Talkhiyan ~ Episode 1 Review

Talkhiyan2

For a while now, many of us have been complaining about the routine stuff we see on TV these days. There are three or at best four formulas that are continually re-worked to gives us the thousand and one dramas currently on air. This is not to say we don’t get to watch anything noteworthy, we do, but such stories are few and far in between. That said, when we do get good dramas, they are really very good. Based on its very promising first episode, the offbeat Talkhiyan, I think, is going to be one of those noteworthy serials.

Inspired by The God of Small Things, Talkhiyan has started off on a strong note. We met our lovely story teller, Zoyee, a young girl with unnaturally dark shadows under her eyes. She’s on her way to the town where she’d spent a significant part of her childhood. Naveed Malik’s excellent cinematography catches the eye immediately as we follow the circuitous path of the bus bringing Zoya to her destination. The carsick passenger, the nosy-parker lady, and mustache-twirling taroo bus driver, the small town stores, stray animals, nickel and dime toy shops, the rows of colorful umbrellas, all minor details, seemingly insignificant in and of themselves, add so much to the overall look and feel of this visually stunning story that is about to unfold.

Walking down the unkempt path leading to the colonial era bungalow, Zoyee is hit by an avalanche of emotions, recollections of happier times colliding with memories of familial tensions. She thinks back to when she had first come to live here with her mother, Bibi, and her fraternal twin Jugnu. Back then her grandfather Agha, grandmother, Mama, mother’s aunt, Appo, Janoo Baba, and their family maid Aayee lived. Now, only Appo and Aayee remain. As Zoyee walks in towards the house, all is silent and there is a general air of abandonment.

From hereon the narrative moves between the past and the present as Zoyee looks back on her growing years. As a child she was playful and lively, but the girl we see today is quiet and troubled. Watching the past unfold through Zoyee’s eyes we see her close bond with Jugnu, her affection for her quiet but strict mother, her initial impressions of her grandparents, and her unforgettable close encounters of the nasty kind with Appo.

What stands out vividly in Zoyee’s recollections is how bitter and hostile their reluctant hosts were towards her family. Agha did not seem too thrilled to see his daughter and grandchildren. Other than a few well-chosen insults, he doesn’t say much. He prefers instead to use his hands to get his point across. The otherwise caustic Mama seems to be resigned to her fate as an abused spouse. From their conversations we gather that as a child Bibi too was not spared her father’s wrath. As for Appo, she seems to have it in for Bibi and her kids. The way she says sneers every time she says Pa-ool, and her snide references to his being a non-Muslim hint at a lot of suppressed anger at the world in general and Paul and his ilk in particular. The episode ends with Bibi’s announcement that she is no longer married to Paul and is moving in with her children. To say that her hosts are stunned would be an understatement.

As first episodes go, this was a great one. I was hooked right from the very shot. The lush Bhurbhan setting, the intriguing story and strong lineup of actors, an exciting blend of experience and youth, made sure that that I did not even think of touching the remote. All the cast members gave a very good account of themselves. We are seeing Shamim Hilali in at least a couple of other serials these days, but here she has a completely different look. Similarly Sanam Saeed’s stiff backed, stern Bibi is a far cry from her insecure and angry Kashaf. Khalid Ahmed is in a very different avatar as well. It was hard to recognize Nargis Rasheed as Aayee, I remember her fondly as Shaheen from Akbari Asghari. Mehak Khan, a newcomer, is effective as the older Zoyee. Over and above all though, this episode belonged to the young Zoyee and Jugnu and their nemesis Appo, brilliantly played by Hina Bayat.

Recently we have been very hard on Hina for playing musical mummy jaanis. Well, guess what, this time around Hina’s Appo is no mummy jaani, musical or otherwise. In fact Appo is one of the nastiest characters I’ve seen in recent times. But the way the character is written and Khalid and Hina have worked to bring Appo to life is simply mind blowing. You hate her but cannot help fall in love with her quirkiness. The way the very elegant Appo sucks on a chicken bone is something that has to be seen to be appreciated. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t watched it as yet, but trust me you do not want to miss Hina Bayat here!

