she hasn't made any contact with Ehtesham since leaving home.  It's here that we hear what we already felt:  Sehrish tells Sania that she no longer loves Ehtesham.  Rather than fighting for Ehtesham, she was fighting for her home, because that was her place and that was her right.  She made it clear that she cannot love Ehtesham because she cannot respect the man that put her in this situation.  What was so great about this scene?  We're suddenly made aware of how dire the circumstances have become.  The great sacrifice that Sania was making was putting Ehtesham in a loveless marriage with a woman who despised him.  And really, who could blame Sehrish?  She may have created her own circumstances, but the fact remained that those circumstances had become unbearable.

Sania takes Rumi to Ehtesham to have his final "goodbye."  It's here that we witness a beautiful scene between Sehrish and Rumi.  I think this scene was necessary to depict that Sehrish was NOT a bad person.  She herself became a victim due to her "shukk" and caused her own downfall in her marriage.  Her heart-warming scene with Rumi showed her soft side and that she realized that he needed Ehtesham in his life - and realized where that left her in the equation.

The final scene was a beautiful one that really put the entire show into perspective.  We see an apologetic Sehrish who has now realized the long-term effects of her Shukk.  She realizes now that had she trusted her husband, she never would have found herself in this predicament.  She wishes Ehtesham & Sania well and willingly removes herself from the picture in a very heart-wrenching way.

"Main us insaan ke saath nahin reh sakti jisse main ab janti nahin hoon.
Yeh woh Ehtesham nahin hai jis se maine shaadi ki thi aur nah main woh Sehrish hoon jis se is ne shaadi ki thi.  
Humein waqt ka paya palat ke waapas udhar hi jaana hoga jahan se kahaani kharaab hui thi aur yeh namumkin hai.  Issliye mera yahan rehna bhi namumkin hai.

Jo mera Ehtesham tha, woh meri shukk ki wajjah se kahin chala gaya.  Aur ab yeh jo Ehtesham hai, yeh sirf tumhara hai."

In these words, we finally reconnect with Sehrish's humanity, which had been missing for so long.  We see the good human being in her once again and, more than anything, we want a good life for her again.

Special mention has to be made to the acting team of Shukk, namely Adeel, Sanam and Ayesha.  Each of these three characters were so complex, but did such an incredible job of portraying their characters that I found myself feeling sorry for each and every one of them.  I didn't want Sehrish to be left empty-handed, despite her own role in ruining her marriage.  I didn't want Sania to have to deal with Sehrish's taunts because she was a good person, despite coming into another woman's home.  I didn't like seeing Ehtesham, the once ideal husband, torn between two women, despite his own actions causing the present situation.  Had Ehtesham handled Sehrish's shukk with more understanding rather than ego, maybe the present scenario would've never happened.  But at the same time, you feel for him - as the perfect husband, he was always supportive of his wife, madly in love with her and never did anything that would cause her why was she suspecting him?  These three actors deserve a round of applause.

Regardless of which side you were on, whether it be Team Sania or Team Sehrish (yes, I was definitely team Sania), Shukk taught us a lesson.  Sometimes we, as Pakistani women, think it's our right to keep our husbands on a leash, suspect them and keep an eye on their every move.  Sometimes we need to understand that while you shouldn't trust blindly, trust is the most important, basic foundation for any relationship.  And without trust, your marriage loses its strength.

Now after that public service announcement (haha), I hope you all enjoyed this show as much as I did.  Goodbye "Shukk."  Thanks for entertaining us over the last few months.  This is a show I will definitely miss.

Happy watching!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Case of the Disappointing Endings

Time and time again, I watch a drama which starts off so promising and then, with a rushed/confused episode.....ends.....leaving me annoyed/horrified/unimpressed/sad at the lack of effort.  Four dramas came to an end over the last couple of weeks.  Sadly, all four were BEAUTIFUL dramas with great story lines, great acting and really good direction.  Why sadly?  Because they all ended on very unsatisfying notes.

Drama #1:  Meri Beti

This drama told the touching tale of a mother's desire for her daughter's happiness - so much so that she convinced her daughter Saba (Sabreen Hisbani) to remarry and hand over her own daughter (from her first marriage) to her, raising her granddaughter as her own daughter.  The story was told in a compelling way, showing the love between all three women - some unspoken, some spoken.  The emotions were real, the reactions were real and the characters felt like part of your family.

Then where did this drama go wrong?  The ending.  Our beloved Iraj is seen living in her mother's (grandmother) home alone, raising her daughter after finally forgiving Saba for abandoning her.  She's seen sharing a good relationship with her brother-in-law and siblings.  I wonder then why we couldn't have seen her family finding a good match for her, getting her remarried and really driving home the point that Saba didn't have to lie about Iraj - because there are people out there who will accept a woman AND her child.

