Ashk – Episode 18 Review (?)

As the question mark in the title indicates I’m not sure if this counts as a review. In fact I don’t think I’m qualified to write a review because the story eludes me completely. It might be the most interesting one around, but to my mind the whole premise is very confused and confusing.

So why am I writing about Ashk? Good question! I am writing because after having skimmed over the past so many episodes, today I actually sat through the complete shebang. Admittedly better than the ones preceding it, it was a strictly ok in comparison to so much else that’s on air currently. Now I have a whole list of what-the-hecks that I would like to put forward. Perhaps your answers will help make things clearer? Perhaps you can help me make sense of whats going on?

Here are my questions in no particular order…

  • Why does every character walk to every place? Is Istanbul that small a city? Forget about owning cars, did they run out of cabs as well? Last week Rohail dragged Zebu from who knows where to where, but still when they entered the apartment, none of them was sweaty or out of breath!
  • Why do they have all their conversations outside? Errr… isn’t it freezing cold there? Who in their right minds goes out on balconies, or sits on benches, or walks around in parks to meet and chat? Aren’t there coffee shops, bars and restaurants? Or better yet, here’s a novel idea – why not invite somebody over for coffee and have a conversation like normal people?? Last week when Zebu dragged poor Aunty Kulsoom all over town to meet her bhaiya Chinky in the park, all I kept thinking was ke bechari Aunty ji zaroor beemar par jaayengi! And, voila! Aunty ji had a heart attack today! Rohail beta, don’t beat yourself up – its not your harkats that brought on the heart attack. Its all a direct outcome of the extra walking around your maa’s been doing recently!
  • Related to above, why do these people wear outerwear in their homes? Today Rohail and Madiha were again, as is the norm in Istanbul apparently, talking on the balcony. Rohail was dressed to the nth degree in his winter coat and gloves, and Madiha too was fully buttoned up, with a very cute beret to complete her winter bunny look. Is this what people do in Istanbul? Get dressed up in layers then go have a conversation out on the balcony?
  • When Zebu hears the news of Aunty ji’s heart attack, she comes running, as usual, to the hospital, and then after her showdown with Rohail goes and starts praying with a tasbeeh. Err… where did that come from? So far we’ve seen nothing to indicate that Zebu is the kind of a girl who would carry one with her?! Also, when did Rohail find time to change out of his knee length coat into a jacket? And Rohail sahab, please share the name of your hair gel – kya kamal ka hai! Never a hair out of place!
  • What is Bedi’s problem?? I fail to see any charm in this character. So far I have not seen anything that would indicate why a sophisticated Madiha and a suave Rohail would consider him their best friend. To begin with, he gives rotten advice, and then to top it all off he changes colors faster than an girgit would! Wasn’t he the one who originally uksa-oed Madiha to make a play for Rohail? Then today he turned around completely and said he was Zebu’s brother? Wow! Wonder how many rakhis Zebu bought on her last visit to the desi grocery store?! Every guy in town is now claiming to be her brother!
  • Among everything else that baffles me about Ashk, why for the love of God is Zebu not owning up to her initial tamasha with Rohail, her mujhe waqt chahiye, and her touch-me-not act, the whole intiqam bit?! She purports to be close to her phupho, but has not told her this teeny tiny detail? Isn’t she then responsible for turning Rohail away from her? And oh, yes! What was that bit last week about Chinky and I went with his mother when she went grocery shopping?? Moreover, all his friends know about his relationship with Zebu?? After all her stunts, Zebu has the gall to turn around and call Madiha names? I’m sorry Zebu, its not just girls like Madiha who are called bad names in Pakistan, women like you are not referred to with great izzat either! Sorry, but I am so not falling for her I-am-a-victim act.
  • On Zebu, could someone please start an online petition to close down the store in Istanbul where she buys her clothes!! Or perhaps, Zebu should cut a deal with Madiha, where the latter could take the former shopping. Mehreen, girl, no matter how whack your character is, you do know how to shop! One thing that cannot be faulted is Mehreen Raheal’s sense of fashion.
  • When Mehru called Rohail today, she claimed to have already talked to Zebu, but then in the next scene lo and behold we have Mehru calling Zebu! Now is Mehru turning into a pathological liar, or is the editors’ sense of continuity at play here?
  • Mehru and Bilal’s relationship, the Mehru and Dinga, and Dinga and Ajjo, stuff — Please, please tell me how is this related to what’s happening in Turkey? I understand this is yet another two-sisters’ saga (sigh!!) but I have yet to come across a worse knit story. The two tracks are so far apart and so badly connected that the whole thing is leaking worse than a sieve. Its like watching two dramas for the price of one! Generally, my penny-piching desi self would be thrilled with this BOGO (buy one get one) deal, but this one – maaf karden bhai sahab! I’m returning both, thank you!!

