Mere Dard Ko Jo Zuban Milay – An Overview

For weeks I’ve been reading much about this MD Productions serial; positive reviews and comments lavishing praise on the story, the actors, their excellent acting and chemistry with each other, the direction, the dialogues, in short everything about Mere Dard Ko Jo Zuban Milay sounded just perfect. Intrigued by all that I was reading I felt kind of left out; it seemed like I was missing out on what sounded like a really fabulous serial (I watched the first episode and then never got around to following it regularly), and so over the past week or so I caught up with much of what has aired till now, and here’s my take …

Mere Dard Ko Jo Zuban Milay starts off on very happy note with Ahmed Ali’s family. A contented, middle-class shop owner, Ahmed Ali lives in Hyderabad with his wife Shamim, two happy-go-lucky chirpy daughters, Arifa and Amina, and his nephew Junaid. One day he happens to run into an old childhood friend Abdur Rehman, now a rich businessman, who is married to Zakia, has one son Urooj, and lives in Karachi. They catch up, old friendships are renewed, families are introduced, and new ties forged. What ensues thereon is what this serial is all about.

Throughout, as I was watching, I could not but help going wah wah over the directing, Adnan Ahmed in great form here, and the acting. Behroze Sabzwari is fabulous in a role very different from his usual fare. Bushra Ansari, well, I don’t need to say anything about her – she is impeccable as usual; there is not even a single glimpse of the stern Bilqees Kaur or the flamboyant Saima Chaudhry in the way she plays Zakia. Mohib Mirza is a seasoned actor, and he adds so much to his portrayal of the very mature and sensible Junaid; my only request, Mohib bhai sahab, please get your makeup issues fixed asap. You’re fabulous, but the foundation and eyeliner is a huge distraction. Lubna Khalid, Khalid Anam, Sami Khan, and Asma Abbas, are all effective in their roles. Hamza Ali Abbasi looks appropriately menacing.

Great as all these actors are, it is really Sarwat Gilani, Alishba Yousuf and Shehryar Munawar, who are the real show stealers here. They are fabulous! They bring the screen alive with their infectious smiles and undeniable charm. The bubbly Amina has excellent chemistry with the very sweet Urooj. The bonding between the two sisters, Amina and Arifa, is so palpable that it feels real. Sarwat and Alishba look great with their very different look; the colorful outfits, chottis, kajal and chooris all add to their chulbuli characterization in the earlier episodes. The later change in the color palette and styling is a nicely done, a very subtle indication of the maturing of their characters – excellent job by the creative minds behind Sarwat and Alishba’s look.

Shehryar Munawar makes a very impressive debut as the deaf and mute Urooj. Without saying a single word, he manages to convey so much with his expressions that we cannot help but fall in love with Urooj. Indeed, Shehryar is a welcome addition to the dwindling number of young male heroes in our TV industry. I don’t know about others, but I for one am getting very put-off with seeing so many uncle type actors continuing to play eligible “young” bachelors. My only request to Shehryar, please be very selective in your role selection, and don’t end up in so many serials that we get tired of seeing you romancing a different girl everyday.

Despite all these plus points, and huge ones at that, after the first few episodes the serial lost its charm for me – the script being the biggest culprit here. There has to be a limit to how many tragedies audiences are expected to swallow. Here are just a few of the unfortunate incidents we’ve seen so far: dacoity, death, rape, abortion, blackmailing, murder, spousal abuse, accidents, paralysis… who knows what else lies in store for us. I know, these things are all around us, but to show them all happening to just these two families is a bit much. If the writer’s intention is to highlight prevalent social evils, why not focus on a few issues and show a proper resolution, rather than raising them and a few episodes later glibly dismissing them. The buildup to Arifa’s rape and the way its aftermath has been handled has been off-putting. Similarly, the progression of the Kamran/Razia/Neelam track was troubling and the pat resolution beyond belief. Is it possible for a wife to dismiss years of spousal abuse and harsh words, forget that her husband orchestrated a murder, and carry on pretending none of it happened? How is Razia able to forgive Kamran for his role in Neelam’s untimely death? Simply forgive and forget? Is this the message that the writer wants to put out? I’m sorry, but I find all this unpalatable. She is undoubtedly one of our finest actresses, but after this serial and her disastrous Aadha Din Poori Raat, Bushra Ansari should perhaps take a step back and re-evaluate her drama writing skills.

