Thursday, December 15, 2016

Junaid Jamshed, Khuda Aur Mohabbat 2 and Some Other End of Year Thoughts

2016 has been a heavy year.

The year started with the death of my grandmother on January 4, 2016.  I sunk into a funk.  That loss was hard to deal with, as we were close.

The year seemed to continue the way it started - with a lot of grief.  We saw the death of Qandeel Baloch, Amjad Sabri, Abdul Sattar Edhi.  Two were shining lights for Pakistanis.  Their deaths were painful, shocking and cut through the heart.  One was a woman who represented a "It doesn't matter if I'm a woman, I will do what I want without any fear of your judgement and disregard" mentality.....and while most did not agree with her actions (myself included), that sort of person had a right to live and a right to exist.  While she was not a shining star for Pakistan, her death was felt deeply as the representation of "haisiyat" of women in Pakistan.

The year continued.  Donald Trump won as president of the United States.  Donald Trump.....The Donald.  A man who perpetuated hate speech, ignorance, pettiness and ego.  Why?  Because a woman cannot win.  She cannot, despite the fact that she was the better candidate.  Another loss.

And then the year had to throw in one more zinger.  The PIA Airplane crash.  A crash in which we not only lost the lives of 47 innocent people - men, women and young children.....we also lost yet another shining star for Pakistan.  Junaid Jamshed.  Someone who has defined my childhood, my teenage years, my relationship with my husband, my "cleaning days," my moody moments, my happy moments.  The Vital Signs were a group that I listened to all the time from the age of 7 all the way until....forever.  Their albums have a permanent place on my iPod, my iPhone, their music follows me in every aspect of my life.  Junaid's clothes were my "go to" when landing in Pakistan and needing a few quick ready-made pieces to tide me over before the darzi got his act together.  Junaid's Naats carried me through Ramadan, soothing the soul with his voice and faith.  Junaid Jamshed was more than just an artist or a singer - he was an incredibly sincere, well-rounded Pakistani figure who lived his life with kindness, charity and sincerity (Amjad Sabri and ESPECIALLY Edhi were no less, I have simply made peace with their deaths long ago.  This is still fresh).  His death cut deep.

And then Aleppo.....a Holocaust that no one can step in and do anything about.  That's painful to watch and it's painful to sit helpless.  The world is crumbling around us and filling up with hatred.  What can we do?

My interest in television, dramas, music and movies has temporarily been diverted.  I have admittedly NOT been keeping up with many shows.  The shows that I have kept up with have not been holding my interest.  This is not an excuse, but an attempt to explain why my writing has become even more limited than usual.  It's hard to write when your heart is just not in it.

I DO want to talk very quickly and briefly about Khuda Aur Mohabbat 2.  I binge caught-up on the 4 episodes I was behind on just last night.  I'm appalled.  Why am I watching the exact same show all over again?  This is actually the EXACT same show as the first Khuda Aur Mohabbat.  The same annoying characters, the same unbelievable situations, the same damn railway!  What IS this?  What is the POINT of this?  Is this Imran Abbas' attempt at a "redo" so he can do the exact same show again, but as a better actor?  I honestly don't get it.  I'm annoyed by this.  It's a waste of time.

OK, that's all I had to say regarding TV shows.  I tried watching Waada, but then in the first scene, I realized Shaista Lodhi is playing Faisal's wife.  My interest died right after the first episode.  I won't be watching this one.  I have nothing against Shaista, I simply don't like her.

Alright, that's all for today.  I also wanted to say that I will be leaving next week for Pakistan, where I will be spending 3 weeks.  I hope to be able to blog a little, but it may or may not be possible.  Bear with me!  Let's pray 2017 brings new hope and light with it. Until then, happy watching!  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dramas I'm Currently Watching: November 2016 Editioin

OK, this was a long time coming and I still had to leave it incomplete - I am not reviewing Seeta Bagri, Waada or Dukh Sukh.  I haven't had a chance to catch up on those shows yet - though they look great!

Before even reviewing anything, I want to CALL OUT HUM TV.  

I am all for casting talented actors wherever and whenever necessary.  But it's becoming completely unpalatable now to see Sharmeen Ali cast in every and any role humanly possible.  We need an extra?  Sharmeen Ali.  We need an ex girlfriend?  Sharmeen Ali.  We need a wife who will die in 3 episodes?  Sharmeen Ali.  We need a politician?  Sharmeen Ali.  SHE. IS. EVERYWHERE.  And I am quickly seeing the same trend with Mirza Zain Baig,  He is EVERYWHERE.  Mind you, Zain is actually talented, so I don't find it as grating (though still a little irritating).  But Sharmeen is actually a decent actress at best and I'm sure there are better options out there, rather than inserting her in every part possible.  It makes me wonder if she's some head at Hum TV's daughter and she's acting for them free of cost.  Haha.

Bin Roye

Reigning at the #1 spot, Bin Roye is my present favorite.  I love the characters, I love the story (though it's been done before) and I love the visuals/treatment.  What I love most is that there isn't a "negative" character (at least not yet).  The negativity comes, rather, from the emotions. misunderstandings and wrong assumptions.  High on emotions, we see Saba (Mahira Khan) act out towards Saman (Armeena Khan) and Irtiza (Hamayun Saeed), despite the fact that she loves both in different ways.  Saba struggles with herself and her years of love and adoration for Irtiza, seeing that his heart belongs to Saman.  It's interesting to watch this storyline only because these characters are written as nice people.  Had there been any vamp-like behavior, this show could've gone to the dogs.  Instead, you sympathize with everyone involved.  It's only hit episode 6, but I can't wait to see how the show continues (though I already know the story thanks to my friends who have seen the movie).  With Saman & Irtiza now married and Saba's rishta coming in, I'm hooked.