You get that I’m annoyed and could go on and on about all that is wrong here, so why am I watching?

Yes, I admit its Fawad Khan who compels me to tune in…but then I get so annoyed that I usually ffwd everything, and end up watching just his scenes, which usually don’t amount to more than three or so minutes per episode. I think I sat through it all today because he was onscreen for more than five minutes.  But even Fawad, with all his skill and star power, cannot breathe life into a deader-than-a-doornail serial. His scenes with Neelam, Mehreen and Tipu leave me annoyed. He was great with Resham, because he was paired opposite somebody who could actually act. Their scene in the second episode, where Mehru is feeding the birds, remains a highlight of the serial for me. Apart from that, the only other times I see fireworks on the screen are whenever Fawad is with Simi Raheel. Wow! those two are brilliant together.

Simi Raheal  –  such a class act! She brings so much vivacity to an otherwise below average character. She makes me feel all of Kulsoom’s anguish, her disappointments and her frustrations. Her chemistry with Fawad is to die for. The warm moments, Rohail’s affection and respect for his mother are so believable. This is what good actors do, make you buy into a completely unbelievable scenario, just because they are so skilled at their craft. Today, the scene in the living room, where they talk about his bachpan, was so good – in that moment I totally forgot my aggravation with Ashk – and that’s saying a lot! Similarly the hospital scene; her silent conversation with her eyes – wah! This is what fabulous acting is all about. I was, am, and will always remain a huge fan!

Irfan Khoosat, another actor par excellence is seen here after a hiatus. Loved all his moments as well. But sadly he seemed so wasted in this serial – all his lines were so outdated, and the long never-ending scenes… uff toba! My one question here, why cast brilliant actors for such mediocre roles? If such stellar names are brought on-board shouldn’t there be some sense of responsibility about not misusing them?

To wrap up, lets just say Ashk has been a learning experience for all of us. As viewers, we’ve all learnt that star power alone cannot make a serial. I hope producers too have learnt that as audiences we are a bit more savvy than we are given credit. Lets hope lessons learnt this time around will prevent more Ashk clones in the future- fingers and toes crossed!

Written by SZ~

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51 replies

  1. I didn’t really want to comment but some times all the self control in the world wont work. I am sure I can agree with most of what you so hilariously say. I have to disagree about Resham. She is a good actress but but the Mehru/Bilal track is what has annoyed and bored the pants off of every one. If they had stuck with Rohail and Zaibu’s track it might have worked. todays episode was so much better simply because of that. I actually enjoyed it instead of fast forwarding through.Thanks for the great review it made me laugh ,we have all being saying these things for weeks. 🙂

    • LOL! Sadaf – thanks for commenting despite not wanting to! What is it about Ashk that makes us all guilty of watching it?! Any other serial, I would’ve even forgotten the name of it by now, but here we are at ep 18 of Ashk and saying finally! kuch to story bani!

      I totally agree that whole Resham/Bilal track was just beyond ugh (glad I skipped out on all those episodes!), but I really did enjoy that lovely moment on the verandah earlier on b/w Fawad and Reshm. For me, they had more chemistry there between them then both now have with their respective spouses! Like you, I too sat through today because for once it seemed like it was a Fawad Khan serial rather than Fawad as a special appearance serial! 😉

