Monday, December 4, 2017

Khaani: What Am I Watching?

Hello all!  First of all, guys, I am so sorry for consistently falling off the wagon with writing.  Honestly, the only excuse I can give you is that life tends to get in the way, there are constant obstacles and sometimes writing simply has to take a backseat - not to mention that when the going gets tough, the tough have too much to deal with and it becomes difficult to keep up with watching television.  That being said, I'm back and will do my best to remain consistent.  Wedding season is in full swing and my schedule is very busy, but I will do what I can.  I have a few readers that always wish me well, always keep up with my blog and honestly - you guys are why I continue doing this, so THANK YOU for reading and being so understanding. 

Okay guys, "Yakeen Ka Safar" finished and while the ending didn't necessarily overwhelm viewers, for me personally.....I enjoyed it.  I agree with the complaints - I also wish we had seen Zubia & Asfandyar's wedding and been a part of that "moment."  I also wish we had been witness to Dr. Haroon and Geti's wedding, because that was a very touching, heart-warming connection and they both so deserved that happiness.  That being said, I did enjoy that beautiful moment between Zubia and Asfandyar in the hospital.  I did find that "Itna bhi trust nahin tha mujhpar?" line a little far-fetched, because.....well, obviously, they were so formal with each other, of course she didn't trust him!  But these two beautiful characters deserved nothing but the best and it was great to see that love story come to a happy end.  Since I hadn't written since the ending of Yakeen Ka Safar, I did want to drop in this small note!  Personally, I believe Yakeen Ka Safar was the highlight of 2017 drama-wise.  Well done, Hum TV, well done.

Okay.....let's come to the point of this post.  I want to discuss "Khaani."  I'm going to put a disclaimer straight-up that I am two episodes behind right now, so I've only seen the first 3 episodes of this drama.  If I say something that you feel "Oh, but you're not right about this....," just know that I'm not up-to-date.  I am simply commenting on the overall premise of the show.

Khaani came with high expectations from the viewers.  A beautiful OST rendered by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, a great production house, the promise of a beautiful, never-seen-before love story and the first-time pairing of Feroze & Sana all came together to leave drama viewers waiting in anticipation. 

Khaani follows the story of our title character, Khaani (Played by Sana Javed) and Mir Hadi (Feroze Khan).  Khaani and Saim are twins from a loving family including two more sisters and loving parents.  Mir Hadi is the son of a politician running for re-election.  Mir Hadi has a terrible attitude, is arrogant, self-obsessed and has an incredibly short temper.  One happy day after Saim finds out he has received a scholarship, his family happily awaits his arrival to begin the celebrations.  On his way home, Saim has an altercation with Mir Hadi, which results in his death. 

Now, because I'm behind on a few episodes, I'm not sure what has happened other than Mir Hadi's release.  But from what I gather, Mir Hadi will go on to be repentant of his crimes and will work to "fix" her life somehow. 

Guys, I don't consider myself a (I hate this word) "feminazi."  I'm a feminist in the normal way that I believe in equal rights, I believe in human rights.  I believe in equality.  I believe women are capable of doing anything.  So I don't get riled up over silly things.  But.....something about this show is rubbing me the wrong way. 

The premise is seemingly going two ways:  a "version" of Tum Bin where a crime is committed and that "criminal" will then come into the female lead's life to rectify things.  But here's the difference - in Tum Bin, the crime committed was purely an accident and the "criminal" was not a terrible person who thought he could get away with anything.  He simply made an error in judgement and rushed away in fear.  Here, dealing with a character like Mir Hadi, it seems like allowing a character like this to get "redemption" (IN ROMANCE!!!) is absolving him of his terrible behavior and his highly INTENTIONAL crime. 

OR Khaani will stand against Hadi Mir and they will somehow end up married with Khaani vowing to take revenge.....and then ultimately falling for Hadi.  Either way, I am miffed by either storyline.

Why are shows like this even made?  I wonder.  I know that the concept of the "egotistic hero made soft by the sweet heroine" is an idea that works brilliantly on Indian television - but is it really something to idolize and imitate?  Even with Gul-E-Rana a couple of years ago, I was torn by how much I really enjoyed the show, but at the same time, I was thrilled by the ending.  It didn't perpetuate the stereotype that a man can do anything and then get away with his bad behavior.  I am not sure where exactly this show will take this concept, but from what I'm seeing, it seems to be falling more under the category of "redemption" rather than "karma." 

I am finding the story interesting (if not painful to watch), so I'm going to continue watching, but I'm hoping I'm entirely wrong about the direction in which it's headed.  Let me know your thoughts!  Until next time, happy watching!  :)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Yakeen Ka Safar: Wading Through Life and Love

In the past few weeks, I've seen many articles come out about Yakeen Ka Safar, praising the show and drawing in new viewers.  Despite being a viewer from day 1, I refrained from writing about this particular show in detail.  This the excerpt from the last time I wrote about this show (back in June):

Intense.  Grim.  Painfully real.  Depicts the true reality of our society.  These are the first things that come to mind when describing this drama.  "Gumaan ke baad yakeen ka safar" - so far, there is so much gumaan and I'm still clinging on with my fingernails for some yakeen to begin. 

Sajal Ali's story as Zubia is interesting, but I'm waiting for it to really take off.  While I'm glad her once-evil father has had a change of heart, it goes to show that your children end up being a mirror of their parents.  To see her once-loving brother Rehan turn against her thanks to their upbringing (and her evil Bhabi) is disheartening and absolutely realistic.  I'm looking forward to watching her interactions with Asfandyar (Ahad Raza Mir).

On the other end, we've been seeing Daniyal (Shaz Khan) fighting to defend the honor of his client - however, he's taking on the son of a politician and that's put him in a dangerous position.  In the latest episode, we witnessed a huge twist with Daniyal being shot.  Will he make it?  Did he die?  That's what I'm waiting for anxiously.  Shaz Khan's chemistry with Hira Salman is seriously adorable, so I am hoping this isn't the end for the duo.  Things are looking grim though....