Sang E Mar Mar

Fascinating.  I'm a Pukhtun and while I really don't know any women that behave as meek as the women do on this show (Pukhtun women are NOT like this in their own homes) and I don't appreciate this weird stereotype that's being depicted, I am still thoroughly enjoying the show.

The story basically sits on the premise of love and a misunderstanding that ensues regarding hidden love.  Following Gullistan Khan (Nauman Ejaz) and his family, consisting of three sons, a daughter in law and his wife (Sania Saeed), the story essentially follows the plot of Gullistan's son Gohar (Agha Mustafa Hassan) who "traps" a girl Durkhani into his "Web of love."  Durkhani realizes too late, despite her friend Shireen's insisting, that Gohar does not have good intentions.  Unfortunately, Shireen's brother misunderstands the situation and believes that Shireen is the one having an affair with Gohar.  The following chaos results in her brother killing Gohar.  This is the plot that has been esential in moving the story along and at present, we see Shireen getting married to Gullistan's son - but which son?  The one she's in love with (Mekaal) or the one who is already married?  The star of this show is Nauman Ejaz, who commands the attention of the viewer every time he appears on screen.  The storyline is gripping and it's funny to see that Mekaal is actually the weakest player in this great ensemble cast.  That speaks highly of how talented this cast is, with each actor playing his or her part well and with each character having an important role to play.  The only role that legitimately gets on my nerves is that of the "khabri" of Mekaal's brother in law.  I know that actor is a key character artist in many dramas, but I've never been able to grasp his name - regardless, he's playing this role so terribly and irritatingly.  Everyone else is outstanding.

If you aren't watching this show, you're missing out.


This show is a strange mixture of Ullu Baraaye Farokht Nahin and the Bollywood movie "Viraasat."  That being said, it's actually very good and keeps the viewer on their toes.  Shows of this nature so often fail to keep the viewer hooked, but this one succeeds due to the brilliant, off-beat casting.  The show is full of familiar, often seen faces, but faces that we're not used to seeing as lead roles.  And that's what's making the show work.  The casting is fresh, the story is a little dated, but still unlike anything that's on TV at the moment.  The set and the camera work is actually beautiful.  It's a treat for the eyes.  I'd recommend this one.


Silly.  That's my basic thought towards this show.  I have SO MUCH to say about this awful show.  Osmaan's character is so meek, so naive and so ridiculous that you can't help DISLIKE him.  Sharmeen Ali as Sarah is grating and self-entitled.  Why would you expect that the boyfriend you so ruthlessly ditched would still be interested in you?  Hareems' character of Ayla is practically nonexistant now, as is Emmad Irfani's.  These characters are so hit and run, touch and go and WEAK.  This is my problem with this show.  Maya Ali's character is well aware that SHE is a huge cause of Osmaan & Hareem's marriage messing up and causing misunderstandings between them, yet she CONTINUES to hang out with Osmaan and is his "family."  Given, Hareem's character is insane and Osmaan doesn't deserve to be married to that, but.....get divorced first.  Her intentions may not be bad, but her behavior is not......dignified.  Keep your distance!  Osmaan's Haarib acts as if Aan and her mother are ACTUALLY his family - they're not.

Which brings me to another thing that's making me bristle.  Regardless of Sarah's problems and Haarib's desire to help her, he does not have any right to inflict Aan on Sarah.  It is Sarah's perogative if she wants Aan around HER daughter or not.  And clearly here, the answer is NOT.  She does not like Aan - if she wants to be rude to Aan, that's her right.  Maybe Haarib should stop bringing her to her house.  Maybe Haarib should respect her wishes and not play "house" with Sarah's daughter and Aan.  Maybe Haarib should just respect that Sarah does not want Aan around....period.  Sorry, but the writer is losing here.  You can't force a person to share their child with a stranger.

This show is actually a train-wreck and not very interesting either.  With the introduction of Sarah's character, her ex-husband's introduction into the picture and their daughter, it has become a serious case of "too many cooks spoil the broth."  There are too many players in this game and I have lost the basic plot.

This show is very disappointing and I wish I could say otherwise.

Tum Milay

Frustrating.  It's frustrating to see Affan Waheed relegated to such lame roles.

Mind you, I was enjoying this show.  I liked how supportive Affan's character Jibran was of Nimra.  But then, somewhere down the line, this show has turned into some sort of weird, warped revenge drama.  Jibran marrying Nimra for his Daadi to get revenge is the most messed up direction this could possibly have gone in.

Don't even get me started on the storyline with Hooriya, her mother and Daadi.  There's something very wrong with a family that behaves like this.  Is it Nimra's fault that Hooriya got engaged to NIMRA'S significant other?  Who is this "zyaati" with?  Nimra or Hooriya?  Sense would say Nimra, but this crazy family says Hooriya.  It's ridiculous.  Instead of appreciating that Nimra took a step back to respect her new family, she's accused of having an affair with Hooriya's husband at every turn.

OK, yes, so the bottom line is that this show is annoying.  Please don't bother.

Aap Ke Liye

I love this show.  I love Faisal Qureshi & Areej Fatima's chemistry, which alone makes the show worth watching.  When the show was initially announced, I mentally checked out, thinking "Seriously?  Faisal with another actress young enough to be his daughter?"  HOWEVER, my complaints were almost immediately cleared away, with Washma (Areej) calling Shaheer (Faisal) a "buddha" in the initial couple of episodes.  The story is as such that Shaheer (and his younger sister)  is controlled and manipulated by his sister (Samina Peerzada) and brother in law (Waseem Abbas).  Washma, his secretary, ends up married to Shaheer under unusual (yet very cute) circumstances and is brought into a world where she is not accepted by anyone but her husband.