On the issue of Urooj’s disability, initially I was thrilled to see such innovation in thinking about a lead character, but as the story has progressed, I am beyond disappointed. Such a fabulous opportunity to educate our audiences, about people with disabilities, squandered. First of, I don’t understand why he can’t read lips? I know quite a few people like Urooj and they all read lips very effectively. Here, Urooj usually just smiles vacuously most of the time.  He contributes nothing to any family discussion and nobody bothers to seek his opinion on anything. He paints, but that seems more a hobby than a career. His own mother treats him like a beloved pet, rather than a grown man. If a young and inexperienced Amina can look at a file and within seconds find something fishy in the documents, and if a housewife like Zakia can learn to deal with business affairs almost overnight, why can’t Urooj do the same? He is physically disabled, yes, but he’s definitely not mentally challenged. I realize, life is more of a challenge for people like Urooj, but they definitely don’t need to be set aside as if they have nothing to contribute to society.

Aside from the peeves with the story, even though Ahmed Ali lives in Hyderabad, we get absolutely no flavor of the culture of the city. Apart from the innumerable references to Bombay Bakery, there is no visual evidence to indicate where they live. We haven’t seen even one Sindhi speaking character so far. Little touches here and there, perhaps a few shots of the city sprinkled throughout, would’ve added so much to the overall ambiance. This would’ve also gone a long way in underscoring the stark difference in Arifa’s life after her move from Hyderabad and explained her discomfort in a big city like Karachi.

Finally, the fact that the rich Zakia occasionally borrows clothes from Aunty Fareeda’s wardrobe and sleeps in Falak’s bedroom is so not funny. And how many of you thought it strange that both Zakia and Shamim could immediately diagnose pregnancies, and with so much confidence – all gynecologists might as well just retire!

For me, Mere Dard Ko Jo Zuban Milay is a mixed bag. I am not going gaga over it, but I don’t hate it either. While the story leaves a lot to be desired, the acting and directing leave me desiring more. I find myself moved by emotions portrayed by the actors, rather than being moved by the emotional moments themselves. Overall, below average fare, maybe because I was expecting a lot more from the talented trio of Momina Duraid, Bushra Ansari, and Adnan Ahmed…

Written by SZ~

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14 replies

  1. oh dear, I knew this would happen…I agree. not a single point missed. I had high hopes for this serial but I’m getting tired of this illogical onslaught of bad news. Don’t you think Ahmed Ali’s family has been a terrible source of bad luck for Zakia’s family

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    • Sadaf, glad to know we’re on the same page with this one 🙂
      LOL @Ahmed Ali’s family bringing bad luck to Zakia family – it could be seen vice versa as well!

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  2. I like this serial but all the points you have raised are there- and I try to brush them aside and just enjoy what is happening 🙂 Although it is becoming harder to ‘enjoy’ thanks to all the tragedies. I am hoping that B Ansari will find a great way of weaving all the different threads together to give us to good end.
    The point that bothers me the most is how Urooj says (metaphorically) nothing- no opinion, no business related stuff, happy/smiling all the time. Ab toh ‘happy’ bhi nahin rahay ga…

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  3. Agreed…commented to the same effect on DP. It’s turning into a soap, with no effective resolution of current problems and addition of mire. Wasn’t being deaf and mute enough of a challenge for Aamina that now she has to deal with paralysis too, and Aarifa and Junaid are in for more problems. This is just too much, but yes the acting is superb from all.

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  4. oh i really wanted someone to write a realistic peace on this one,since episode 4 the serial has lost it’s charm for me.You are so right Urooj is such a missed opportunity they could have really educated people about the sensitive issue about people with disabilities rather than showing him as an overprotected kid. Again you once told me they have hired coaches for sigh language but there sigh language is really weak i have seen kids who really sign so quickly and fluently.His ability not to read lips is another big question mark.My other problem is that Bushra Ansari while writing the script has put to much emphasis on her character which a writer ought not to do(atleast that is where i left this serial ).I loved her in Bilqes Qaur but here she falls short of my expectations.
    Again the constant tragedies one after another were just too much.they were just pushed in the story ,it feels like they want to show every possible tragedy under the sun .This play’s Ost also gave too much away in the second episode.Arifa and Amna combined track was the good one but again they didn’t let it blossom.
    This story tells me why all the things can go so wrong in the so called fast tracked story.

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  5. @Afia, SK, and Javeria: Thanks all for the comments 🙂

    Seems like we’re all on the same page here: loving the acting but finding the script to be the weak link in the chain. Indeed sad, because these actors are all fabulous and have such great chemistry, the direction, and other technical, along with a fabulous OST, all the ingredients needed to ensure a great story. Sadly it has flattered to deceive 😦
    That said, I agree with Afia and SK, problems with the story aside, the acting is simply stellar and the only reason I sat through the thirteen or so eps that have aired so far!

