Finally caught up with the last five episodes of Silvatein and all I can say is WOW!!! What the heck happened to the story I fell in love with way back when? What was once a beautifully nuanced story has now turned into the much hackneyed two-sister formula. Even though Natasha has some occasional fleeting shades of grey, the now annoying refrain of Zaib juice pee lo and ghar Bilal ke naam kar do makes her look so dark that black looks white. On the other hand, Zaib with her placid smile and her beyond believable tendency to protect her younger sister makes me want to strangle her. What’s up with these two sisters? Seems like one is ready to be dispatched to the hottest corners of Hell and the other is a saint waiting for the Pope to canonize her… aargh!! Can we please move on? At this point Silvatein is spinning around so much its making me dizzy. If ever there was a stalled story in need of some serious dhaka, Silvatein is it!
When I had left off at episode 17, both sisters and their spouses had returned to Pakistan and the boys’ mother had just passed away, with more than a little help from both, Natasha and Zaib. Yes, I’m not blaming Natasha alone. Zaib too is an adult and should have gathered by now that her sister was not a two year old who needed to be told where to go and whom to talk to when… last time I checked Zaib was her older sister not Natasha’s keeper. But ever since Zaib turned a corner in her life, she’s made it her life’s mission to micro manage Natasha’s life as well. Much as I abhor Natasha, I have to say the last 5-6 episodes have cemented my dislike of Zaib as well. She is not only ms. goody-two shoes, but also annoyingly patronizing. Rayaan has it right, Zaib should quit meddling in her younger sister’s life and try to focus on what’s important in her own life… namely him. At his point I fail to see what attracts Rayaan to Zaib.. what does he see in this now boring woman? Zaib is unnaturally demure and sickeningly sweet with him – yes, Rayaan is right in questioning whether Zaib is happy in her marriage, not once has he seen her open up and laugh as freely as she does with Mikaal and her coworkers. I have yet to see them talk about something other than Natasha and Bilal. Zaib, my friend, if you cannot be bothered to be interested in your very hot hubby, then please buy a pet, or go find a hobby… at least then you’ll have something else to discuss with your husband. If not, then I’m sure there are tons of other women willing to take him off your hands, leaving you free to think about Natasha 24/7.
From Zaib to Natasha, man!! these two sisters redefine the word obsessed. The older one cannot see beyond her younger sister, and the younger sister has a blinkers-on approach to ruining her sister’s life. Yes, I get it that she has issues with her sibling and Zaib is no farishta either, but still!!! Girlfriend, you have a husband, lame duck as he might be, you have a daughter, and are expecting a second child…how in the world do you find time to go on all these jaunts to all these deras? For me the whole peerni and taveez track just does not work; it is almost as bad as the Lyari track in the beginning. There are times, like when Natasha thought Zaib was having a heart attack, when there is some fleeting concern, but other than those ephemeral moments, so far this child (I’m sorry I cannot call her a woman because she does not behave any different than a 5 year old stomping her foot) has not shown any growth in how the many ever years that have passed since the serial began.
Married to Nasty Natasha is the Clueless Chotu – kiya aadmi hai yeh bhi?! Chotu had my sympathies in the beginning, but now I’m washing my hands off him as well … no matter how cute and adorable he might be, Chotu sahab if you refuse to man up and stand for yourself then you deserve to be treated like dirt by your beloved wife. Forget about your wife, if you continue this way, even your daughter will walk all over you the minute she learns to mouth off. Come on yaar, how can you actually believe all the nonsense Natasha feeds you about the taveez? Seriously Chotu, did you fall and hit your head hard when you were a child?? Actually, you know what, on second thought, you and Natasha deserve each other – both are like children, refusing to grow up.
Speaking of children, uff! Farhan and Dardana need a huge round of applause for ably demonstrating why their daughters are the losers that they are. The way they turned on Zaib the minute Natasha said something to them, or how they pointed guns at Rayaan when they heard about Zaib’s hospitalization, speaks volumes about how bad parenting can seriously impact children’s lives, the impact of which can be felt long after they’ve left home.
And, finally Rayaan, the only voice of sanity in this insane family drama.. my only question to him: Why? Why are you still wasting your time with these idiotic sisters? By now you should know that your sister-in-law is insanity personified, and your saintly wife is like a kutte ki dum, no matter how much you try to straighten it, it will curl up again and again. Why don’t you cut your losses and move on .. go back to the US please, don’t forget you still have a child who deserves a sane father!
Despite my problems with the characters and the pace of the story, I continue to follow Silvatein because of the fabulous acting. Shehrazade might have lost her grip on the narrative, but she has managed to extract good performances from her actors. I love watching Adeel and Aamina together, I just wish they had livelier characters to work with. Mira Sethi is very good as Natasha, again with her too, I wish her role had allowed her more margin than just play the evil annoying sister. Daniyal is another one who is really good and believable as Chotu, just wish his character would have been a bit more believable, and shown some growth. Maheen Rizvi is also good as Muneeze.
Annoyed and disappointed as I am with Silvatein, even as I am writing this very quick synopsis, on one level Samira’s story continues to make sense. It’s just that all vitality has been sapped out of it by the way it has been needlessly stretched and turned into a drag fest, making the shortcomings stand out all the more starkly. And, its not the just that, as I was catching up with the last few episodes back to back, I realized how bland Silvatein looked visually as well. Most of the narrative takes place indoors, in three/four rooms, and so the settings get monotonous very quickly. That most of the action, inaction actually, takes place with the characters seated, either on beds, couches or around the kitchen table, gives the feeling that the story is literally at a standstill. How I wish that Shehrazade and her DOP had shown some creativity in framing the scenes and added some movement, and that Six Sigma had loosened their purse strings a bit more and added some outdoor locations, moving the narrative beyond the confines of the four walls, bringing in a much needed breath of fresh air to a now claustrophobic story.
At this point, given its lethargic pace, I’m not sure how many more episodes are left for the story to come to a satisfying end, but here’s to hoping that it happens sooner rather than later!
Written by SZ~