While one would think this sounds like an Indian drama, it is NOT.  The way the character of Washma handles herself, her problems and her husband make her a very intelligent character and it's refreshing to see a character like this on television, especially in this day and age where actresses are restricted to playing boo-hoo roles.  Washma's relationship with her brother & bhabi also make for really sweet scenes.  Seeing the head-butting between Areej & Samina's characters is downright hilarious and while Samina's character is seriously OTT, it's still a lot of fun to watch.  Faisal plays his role nicely and while it doesn't really require too much acting power, he's believable as Shaheer and his relationship with Washma is beautifully natural.

I recommend this one.  It hasn't ended yet, so there's always room for goof ups, but as of now, I love it.

Saaya E Deewar


This is how I feel every time I watch an episode of this HORRIBLE show.  What started off as such a beautiful story of love torn apart by tradition has now mutated into this hot mess about.......I don't know?

We have Ahsan Khan living with his daughter, both involved in social work.  We have Naveen's "Mrs Peter" working hard to support her son.....her son who is now looking to join the Church.  I want to pause here - why is the Priest being shown as "bad" and as distracting him from his studies?  In a country that needs to boost minorities, I actually find this depiction of a Priest downright insulting and offensive!  We also have Naveen's kids (that she abandoned), living with Emmad's character......who has now SHOT HIS DAUGHTER and is letting his son abuse his new wife.  This show has gone completley amuck and I have no idea why I'm still watching.....but I am.

Can we also say that this scene between Naveen & Ahsan should've been exciting, but it was NOT?  It was so "pheeka" and boring, I can't even wrap my head around it.  This show has lost steam completely.


I'm on the fence regarding this show, mostly because Goher Mumtaz was the only thing keeping the show interesting and with his exit from the show, it's taken a turn for the boring.  First off, the story of a to-be bride kidnapped by an obsessed lover should've been better executed, because let's be real - that's a great storyline.  But unfortunately, the plot points were so half-baked that the show became more irritating to watch than anything else.

The biggest, glaring issue I have is with the ENTIRE EXISTENCE of "Phupo's family."  Phupo and her two sons are the most nikkamay, jerk-faced people I've seen on a show in a while.  There's no comprehension of how bad their behavior is, painting themselves as the picture of purity and innocence (um, no).  Why Abid Ali doesn't just tell them where to stick it is incomprehensible - they treat his daughter like dirt anyway.

Second, I am so over "majboor" parents.  Sumbal's mother hears what Goher Mumtaz has "done" to her daughter (We'll get back to this) and how he shot her cousin........and goes into a COMA?!  Enough of this nonsense!  When are Pakistani parents on dramas going to act the way norma parents would act?  WITH RAGE!  It's infuriating.

Third, Goher Mumtaz was literally the highlight of the show.  I have hated Goher as an actor in all of his previous dramas, but his acting here WORKED.  He did an incredible job.....but with the writing out of his character (for obvious reasons), the show has gone into a slump.  I can understand that they wanted to focus on the "rehabilitation" of Sumbal's character, but I think Goher's character was written out simply too soon.

And last, here's my greatest complaint about the show:  it was VAGUE.  What is Sumbal recovering from, exactly?  A kidnapping?  PTSD from watching her cousin get shot?  Or was she raped?  Was she raped?  I don't know.  That's how everyone is behaving, but we never received acknowledgement of that.  I'm not asking for obscene scenes, but I think there are ways to show what has happened without being vulgar, ways that would make things a little more clear for the viewers.

The show hasn't finished yet, so I can't vouch for how I feel about the show overall, but as of right now, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it (though it had so much potential).

Dil Banjara

The story revolves around Adnan Malik's character, a "banjara" type who wants to wander the world as a free spirit, not wanting to be tied down.  Howver, Mira Sethi's character is in love with him and wants to marry him.  After an accident which Adnan witnesses, Adnan agrees to marry Mira.  On the other end, Sanam Saeed's character lives in a joint family and is forcibly engaged to a boy of her Taaya's choice.  Her father, as a consolation prize, agrees to sending Sanam off on a trip with her school.

OK, so here's the thing:  This show got off to a pitifully over the top, annoying, nails on a blackboard sort of grating start.  The first four episodes made me want to change over to another show every time I sat down to watch.  Sanam and Adnan were the reason I just HAD to watch this show - but the initial episodes made me so uncomfortable, because the writing and acting was so BAD.

I'm happy to say that after episode 5, I've changed my tune.  While I'm not 100% excited about this show, I do like the chemistry between Adnan & Sanam.  I enjoyed their scenes together and I am enjoying this "on a trip, away from the problems of the world" story.  I'm reminded very much of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge, which is nice and gives it some potential.  That being said, I don't really like Adnan's character's behavior towards Mira Sethi's character.  This "pity shaadi" business is actually making me uncomfortable and WHY any mother would want that for her daughter is completely beyond my understanding.

But despite that, I am glad this show has taken a turn for the better!

Khuda Aur Mohabbat 2

Deja vu, deja vu, deja vu.

After the initial 2 episodes, I was very excited about this "part two."  I love seeing Firdous Jamal as the "new" Maulana Sahab.  I love the softer nature of the show, showing an intention of making Islam more lovable and relatable, which would definitely draw viewers to it.  I love seeing the improvement in Imran Abbas' acting skills (which he has improved by miles since "Part 1.").  I'm loving the nicer characters, characters that are more willing to bend and don't come off as "rigid maulana's family vs. rich snooty rude family."  The society is just being depicted as "different." not right or wrong.