  2. I couldn’t stop laughing at your post ….coz we’ve been saying all this stuff for 18 weeks and here we are still watching it. Fawad owes us big time!!!Today was a lot better, more Fawad scenes…someone who can act and you believe in his character…makes a big difference for the audience..lol I actually liked that hospital scene when he looks for zaibu and they look at eachother, yeah except for the tasbeeh… don’t know where they came from either!! I am irritated by Bedi and madiha, and the often repetitive dialogues…its just annoying. Did you guys catch Madiha saying the f*** word to Bedi at the hospital…I couldn’t believe it, how could they show that???
    @ sadaf Anyways it wasn’t just the mehru track that had bored us, I think even the zaibu rohail track suffered, when in the middle she was doing ridiculous things that we just couldn’t relate to and everyone was getting drunk for no reason, so it got stupid. Well will keep watching and will try to ignore all the walking, winter coats inside the house etc!! and hopefully deengay is out of it now, coz what was
    all that about…totally lost me last week!!!
    Let’s see next week, the pace is very unpredictable…you get one good episode after like 2 bad ones…let’s see how it wraps up!

    • SK: yeah the f-word just keeps getting aired – I guess we here in the West are more sensitive about it than people in Pakistan are! After KPKP, i thought it was going to improve, but here we go again.
      Actually scene wise, I thought most of them were good, but too many bloopers in each one. In the hospital even after the doctor said no talking, Zebu again starts off with her phupho bit! And what were Madiha and Bedi doing in the room? Shouldn’t it be immediate family only and one person at a time?!
      Btw, Mr. Dinga, the most empowered character in the serial is back again next week!!

      • LOL really Dinga carries more lines than our hero Rohail 😉 and yes he has more say in matters than anyone. If we don’t have ajjo n dinga then who discuses every thing that happened and more importantly phr mehru bki k episodes m kiya krti 😀

  3. SZ (and all the other ladies out there) kudos to you guys for actually continuing to watch this serial. I gave up on it looooong time ago and never looked back (Alhumdullilah!).

    Now this is what we call a rant! Your comments about the whole dressing issues and the walking bit are sure to have driven me crazy if I had watched the episode. Seriously, small details like that which directors should take into account get on my nerves. Why can’t they make such simple scenes make more sense?! Would it really matter if the conversation was outside where they looked ridiculous freezing in the cold or inside which would be more human like? Gahhh!!

    Btw, this is my favourite post! I love rants..

    • LOL Nadia – thanks! Remember way back when, when Ashk was about to begin and we were expecting great things, you and I had a twitter exchange – about keeping tissues handy to wipe off all the sweat generated from watching the characters running around – little did I know then that my prediction would come so true!!

      Good for you that you were smart enough to avoid all the grief and aggravation. Waisey, If you want to cure writer’s block, just watch any random episode of Ashk – sasta aur tikao ilaaj! 😉

  4. haha! the best thing about Ashk has to be your review! very hilarious! and excellent points..Gee i wonder..

    Clearly everyone loves the winter in this drama. inko dekh kar mujhe sardi lagne lag parti hai..

    This drama is so far from being normal its not even funny. I skipped quite a few episodes in between but happened to catch this one just because everyone was loving it! and Guess what, i am so damn confused as to what was so great about it? I mean if after 18 episodes people are finally happy a drama picked up is rather odd being that most dramas are over in about 18 or so episodes and yahan par toh the drama is just about ready to start or end or well i dont know what they are trying to do.

    I am out of breath trying to keep up with all that running around in this drama. seriously where are these people trying to run to and how can they run so much? I wish i can run as much as they can but mujhse to subah utha hi nahi jata.. =\.. well at least they are getting their share of workout done! oh and i love how they act like they own the entire hospital. seriously which hospital lets you run around in it like that? playground samja wah in logon ne.

    I cannot imagine what another 6 episodes of this going around in a circle has to offer. But i have to say I really enjoyed the scene between Rohail and his mother. It was really sweet. This is the only compliment this drama and episode is getting from me. Except Rohail being a Rohail is still hot! 😀
    ASHK sucks!

    • Ash it actually was winter when they shot it, I remember the shooting pics at the time and it was February and in Turkey its pretty freezing weather with snow and stuff , just like the east coast! Seeing as a lot of them are from Lahore/ Karachi, probably never felt this freezing weather before, they probably felt cold inside too hence leaving the coats on constantly!