All in all, this is an intense drama and not for anyone looking for something light-hearted.  The story is solid though and I'm expecting for it to only get better from here (hopefully).

Since then, the show has leaped forward by heaps and bounds, changing directions entirely while still remaining tied to the plot.  When this show began, it was heavily action-packed, full of social messages, namely the fight of the oppressed vs. the oppressors.  The characters were idealistic, full of passion, energy and youth.  At present, the show is much more subdued, more emotional than action-packed, dealing with the long term effects of grief and loss.

When Yakeen Ka Safar first began, it felt like wading through shallow water in a river with uncertainty as to when the floor would drop.  From the get-go, Yakeen Ka Safar moved with a quiet calm towards a ragingly powerful yet subtle story.

What is Yakeen Ka Safar about?  The effect upbringing has on children, social injustice, the corrupt system in Pakistan, marital abuse, social stigma that women face, feminism, the importance of female education, mental health, the different ways people grieve and how they deal with that grief, forgiveness and, finally, love are all themes that Yakeen Ka Safar touches upon.  However, there is not a single moment of preaching in the show, rather these themes are presented so naturally and realistically.

However, at its very core, Yakeen Ka Safar is about the predictable:  it's a love story.  What makes this love story so unique?  I honestly could not see this love story emerging between these two characters until over half the show had gone by.  Yakeen Ka Safar kept me on my toes, yet moved with such an unpredictability, much like life - and that is what's refreshing.

For those who have not seen the show yet, first of all, I'll say what are you waiting for?  I've been recommending this show to anyone willing to listen, but with the disclaimer that it is not a fast-paced show that follows a predictable path.  That being said, it's beautiful and easily the best thing on television after "Baaghi" and "Mujhe Jeene Do."  It has been a long time since a drama has kept me waiting for each week to pass in order to watch a new episode.  Wednesdays have fast become my favorite day of the week thanks to YKS.

Getting to the story, let's do a quick recap.

The story tells the tale of two families - one being Zubia's family (Sajal Ali).  Zubia's family consists of an abusive father, a docile yet loving mother, a brother and her bhabi.  An abusive husband, Zubia's father accidentally kills Zubia's mother in a domestic dispute and then covers up the abuse by threatening his children.  While her father later repents and changes his focus in life towards Zubia's happiness, his previous behavior has already left its imprint on Zubia's brother Rehan, pushed further by his practically-evil wife.  During a low point of her life, Zubia makes a questionable decision that leads to her to disgrace, only to be rescued in a chance encounter by Asfandyar.

Asfandyar's family is a well to do, educated family headed by lawyer Usman.  His foreign educated son Daniyal (Shaz Khan) followed in his father's footsteps and is also a lawyer.  Daniyal is married to his cousin and childhood sweetheart Geti (Hira Salman), while Asfandyar (Ahad Raza Mir) - who is in med school and very fun loving - is engaged to another cousin, Faryal.  This tight-knit family is shown as a very happy, loving family - until Daniyal takes on a case with an NGO, fighting for a poor woman gang-raped by a politician's son.  Daniyal is directly framed for attempted rape by said politician, in an effort to ruin Daniyal's reputation, and the story reaches a heightened level at this point.  Lawyer Usman's family moves to a small town to escape the pain life has dealt them.

On the other end, Zubia has graduated from med school, but is unable to escape her past.  At every turn, she finds blame being thrown her way and people looking at her with suspicion, being labeled a "ghar se bhaagi hui ladki" (a woman who once ran away from home).  In an effort to escape this label, she takes up a job at a hospital in a small town - a hospital run by Dr. Asfandyar.

It is here where the story truly begins, healing begins and we see the light at the end of the tunnel.

At present, the story finally gave the viewers a sense of relief and closure regarding one storyline, only to throw us into grief once again in the most recent episode.  Once again, I am waiting with baited breath for the next episode, wondering what course this show is about to tread.  Will our main characters, Zubia and Asfandyar, find peace in each other?  Will Geti get the happy ending she so deserves?

Coming to performances, there isn't one performer here that outshines anyone else.  Everyone has done a commendable job.  That being said, Ahad Raza Mir is a gem.  While he had presence in "Sammi," here he shines brighter than any other star on television at present in the character of Asfandyar.  Asfandyar, as a character, has become the sort of heartthrob role that Fawad Khan's Asher had been in Humsafar.  A role that turns an actor into a star- Ahad Raza Mir is well onto his way of being a star.  His subtle performance as Asfandyar is endearing - whether it's the youthful, spirited Asfi or the serious, brooding Dr. Asfandyar, Ahad plays this role as a natural.

Sajal Ali as Zubia is perfect for the role.  Quiet and self-guarded, Zubia has learned to keep to herself and protect herself from those around her.  Sajal's acting only adds to the brilliant writing, displaying Zubia's pain with her eyes, namely as she guards herself from her own feelings towards Asfandyar.

Hina Salman as Geti is a complete natural.  Her anguish is displayed with a quiet calm, masked by a sad smile.  Shaz Khan shines in his role as Daniyal, a role so prominent to the story and his presence is felt throughout the show.

Sabiha Somar and Farhan Ali Agha excel as Asfandyar and Daniyal's parents, emoting so well that you can't remember them in any other role while they are on screen.  They ARE the parents of these two boys, broken-hearted and grieving.

The side characters are equally endearing, especially Mani as Dr. Haroon and the rest of the hospital staff.

While the show is inching towards a conclusion with only 2-3 episodes left, I am already beginning to feel a void "Yakeen Ka Safar is the sort of show that doesn't come around that often.  Each episode leaves behind an emotional impact and teaches you to really appreciate the relationships in your life - and to extend your hand to others, as everyone has a past, feels pain and needs support.

I'm eagerly waiting for the remaining episodes of YKS and hope you are too.  If you aren't already watching, you should be!  Happy watching!

(Pictures courtesy Hum TV)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Aadhi Gawahi - Social Statement or Illogical Fluff?