But here's where the show is losing me again.....and it's exactly what lost me in the first season.  Why does Imran Abbas's character fall in love by just seeing Sadia Khan's eyes?  Why?  Especially a character that hates the idea of love and scoffs at the very idea of ever falling in love.....her eyes?  Really?  The eyes of a girl in a burqa, making her the last girl he'd look at?  I don't think so.  It's almost laughable.  And now we see him obsessing over Maulana Sahab's daughter after seeing her makes absolutely zero sense.

That's my greatest complaint.  It sounds silly, but that's exactly what made season 1 unpalatable for me and I sense this show heading down the same track.  I think it loses meaning COMPLETELY when the label of "love" gets stuck on a feeling of attraction....or to be blunt, LUST.  Khuda Aur should have more meaning than that.  There should be a conversation.  There should be something MORE.

OK, that's all!  Haha.  I am enjoying the show. so don't take my criticism as "I don't like it."  I just wish it were different.


I can't explain why, but I'm really enjoying this one.  Yes, it's too early to tell, as the show is only on episode 3.  That being said, the chemistry between Annie and Farhan is downright adorable.  Seeing them on screen is a treat (It's also nice to see Farhan act opposite someone who is not Urwa).

The story is your typical "Boy and girl meet in school.  Girl comes from a poor family, guy comes from a rich family, rich guy's family doesn't agree, poor girl's family is furious that girl was carrying on a chakkar in the name of education" nonsense.  However, it's the treatment of the show that makes it nice to watch.  You actually want to see these characters and how they fight for each other.  Again, Annie and Farhan are also very likable in their roles and share good chemistry, which adds to the watchability.

Like I said, it's very early on, so I don't know where the story is headed as of now.  At this moment in time, it's a sweet, cute show.

Kuch Na Kaho

I'm on the fence about this show.  I like the overall "feel" of it, very breezily shot with some cute characters.  But I don't understand where it's headed.  Clearly, "Mohsin Bhai" (Emmad) will cease to be "Bhai"....and how is really disturbing me.  On the other end, Aani (Naveen) and Imran's relationship is not really believable.  I don't BELIEVE in their relationship - it doesn't seem strong enough for a girl to secretly get nikkaed.  Imran as a character is such a fickle, silly, unmanly type who clearly can't just leave his parents home and stand up for Aani.  Instead, he's still going around with his horrible fiancee (the equivalent of any Indian drama vamp, she's so irritatingly written) and is so clueless about her ploys, despite them being right in front of him.

I'm also bothered by how irritating Aani's family is.  I understand conservativism, but this is......exactly what Pakistani society needs to do away with.  A girl wants to marry a what?

Anyways.  I'm enjoying this somewhat because of Emmad's performance, along with Mirza Zain Baig and Shazia Naz (because they're cute).  Otherwise, I am confused as to where it's heading.

I have not had a chance to catch up on Seeta Bagri (though I'm very excited about this), Waada and Dukh Sukh yet, but I didn't want to prolong this post any longer!  I will write about those shows next!

I've discarded Naimat and Be Aib, due to their over the top and annoying nature regarding the storyline.  They didn't offer anything new.

Until next time, happy watching!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Besharam Comes to a Close

Another much delayed blog post finally sees the light of day.  Haha.  Due to my toddler's fever and the horrible US elections, my attention has been completely derailed from dramas.  I have slowly, steadily been catching up, but once you fall behind, it's so difficult to binge watch!

Besharam came to an end, bringing a beautiful, subtle story of marriage, compromise and unusual relationships to an end.

This show told the story of Haider (Zahid Ahmed), a budding politician, and Mishal (Saba Qamar), a popular supermodel, who end up getting married under unusual (and slightly unbelievable) circumstances.  A show that could have been a completely over the top presentation successfully managed to be quiet, dignified and poignant in getting the point across.  What was the point?  What I took away from this show was the truth - if respect and commitment are involved, two individuals can learn to love each other and find acceptance & happiness in their marriage.

The show initially had me on the fence, wondering how the rest of show would play out, given the melodramatic character of Mishal's mother, sister and brother-in-law, the horribly irritating relatives of Haider, the unbelievable nature in which Haider & Mishal got married and finally, Haider's mother's complete 180 in nature.  BUT this show ended up surpassing any possible expectation I could've had.

While the show was packed with loud, caricatures as characters, the writing here was solid.  The characters did not move in fast motion.  Love didn't just HAPPEN.  Acceptance from Haider's mother didn't come easily.  Acceptance from Mishi's mom towards Haider was like pulling teeth.  The equation between the families was brilliantly depicted, as obviously comfortable and clashing as you would expect.  And yet, you fell for the relationship between Haider & Mishal.  You rooted for the relationship between Mishal's brother and Humna.  This show was elegant.  Don't laugh at the word - I honestly don't know how else to describe this show!  Haha.

Zahid Ahmed has quickly taken the industry by storm, cementing his place as one of the best actors on television.  With his ability to tackle any role and consistently taking different roles, he's won the hearts of most drama-viewers.  Here, he is no less.  As Haider, he portrays the "good guy, yet misguided" role well.  Haider has these conservative, slightly backwards ideals, but is a good person at heart.  The way he gets led off-track by his boss is realistic and the way he tries to make ammends in the end by arriving at Mishal's show is commendable.

Saba Qamar is perfect for the role of Mishal.  She fits the mold of a model, yet the transition to housewife is believable partly due to Saba's acting and partly due to the good back-story they've given Mishal, struggling with having to work to support her family vs. never having respect from her father due to that profession.  Her pain when Haider "insults" her is a scene that I think almost every woman can relate to, wanting acceptance from the person a woman expects to be the closest to.  And yet, she knows who is really is as a person, so when he shows up at her show, we all melt with her.