    • @Ash, yaar so true at them getting at least a good workout out, if nothing else from this serial.

      @SK: LOL, I get the coats, magar yaar gloves bhi? I love how much we are willing to overlook here! Sadly, the real good moments are being lost among all the silly ones. 😦

      Did any of you fashionistas love the pin that Simi Raheel has on her coat? Love her sense of style! 🙂

      • I’m telling you yaar there are a lot of weather wimps around…in cali when it gets below 70s people wear sweaters and jackets. Your talking about in the20s and 30s…Have they even seen weather in the 50s in lahore??…let alone snow and below freezing temps! Maybe the houses didn’t have good heating..lol

        • LOL! True that! Chalo no more complaining abt that – magar then we’re back to square one – why go stand outside on balconies? And the ubiquitous coffee cups are so funny- har scene main maujod! I guess they needed those to keep their hands warm 😉 Our convos are so much more interesting than the drama itself 🙂
          P.S. Just saw the third promo for ZGH – can hardly wait now!! After Ashk FK owes us big time!!

        • Yup, it’s great specially coz it focuses on you-know-who! btw when humsafar was on or now SeZ, do you wait for it to come on tv at 8pm US time or do you see it online once it’s been aired in Pak. I was visiting my brother in Florida this past winter and I used to sneak away in the morning on sat. to catch humsafar online. (those were the days when khirad had just been thrown out of the house and I wanted to see what happens)

        • Oh the special ones get watched on live streaming or as soon as they are posted online – the “more special” ones are of course watched many times over 😀

  5. So just read the review and all the comments- agreed with all of the above! I think the reason they keep wearing those jackets and coats is that they did not invest in any winter clothes otherwise- bus jackets etc le liye. When Rohail was unbottoning his coat in the scene with mom, I was wishing please coat utaar do thori der ke liye- par nahin!
    Loved Fawad’s scenes period! But ofcourse the ones with Seemi Raheel are the best. Crazy it may sound but did you notice the way his hand trembled when his mom was critically ill. love his acting abilities.

    • Afia: yes!! that was a fab moment!
      Hahaha I am so with you – I was thinking the same too at that moment, but he just unbuttoned his coat, didnt even bother removing his gloves!

  6. Personally, I think you were restrained and Kind. All the reviewers have tried to be kind because of our hero in chief (FK) but there are limits to human endurance 🙂 Am I still watching it ? You Bet!

  7. I am not following the drama much at all. But here are some explanations to the points you have raised that might help clear up some confusion 🙂

    1. there was a lot of money spent on Mehreen’s wardrobe and Fawad’s jacket, and the fabulous outfit Zebu wore to the LSA that they didn’t have enough money for transportation. They tried using the bus system but uss mein shooting achay se nahi ho sakti so of course walking was the next option since there was no gadha gaadi in Istanbul

    2. Don’t you know that when they spend thousands of dollars to shoot outside of Pakistan, the reason is to show the beauty of that country! Aab itne saaray plane tickets waste ho jaatay if they had gone to Turkey and shot everything inside their apartment. And yeah Aunty ji did not get a heart attack because of walking around – that actually makes your heart healthy. It was unfortunately all the street vendors selling stale food with flies circling those wonderful donar kebabs that got her in the hospital.

    3. See point 1 – since we spent so much money on their clothes, we had to show them wearing it!! Phir kya faida for buying all these designer wears if we couldn’t shoot them wearing it. Duh!

    4. Zebu met Falak’s Naani at the hospital. Naani is such a good soul. She goes to visit the sick at hospitals on a regular basis buss she ran into Falak’s Naani and you know Naani and her naseehats….Zebu immediately sat down with the borrowed tasbeeh.

    5. Since most of the Pakistani crew could not speak Turkish, it was important to take someone who could speak Turkish on the trip. Who better than apna Tipu. Infact they were able to kill 2 birds with one stone – got a Turkish speaking local who could also play a Turkish Sikh.

    6. As far as Zebu’s clothes, she insisted on bringing her own outfits to the shoot. They were glad she was willing to do that because they had already spent all their money on Fawad’s and Mehreen’s clothes and Tipu’s pagdis that they didn’t have anymore in their budget to spare for Zebu’s outfits or taxis.