Any mention of the crazy Appo would be incomplete without talking about her poor victims Zoyee and Jugnu. Sabina and Sagar are absolutely adorable as the fraternal twins. The chemistry they share with each other and with Hina Bayat is amazing. Just loved all their scenes together. Rarely do we see child stars turning in such mature performances. Sabina in particular is fabulous in all her run-ins with Hina. The kids are also very natural with Sanam and have great chemistry with her. The bedroom scene, when the three are unpacking and talking about marriages was excellent. Similarly, when the kids are waving their hands in front of their partially blind grandmother and then later when Jugnu asks his grandmother about her blindness were both memorable moments. Actually its unfair to talk about one sequence and leave out another because each and every moment was executed really well. Kudos to the director and his actors for doing full justice to these beautifully written characters.

Judging by the first episode, producers Raziuddin and Seema Razi’s Talkhiyan promises to be an interesting take on Arundhati Roy’s modern classic. I am eager to see how Bee Gul’s adaptation deals with the very complex and controversial original story. So far, the first episode has set up the premise beautifully and director Khalid Ahmed has done a fabulous job walking us through the opening chapter. Though Talkhiyan, as the name suggests, is a somber story, I did not walk away feeling depressed or heavyhearted. To a large extent the darkness of the narrative is offset by the vivid colors of the beautiful hillside setting of the story. Naveed Malik’s cinematography has a lot to do with keeping the visual canvas bright and lively. The aptly chosen background score adds to the overall ambiance of the story. All in all, I enjoyed the first chapter and look forward to more. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t disappoint!

Here’s a Youtube link for the first episode. A special shout out to Express Entertainment for uploading HD quality videos so very promptly – much appreciated by those outside Pakistan!

Written by SZ~

Talkhiyan ~ Episode 1

For those who cannot access YouTube here’s an alternative HD quality link

 

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26 replies

  1. Just finished watching Talkiyan. I can’t rave enough about the serial.When CK came i thought this has to be the height of the camera work,editing,directing and bam we have this.Though both are quiet opposite but both are top notch productions.The sets of Talkiyan just take you on your own journey. The familiar roads of Muree one just feel like you yourself are traveling,i so want to pack my bags and go on a trip. Te characters are all etched out beautifully quiet in opposition of there everyday screen presence. The story seems to have immense potential and the dialogues are really sharp. Hina has completely surprised me,her role is very out of the box cringe worthy kind.She is just pulling it off brilliantly which shows how deep her acting talent is. I was so hyped up after watching it i called so many friends to tell them it’s a must watch.And yes the child stars are totally adorable.What a lovely review.Thanks a lot for this otherwise this would never have caught my eye.

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  2. What a beautiful 1st episode and your review says it all. Thank You for persuading me to watch this, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was compelling from the first scene, so very well shot and draws you in with a very intriguing narrative and lovely performances from all the cast. The kiddos were brilliant as was Sanam saeed and Hina Bayat. It was very refreshing to see HB in a different role, she rocked it! The camera work was beautiful as you said, loved the scenic shots of Bhurban, and the whole episode was smoothly transitioned between past and present. I also absolutely loved the bgs! Looking forward to how this develops, so different from the run of the mill stuff just hope it doesn’t get too depressing, Zoyee seems a very troubled young lady:(

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  3. Okay, I wasn’t planning on watching this one as my plate is already overloaded. I just wanted to check out the first five minutes or so of the drama to get the basic jist of the story, expecting it to be a cliche of regurgitated storylines like you said earlier. But, once I started I couldn’t stop till I finished the entire episode. Sanam is perfect as Bibi, and Hina just blew me away this time in this interesting character. Every time while watching, I think that HB’s character in SeZ and ZGH is entirely the same. But here, thankfully she’s phenomenal. If you’re reading this Hina, thank you for meeting us every Friday since MeJ. Its been so many weeks that we’ve lost count. But Talkhiyan is yet another beautiful feather in your cap. 🙂 and SZ thanks for writing such an ethereal piece for this drama. Its worthy of every praise bestowed upon it.