Somehow the ending just didn't settle well with me and almost proved the point of Samina Peerzada in the beginning - that a woman with a child won't be accepted for marriage.

Drama #2:  Do Qadam Door Thay

This drama was not perfect.  In fact, the Darul Aman portions of this drama were TEDIOUS, mind-numbing and incredibly irritating.  However, the love story between Zohab and Nayab is so compelling and cute that you can't help watching to see what happens.

What was the real problem here?  The ending!  Was it unsatisfying?  No.  It was RUSHED.  We never see Zohab & Nayab happy in their home.  Instead, we simply see Nayab pull on Zohab's arm (as she had in the beginning) and drag him into the house.  It was almost as if the director had no idea how to close his final scene.  I wish there had been something more there, an additional scene or two.  That's all.  Otherwise, this drama is a pretty good one.

Drama #3:  Ru Baru

This drama boasts of a very interesting storyline, a great cast and some incredible acting from Faizan Khawaja.  Honestly speaking, there aren't any FLAWS in this drama.  As a whole, I really, truly did enjoy it.  I think it can be classified as one of the best dramas so far this year.

The only place I felt let down was the ending:

First of all, Shabbi and Sarmad should've been shown having some sort of heart-to-heart in order to carry their marriage forward.  This was very open-ended.

Second, Karamdeen and Uncle have been exposed as "drugging" Sarmad.  Yet we never see Shabbi actually TELL Sarmad about this, nor do we see Sarmad finally understand why he had these mood swings so often.  Justice was not served, which makes the entire thing very unimpressive.

And last:  Tipu and Kiran.  This was so UNFAIR.  Why does Kiran get another chance to make Tipu's life hell?  We see that absolutely NOTHING has changed other than the fact that Tipu now understands Kiran and has learned to ignore everything she says, therefore having a terribly unhealthy marriage with her yelling and him ignoring her.  What SHOULD have happened was that Tipu should have married Neha.  Honestly - what did that poor girl do to deserve being dumped TWICE?

That all aside, this was a very well-directed, well made drama with a good storyline.


I feel like I cried and cried over the last few weeks for this drama to just END.  I didn't literally mean just END!  I needed a logical ending!  This ending was absolutely miserable, incomplete and just very disheartening.

After all the misery Sehrish caused, she not only didn't realize that she had been wrong all along, she also ended up "with" Ehtesham while Sania ran away with Rumi, leaving not only herself alone once again, but once again leaving Rumi without his father.  While the final scene of "payback" of sorts was a good WHAM! moment with Ehtesham showing Sehrish his password ("Sania"), it was not justice enough to be a satisfying ENDING.

On the other end, there has been much speculation as to whether or not episode 29 actually WAS the final episode.  Many are saying that episode 30 will actually be the final episode, but there isn't any confirmation of this online.  If that's the case, I guess we'll find out on Saturday when there is or isn't a new episode!  But overall, Shukk started off on an incredible note and continued that level of greatness throughout episode 23.  It was only episode 24 and onwards that the show began to get repetitive and, really, the viewers simply lost sight of what the end would and should be.  Despite that, Yasir has done a great job with direction and all three actors involved have done incredible justice to their characters.

That's it for now!  Happy watching!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Marasim: Ghissi Piiti? Not Exactly.

When Marasim started and I saw the promos, my instant thought was:  "Oh no.  Another "Watta Satta" storyline full of misery.

However, after watching the first two episodes, I can happily say that I'm hooked.

Marasim shows the plight of Geeti Ara, a mother, a wife, a daughter-in-law, a sister-in-law, who has always strived to be her best and has always been an "ideal" daughter in law, yet has never gotten her due.  In fact, she has always been treated as a servant, insulted and been showered with absolutely zero affection from anyone, barring her children.  In this time of helplessness, her (evil) mother-in-law, (cowardly) husband and (evil) sister-in-law arrange the marriages of their children (while those children are STILL children).  Despite Geeti Ara's protests, this engagement is carried out and it is consistently put into the minds of the children that they belong to each other.

Dawood (Ahsan Khan), Geeti Ara's son, and Momina (Sonia Hussain), evil sister-in-law's daughter, are not only happy with the engagement, but also in love.  However, it is shown early on that they fear that the hostility between their mothers may ultimately affect their relationship.  And they were right.

We're shown many flashbacks through Geeti Ara's eyes of her suffering, but we're also shown that Geeti Ara now lives happily with her son and daughter (Dawood and Deeba), as her mother-in-law and husband are both deceased and her sister-in-law has her own family.  Dawood has always strived to be a good son to his mother, pulling her out of her helplessness, though she holds the resentment near and dear and refuses to let go.