    • ROFL!!! Annie!!! You’re just beyond fab!! The behind the scenes story you just shared made this post worthwhile- b/c after writing it I was lamenting the whole evening about wasted time!! Na likhti to miujhe yeh sab kaun samjhata? Thank you for clearing away all those cobwebs of confusion – yes ma’m sab samajh aa gaya – as the classic Jimmy Cliff song goes… I can see clearly now … 🙂

    • Hilarious!!!!!! Annie you are too good, How do you come up with these!!! Omg I think they definitely have beaten the kpkpbt cast in the running through the streets of Istanbul . You are so right, whats the point of shooting in Istanbul unless they don’t run around run or we won’t see any of it! You made everything so clear!!!!!! Naanis tasbeeh is the best …lol

      • @Ash and SZ – pehle pooch laitee. Why wait for 18+ episodes lol

        @hoorean – thanks! as you said stupidity on TV really gets our creative juices flowing! 😉

        @SK – there were numerous plays which told us to imagine Istanbul as US and UK so this time the producers said, we are going to show Istanbul as Istanbul and for that we got to flaunt what we paid for 😉

  8. LOL SZ! Loved your post! I watched this episode and the same questions popped in my mind as well: Mehru calling Rohail first and Zaibu next, and where the heck did Zaibu get that tasbeeh? And what is Madiha’s characterization all about? Running on the streets of Turkey is apparently the next “in” thing. We saw Kiran do it, and now Rohail, Madiha and Zaibu are all following suit!

  9. gud review.i wz also wondering if zaibu fainted coz of starving in ghum even then she had that much energy to run on istanbul streets

  10. Spot on review. Enjoying the interesting discussion 😀 One thing we have to admit regardless of how irritating and bang your head against wall material Ashk is .. it has the quality to generate the most interesting reviews and discussions;) LOLz.

  11. You know you’ve seen too many (FK) dramas too many times when you start recognizing people like the turkish divorce lawyer who comes to meet Rohail as the same actor who was in “Akbari Asghari” – the (shown to be ) gora who’s having a fling with Akbari (sanam) but is actually married :\

    • @Sitara: Hey! Welcome – Glad you decided to join in 🙂 LOL!! So true bhaag bhaag kar bechari Zebu behosh hui thi, not because of not eating 😉

      @Afia: honestly FK ke saarey dramey pehli dafa hifz karne ke baad second and third time bhi hifz kar liye hain .. the man needs to somehow be very selective and still be in a lot!

      @All: Now that Annie’s answered my earlier questions so well – here’s one more: How long has this drama, Rohail having moved out, been going on? Time seems to be flying in turkey, whereas in Pakistan it seems to be crawling at a snail’s place! Any thoughts?

  12. I nearly fell over laughing at Annie’s summary especially about Naani! But seriously is n’t that what people do when they screw up badly, they turn to Allah sadly as a last resort. Come on guys it wasn’t that bad. This was the one episode that was actually coherent after so many crazy ones.There are worse dramas on that are a drag at least this one is bad in spectacular filmi kind of way and we do keep watching it.One of the biggest mistakes was that they forgot that they are dealing with conservative viewers like me. Katrina Kaif and Deepika can do all of this because they are fun loving Indians but we like our Heroines to be Durreshehwaar types or the bubbly but clear thinking Haseena Moin types. Zaibu’s character has no one’s sympathy and everyone hates Mehru .But if you think about it what Zaibu did was quite possible for a silly, immature and motherless girl. In Humsafer I was screaming ,”for the love of God ,Asher ,Khirad ki baat soon Lo” . At the end of this episode I was pulling my hair out and saying”for the love of God (and my sanity) Rohail, Zaibu ki baat soon lo”
    Now that we know how epicly virtuous Zaibu is , I wouldn’t be surprised to find out Rohail was sleeping on Madiha’s couch all this time…. $5 to charity when it happens.
    If only I could just move on …Sigh….

  13. A big ROFL:D you guys made me laugh like crazy.. goodness 😀 😀
    i have just seen one episode of Ashk.. and it was last one..but reviews were hilariously good..

    Annie: your answers were epic 😉

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