Aadhi Gawahi is a show that I made an active decision not to watch right when it began.  Why?  Well, in my past experience, shows featuring Sohai Ali Abro and Azfar Rehman tend to tether the line between reality and fantasy.  Mind you, both of these actors are really great, natural actors that always display their talent in each and every project they work in.  However, despite delivering great performances, the shows they choose to associate themselves with always seem overly melodramatic and fall under the title of "mediocre."

Why did I begin to watch this show then after 26 episodes had already gone on air?  Social media, of course!  I began seeing all these declarations of what a great social message the show had, what a strong female lead the show boasted of and how the issue touched upon in the show is such an important issue in Pakistani society.  "What IS this show about?" I thought, still sticking to my decision of not watching.  Then, last week, a friend openly began raving about the show and insisted that I must watch I did...

The summary of the show on the official Hum TV site is as follows:

"Aadhi Gawahi raises questions on the sensitive issue of "Nikah" and highlights how the subjects of "divorce" and "nikah" should not be taken lightly. Aadhi Gawahi is an interwoven story of Salwa, Saad, Hamdan, Soha and their families and depicts how an assumed "joke" amongst Salwa and Hamdan transformed Salwa and her family's lives into a bad dream. Salwa and her cousin Saad like each other, however when they are going to get married, their batch mate Hamdan approaches with pictures and video of his "Nikah" with Salwa which was recorded at a play as a joke when Hamdan declined to play her significant other in the play since she was not a “mehrum.” What takes after is an account of regret, battle and repercussions of Salwa's evil idea design." (Source:

I'm not sure what is being described as a summary of this show is what I'm actually watching.  In fact, this summary sounds even more illogical than what actually happened on the show.  They certainly didn't get married as a "joke," rather it was an added scene in a play.

I absolutely agree that the general knowledge and education on the rights of women regarding Nikkah in South Asian society is highly lacking.  This is a situation made even worse by Pakistani media, depicting divorce as "talaaq, talaaq, talaaq" and, despite their intentions, showing situations like "accidental Nikkah" in this particular drama.

It has been shown that the "accidental Nikkah" between Hamdan & Salwa was orchestrated as an ill-intentioned plan by Hamdan himself (as he likes her), followed by a "fake" Fatwah issued by a hired Maulana Sahab.  If that's the case, then why did Salwa's Maulana Sahab also agree that this Nikkah was "jaayaz" (valid)?  In what world would anyone consider a Nikkah done without INTENTION valid?  This aside, what kind of sound-minded adults would partake in an act consisting of a Nikkah, using their real names, complete with signing of papers?  The basis of the show alone is illogical.

On the other end, we have Salwa's once love-of-her-life Saad.  Saad and Salwa are cousins and understand each other incredibly well, highly in tune with the feelings of the other.  When Saad injures his foot, he finds himself unable to act in their media arts class project opposite Salwa.  Hamdan uses this to his advantage and takes Saad's place - and this is when the "fake Nikkah" takes place.  Salwa informs Saad of the situation and they even have a fight over it.  Why then would Saad go on to distrust Salwa over the nikkah situation when the entire incident was put in front of him immediately?  How do characters that had a solid understanding suddenly morph into completely different people?  It's frustrating to watch.  

It's amusing to watch the difference between Salwa and Hamdan's families.  While Salwa's family is supposed to be an "izzatdaar khandaan" (respectable family), educated and broad-minded, their actions tell a completely different story.  They are quick to judge, make impulse decisions, are rude to their guests and conduct themselves without class.  On the other end, Hamdan's family is comprised of landlords and are described as "jaahil" (uneducated and ignorant).....however, their behavior is much more dignified, compromising and intelligent.  It's almost difficult to sympathize with Salwa and her family's situation, because of the haphazard way they conduct their lives.

The ensemble cast does a decent job with their roles, but there are two actors specifically worth mention.  Ayesha Sana and Saleem Sheikh play their roles with the utmost dignity and exude charm each time they appear on screen.  Despite being from the "bad family" on the show, they are two of the more likable characters.  I also have to give credit to Usama Khan who plays the role of Usama.  He is written as a side character, but he is highly memorable and leaves an impression on the viewer.  Ironically, he leaves a stronger impression than our lead "hero" Saad (played by Ali Josh).  Ali is a decent enough actor, but his character is so poorly written that it's difficult to really find him endearing.

Coming to our two main actors - Sohai Ali Abro is always a treat to watch on screen.  She has a natural flair about her, as though she's just a normal girl and isn't acting at all.  This show is so intriguing partly because of her performance - had it been any other actress, this show may not have had the same pull.  Sohai looks beautiful and her character has personality, so the idea of two men being in love with her isn't at all unbelievable.  

Azfar Rehman's role is much more difficult for the viewer to wrap their head around.  Here's why:  Azfar Rehman is supposed to be our "villain."  He's rude, he's blunt, he's insensitive, he's a male chauvinist.  He forces the heroine to marry him under false pretenses, tries to control her life, physically threatens her family members, is rude to her mother......he should not be appealing to ANYONE.  The problem?  He's played by Azfar Rehman, who is a bigger actor than any of the other males in the show.  He's great looking.  Add to that, how Bollywood and Pakistani shows have played on our hearts and brains for decades - the "bad boy" chases the girl and the girl eventually gives in.  The "bad boy" will eventually reform and become a good matter how he has gone about getting his way and forcing himself on the girl, depriving her of her own basic rights.  Unfortunately, I see that at play with this show as well in the viewers, myself included.  I find myself thinking "They look so sweet together" or finding Hamdan's behavior appealing in a strange way.   

It's pitiful and I do wonder how the show intends to wrap up.  Will Hamdan change his ways and we, once again, be forced to lap up this idea of "Aggressive force is OK, because she will change him for the better" or will Hamdan actually be held accountable for his bad behavior?  