The supporting cast was great, namely Atiqa Odho (as Mishal's mother) and Sundas Tariq (as Humna).  Everyone had a part to play and did so pretty well, barring a few jarring scenes, especially in the beginning episodes.  I have to give special mention to the scene at the end between Saba Qamar & Atiqa Odho where Mishal's mother comforts Mishal, explaining what she has done right and wrong in her life and how she hoped her children would make better choices for themselves.  Her honesty and vulnerability was great to watch, coming from such a high-strung character.  I also loved the natural nature of the last scene between Haider & Mishal - no melodrama, no elaborate apologies, just a natural conclusion to a pretty big fight between a husband and wife that love each other.  Great!

Overall, Besharam has cemented a place on my list of the best dramas of 2016.  Beautiful.  Applause.

Until next time, happy watching!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Khuda Aur Mohabbat - Thoughts on the New Season

The first episode has aired and I wanted to jot some ideas down right away, without this being too lengthy - because the more thought I put into it, the less likely that it'll ever get published! Haha.

As of the first episode, we see Imran Abbas' character as a spoiled rich kid "studying" in the US, spending his time messing around.  What angle his role will play, I'm sure we already know and expect, but it will be interesting to see it play out.


In Pakistan, we see Sadia Khan's character, once again the daughter of a Maulana Sahab, playing the dutiful, loving, obedient and religious daughter to Firdous Jamal's character.  It'll be nice to see how these two characters meet and their lives intertwine.

They've retained a large portion of the original cast, which is both great and strange, because you're overcome with that feeling of deja vu (which I suppose you should be feeling).  HOWEVER, this time around, the show is already shining brighter than the original in the sense that these characters are much better written.

I'm also enjoying that Firdous Jamal has been cast as the Maulana this time around instead of Salman Shahid (also an incredible actor).  It's bringing a more loving, relatable, kind image to the Maulana Sahab - one that was greatly missing in the first season.

Imran Abbas has really grown as an actor in my eyes since the first KAM, so I'm expecting better things this time around.  He's now a very good actor.  I've always found Sadia Khan to be rather hopeless as an actress and I don't believe she's shown any growth in her latest dramas, so let's hope she's restricted to being the pretty face this time around again.

Alright, those are my short thoughts on the drama after episode one!  I'll be watching this one closely.  Happy watching!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tum Kon Piya and Intezaar Came to an End.....

I know, I promised a Dramas I'm Currently Watching post, but my life is moving fast and these dramas are slipping by me even faster, before I can get to my laptop, so this all feels very haphazard to me.  Haha.  Bear with me!  Let's discuss a couple of shows that have ended!

Tum Kon Piya

This was a show that, despite a slow storyline, gripped at your heartstrings from beginning to end.  Tum Kon Piya encompassed that "knight in shining armor" story, where we all hoped with all our hearts that Ramish would step in and save Elma from her horrible life and give her the happiness she deserved.  It hurt my heart to watch the last 3 episodes, because I could see that those wishes would not be fulfilled.  But despite that, I still wasn't prepared for what happened in the last episode.

For an otherwise beautiful show, I couldn't really wrap my head around the last episode.  It simply brought my heart down to reality with a brutal THUD.  It depicted everything that's wrong with Pakistani society.

 The situation in which our beloved heroine, Elma, found herself in was a brutal test for someone so "good."  She was a saint, but without being annoyingly so.  We saw her moments of depression, her moments of anger, her grief at her personal betrayals towards her own family and the grief they felt at her expense.  The last episode only increased the misery, making me furious that a girl like Elma would, in fact, NOT be getting her happy ending.

In order to avoid spoilers, please do not read further than this line.

In my mind, I believed that, true to Pakistani drama girls-should-stay-with-their-husbands-no-matter-how-rotten-they-once-were fashion, that Elma would forgive Zarbaab, come back to the world of the laughing and walking and carry out her life in a "happy" fashion with Zarbaab and her child.  Ramish would stay with Neha and build a life with her, always having that beautiful connect with Elma of respect.  But NO.  While I wouldn't have agreed with that ending entirely, it would've been preferable to what we actually got.

Instead, we were treated to Zarbaab's realization coming a little to late, triggering a reaction from Elma's comatose self and eventually.....dying.  Why?  WHY?  WHYYYYY?!  Someone explain the madness to me!  Why did such a GOOD character have to endure so much tragedy, simply because her father and Ramish's father made the wrong choice in life for her marriage?!  WHY?!  Why do dramas have to show such weakness?  Why couldn't Elma simply come back for her SON?!  WHY?!  It's infuriating!

Coming to the second point that infuriated me - Ramish and Neha had been raising Affan as their own son, giving him all the love he needed to thrive.....SINCE HE WAS A BABY.  That was easily at least 5-6 years.  Suddenly, Zarbaab, failed father of the century and failed husband of the century, steps in and says "I want my son".....and that's it?  The boy belongs with his "father"?  Forget that Ramish and Neha are financially more stable, emotionally more stable, better people and have done everything for this child?

Arif's conclusion was just too "easy."  It would've been preferable had he, in a moment of guilt in later years, confessed what he had done as it had affected his ability to have a relationship with his siblings.  The "crazy" angle just didn't WORK. WHY did that happen?  It didn't make any sense.

Unfortunately, I was not happy with the conclusion of Tum Kon Piya.  What was a beautiful, well-written show with a lot of soul somehow ended on a cliched note that didn't strike any sort of chord with me.  It will still go down as one of the best shows of 2016 for me, but it would've had an ending worthy of the beauty of the show.


Oh boy.  What should I say about this show?  I have no words.  I don't understand what happened here - did they hit episode 17 and realize that they've run out of the budget for the show?  I have not seen such a strange ending in a while.  Basically, this show is encouraging lying - you know, for the "better good."

