This latest installment of Zindagi Gulzar Hai marked the beginning of Kashaf’s shikwey se shukar tak ka safar. With the trials and tribulations of her academic journet behind her, her encounters with Zaroon and Asmara no more than a hazy memory, and with the confidence that a well-paying job can impart, the Kashaf we saw today was a much stronger and less bitter person – finally our girl is beginning to smile more than once an episode! Thank the lord! Sanam Saeed continues to shine as Kashaf.
Along with Kashaf, Zaroon too started his journey towards adulthood, complete with all its attendant responsibilities. No longer the college Romeo, the man we saw today was someone serious about a career in the Civil Services and willing to work hard to get there. What is interesting here is that while the professional aspect of Zaroon’s life seemed all set and gulzar, his personal life continued along the same wishy-washy, confused path that it has been going along since the very beginning. I really wish that somebody had sat down and worked on Zaroon’s characterization. Even though I get that its a female oriented drama, and Zaroon is there as a supporting figure rather a central character, I continue to be disappointed in the way this man comes across. Since the very beginning, Zaroon’s been very reluctant to answer Asmara’s phone calls, cuts short the conversations, etc, in fact he did that today as well, hung up on her saying he was busy with his studies. Why then is it that he acts all huffy when Asmara says she was busy and couldn’t respond to his calls? Does he seriously expect her to hang around for his phone calls? Earlier, before their engagement, Zaroon and Asmara were together all the time, but now that she’s out with other guys, he has a problem? Why is he surprised at her going out with her friends? Did Asmara spring out of nowhere? Weren’t they bffs before they got engaged? Zaroon sahab, I am so waiting for the moment when somebody comes and takes a sharp pin to your ego and deflates it … Kashaf, jaldi aa jao Zaroon ko tumhari madad ki zaroorat hai! It is to Fawad Khan’s credit that he breathes life into an otherwise lackadaisically etched out character.
On the home front, Kashaf’s side of the story chugged along the same abba, paise, betiyaan, naukri, parhai, Nigar, track. We saw Waseem Abbas blustering in his by now familiar manner, and surprise, surprise, he refused to contribute towards the shaadi expenses. I am surprised that even after all that she’s put up with, Rafia continues to expect some goodness from him, wanting him to be concerned about his daughters’ lives. Why can’t she see the psychological damage Murtaza’s continuous rejection is doing to her daughters, whose attitudes towards men are completely skewed because of a lifetime of negative interactions with their father. How does Rafia ever expect her daughters to lead well-adjusted married lives? I wish we had been shown Rafia standing up for her daughters’ rights more than just once. My peeves with the characterizations aside, I have to say Samina Peerzada is very effective as Rafia and her interactions with the girls’ is very warm and real. Mansha Pasha made a lovely bride, and I loved that grey/lilac (?) color on her. Where was the shaandar dulha though?
While the whole shaadi ki taaiyari sequence was very nicely shown, Khalid Ahmad was hilarious as the uncouth bare bhaiyya as he merrily chomped away on his biscuit and talked non stop at the same time, the whole shaadi ke card saada honay chahiyen conversation was off-putting to say the least. We just saw the exact same scenario, with pretty much the same dialogues, in yesterday’s episode of Mirat-ul Uroos. Considering that Zindagi Gulzar Hai was promoted as a “masterpiece” of a project, I am disappointed to see these overlaps with other serials written by the same writer. The never-ending conversation between Nigar and the neighborhood lady was also long and tedious. Yes, I agree that all these issues are socially relevant and important, but hitting viewers over the head with overtly obvious points makes all these issues lose their significance.
On to Zaroon’s end of the narrative, where the cold and callous Ghazala is the exact opposite of the warm and nurturing Rafia, it was interesting to see Ghazala’s interactions with her son. Even as Zaroon was yet again pointing out his mom’s shortcomings, we see her packing his stuff… wonder how much of Zaroon’s attitude towards his mother has been shaped by what his father might have been saying all along about her, while she was gone for her conferences and trips. Does Zaroon get his chauvinism from his dad, who now appears as a benign, middle-aged gentleman? We have virtually no insight into Junaid and Ghazala’s relationship. Why we are expected to unquestioningly accept Ghazala as a callous woman, one who brings up a carbon-copy of a daughter, Sara. Just this one scene today, makes me hold out hope that perhaps the writer will surprise us, and maybe, just maybe, allow Ghazala to come alive as a living breathing character rather than continuing on as a cardboard cliché.
Unlike the previous episodes, there was appreciable movement in the story today. While time continues to drag and fly at whim here, we did see the much-hyped university days come to an inglorious end. Our once feuding protagonists have now gone their separate ways, and Sidra is married. On the other hand though, Asmara is stuck in a time warp. If the rumors about editing for a tighter narrative are true, then I must say that it has helped the cause tremendously. This episode flowed better, and some judicious use of the ffwd button ensured that it was eminently more watchable than last week’s fare. So yes, while I’m still hoping against hope to be blown away, I did manage to sit through this one.
Here’s to hoping that the next step in this safar from shikwa to shukrana is a gulzar one!
Written by SZ~