I will be honest.  Despite this show's lack of logic, despite the insane characters and the ludicrous situations, there is still something almost addictive about this show.  I find myself looking forward to every episode, despite it moving at a snail's pace and being almost Indian soap-like in its presentation.  The chemistry between Sohai & Azfar definitely helps things.  All things considered, I do agree that the subject of how Nikkahs are meant to be conducted is something our society needs to be made aware of and educated on.  I hope this show holds true to its claims and actually goes on to address the problematic things being depicted so far.

That's it for this week!  Happy watching!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mujhe Jeene Do - Episodes 1, 2 and 3

Some names are simply synonymous with quality and when you see those names associated with a production, you are immediately enticed to view that show.  A few of those names are Salman Shahid, Nadia Jamil, Sarmad Khoosat, Mehreen Raheel and, recently even Hania Amir and Gohar Rasheed (I'll forgive him for Mann Mayal).  And when all these names combine to star in one drama, expectations are high.  Add Angeline Malik to the mix as director and I'll simply say the quality of that production is guaranteed to be something special.

Three episodes in, I will say that the show does not disappoint.  Each and every one of these actors (minus Hania, who has yet to appear - for obvious reasons) has a strong role to play and are given ample screen time.

The show follows the story of Saira (played by Emaan Sher, later to be Hania) from the age of eight to eighteen and how her life evolves in those years due to the decisions of others.  Child marriage is the basic story, interwoven with characters dealing with lack of education, poverty, marriage difficulties and health.

I can't pin-point one character/actor that I'm impressed with right now.  Sarmad Khoosat is such a great artist that I tend to watch anything he acts and/or directs.  Furthermore, his chemistry with Mehreen Raheel is great, making the husband-wife relationship feel real (which, of course, adds to the anger of the viewer towards their problems).

Gohar Rasheed's acting as a young widower is heartbreaking, while Salman Shahid's act as the patriarch of the family is strong and intimidating.  Nadia Jamil is such an actress that when she takes on a role (which is RARE), you realize how much you've missed her and what a natural she is.  Her role is of adviser and overseer to the majority of the characters in the show (as their doctor), playing the voice of reason.  Little Emaan Sher is no great actress, but is sweet enough as Saira and does as well as one can expect.

Overall, the show is off to an amazing start, depicting extreme, but very realistic situations.  With Baaghi and now Mujhe Jeene Do, quality-wise, Urdu 1 is leading miles ahead of all of the other drama channels.  Excited to see how the show progresses!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Yeh Raha Dil Comes to An End, Daldal Begins and Teri Raza Makes Me Want to Give Suhana a Good Shake!

Shows ends, shows begin and some shows have characters that really get under your skin.  This week, we have all three!

Yeh Raha Dil came to an end this week, bringing a really sweet drama with really beautiful characters to an end.  In any other scenario, I would've hated the show, simply because of how they treated Hassan.  However, the character of Hassan was written in such a sweet way that even his reaction of "London jaa ke gori nahin mili, to?!" was incredibly endearing and you just wished him well.  On the other end, we finally see Nida find her conscience and become a good person.  We see Hayaa and Zaki finally unite and everything ends happily ever after.  Except.....despite having a smile on my face at the end, I wanted to see MORE.  In a show where parents were such an integral part of the storyline, I wanted to see their reactions to a Zaki-Hayaa union.  I wanted to see Hayaa & Nida's parents struggle with the idea that one daughter's fiance is now marrying their other daughter.  I wanted to see the wedding (at least a glimpse).  Regardless, despite my emotional ups and downs with this show and my disdain at how certain characters behaved, I will say that this show was a step above the rest and was different from most shows out there.  They attempted to deliver something "fresh" and I appreciate that.  If you haven't seen this show, I'd recommend it if you have a couple of lazy days and want to watch something fairly frustration-free, a little silly and not too heavy.


As far as frustration-free goes, "Dandal" does not fall into that category.  After two episodes, we have seen two episodes full of trouble-making sisters-in-law, rich-poor love stories, saas-bahu drama in the works, greedy "love," and every other type of twist that would make you want to bang your head against a wall.

That being said, the cast is good-looking, talented and consists of a great ensemble of both young and old actors.  While the story looks predictable as of right now, we are only two episodes in and I imagine there's a lot more to come.  I DO wish Zahid's character made a little more sense and didn't flip-flop as much as he's been doing.  One moment, he's furious with his brother for skipping school and the next, he's encouraging him to skip school, because "maine kya haasil kiya hai parhai kar ke?".  I expect a little more consistency.  Armeena is pretty "whatever" as of right now, but I guess her acting skills will have to come into play a little later on.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this show plays out.

Teri Raza

I am so frustrated by Suhana's behavior, to put it simply.  Unfortunately here, the writing is a little sloppy.  Rameez is shown as a flirt, someone who didn't even bother to tell his parents about Suhana.  Yet in the present, we see him so angry, so heartbroken - why?  Initially, I thought it was just a matter of ego, being rejected, but now it seems like we're actually supposed to believe that he loved her?  Suhana called Rameez's parents and spoke to her father, who told her that he never bothered talking to them about her, that he's a flirt, that he has many girlfriends and that he's "nalaik."  His own father told her that about him.  He fell out of touch with her for so long and never bothered to see what happened until she was already engaged.  He always hung around girls, flirting, smoking, etc.  The istikhara for Imtiaz came out positive, so Suhana agreed to marry Imtiaz.  Suddenly, all Suhana remembers is that the istikhara was positive, so she agreed to marry Imtiaz.  Why doesn't she remember everything else?  That's one complaint that I have.

Acting wise, the show is so good.  I can understand human emotions, but this show is actually frustrating to watch, because Suhana has the greatest husband in front of her and she's choosing to ruin her marriage over someone who doesn't even care.  It's such a REALISTIC depiction of human emotions (and human stupidity), which is why it's actually great, but at the same time, it's so frustrating to watch a character ruin their life.

Alright, that's it for now!  Until next time, happy watching!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Phir Wohi Mohabbat - What On Earth?

Phir Wohi Mohabbat boasted of a good cast, a lead pair with incredible chemistry and an interesting story.  This show had a higher standard of quality when compared to the other shows airing alongside it.  The characters were relatable, had common sense, were honest and didn't do silly things to sabotage their own lives.  Nice.  Refreshing.  Compelling.

