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!