I really loved Intezaar.  I loved the themes.  I loved that a girl who had already found true love learned to move on with another man.  I loved that the man was so accepting of her child and her past.  I loved that the man was torn between his love and his obligation to do right by his mentally and emotionally scarred cousin (and wife).  I loved that Saba and Zoya (initially) had such a good relationship.  I loved that Shariq's mother was not a typical saas, hating her new bahu, but rather supporting her through the situation.

What I hated?  How the show suddenly turned into a cliched Dusri Biwi drama.  How a mentally messed up girl with zero care for her husband SUDDENLY had to, in the span of five minutes, start caring about her husband.  How?  Why?  Because her mother said so?  Since when was she so easily influenced?  I don't think so.  It didn't make any sense.  Why didn't Zoya and Shariq scream from the rooftops that Saba tried to burn Zoya's hand on the stove?  Why weren't these things important to mention when dealing with someone so unstable?

Why did Shariq suddenly, in one random as hell moment, yell at Zoya to go away, because SHE was the cause of his problems?  Was she?  Really Shariq?  WAS SHE?  He was the one who brought her as his wife!  She had left his home!  These male characters get written in such a way that the beauty of the character gets stripped due to completely illogical behavior for the necessary five minutes that the writer deems necessary to "move the story along."

And the ENDING?  I can't believe that ending.  Zoya leaves.  Shariq wonders where she's gone.  He builds a life with Saba, who is now "normal."  Saba wonders aloud to her mother about Shariq's long work trips.  Her mother comforts her.  Shariq ends up at Zoya's home - OH.  WAIT.  THEIR HOME.  Because Shariq found Zoya five years ago and is now bouncing back and forth between two wives.  Zoya is aware of this arrangement, but Saba and her mother are not.  BUT WAIT.  Shariq's mother and Shariq's Mamoon ARE aware of this situation.  Wait....what?

So in the end, basically what the show promoted was that if you have a conflict, separate the conflict from your life by living a double life with both your wives!

I don't know.  The ending of this show really distorted my view of what had started off as a really great, unusual and different show.  All the actors involved did a great job and the writing was great for the first 2/3 of the show, but that last 1/3 really took a hit.

Overall, it was a good show, but I'm not sure about whether I'd recommend it or not.


This show also came to an end, but I feel like I have absolutely nothing to say about that show other than this: I'm glad Neelam Munir's character was a "progressive woman" and did NOT go back to Affan Waheed after all the crap he put her through.  That was a disgusting situation and terrible behavior on his part and it was refreshing to see him lose out to his own stupidity.  Otherwise, the show was interesting, but became too over the top and dragged out in the end.

I have another blog post coming up soon, as I'm already working on it (no, it's not the current drama list just yet!  I need to catch up!  Haha).  See you soon!  Until then, happy watching!

*  Disclaimer:  All Images are Courtesy of Google.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Thoughts on Some New Shows

OK, writing will definitely be a struggle with the loss of my blogger phone application, but we will just have to make the most of it (and by that, I just mean I'll have to open my laptop more often).

I am definitely planning to write a "Dramas I'm Currently Watching" post next, but until then, I just want to discuss a few new shows briefly.  I'm watching many more and have picked up a good number (including great ones like Sang e Mar Mar),but these are the shows currently floating around in my head..

Bin Roye

Unlike some of you, I did not get the opportunity to watch the film "Bin Roye," so the drama experience is a new one for me.  Yes, thanks to spoilers, I do know the story and how this will play out, but despite that, I am genuinely enjoying this ride.  According to a friend who has seen the movie, this show is much more in depth than the movie was and I'm glad.  I have fallen in love with this show from the first scene, as it has a cast of stellar performers, beautiful production values (I have never seen a drama on this scale!), a sweet story with depth and, most of all, I am loving that the songs have been retained!  It's a visual treat with a story that keeps you hooked.  So far, I am in love.


I can only describe this show as a disappointment.  I expect better from Osmaan Khalid Butt.  Hareem has made errors before and Maya is a mess in my mind now after Mann Mayal, plus she does not have the best track record with her shows.  But I had yet to see an Osmaan show I didn't love.  That might very well change with this one.  Hareem's character is irritating, Osmaan's character lacks backbone, Maya's character is too meek (unnecessarily) and Emad's character is unbelievably manipulative).  The only character that I'm loving is Hina Biyat's, because she is playing the role of the lovable, cujte, muun-phat mother perfectly.  Otherwise, let's just wait and watch....this may get better, but it may just continue to get worse.

Dil Banjara

How an incredible actress like Sanam Saeed can act in such an OTT drama is actually boggling my mind.  How an actor like Adnan Malik, who has given such a beautiful performance in Sadqay Tumhare, can say silly things like "Main banjara hoon" with a straight face is beyond my comprehension.  How this show's dialogue writer wrote these lines like "Main udna chahti hoon" while not writing a comedy is hurting my ears.  I could not believe how terrible the first episode of this show was.  I am going to admit that I've had a busy week and have not seen the second episode as yet, but I'm not expecting great things. This is a let-down so far.  I'm hoping it improves and transforms into something worth watching.


A once beautiful show has taken the beaten path of a typical two wives storyline.  Why Shariq doesn't just tell off his Mamoon and evil Maami is actually incomprehensible.  Saba is a psychotic case, a girl who can't control or understand her emotions, a girl who tried to burn Sana's hand on the stove.....and a girl who I would never trust alone in a room with my child.  Despite all this, Shariq and his mother continue to make excuses for her and expect Zoya to just deal with the situation.  They were the ones who hounded her into marrying Shariq for his happiness and now Shariq is telling her to leave.  Zoya's character had enough misery in her life without Shariq adding to it.  This show is becoming unbearable to watch, simply due to stupidity.  Up until now, this was a must-watch for me, because the main characters were logical.  Now, the show has become a senseless two-wives drama.  Boring.

