Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!!!
Rarely do I so enjoy a first episode that I feel compelled to write it up right away and share my excitement. I had watched the original when it first aired – I remember calling up my bff as soon as the episode ended and we gabbed for hours after, going on and on and on. Tanhaiyan is an integral part of my very fond memories of growing up, friends, family, Karachi…. Given my personal attachment to this serial, I was horrified to hear of a sequel – my first thoughts: Why?? Please leave good enough alone!!
Reading all the hype surrounding the sequel, I have to say I was getting more and more put off. Shahzad Khalil the man behind the magic was no longer among us. Veterans like Jamshed Ansari, Azra Sherwani, and Yasmeen Ismail are irreplaceable. Shahnaz Shaikh, my beloved Zara, was not going to be a part of this, and though Haseena Moin is undoubtedly a writer par exellence her recent Meri Behen Maya has disappointed me.
Khair, but the news that Marina Khan was directing and Mohammed Ahmad Sahab, a huge personal favorite, was co-writing this serial held out hope. The fact that most of the original cast was returning and the younger stars seemed to have been judiciously chosen was comforting. So….
With all these thoughts running through my mind I sat down to watch this opening round, expecting it to be ho-hum, kinda faded and steeped in nostalgia – more like moving forwards but with the gaze turned backwards.
Let me just say that this was NOT the case. This first episode had a very bright and fresh look and a contemporary feel. Mohammed Ahmed’s monologue, with a very quick recap of past events, set up the opening beautifully. Yes, this is a sequel so there were innumerable references to the past scattered throughout, but not in a way that held back the narrative, rather these were used as signposts for the future direction of the story. The most appealing thing for me was that as an opening chapter it made sense in and of itself even if one had not seen the original.
The episode opened with a celebration of Zara’s birthday. I enjoyed the way the characters interacted with each other. Sania is grownup, a much more mature woman, but the minute she walks in the door, the mature woman is left behind and the fun loving bubbly Sania burst out in her full glory. I liked the way we were shown the two very different facets of her personality. As an advisor at the Youth Center she is the personification of what a ideal counselor should be, but at home she is the madcap we love and adore.
Zara, the other half of this iconic pair of sisters, was MIA and I loved the build up to the hook, Zain’s entry sans Zara. The whole anticipation and excitement, the looking forward to Zara’s return was beautifully scripted and directed, BUT thanks to all the spoilers, sadly the whole suspense was rendered completely ineffective. We all knew what was going to happen. I so wish that somehow they had managed to keep that under wraps, because in effect it spoils not only the first but the second episode as well. I am now guessing the actual story will probably start around the third episode or so …
What I enjoyed was the complete package. The story starts off with a familiar premise but then takes off in new directions – I loved the tantalizing hints of what is yet to come. Marina’s direction was very crisp. The scene showing Qazi Wajid’s nightmare was excellent. The cast comprises of an exciting blend of new and old. The veterans need no introduction, and the newer lot have recently given very good accounts of themselves. The announcement of the youngest pair’s off-screen hookup adds that much more to the anticipation of seeing this pair onscreen. After a very long time we get to see a clean comedy, with no bawdy lines or sly inferences. The affection that the actors have for their characters is very real. I liked the way the newer characters were knitted in alongside the older ones. Looking forward to Qabacha’s return and seeing how he fits in this new set up. The very brief glimpse of Zain’s family is enough for me to start a countdown to next Saturday.
So, yes, though I was cynical to begin with, Marina Khan, Haseena Moin and Mohammed Ahmed have forced me to re-evaluate and put all nasty thoughts aside for now. Looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds!
Written by SZ~