Sunday, May 29, 2016

Zara Yaad Kar - Episode 11

What a powerful show.  I don't think what I have to say about this show will take up an entire, lengthy blog post, but I just couldn't let this show go ignored this week.  I had to write something.

The writing expectations are always high with the pen in Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar's qualified hand.  But was I expecting such an incredible show from this underrated show?  No way.  If there is a black horse currently on television, this is it.  The power each dialogue has, the hold each scene takes on the's simply amazing.

This week, we saw Hadi trying to do the right thing by giving Mahnoor a divorce.  We see that Hadi is fed up of trying to make Mahnoor understand her fault, tired of being wrongly accused of straying, tired of loving so completely without being loved in return and, most of all, tired of the sheer betrayal he has been slapped with.  Zahid Ahmed has been a favorite since he emerged on the scene with Mehram and since then, he had only gotten better with each show, leaving other actors in the dust with his talent.  But with this show, he has proved to be a real powerhouse of talent!  Hadi's excruciating pain, depicted in his eyes, hidden behind his feeble smile in an attempt to hide his feelings from Uzma, her father and the world.....any lesser actor would have failed miserably.  But not Zahid Ahmed - he gets it just right and hauntingly so!  

Sana Javed as Mahnoor is great in a role she's never played before, the role of a perfect witch who will not realize her fault until it is seriously too late and she's left with nothing.  It's hard to play such q role without resorting to vamp-like behaviors, but Sana plays this character so naturally, you feel like anyone could stray and become this person.  

Yumna Zaidi as Uzma is love and a character you want to root for completely with her beautiful, clean heart.

Special mention to Rashid Farooqui as Uzma's father and Saba Faisal as Mahnoor's mother.  Both play very different, yet equally beautiful roles.  

Yasir Mazhar as Waqar plays a role that will be the game changer and I am waiting to see how he betrays Mahnoor for his "Urdu student."

While shows like Udaari are so necessary for Pakistani society and tells an amazing story, shows like Zara Yaad Kar are refreshingly beautiful forms of entertainment with strong writing, performances, direction and great story.  I hope it continues on this path and doesn't let the audience down (ex: Mann Mayal). 

Highly recommended!  Happy watching! 

Bheegi Palkein, Tere Mere Beech & Sehra Mein Safar End....

I'm trying to write regularly, but simply put, I've been so busy, it's become a struggle to keep up with actually watching shows!  

Briefly, let's talk about three shows that ended this week.  Briefly, because two of them were just downright awful and the other had a weak last episode.  

Bheegi Palkein, a terrible, awful show that could have redeemed itself had it not done exactly as I predicted - the show was so hell bent on showing a loser character like Hassan as a hero that they defied all logic and the fact that Hassan deserved the karma that he got with Fari. Why? Because Faisal Qureshi HAS to be the "hero"!  Let's completely forget that Dr Raza was the better man and brought out Bano's real personality, helping her become strong and confident.  No, let's illogically wake up his wife from a coma of God-knows-how-many-years just to stick it to Bano and push her into Hassan's waiting "hero" arms.  That's crap and I have not wanted to punch a character this much in a long time.  Bye Hassan & Bano. Bye Bheegi Palkein.  Thanks for a suck fest and thanks writers for constantly showing Pakistani women as weak creatures that have to rely on terrible, untrusting men instead of getting happy endings and new starts - or, at the least, slapping these untrusting men, getting a job and living a life of self respect?  No? That's too hard?  Ok then, keep making crap shows.  

Moving on:

Tere Mere Beech

Here's the problem.  This show started off as a really interesting show. However, as the show progressed, Hareem became the worst, most annoying, selfish and downright stupidest character.  But why only Hareem? Sadia, Nadia, biological Amma, adoptive Amma, Hina Biyat's unnecessarily helpful character.....all ridiculous.  