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  4. Hey guys:So glad to hear from all of you – the lack of comments after I posted the review had me worried for a while and made me wonder if I was crazy and going gaga over something that nobody else was watching! Thank you for reassuring me that this indeed was worth the praise 🙂
    Btw, did anybody else notice the purple caftan that Appo was wearing while watching wrestling (how fabulous was Hina as that scary lady with over painted red lips and the messy hair!)? It was the same one she wore fourteen years ago when she comes into Bibi’s bedroom to search for her “lost book”!!

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  5. I indeed liked the First episode..infact was hooked to it.. the background score and cinematography is simply brilliant.. Starting with Older Zoyee.. too good.. Mehak khan really impressed me with her dialect and keeping her expressions to nil, Hina Bayat was amazing.. the way she was laughing and eating peanuts and in coming up scenes eating leg-piece of chicken..done wonderfully.. so good to see her in totally different role.. Sanam Saeed. I loved her in Daam and became fan of her in MeJ…she is rocking in ZGH and here too she leaves her mark.. Shamim Hilali again very interesting to see her 🙂 now last but not the least the Kiddos..Younger Zoyee and Jugnu.. they can’t get any more cuter.. their acting is flawless and i totally agree with you their chemistry with Sanam and Hina is applaud-able.. loving the bachas 🙂

    Your review made me to watch the episode and as always i wasn’t disappointed 🙂 SZ you have written beautifully 🙂

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  6. So as viewers who are we to thank first? You for writing such a fab review that convinced us to go watch it or the tv people for showing us a different kind of drama?

    This drama a lot of people dont know about bc well Express Ent is not one of the three channels therefore no one really gives a . about that what they are airing and what not. So I guess the credit goes to you for introducing us to something that is norm se hat ke.

    I watched the first episode and was totally hooked. For starters, the cinemotgraphy like you all mentioned was phenomenal. I was happy to see a different Pakistan and not the crazy city life in dramas for once.

    Every character, from the kids to the newest of the lot were fun to watch. Sanam Saaed, Hina Bayat and the 2 kids in particular were fabulous . Each character portraying a very different role and you can sense the darkness in the entire drama but it was not the type of depression or darkness that makes you want to kill yourself after watching those calculated dramas. Rather it was more of a darkness where one feels they go through even in their own life. Life full of Talkhiyan for reasons even we don’t understand.
    This is the type of depress/ dark stories I enjoy, which have so much more to them, and after you watch you can actually feel each character’s pain / burden they carry. Its so much more relatable then other society issues, well for me anyway.

    I am really looking forward to watching this drama, I wish that others would look into different stories and different type of characters for this is a drama that provides it all and many people would def enjoy it!!
    More so, would love to keep a discussion going with everyone watching on this page and really glad to know everyone else is enjoying it just as much! 🙂

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  7. @SZ I found God of Small Things one of the most interesting books i have studied. But when you said a Pakistani play is going to be based on it i thought they are just saying it.They will just take one track from the book because it’s a very bold book. Again it’s certain themes of communism and Untouchables i am not sure how they are going to in cooperate those here. But in the very opening scene Appo eating peanuts was very similar to great-aunt Baby Kochamma’s new television set , in front of which she and her servant sit day after day, munching peanuts.The chracters as yet are quiet the same to the kids as Rahul and Estha and i am really glad they have picked up kids who can act as well as much on the story rely on them.So i guess we will have Sophie Mol and Velutha too? The book was a very raw picture of the characters and it was difficult to sympathize with some. I guess they transferred it quiet remarkably on TV. Quiet intrigued where they take us with this.

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    • Khalid Sahab: Fabulous to have you drop by and take the time to read and comment – much appreciated!
      A huge thank you to the entire Talkhiyan team for bringing us such a gem of a serial – loved every single frame! What a brilliant first episode! Looking forward to seeing how the rest of the story develops…
      I hope you’ll continue following the reviews and hope to hear more from you as we continue our journey with Talkhiyan 🙂

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  8. Thank you so much for writing such a beautiful review – the way you wrote even made me want to watch it all over again!!

    The way you caught on to such minute details and small nuances is truly astounding. It’s truly amazing to see someone appreciate and notice all the efforts and finer details and small touches, all of which, I feel, set this project apart from others.