Dawood discovers that Abdullah (evil sister-in-law's son and Momin's brother) has gotten married to an Indian Muslim girl in the USA.  BAM!  Shock of the century.  "WHOA.  That moron is supposed to be marrying my sister!"  Dawood ko laga jhatka!  Now coming into the "baatein" of Momina, Dawood keeps this a secret and tells Geeti Ara to get him and Momina married quickly, as he's ready.  Geeti Ara, unaware of the recent developments, says she'll only get him married when Deeba gets married, so she sets off to speak to her evil sister-in-law about the marriage.  It is here that she discovers that Abdullah has gotten married.

Now we're viewing the predicament of a hurt mother, scorned by the lie that the light-of-her-life son has kept from her.  At the end of episode two, Geeti Ara calls off the engagement between Dawood and Momina.

What's refreshing about this story is that Saba Hameed's character of Geeti Ara would, in other shows, be represented as that same "evil mother in law."  However, here, we're able to see HOW she will ultimately become that way and what circumstances she herself had to live through.  Our "evil character" is actually the one we feel for the MOST.  So far, it is Saba Hameed, NOT the youngsters, who is the driving force of the show for me.

It’s easy to say that parents should overcome their issues and give in to the happiness of their children - however, if I were in Saba Hameed’s place and had suffered for so long at the hands of my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, I would resent them equally as much.  They are downright terrible people.  And the cherry on top then becomes the sister-in-law's son screwing over my daughter.  Who would want that sister-in-law's daughter in their home?  I think the worst moment in episode two was the terrible moment when we see Ahsan drag his mother to the table and is met with “Baaki ki rotiyan kaun pakaayega?”  It was enough to paint the sick picture of bad in-laws, treating their daughter in law like a servant, or even worse, like a dog.

I do appreciate this picture they're painting of Geeti Ara's circumstances.  However, what I fear is that they will turn this around and ultimately make this show about Dawood & Momina coming together.  I am sorry, but this is REALITY.  Sometimes people treat you so badly that you can't forgive them.  And in those times, you expect your family to stand by you.  In fact, I'm confused as to why Dawood and Deeba were still going along with these engagements, knowing what their mother had been put through at the hands of their Phupo.  It would be a real disgrace to see Geeti Ara forced to deal with her sister-in-law's children in the future.

Ahsan Khan is doing his usual thing.  Sonia Hussain is being her usual, seriously annoying self.  I apologize, but I am NOT a fan of Sonia Hussain at all and never understand why she's cast in otherwise promising shows.  Saba Hameed is fabulous.  The supporting cast is OK so far.  I'm waiting for Urwa Hocane's entry.  =)

As for the rest, let's wait and see!

Happy watching!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Bashar Momin - Innovative or Over the Top?

A lot has been said about Bashar Momin, as it's being projected as "The first Pakistani drama to air on International channels."

My first thought when I saw the posters for Bashar Momin:

What sort of Pakistan is being represented here?

My thoughts after watching the first episode of Bashar Momin:

Why is this show so heavily inspired by Turkish dramas, the very thing Pakistani actors have been fighting against?

My thoughts after watching the 2nd episode of Bashar Momin:

Why does every point have to be proven by yelling?

Why is Maheen Rizvi's acting so terrible?  

The role of Bashar Momin was made for Faisal Qureshi.

My thoughts after watching episode 3 of Bashar Momin:

Why is Maheen Rizvi so annoying?

WHOA.  Bashar and Rudaba are actually intriguing me and not disgusting me (the way I thought earlier).  Bashar's conversation with Tayyaba in the car about Rudaba's attitude was a refreshing change from his usual yelling!

My thoughts after watching episode 4:

Bashar really is a beast.  A wasteful beast.  Who throws food all over the floor and table.  By the way, if he thinks Daal is "ghareebon ka khaana," why the hell was it even on his dining table?  

Sami Khan. Sami Khan. Sami Khan.  That's ALL.  BULAND & RUDABA = LOVE.

OMG.  Bashar Momin and Tayyaba are going to ruin EVERYTHING.

There are some positives and some negatives.  The negative being, mostly, Maheen Rizvi.  Each and every frame she's in is clouded with overacting, shrieking and unrealistic dialogues.  "My father in law just DIED."  Well, no duh, you're speaking to your HUSBAND, who is grieving much more than you are.  How are you going to make this about you?  She's the least likable part of this show.

Also, I'm having a hard time understanding this world they live in.  For people who are so isolated and shunned, they seem to have very high regard for themselves, namely Sahira and Tayyaba, who clearly have gone through issues being Bashar's sisters.

The positives?  Faisal Qureshi.  He fits the role of Bashar perfectly!  Also, special mention to Ushna Shah as Rudaba, who is - so far - really cute and natural.  LOVE Sami Khan, though his appearance so far has probably only been 10 minutes long.

The rest....let's wait and watch.

Happy watching!