In fact, in a strange twist of fate, the last episode is what redeemed the show for me slightly.  I was overcome with irritation at the idea of Hareem ending up with her good for nothing husband - but surprise! His appeal to Hareem actually melted my heart and made for decent story.  Ali Agha Khan's performance in this episode was really good.  It was nice to see Hareem &  Fahad honestly sort out their differences.  But it was still hard to digest, considering Fahad tried to kill her.....but I'd long since given up trying to find sense in this show.  I expected this ending, so at least it was shot in a way that was able to make an emotional impact.

As for the rest, what Noor Hassan was doing wasting his life in this drama with no role to speak of, I will never understand.  Anyway, that's all.  This show wasn't really good, but still had enough appeal to suck you in week after week.  

And moving on again.....

Sehra Mein Safar

Why a beautiful show like this needed such a bizarre, boring final episode, I will never understand.  Couldn't we have just heard Ayaz confessing to Mamoon about how much he appreciates Iqra WITHOUT all the time wastage on Mamoon's disrespecting his fiancĂ©e?  I really didn't care to see any of that, especially with the unrealistic way the problem was resolved.  Men like Mamoon do not change their attitudes in 10 minutes simply because their mom has a heart to heart with them.  In fact, his mother is the reason he held that viewpoint to begin with - which is odd, because he was such a enabling child, always wanting nice things, which his mother provided, so that personality trait in him was pretty unrealistic.  

Anyway, this was a great show and I wish the episode had just focused on Ayaz and Iqra instead of their good for nothing son.  Also, I really needed Emad Irfani's Sheharyar to get one final "screw you," but he just disappeared entirely. 

 I wish Pakistani dramas would all strive to create shows like this - simple, but with strong storylines and a good message!

Alright, that's all for now - until next time, happy watching! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Just some thoughts - Tere Mere Beech, Main Kaisay Kahoon, Sehra Mein Safar and Tum Meri Ho

Life's busy and it's a challenge not only finding time to write, but finding time to catch up on all these shows!  I just decided to throw out some thoughts I'm having on a few shows I've been watching.  I wanted to write about "Mor Mahal," but unfortunately, I have not seen more than the first episode, which somehow struck me as awkward and uncomfortable.  I am going to give it another try and write about it soon!  But here are some shows that made an impact in one way or another while watching this week.

Tere Mere Beech

There are some shows that tell stories of dignity and reality.  There are other shows that hint fairly early on towards which direction they are headed in.  Tere Mere Beech hinted fairly early that Hareem would somehow work her differences out with her good-for-nothing, responsible-for-her-mother's-death, crook-and-diehard-kameena husband.  And you know what?  That. Is. A. Shame.  The writers attempt to show Tanya as selfish and self-serving, because she rightly decides to kick Fahad to the know, because he tried to marry her for her wealth?  Hareem tries to persuade her to get back together with him, because that's where Fahad's happiness lies.  Um.  What?  Hareem....the same Hareem who Fahad tried to strangle to death.  Yup.  This is what Pakistani dramas are promoting these days - love and forgive your husband, no matter what.  Why?  Because he's your husband.  If you made a mistake and married for wealth then you deserve to continue to stay married to a self-serving, murderous, will-do-whatever-it-takes type of person.  This show is sending out the WORST message ever.  I honestly don't know why I'm still watching.  Don't watch this.  Spare yourself.

Main Kaisay Kahoon

There is something so refreshing about this show.  The story is different and even the "vamps" of the show are humorously so, never really succeeding in their villainous ways.  Junaid Khan and Sara Khan make a nice couple - and the circumstances of the show really make you root for their characters to get together.  The best part?  The show is progressing realistically and even though the show has reached a point that would typically be your "the end," the story is continuing to show the after-marriage struggle and clash of egos.  I have nothing particularly negative to say about this show (though the initial misunderstanding between Junaid & Sara's characters was pretty far-fetched).  I would recommend it.