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  6. Thank you for writing such an honest review of Mere Dard ko jo Zuban Milay! I for one fail to understand why everyone is going gaga over this drama. Agreed, the actors are doing a fine job but they still cannot save a sinking script.

    Everything you say in your review is totally on point and people fail to see that.
    Another thing i had a problem was with the way they handled the entire rape scene. They are giving the message that people shouldn’t , rather girls should not go live in other cities for further cities bc wahan ka mahol aisa hai, and thats what is going to happen to them. They should just sit at home and get married after they hit puberty.
    Whats worse is dealing with the aftermath. Somehow the entire community finds out what happens and all of a sudden everyone is your well wisher. had hai bhai, konsi duniya mai aisa hota hai.. why are they promoting a wrong message and steering people away from going out of town for higher education.

    This all coming from Bushra Ansari is hard to swallow. As talented as she may be, writing is not her forte.
    One tragedy after another , and seems like the forthcoming episodes are just going to get worse. Makes you wonder, are peoples lives really that messed up?

    The only plus point in this drama is the chemistry of the lead pairs. Shehryar Munawar’s Humza Ali Abbasi’s good looks =)

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  7. First of all let me say, I agree about most of what you’ve written here about the play 🙂
    Most importantly lets start off with Urooj’s character.. he’s just a piece of furniture who doesn’t really have any part to play in the story anymore. Just smiles/frowns and goes away. For an actor this type of a role i.e; to play someone who’s handicappable is something which can be quite a breakthrough performance. Now considering that this is Shehryar’s first serial we can’t exactly scrutinize him for his acting skills since he’s yet to master the ropes of the technique.. but I really wish Bushra Ansari would have written something more and given more depth to this character rather than use him just for decoration.

    The acting like you’ve said is simply topnotch, and the overall feel of the play is very soothing. I enjoyed the first 9-10 episodes since they carried the story forward very well, except the over-stretched portions of Kamran-Razia-Neelam but the last few episodes have had way too many tragedies. The writer needs to take note, that we are watching a family drama here not a horror thriller, and some people tend to take dramas very seriously and for such innocent people its highly recommended that the shock value needs to be reduced. You will NOT get TRPs only by shocking the audience in every episode, they need to be able to connect with the characters on an individual basis… Another thing I must add is that this play has way too many filler scenes and I’ve heard that it has a total of 26 episodes. And we’re just halfway done. I don’t want to even imagine what other tragedies await us. They shouldn’t be surprised if viewers move on to other plays instead.

    Adnan Ahmed’s direction is always good. Bilqees Kaur was his best work so far, but MDKJZM does increase his value as a director for bringing to life such a lacklustre script.

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  8. Spot on review! this play has one again demonstrated Bushra Ansari’s weakness as a playwright. Bushra is known for improvising her own dialogues and she does so brilliantly. But writing a complete play is incomparable and requires so much more than a few funny dialogues. Character development is an integral part of a story and we don’t see any of that in this drama. We just see a simplistic view of characters: good VS bad, happy VS sad. Because of this inherent flaw, it is impossible to make this an interesting story and bushra has had to resort to a lot of drama to keep it moving forward. Another play of Bushra Ji, “dil hai chota sa”, has the exact same problems and became intolerable after a few episodes.

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    • Hey Sonia, totally agree with you! BA should def stick to just acting and not writing.
      As much as i loved Dil hai chota sa, you are absolutely right, it had the same exact problems this script has.
      i seriously do not get the point of this drama anymore. maybe they all die at the end?

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      • Sonia: Hi! Glad to see you here 🙂 Agreed, the script is going nowhere – this latest episode was yet more of the same .. What I find very interesting is that in the launch show for MDKJZM, Bushra Ansari had lamented about how bad other stories currently on air were and how there was a lack of good writers, she had pointed to Jahez and its depiction of burning bahus for the lack of dowry. She had expressed similar views earlier too, when promoting her Aadha Din Poori Raat, where she had made a very clear dig at Farhat Ishtiaq and Humsafar… Wonder what she has to say now???

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  9. The horrible drama finally comes to an end. How can one drama start off so well and end so horribly.

    Are they telling us handicap people have no feelings ? And it’s okay to hurt them because unko aadat hai? Gee great moral.

    And Bushra ansari’s character is so unreal. People like that do not exist in this world.
    Please do us a favor and stay away from pen and paper. It’s not where your talent lies. :-).

    Glad it’s finally over!!

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  10. Mere un 20 episodes pe zaya huay time ke dard ko jo zuban mile, tou main kahoon ke–it was beyond dissappointing.
    You made all the pertinent points SZ.

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