Alright, that's all for now!  I will start working on my next post and will try to write more frequently!  Happy watching!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


I haven't written for 3 weeks!  A lot has happened since then, like the ending of Udaari and Zara Yaad Kar, as well as the start of great shows like Sang E Mar Mar and Bin Roye, as well as the highly anticipated (but fairly annoying) Sanam.  I know all this and more!

I want to express my displeasure at Google's actions.  I've wanted to write this post for Zara Yaad Kar for a week now, but my Blogger app on my phone kept shutting down.  I decided to delete and reinstall it....only to discover that Google has completely removed the app from iPhone app stores, so I can no longer have the app on my phone.  As someone who actively blogs from my phone, I'm incredibly agitated by this development.  I now have to make the active effort to turn on my laptop (which is difficult when you have a toddler) in order to compose a blog post.  So I apologize in advance if my posts are even more delayed than usual from this point on.

OK, having said that, I have been visiting my parents for the last month and failed to bring my laptop with me, not for seeing this horrible glitch.  I will be back home in 3 days and we will have a lot of catching up to do.  Until then, thanks for always supporting me and reading, despite my uncommitted ways!  I appreciate you all!  Happy  watching! 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Dillagi - What Pakistani Dramas Should Strive to Be

I've already written an essay on Dillagi recently, so I don't want to be repetitive.  What I do want to say is simply this:  This show was, for me personally, a perfect show.  

This show was brilliant.  After a long time, I watched what I felt was a pure love story.  The love Mohid had for Anmol was unfaltering.  It did not wither.  It did not stray.  It did not compromise.  It did not bow down to anyone - but to the woman he loved.  It was refreshing to see something like this on TV, but depicted in the most "real" way with real situations and emotions.

I loved that every character on this show had a personality, a backbone and a heart.  From Zulekha to Sabiha, Mohid to Dastagir, Mishal to Anmol....every character had a personality, a spark and their reactions to each and every situation never once betrayed that character (which is so rare these days)

The show had painfully flawed characters, but HUMAN characters.  Despite hating their actions, you felt for them and understood where they were coming from.  

Like I said, I've written about this show only recently, so I don't want to be repetitive.  But the last episode cemented Dillagi's place at #1 for 2016.  With an emotion packed episode that required some solid acting on the part of Mehwish Hayat and Saba Hamid, these women did not let the audience down!  I had tears in my eyes, feeling for the situation. Incredibly acted by the both of them.  Even Imran Ashraf's breakdown scene as Dastagir was power packed.  

What really made this show for me was the very last scene - a scene which not only brought the show full circle, but also showed that Mohid and Anmol were equals in their relationship.  This is the message I like seeing on TV, rather than the "let your in laws treat you like dirt, because eventually they will realize your importance" nonsense.  

At the end of the episode, I was not only left completely satisfied with the ending (which is SO rare), I felt as though I had watched something truly great and empowering.  Bravo to the team of Dillagi for making such a genuine product.

On that note, I've completely given up on Teri Chah Mein and Tum Meri Ho on ARY.  These two shows are so terrible, they're not worth an additional minute of my time.

Mann Mayal also came to an end.  Good riddance to a complete peace of junk.  That's all I have to say about that show.

Pakeeza ended well and, while I didn't appreciate the demise of the lead character or the indication that such a character couldn't have lived out a happy, successful life, I was glad that Pakeeza attained the respect she rightfully deserved, even if in death.

Ok, that's all!  I have a handful of new shows I want to write about next time!  Happy watching! 

Janaan: A Movie Review

I had the opportunity to watch Janaan on Friday, September 10 (yesterday), as it released earlier in North America.  That also means that since reviews weren't readily available, I went in without any idea how the movie shaped up and with somewhat optimistic expectations.

The story was simple (I'm holding back from saying wafer-thin): Meena (Armeena Rana Khan) goes back home after 11 years and experiences "culture shock" of sorts, thanks to her zany, wacky Pukhtun family.  She also finds herself unwillingly caught up in a love triangle between the silent, sweet and brooding Asfandyar (Bilal Ashraf) and the confident, friendly, class clown type Daniyal (Ali Rehman Khan).

To be very honest, the movie had a lot of potential.  The attempt was really good.  The cinematography was excellent, the beautiful locations of Swat were captured so nicely, you wanted to be transported there immediately.  The main and supporting cast contributed to a lot of cuteness and I did love (as did my parents), as a Pukhtun, the sheer relatability of the situations, as it's so rare to see "normal," educated Pukhtun families depicted on film.

The two main songs, Janaan and Reidi Gul, were beautifully used and definitely added to the movie.

What hindered that potential?  Well, for one, the storyline was simply too weak.  Like I said, it had potential.  Had the culture shock experienced by Meena been more to do with realities - like covering ones head when going out, arriving in a male-dominated region, load-shedding (which is briefly touched upon for 5 seconds and then never occurs again), the movie might have been more on par with what a girl from North America might experience.  Instead, her shock came across as Meena just being awkward about things like hugging her relatives (who live with her parents?) and spotting a mouse in her room (had it been a lizard, I would've found the scene 5 times funnier).  In fact, Meena spoke Urdu rather well and what would've made for great writing would've been if she didn't understand Pashto despite being Pukhtun (because that does happen).  I just felt they could've done so much more with it.

The story was a little weak.  There actually wasn't one until the last 45 minutes or so and the last half hour was just too dragged out for no reason.  I felt the story that began in the second half of the movie came entirely out of nowhere.  There weren't any red herrings (other than one scene when Armeena visits the school) or indication of trouble earlier in the movie, which would've brought the movie together.  Instead, you were left feeling like you watched two halves of pretty different movies.