Sehra Mein Safar

Yet another underrated gem!  Like Main Kaisay Kahoon, Sehra Mein Safar touches upon a new topic - women in the workforce.  Our main character, Iqra, is thrust into the workforce against her own wishes due to circumstances and somehow, those circumstances never seem to allow her to quit.  The story began at that point and has reached a really great point in the story.  Where it goes from here, I'm not sure.  However, I will say that it's nice to see Ali Kazmi in such a great role.  Sehra Mein Safar is one of those shows that I eagerly wait for each week and boasts of really natural acting from the entire cast.  This is another show that I would recommend.

Tum Meri Ho

So I have mixed feelings about this show.  Here, we fall AGAIN into that horrible pattern Faisal Qureshi has been following - the pattern of playing characters TOO YOUNG for his age.  But here, it gets even worse.....Aijaz Aslam is playing his older older brother who just got on his feet in his business and is now "prime" for marriage.  HUH?  Oh my jeez, it's literally excruciating to watch this ridiculousness on screen.  Two old men pretending to be young is enough to make me want to bash my head in.  But wait!  SURPRISE!  The story is actually interesting.  While there are a lot of cliches involved, the story provides so much scope for great acting that the viewer is almost instantly pulled in, despite the "What the hell?" reaction on the age of the actors.  Faisal's character was mistreated by his father when young, which has left him slightly unstable and disturbed.  He has grown up feeling that his parents love his older brother more (Aijaz Aslam).  With that thought in mind, he constantly tries to copy or outdo his older brother. Despite this, the two brothers share a loving relationship with Aijaz doting on Faisal and encouraging him to be successful in life.  The problem arises when Aijaz's new young wife ends up being the woman Faisal was in love with.  This is the crux of the story, but what could've been just another love triangle is working really well (so far) with the eccentricities of Faisal's character.  There is a lot of promise for great acting in this show and I hope it lives up to the expectations that have now formed in my mind.

That's all for now!  I'll be catching up on the other shows I've fallen behind on this past week and will write again soon!  Happy watching!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Two Shows, Two Winners - Ali Ki Ami & Guzarish

Two shows just came to an end, two shows that I watched with a lot of anticipation each week.  And two great shows they were! 


Guzaarish was a show that I had zero expectations from.  Affan Waheed, despite being a favorite, has not had a good track record with dramas of late, so I mentally tend to write off shows once I see his name in the cast - though his name is why I still watch it despite that. Haha.

However, what a surprise and what a gem this show was!  While the show focuses on lost love, it did not shy away from the reality of life - relationships develop, evolve and grow, as do human beings.  Human beings are not set in stone; they can change, attitudes can change, love can change, harsh beliefs can change.....and, in some cases,  sometimes life can just come full circle.  This is the real basis of Guzaarish and it was presented just brilliantly.

Aly Khan as Jaffar was perfect - it was also nice to see him in a positive role while also acting in Pakeeza. Jaffar redeemed himself ten fold from the first couple of episodes, transforming into the best, strongest, most sincere male character on the show.  What was most refreshing about his character (and the writing) was that despite Jaffar going out of his way to help Zaara, not even for a moment did a romantic angle come into play.  "Jaffar Bhai" remained Jaffar BHAI.  That's very unusual for a Pakistani drama and it was great to see that another male love interest was not forced upon Zaara and the audience.  His character was the highlight of the show for me.

Yumna Zaidi is fast becoming a favorite.  From her artsy character in Ullu Baraaye, her conniving one in Mausam, her silly one in Jugnu, her sincere one in Guzaarish and her angelic one in Zara Yaad Kar, she's proving to be the most experimental actress currently on Pakistani television and is such a treat to watch! It's a shame that all the "big" shows go to talentless actresses like Maya Ali when brilliant ones like Yumna are around.  As Zara, Yumna steals your heart.  Once burned, she plays a woman tired of having her life torn apart by love.  She loved Zain with all her heart, but desires to leave that past in the past and move forward with Saad, a desire proving to be more difficult than necessary.

