Anniversaries are usually somber moments, commemorated with heavy hearts, missing the dearly departed who were once a huge part of our lives. Not all anniversaries, however, are serious affairs. There are many, where we look back on the year past with a lot of fondness and affection. Though we miss those no longer with us, we treasure the lovely memories they’ve left behind.
This post is a celebration, a commemoration, a tribute to Humsafar and Kuch Pyar ka Pagalpan, two very different serials, with very different moods and stories. Humsafar was a huge commercial success, whereas Kuch Pyar ka Pagalpan has now turned into a cult classic. So why write about these two together?
Simple answer: Today marks the one year anniversary of when these two beloved serials first aired on that fateful weekend in September. Little did we know then of the impact they would have on our lives. They ran parallel throughout, and while they were on air, for those two hours per week, we forgot about the political problems plaguing Pakistan, lack of bijli, paani, gas, all else seemed trivial when compared to the bigger problem of whether, despite Aunty Farida’s nefarious plans, Khirad and Ashar would manage to live happily ever after or not, and whether Mujtaba would eventually find happiness. Clichéd as it may sound, these serials were loved, and continue to be loved, because they hold out hope. Hope, that no matter how bad things seem today there is always the promise of a better and brighter tomorrow.
Thank you Momina Duraid, Farhat Ishtiaq, Sarmad Khoosat, Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, and Naveen Waqar for giving us such a beautiful version of a modern-day fairytale romance in the form of Humsafar. Yes it was clichéd and reinforced problematic socio-economic stereotypes, but classy production and an excellent OST, combined with the purity of emotion that is a hallmark of Farhat’s writing, Sarmad’s superb direction and understanding of human psychology, and the excellent acting compelled us to switch off our brains and just go with the flow. Fawad’s drooliciousness, and the heat he generated with the appropriately coy Mahira, proved to be the proverbial cherry on the cake. Once Ashar and Khirad’s romance took off there was no looking back. Jaded TV audiences were back in droves!
For the crazy madcap adventures of Mujtaba and the crazy gang of Shimraiz, Daneez, and Kiran, a huge thank you to Humayun Saeed, Samira Fazal, Haissam Hussain, Fawad Khan, Aisha Khan, Mikaal Zulfiqar, and Sanam Baloch, for giving us those moments of humor and laughter in Kuch Pyar ka Pagalpan. Severely plagued as it was with production issues, the strong script and superb acting ultimately carried the serial over the victory line. Samira’s seemingly simple, but issue based script showed us how a skilled writer can address so many social problems in a very lighthearted manner, without becoming preachy and resorting to long monologues.
The first episode, for me, has to be one of the best introductions in recent times. I had issues throughout with miscasting, OTT acting, and don’t even start me on the leading ladies’ wardrobes, but still the lines were so funny and spontaneous that one couldn’t help but burst out laughing. In this day and age where producers are bent on dishing out one story after other dealing with the mazloom aurat/shohar-biwi/extral marital affair/do behenain plot lines, Six Sigma need to be applauded for giving us something completely different.
That I am writing this post raises an important question: Despite a whole slew of dramas being churned out on a daily basis by all the 500 entertainment channels, why is it that so many of us still remember every dialogue of Humsafar, or reminisce fondly about Kiran and Shimraiz, or keep requesting sequels to Humsafar and Kuch Pyar ka Pagalpan.
The simple answer is that the thinking audience, the audience that actually wants to seriously engage with dramas as pieces of text, viewers who appreciate subtle clean humor, those who want to watch an aesthetically shot romance are beyond tired of the ghissi-pitti formulaic stories being churned out ad nauseam in this quest for ratings.
Yes, while showing a woman crying incessantly, or giving up her rights under the guise of qurbani for the family, or being abused by an evil mother-in-law, or extra-marital affairs, can and do bring short-term success in the form of winning the ratings game, but I can bet you that just a month or so down the road nobody, not even the masses who put these dramas at the top, remembers the whys and wherefores of many of these so-called top rated serials.
This is not to say that we do not see quality stuff. We do. Shehr-e Zaat, the recently concluded Bilqees Kaur, Durre Shehwaar, and a few others, all are class acts. But these comprise perhaps less than ten percent of the serials that have aired since Humsafar and KPKP. I maybe off with my calculations, but you get my point.
So, while producers trip over each other to bring us one more version of the Maat formula or yet another mazloom aurat story, till we get something else worthwhile to commemorate, I, and like-minded viewers, will go back to wiping away our Ashks, replay our now-worn-out DVDs and continue sighing over Ashar and Khirad and laughing at the whacko antics of Muju & Co.
Dedicated with love to all Humsafar and KPKP aficionados
Written by SZ~
P.S. Couldn’t resist sharing this visual evidence of the ongoing Humsafar fever – Thank you Afia and Heela!