Also, each character had to be very pronounced and overly Pukhtun at times - my parents, who watched the movie with me, said "This felt more like a documentary on Pukhtun culture than a movie with a solid storyline."

I also frowned and was immensely displeased by the actors playing Emma and Matt - they were not only thorough stooges and very poor actors, Armeena was equally over the top in her scenes with them.

Despite Ali and Armeena working in a few dramas each (and even one together), the cast was overall relatively new and fresh.  This really worked in the movie's favor, as I didn't have the feeling of watching a drama on the big screen, which has happened in the past with Pakistani movies.  I have to give special mention to Ali Rehman for being really funny.  He was really enjoyable to watch, in both comedic and emotional scenes.  Bilal Ashraf is so beautiful and he acted really well....until one super emotional scene where he suddenly became a really awkward crier.  He has everything it takes to be a "hero," and a popular one at that, but he definitely has to work on his acting skills in emotional moments.  Armeena looked beautiful, natural and every bit the part she was hired to play.  However, she confused me here, because she's shown so much growth in Pakistani dramas and I thought this role was tailor made for her.  In a role where she should have excelled, she was just ok.  Her dialogue delivery was on the awkward side 40% of the time.  The supporting cast was nice, especially Hania Aamir who played Palwasha, Ajab Gul as Asad Khan and Mishi Khan as Shireen.  The actor who played Sameer added some comedy to the movie as well (though he wasn't a very good actor).

I also really enjoyed the very brief special appearances by Osmaan Khalid Butt and Hareem Farooq.

Please don't misunderstand me - the movie was not bad and, in fact, I would encourage everyone to go watch it to support these efforts made to lift the Pakistani film industry.  As a step in the right direction, it was really good.  Of course, compared to Bollywood, it was kind of weak - and before anyone says "why are you comparing it to Bollywood?", if they didn't want to be compared to Bollywood, they wouldn't have included that super lame shaadi dance song towards the end.  Armeena needs to stay away from dancing.  But they are just starting out and getting back on their feet, so this was a nice attempt and I'm all about supporting the hard work.  

The verdict?  It was a good-hearted attempt and I appreciated it.  I simply expected more.  I hope the team of Janaan will take the criticisms in the right spirit and understand that if they correct these things in future projects, the industry will only better from it.  I wish Janaan a lot of success and I do hope it fares well.  I encourage every Pakistabi to go out and support this movie - and all the other Eid releases coming out (Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai and Actor In Law).  If these movies don't make money, they won't even get that chance to improve, so please support Pakistani cinema.  

Happy watching! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ruling the Roost Series: #5 - Pakeeza

Pakeeza brought Aamina Sheikh, an actress who refuses to be repetitive with her roles and strives to bring something new to the table, back to our TV screen after a gap, her last being Jackson Heights.  Her name is synonymous with quality and we are definitely on the receiving end of that with Pakeeza.

Pakeeza tells the story of a woman, Pakeeza (Aamina Sheikh), trapped in a loveless, abusive marriage where she is both physically abused and verbally belittled on a daily basis.  Her sole shining star is her daughter Kiran (Iqra Chaudhary).  Jibran (Ali Khan) may be a poor husband, but dotes on Kiran as well and she is the center of his world.  Pakeeza's escape from her life of chaos is her gallery, which she co-owns with her sister in law Naima (Angeline Malik), her support system, as she's not just her sister-in-law, but her best friend who sees the evil toll their childhood has taken on her vindictive brother.  We also have Azeem (Adnan Siddiqui), who is Naima's brother-in-law and also part-owner of the gallery, a man who has loved Pakeeza for as long as he can remember and continued loving her post her marriage.

The story truly began when Jibran, in a spate of anger, divorced Pakeeza.  At this time, with talk of Kiran's "rishta" in the works and Kiran's poor health, Jibran and Pakeeza continued to live under one roof, living in separate rooms and pretending all is well. 

This is the basic storyline for Pakeeza, but in recent weeks, new developments have pushed the story in a direction that left the viewer wondering "How will this end?"

Pakeeza is a show that, despite having a very slow pace and incredibly slow, uneventful and repetitive episodes.....somehow it simply works

I think we can attribute that to the powerhouse of talent that this cast is comprised of.  With Aamina Sheikh at the helm, playing the lead role of Pakeeza, I did not expect to be disappointed.  However, her being supported by Adnan Siddiqui, Angeline Malik and Aly Khan is no small deal and these four actors really deliver with each episode.  

Last we saw, Pakeeza is now happily, joyously married to Azeem, Kiran has gotten married to Saif, Pakeeza has moved out of Jibran's home with Naima's blessing and has finally told Kiran that she will never go back to her father (though she has not told her of her relationship with Azeem and the already-happened divorce).  As a viewer, I breathed a sigh of relief.  Finally, Pakeeza was going to be happy!  But wait........

At the end of the last episode, Azeem awakes to admire his beautiful bride and finds her......dead.  I am actually heart-broken at this turn of events and wonder why Pakeeza couldn't have been depicted as having a happy ending.  Why?  Sometimes I wonder what message these shows project to viewers.  HOWEVER, this does make for an interesting story and I assume the show will now go into "Whodunnit?" mode.  How the show continues and carries itself to the end without the character of Pakeeza will be something to wait and see.....

That's the last write up for this series.  I've tried to give so much positivity to each post, haha, but alas, it has to come to an end!  I'm ready to go back to my ranting about horrible shows and also ready to talk about some new, promising shows - which come right on time, since all 5 of these ruling shows are nearing their end.

Until next time, happy watching!