And then suddenly - not refreshing, not compelling and oh-so-typical.  It's as though the writers had not a clue how to move the story forward, which is odd, because Phir Wohi Mohabbat consisted of 21 episodes, shorter than most dramas these days.  So what made the writers turn an otherwise great show into an Indian serial?

Suddenly, we had a scenario where everything could've been solved by Alishba taking a DNA test.  Why didn't she then?  Well, that would just be common sense.  Waleed, who was so in love with his wife, to the point that he called off his own wedding and confessed to Alishba on her wedding day that he loved her so much that he was willing to wait for her......suddenly loses all trust and faith in his wife because of what?  A phone call?  Parents who immediately felt a connection when Alishba simply entered the room and "felt" like Alishba was their daughter - suddenly, her father doesn't believe she's his daughter after all.  Why?  Because of some man making claims?  Sana, a confident, independent, to-the-point sort of girl not ruled by her emotions suddenly turns into your stereotypical desperate, suicidal, moral-less vamp straight out of an Indian drama.  None of it made any sense.

Thank God for last episodes then, I suppose.  Waleed finally realizes his mistakes, thanks to Sana who FINALLY gets her sanity back and decides to act like a human being.  All is well that ends well, EXCEPT......Ramsha?!  What on earth was that outcome?  Why was that something we were supposed to expect OR be sad about?  Ramsha was a thoroughly selfish woman who started off as simply complexed, but evolved into a downright villain!  What sort of woman gives her son an ultimatum like that, let alone plays with her son's life in such a way?  If you haven't finished the episode, please don't read the next paragraph.  

To be quite honest, I'm not sure what exactly she attempted to do - jump off the roof?  Either way, the final scene with Alishba giving the "right" to name her & Waleed's son was absolutely ridiculous.  I'm all about respect, but this woman was sheer, pure evil to Alishba and her OWN son, so really, she should be kept far away from their child.  Putting forth this idea of "let's kill evil with kindness" when a person literally tried to kill themselves as a ploy to further ruin a life is something that should NOT be promoted.  The ending made me as angry as the second half of this show continued to make me.

Also.....I kept waiting for Sheharyar to make a re-appearance at some point, but that never happened.  Why?  WHY NOT?!  That was actually a good subplot and would've added depth to the show.

Ahmed Ali and Hania Amir share the best chemistry and I can't wait for them to be signed for another show together.  But this show really missed the mark.  It started off so promising and ended up being just another saas-bahu Ekta Kapoor inspired show.  Oh well.  Give this one a miss if you didn't pick it up yet.

Until next time, happy watching!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Random Thoughts: Tou Dil Ka Kya Hua, Teri Raza, Yeh Raha Dil and Phir Wohi Mohabbat

Hey guys!  Alright, so in keeping up my promise of writing, I decided that this week, I would just briefly write down some thoughts on dramas that have sparked some kind of reaction/thought process from me.  So here goes:

Tou Dil Ka Kya Hua

Despite being only 3 episodes in, Tou Dil Ka Kia Hua is already striking a chord with the audience.  What started off as an intense first episode, introducing us to Maya and Faris, a couple headed down the path of divorce has quickly progressed into something much more.  A story of deceit, betrayal, lies, scheming, family loyalty and unrequited love.....this one has it all, everything rolled into one.

The emotions are so real, so intense that if you've ever experienced heartbreak, certain scenes will actually bring you to tears.  I'm really enjoying this show, if only because almost every character has shades of grey with multiple layers.  There is no "good" or "bad."

Phir Wohi Mohabbat

What started off as a compelling story with intelligent characters has slowly turned into a saas-bahu drama, complete with empty-headed characters that believe anything and everything without an iota of sense attached.  The character of Sana is the absolute worst, the very definition of a dim vamp without even a bit of self-respect, going from independent to being the worst kind of woman - one that steals the man of another knowing that he doesn't love her at all.  What IS that?  It's ridiculous!  The lead of Alishba isn't any better - she hides what's going on, which only leads to the mistrust and accusations that fall upon her.  The parents who knew Rafiq had taken their daughter and felt in their hearts that they had met their daughter......suddenly, the father cuts off immediately, believing the story of a random man?  What ever happened to DNA tests?  What IS this STORY?!  It's awful.  This show has gone from being my #1 to barely even being watchable.

Yeh Raha Dil

I'm actually really bothered by this show, if only because the games Zaki and Hayaa are playing with Hassan and Nida are downright cruel.  If they like each other, they should have said it long ago.  Instead, they are playing with the real emotions of good people (namely Hassan).  With each episode, I'm becoming more and more offended to be honest.  With the blackmailing twist with Nida, I'm hoping something changes soon.

Teri Raza

What is Suhana up to?  I don't even understand this character right now.  It's "Allah's raza" to marry Imtiaz, so she's doing it.  However, she's still hung up on Rameez, despite acknowledging that he literally lied to her and deceived her.  So what exactly is she up to in the last scene of the latest episode?  I'm a little appalled, because her behavior towards Imtiaz, a seriously IDEAL guy, is really aggravating. Yes, he's much older than she is, but he has been kind and considerate througout.  Did Daadi lie about the istikhaara?  Also, what was UP with Suhana's mother's EXTREME reaction and yelling when Rameez came over?  Parents like this are so frustrating.  All in all, I'm still trying to figure out where this show is headed and what path it will tread.

Alright, until next time - happy watching!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Baaghi: Episode 1 Thoughts

Baaghi is a huge project, a drama that was so highly anticipated that there was controversy surrounding it the moment it was announced.  Why a drama based on Qandeel?  Why not one on Amjad Sabri or Edhi?  Why are we promoting such a terrible human being?  Why are we allowing our daughters and mothers (excuse me...?) to watch such shows, inspiring them into "beghairti"?  HOW TIRED am I of those comments!  Why Malala for the nobel peace price?  Why not Edhi?  Why Qandeel for a drama?  Why not Edhi?  Why Leonardo DiCaprio for the Oscar?  WHY NOT EDHI?  Jeez.....people.....stop.  Why would one make a drama on Edhi?  There would be no.....drama.