And then we have Zain, played by the sweet Ahmed Ali.  Zain is your adorable anti-hero.  He's not a villain.  In fact, the chaotic, messed up situation that occurs is not his fault at all, but he's the one who gets burned (emotionally) the most.  Unable to love anyone other than Zara, he stumbles through life not able to move forward, because he can't let go.  This is one of Ahmed Ali's best performances and he's really growing as an actor.

The rest of the cast was effective. As expected, Affan's role was the weakest of the roles - how many times can you see "sincere turned shakki"?  But regardless, he got the job done. As a fan, I wish he would wise up and take some challenging roles.  Maha Warsi did a great job as the confused Hina. Hina desires to be with the one she loves, with  Zain....but at what cost? Is it worth it to be with a loved one who can't let go of the past?  Maha made it easy to love Hina, because she was so REAL.  There wasn't a villainous streak in her.

The scene between Zaara & Hina was so beautiful.  Watching Zaara convince Hina that she was not a threat to her relationship with Zain and telling her that her love would ultimately win Zain over brought tears to my eyes.  In this musical chairs of love interests, it was natural to see that Zaara was unwavering in her stance towards Saad - her husband, the only man her loyalty stood with.  

After a long time, I felt that there was a quiet beauty and simplicity in a show.  This show struck me the way "Shab E Arzoo Ka Alam" once did - starting off loud and filmy, but slowly creating a path into my heart with the classy, graceful fallout.  

Highly recommended. I will miss this show a lot.

Ali Ki Ami

I avoid Geo shows like the plague, but something about this show pulled me in. I had mixed emotions throughout the airing of this show.  What was the point? Was Ali wrong?  Was his Ami right to put so much pressure on a young kid because of her life choices?  Kids don't ask to be brought into the world.  Parents make that decision.  So why should the child deal with the burden of living instead of enjoying their life and receiving love in return?

With each episode, my irritation towards Mariam grew.  Let the kid play!  He spends all his life studying! Let the kid love! Why can't he choose his own wife? Let the kid hate his father!  Why can't he decide how he feels? Mariam and her cronies were too rough on Ali for my liking. It's the JOB of a mother to raise her child.  A child should appreciate what his mother went through, but that doesn't mean the child should grow up and surrender his life to his mother and not be able to make any decisions for himself!

On the other end, Sadia and Nadir constantly went against Sobia.  Yes, Sobia was terrible, but did Nadir EVER apoligize for ruining her life? Did he ever accept that he was a jerk who ruined many lives with his actions?  No! He created the whole situation and conveniently called Sobia crazy (which she was, but by his doing).  

I'm ranting a lot. You must be wondering why I would call this show a winner?  Because all these thoughts were addressed in the last two episodes.  Nadir "got his" and we were treated to a beautiful scene between Ali and his friend with Ali finally expressing his feelings, your classic "too little too late."  

In the last episode though, we saw REAL progress.  The final ten minutes brought the whole show together.  Ali made his own life, Mariam made a real life for herself and these two lives were finally able to come together to co-exist.  "Ali ki ami" finally realized lives can't be dictated and made peace with herself. 

And THAT, my friends, was the beauty of Ali Ki Ami.  Turbulent, but ultimately peaceful.  So much credit goes to the two actors who carried this show.  Samiya Mumtaz, who was absolutely perfect as Mariam, brought me to tears several times with her quiet dignity, her commitment to raising her son her way and on her own terms.  But even more of a revelation was newcomer Asim Mehmood as Ali.  What a performance!  Immediately likable after the leap, Asim WAS Ali, a youth torn by his love for his mother and the feeling of being stifled by her demeanor.  He deserves applause for holding his own next to Samiya Mumtaz.

I would also recommend Ali Ki Ami.  It's a beautiful show with a lot of realistic emotions.

With that, two shows come to a close.  Let's see what replaces them.  Happy watching!