Written by Umera Ahmed, directed by Sakina Samo, and produced by MD Productions, the first episode of Muhabbat Subh Ka Sitara Hai aired today from Hum TV. I will be very honest and say that I was not really jumping for joy when I first heard the news about this adaptation. I had read the original story a while back and thought it to be an okay read, nothing that broke new ground or offered fresh insights. I had, therefore, planned on giving this one a pass for now and catching up with it later all in one go.
Well, that was then. Come today I found myself eagerly waiting for the first episode to air. So, what changed my mind you might ask? The promos! I have to hand it to the editors for doing such a fabulous job. The teasers were sharp, clips were chosen well and helped introduce characters in a very attractive manner. Adeel Husain’s brooding intensity was beautifully contrasted against Mikaal Zulfiqar’s easy charm. Sanam’s babe-in-the-woods look was nicely juxtaposed against Mira Sethi’s sharp demeanor. The humorous bits in these clips were the main selling point. Farah Shah and Mansha Pasha looked like they had a lot of fun, Adeel and Mira’s pairing looked fresh, not to say interesting after their crazy interactions in Silvatein, and Mikaal looked refreshingly different. I had thought Sanam Jung to be strictly average in her debut in Dil-e Muztar so was not really excited about seeing her here, but again the promos won the day. Throw in to the mix Sakina Samo’s fab appearance on JPJ, and there I was sitting down to watch the opener.
After all this anticipation I have to say I felt let down by the first episode. Rather than finding Romaisa naive or lost among her more colorful and loud cousins, I just found her to be, umm… for the lack of a better word…. boring. Sanam Jung’s performance failed to evoke any kind of empathy or sympathy from me. Farah Shah and Mansha Pasha were good, both in very different avatars, but they had way too many lines, and very loud ones at that. Many of the nicely executed moments, Romaisa and Aliya’s walk through the bazaar, Romaisa, Aliya and Shazia’s scene in the bedroom, the prize bond scene, Asiya shielding her ear when her mother was screaming in her ear, had their impact diluted because they seemed to go on forever. The scene at Aliya’s friend’s house was another one that bored because it went nowhere. I hope these long scenes do not portend another long drawn 23+ episode saga, as seems to have become the norm for MD serials these days.
While the story seemed to go nowhere today, I like the way the narrative transitioned smoothly from one scene to next. Sakina’s attention to detail has to be applauded in terms of the overall look and feel. For once we were spared the OTT made up look of cast members, and the colorful clothes and loud jewelry were nicely synced with the various characters. It was good to see Farah Shah without the requisite three four steel grey streaks in her hair. Peeling paint on the walls, the interior of Aliya’s friend’s house, Romaisa washing clothes from water collected in big drums, shots of the bustling bazaar, and the liberal use of the exterior and interior of her very middle class house all added to the overall feel of the story, providing a much needed visual context for Romaisa’s present dreary life and distinguishing it from the radical change that is to come. Ilyas Kashmiri’s camerawork always leaves it mark and he doesn’t disappoint here either.
While this was only the first episode and its way too early for predictions, I hope the story shakes off the Cinderella hangover, the pace picks up and we get introduced to Nabeel’s family sooner rather than later.
Written by SZ~