My stance on Qandeel has been stated time and time again - while I didn't agree with her actions, I truly believe that she had every right to live her life the way she wanted to.  If she had a bad marriage, a bad time growing up and a bad past that caused her to rebel, that was her path and her life to live.  She had a right to live how she saw fit.  And THAT is the point of representing Qandeel Baloch correctly - she does stand for something.  She stands for the fact that women in Pakistan do not have control or a right over their own lives.  They become someone else's "honor," a symbol of "hayaa" and decency and are taught to behave in a way that will not bring shame to their families.  A girl has to be pious and of a "clean image" in order to be considered good. Why?  Why are men allowed to do whatever they want and women are made to be judged?  That's the problem with our society and that's what Qandeel Baloch stands for.  Call it feminism or just call it simple, plain old human rights, that's your choice.

Coming back to the drama, some of the most talented names of the industry are associated with this drama.  From Saba Qamar playing the lead role to Ali Kazmi, Sarmad Khoosat, Osmaan Khalid Butt, Khalid Malik all playing vital characters and being written by Umera Ahmed, this is a powerhouse ensemble that carries huge expectations with it.

Episode 1 started off with a bang. We got to see Fozia (Saba Qamar) living her life in a village with her family.  A free spirit, she lives her life with spunk and does not shy away from confronting those who trouble her or her loved ones.  With big dreams of living life on her terms, we already see how her small village upbringing will curb those dreams and her attitude.

The first episode was refreshing and entertaining to watch.  The casting of Sarmad Khoosat as Fozia's brother is brilliant casting, as is Ali Kazmi's casting as Fozia's future husband.  Saba Qamar is a natural in her role as Fozia - initially, I doubted how well she'd be able to pull off this role, but she really seems to have gotten into the skin of her character and I'm excited to see how she will progress.

Baaghi is off to a great start and I'm really excited to see how the story plays out - and how true to Qandeel's life it will actually be (though I'm aware that it's a tribute to Qandeel AND other girls like her, so I'm not expecting it to be exact).  Let's see!  Happy watching!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Alif Allah Aur Insaan: Overview Episodes 1 - 12

When Alif Allah Aur Insaan first began to air promos, I was fairly excited about it - lavish sets, a great star cast, a nice OST, it had everything going for it.  I watched episode 1.  It looked interesting enough, though highly over the top in the case of the "hijras."  I watched episode 2 - again, still interesting, but very over the top.  Likewise with episode 3.  I was interested, but not hooked.  I was enjoying the show, but it hadn't reeled me in just yet.

Then something happened that distracted me and I stopped watching the show.  Cut to a few days ago. I picked it up again and started it all over again from episode 1.  This time?  I loved it.  The appreciation I didn't have for it initially has been replaced by nothing but appreciation.  This show has been catapulted to number one on my list of dramas.  It is, by far, the best show on television right now.  The star cast, the production values, the acting, the storyline - it's all nothing short of (Bollywood) movie quality.   The pace with which the story moves is gripping, exciting and eventful.  I have watched all twelve episodes so far and I have yet to be bored for even one episode.  There aren't any "filler episodes" (as of yet).  Each episode carries the story forward in a way that keeps the viewer wanting more.

The story focuses on six characters, which are all connected in a chain.

First, we follow Shamu (Imran Ashraf), a transgender who falls in "love" (sort of) with Rani, a beggar, one day when she saves him from a group of men insulting and bullying him.  Rani teaches him to defend himself, consider himself an "insaan" (human) and earn respect from others instead of dancing and singing (something she considers haraam practice and beneath her).  Shamu takes her words to heart and follows her teachings to create a life for himself, despite being shunned by Rani herself.  He finds success, but is success worth it when you are unable to help the one you love?

We follow Rani's story.  Rani, played by Ushna Shah, is a beggar girl who dreams of something bigger, something better for her life.  She sees Nigar Begum (Sana Fakhar) in the streets often and is told of how wealthy she is (as well as beautiful and talented).  She runs away from home to ask Nigar Begam for a job, which Nigar gives her.  But Nigar's life and the lives of those touched by her and her profession is not what it seems.  For behind the glitz, glamour, beauty and wealth is a life that treats women as animals rather than "insaan" (humans).

We follow Nigar Begum, played by Sana Nawaz, a "tawaif" who has fallen in love with Shahzeb (Mekaal Zulfiqar).  Shahzeb came to her "kotha" with his friends against his will and while performing, Nigar falls in love with Shahzeb's decency and dignity.  When she expresses her love for Shahzeb, he rejects her outright, saying he respects women and does not agree with what she is doing.  Heartbroken, Nigar Begum becomes bitter and angry with life, taking it out on those who work with and for her.  When Nigar meets Nawazish Ali (Farhan Ali Agha), she feels her dreams of becoming a "movie heroine" are finally coming true.  She begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel....but will Rani's presence shatter those dreams?

We follow Shahzeb, played by Mekaal Zulfiqaar, a landlord who falls in love with Nazleen (Kubra Khan) after meeting her at a wedding.  Instantly enamored, he sends a marriage proposal, which her family readily accepts.  Almost immediately after being engaged, Shahzeb senses that Nazleen does not care about him.  He is hurt and finds himself often upset at how Nazleen treats him with complete disregard.  He confides in the local Maulvi Baba (Qavi Khan), someone he deeply respects, about his feelings.  Maulvi Baba tells him to leave things in the hands of God, because God tests "insaan" with what they most desire.