    Albeit the fact that this is my very first project, I can’t rave enough about Beegul’s screenplay, Khalid Ahmed’s direction, or Naveed Malik’s cinematography, not to mention the production team. And of course, the performances… It was an extremely humbling experience, for me personally, to have had the opportunity to work with a team of such exceptionally talented, unassuming, supportive, and down to earth people.

    And I sincerely hope that you all enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed working on it… God bless

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    • @Mehak: Hey! Welcome! Lovely to hear from you – appreciate your taking the time to read and comment! Aww!! Thank you for enjoying my review – clearly I was blown away by the first ep, so it was a pleasure to share my excitement 🙂
      Really enjoyed watching you as Zoyee..what a fabulous debut project! You’ll have to come back and share more of your behind the screen experiences as we continue with Talkhiyan. Like everybody else I too have read the original classic, so cant wait to see Bee Gul’s adaptation, looking forward to seeing how Zoya’s character shapes up in this version.
      Also, thank you for bringing Hina on-board – after seeing her as Appo, can’t imagine anybody else playing her 🙂
      Yes, a huge thank you to the producers and express for taking this project on – we the viewers are grateful!

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    • @Mehak Khan – So nice to see you on here! Although this is your first play, you have been marvelous so far even though we are just one episode in!
      One can totally feel for your character, the loneliness, the depression, the talkhiyan , all portrayed so well.
      Really looking forward to seeing what has made Zoyee the way she is today in the upcoming episodes!
      The entire team has made a really different project, and I am sure we the viewers are totally gonne love it! 🙂

      are you working on other projects as well?

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  9. Also, special shout out to the producers, seema and razi saahib, for having the courage to take on such a risky project and then giving it so much of themselves. Thank you

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  10. So I finally saw this! Atleast before the 2nd ep 🙂
    You were so right – it has a completely different feel from anything else on tv. At the beginning I was almost a bit scared of the dark feel – socha baad mein dekh loongi- but then went on. The meloncholy feel and the treatment of the kids at the hand of Appo was somewhat disturbing but gripping nevertheless. Loved the Murree feel- I still love the place even though the popular idea is that Murree’s gone to the dogs. Good to see it being portrayed ‘n photographed so well here, in Aik nayee cindrella and even akbari asghari.
    Mehak Khan’s a good addition to our pool of leading ladies- liked the way she handed her scenes. Hina Bayat was oh-so-super! So looking forward to today’s episode. Wonder who’ll play the elder Jugnu? For once I know nothing about this show – which is great! Haven’t read the book it’s adapted from either. Big thanku to the entire team for spoiling us some more!

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    • @Afia: hey! thanks for checking this one out on my recomendation – phew! glad you enjoyed it – otherwise tum daant lagati 😉 Lets see what happens in this upcoming episode!

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  11. @sz and @ash thank you so much for replying to my comments! @sz I will definitely share some behind the scene experiences and talk about the people involved, however, after the 2nd episode tonight 😉

    Let the work speak for itself first though, and God willing, should you continue to like it as much, I would be more than delighted to give you an insight into the people behind “talkhiyan” 🙂

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    • @Deeba, Hey! Thanks for trusting my advice and giving this one a shot 🙂 Do keep commenting on the various episodes as and when you catch up, and I look forward to reading your comments on what you liked and didn’t like!

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  12. Watched this at my mom’s recommendation. It’s 3 freakin AM and i just watched 7 episodes back to back!!how will i get up for work tomorrow?!?!?

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    • @Sara – hope you were able to get up and go to work this morning! yep incase you were not warned, this drama has that affect. You’ve still got 3 more eps to go before you are all caught up!
      Looking forward to reading your thoughts of what you think of the drama so far! 🙂

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    • @Sara: Welcome aboard! LOL! Well, thats Talkhiyan for you 🙂 You know its weird,if somebody were to tell this story to me, I would be so put off that I’d never want to watch it, b/c it sounds so dark… but then here I am! Just the first five minutes of Zoya in the bus and walking into Silverwood was enough to suck me into the this crazy world… keep commenting and do share your favorite moments!

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