We follow Nazleen, played by Kubra Khan, the daughter of a wealthy landlord who is spoiled, stubborn and lacking in compassion.  One day at a wedding, Nazleen insults a group of trandgenders dancing, including Shamu.  Shamu, hurt, declares that Nazleen will never have a home of her own.  Nazleen wants to pursue her studies, but is instead persuaded by her parents to get engaged to Shahzeb - a great guy and catch - and then leave for the city to complete her education.  She resents Shahzeb and does not care for his feelings, love or affection, making no bones to hide it.  In the city at school, she develops a crush on and realizes that she cares for Basit (Shahzad Sheikh), the son of one of her fathers' workers.  Nazleen's father entrusts Basit to look out for Nazleen, but will Basit succumb to Nazleen's affections and break the trust of her father and, in turn, many societal norms and traditions?

And lastly, we follow the story of Basit, played by Shahzad Sheikh, someone who has always understood his place in his fathers' world - the place of the "servant class," something he has no desire to break.  He cares for his family and does not wish to straddle any line that could bring trouble for them.  When Nazleen, the daughter of his father's boss, comes to the city to study, he is entrusted to take care of her.  But when Nazleen begins to make advances towards him, he finds himself stuck between love and family loyalty.  Which will he choose?

The acting from this ensemble cast, whether it's the main 6 actors or even the supporting cast, is incredible.  Everyone is playing their role so well, but I have to give special mention to Imran Ashraf, who is going from strength to strength in his acting career and it's so refreshing to see him in a role where he's truly shining.

The intensity with which this drama is written is commendable.  The story has yet to lose steam, which many dramas do by episode 10 onwards, rather it has so much scope for growth and the story is only getting stronger.

It's so fascinating to see such a simple concept played out so eloquently on screen.  We are all human beings.  Whether you are from a poor social strata or a rich lifestyle, we all have our happiness, pain, family and all desire to be treated well and with respect.  Regardless of where a person comes from, that struggle can always exist, whether it's outward or inward.

This drama is beautiful, entertaining, exciting and compelling.  I highly recommend everyone to jump on this bandwagon - it's a great one to be on.  Whether that holds true after 2-4 episodes, who knows?  Dramas always have the tendency to screw things up.  But for now, this show is quality.

Happy watching!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Dramas I'm Currently Watching - June 2017 Edition

I figured there could be no better foray into blogging about dramas than simply going over the shows I'm currently invested in.  This is currently my "standing-strong" list of shows that I'm still excited to watch each week, give or take a weak episode here or there.

Phir Wohi Mohabbat

Phir Wohi Mohabbat has consistently been my go-to favorite show over the last two months.  I binge-watched the first 9 episodes initially and have since been keeping up with the show with great interest each week.  The story follows two sisters married to two brothers, their family relationships and their children - Waleed and Alishba.  Alishba was kidnapped as a child and her re-entrance into the famiy fold and entry into Waleed's life forms the crux of the show.  The story is complex enough that the dramatics have not felt forced, the relationships are endearing, the love story between Waleed & Alishba very realistic and natural.

However, with the last two episodes (episode 15 & 16), the story has taken an irritatingly unnatural twist with Ramsha's irritating "zidd" to throw Sana back into Waleed's life.  I can understand sibling rivalry, but Ramsha's character has slowly gone from a woman with complexes to a typical Indian serial vamp.  Ditto with the character of Sana, who has suddenly gone from an independent, career-oriented woman with no real emotional connections to being a pathetic, pitiful shell of a character who is now intent on marrying a man who never cared about her and already has a wife!  Now, I'm just waiting for Sheharyar to re-enter as Sana's partner in crime and Ramsha's accomplice.  That's the only ridiculous twist left, honestly.

That being said, this drama is still my favorite for two simple reasons:
1)  I love the chemistry between Hania Amir and Ahmed Ali.  They look beautiful together as Waleed and Alishba and share such a comfort level on-screen that you almost believe they are a real-life couple.
2)  The story has some really great characters, namely Alishba and Samra (Zainab Qayyum).  The character of Samra is a smart, intelligent woman who knows how to handle her family relationships.  Where this character could've been playing into Ramsha's hands, she is not and is instead teaching her daughter how to keep her husband's love.  It's refreshing.  I also appreciate that both brother characters of Ashar and Yasir are strong men who have upheld their relationship despite the issues between their wives.

This show is still #1 on my list of favorite dramas and while I haven't liked the last two episodes, I'm hoping the show pulls out of its Ekta Kapoor style soon and comes back into its own.

Tou Dil Ka Kya Hua

Episode one has aired and I'm left thinking "What on earth?"  Seeing Ayeza Khan and Zahid Ahmed in such blatantly beyond-grey-almost-into-black characters is not only a refreshing change, but also makes this drama all the more intriguing.

Honestly speaking, I can already see the morality police screaming after episode one about the lack of morals and values in Pakistani shows these days.  But honestly, I enjoy seeing things like this in dramas.  It depicts a reality in society -  not every guy or girl gets married and automatically lives happily ever after.  Not every person is capable of adjusting after marriage, not built to make the sacrifices and compromises that are expected of them.

The first episode is really intense and, honestly, pretty bold.  I'm already hooked.  I'm just wondering where the show will be headed from here.  The ensemble cast is really great.  With names like Sami Khan, Ayeza Khan, Zahid Ahmed, Mansha Pasha, Noor Khan, Imran Ashraf, Usman Peerzada, Behroz Sabzwari, etc and produced by Samina Hamayun Saeed, this is a show to look out for and I'm expecting great things from it.

Yakeen Ka Safar

Intense.  Grim.  Painfully real.  Depicts the true reality of our society.  These are the first things that come to mind when describing this drama.  "Gumaan ke baad yakeen ka safar" - so far, there is so much gumaan and I'm still clinging on with my fingernails for some yakeen to begin.

Sajal Ali's story as Zubia is interesting, but I'm waiting for it to really take off.  While I'm glad her once-evil father has had a change of heart, it goes to show that your children end up being a mirror of their parents.  To see her once-loving brother Rehan turn against her thanks to their upbringing (and her evil Bhabi) is disheartening and absolutely realistic.  I'm looking forward to watching her interactions with Asfandyar (Ahad Raza Mir).

On the other end, we've been seeing Daniyal (Shaz Khan) fighting to defend the honor of his client - however, he's taking on the son of a politician and that's put him in a dangerous position.  In the latest episode, we witnessed a huge twist with Daniyal being shot.  Will he make it?  Did he die?  That's what I'm waiting for anxiously.  Shaz Khan's chemistry with Hira Salman is seriously adorable, so I am hoping this isn't the end for the duo.  Things are looking grim though....

All in all, this is an intense drama and not for anyone looking for something light-hearted.  The story is solid though and I'm expecting for it to only get better from here (hopefully).

Teri Raza

One episode in and I'm a little on the fence about this one.  Sanam Baloch is LOVE and I'm so excited to see her on screen again. She's been missing from the scene for so long and she is always associated with quality projects.  On the other end, Shehroz Sabzwari has yet to prove himself as an actor and his pairing with Sanam isn't incredibly appealing.  In the first episode alone, we've heard "istikhaara" and "Wazeefa" mentioned over 1,000 times, so the theme of the show is very clear.  This show will either be very nicely handled or very over-the-top and I fear the latter.

Regardless, I am enjoying Sanam's performance a lot.  She's always a treat to watch with very natural, realistic acting.  I'll be watching this one closely.

Alif Allah Aur Insaan

I am VERY behind on this particular show and I thought, instead of waiting to catch up before publishing this post, I would simply give my thoughts on the show overall (up until what I've seen).  While this show is certainly not the first on this particular topic - Veena with Fahad Mustafa brought it to light years ago and most recently, Khuda Mera Bhi Hai did an amazing job of displaying the real emotions and attitudes attached to the "third gender" to light -, it is nice to see such a stellar ensemble cast working to tackle the issue.  The first episode was almost immediately gripping, pulling the viewer in.  Yes, overall, the show can tend to be melodramatic with exaggerated dialogues and larger-than-life emotions (compared to the subtle performance by Furqan Qureshi in KMBH), but I'm appreciating the narrative regardless.  I am too behind to comment on anything further, so this may get a separate post once I am caught up.


Overall, I really liked this show.  It was light, it was romantic, it had a lot of family drama.  Then this latest cancer angle happened and now I'm completely on the fence about it.  It has taken a very dark turn and not necessarily for the better.  While I didn't agree with the spontaneous, selfish behavior of the lead characters, I at least felt like the situation was endearing in a way, filled with emotional drama and conflict between love and family.  But now, it has simply taken a grim turn, one that feels like yet another case of "OK, we wrote this much of the story, but didn't think beyond that.  Now what?  How do we bring everyone together again?  OH!  ILLNESS!"  I'm not enjoying that.  HOWEVER, the reason I'm still interested in the show is actually - surprise! - the chemistry between Ghana Ali and Faris Shafi (Zara and Ali).  The twist in their relationship actually came as a pleasant surprise and I'm really interested in seeing how that plays out.  Otherwise, I wouldn't rate this show too highly.

Mohabbat Tumse Nafrat Hai

This show is slow.  It has taken 14 episodes for the show to finally begin having a story.  At heart, Mohabbat Tumse Nafrat Hai is a love triangle between Maheen (Aiza Khan), Waqar (Imran Abbas) and Gulraiz (Shahzad Shaikh).  But with all three playing the roles of cousins, this love story has family involvement at every turn.  The show is slow.  The dialogues are slow.  Each sentence is laced with melodrama and heavy, shayaraana dialogue.

That being said, this show has heart.  That's what it really has going for it.  The family relationships are presented so realistically.  Despite the conflict with both Waqar and Gulraiz being in love with Maheen, the drama is kept to a minimum.  The "adult characters" all love their children, so the way their reactions have been depicted is just beautiful.  Special credit has to be given to Sabreen Hisbani and Khalid Malik as Gulraiz's parents (this casting is ridiculous though, these actors are young!).  The relationship they have with their son is such a treat to watch, as is their behavior towards the situation.

It's not perfect, but I'm enjoying the overall feel.  Plus, it has an excellent ensemble cast.

Yeh Raha Dil

I am so on the fence about this show.  I love the actors.  I love the treatment of the show overall.  I love the feel, the way it has been directed.  I love Ahmed Ali and Yumna Zaidi together.  HOWEVER, I lost interest in this show once the two lead females became sisters.  Unbelievable, unrealistic and annoying.  I found that twist unpalatable and very "Rang" (Bollywood movie) to make two sisters fight over one man.

That being said, Ahmed Ali is really coming into his own as an actor and I always love him & Yumna together in any show, so I somehow can't let go of this one - though I had abandoned it some weeks back, I'm back to watching it.  I'm pretty sure this one is close to ending, so I'm just enjoying the last few episodes.

I am EAGERLY anticipating Baaghi with Saba Qamar.  I have previously written about my reaction on Qandeel Baloch and her life and I hope this drama carries a narrative that Pakistan desperately needs to see, understand and comprehend - that women have a RIGHT to live their lives whichever way they see fit, regardless of whether society accepts them or not.  No one has the right to take a life based on "honor."  I consider myself to be a conservative girl - I did not appreciate Qandeel's actions while she was alive.  However, while she WAS alive, I openly stated that considering her life circumstances, I think she has every right to now live her life the way she likes.  And that's what I believe.  That's what I hope this drama carries with it as a message.  I don't want to see "bad girl Qandeel, women this is how you should not be" as the message - though I doubt it will be, considering the names attached to it (Umera, Saba, Osmaan, Ali Kazmi).

I was very interested in watching Muqaabil, but I haven't had the chance to pick it up yet - plus, there's a lot of catch up involved there.  If it's worth it, please do let me know!  I also have thrown aside Rasm-E-Dunya, because despite loving the cast, I could not stomach the melodrama involved.  It was too sad, too miserable and too....pointless.  Dil E Jaanam is also the FIRST Zahid Ahmed drama I have not watched, nor do I have any interest in watching it thanks to the talentless lead actress.

Alright, that's all for now, guys!  This was a huge post for me, especially with playing catch-up.  I will try to be more consistent from here onward.  Until next time, happy watching!