With dust barely settled on special programming for Ramzan, Eid ul-Fitr and Independence Day, TV Channels have wasted no time in cranking out new offerings at a dizzying rate. This week, so far, we have seen the debut of three new serials – Mere Humrahi, started on Monday on Ary Digital, Mujhe Khuda Pe Yaqeen Hai, Tuesday on Hum TV, and Darmiyan, Wednesday on ARY Digital. Two other serials, Khoya Khoya Chand and Aseerzadi are expected to air from Hum TV on Thursday and Saturday respectively. Numm, the Fawad Khan starrer and probably the most eagerly awaited of all, is expected to begin on Geo starting the 24th. Another one, Ek Kasak Reh Gaee, Sanam Saeed and Mikaal Zulfiqar, is also expected to start soon from Hum TV. While I may not follow all these serials, I did check out the first episodes of the three new serials that began this week. Here are my first impressions….
This serial, which aired on Monday from ARY Digital, is a maiden offering from Fahad Mustafa’s production house Big Bang Entertainment. Written by Sana Fahad and directed by Furqan Khan, Mere Humrahi is “different” in the sense that rather than one guy caught between two girls/sisters, here we a have two guys and one girl. The cast consists of a blend of experience and youth. Munawwar Saeed and Ismat Zaidi play parents to Khalid Malik and Sonya Hussain, Ahsan and Haniya respectively. Haniya is happily engaged to Ahad, Shehzad Shaikh, and their marriage is about to be solemnized when Ahad suddenly starts having second and third thoughts about this whole shaadi business. As he thinks more about his impending marriage and the changes it would bring to his life he develops cold feet and informs Haniya he needs more time, barring which he would be happy to call off the wedding. The episode ended with a hysterical Haniya weeping and begging Ahad to reconsider his decision.
As first episodes go this was a very unimpressive start. There was no element of surprise here since the promos have pretty much given away the story. As for the actors, we did not see much of Fahad Mustafa, Ahmed, Ahad’s older, more mature and responsible brother, the third angle of this love triangle. Both Sonya Hussain and Shehzad Shaikh fell far short of the mark. Shehzad did not look and act anything like the immature, carefree, impulsive and spoilt man he is supposed to be, and Sonya’s Haniya was equally unconvincing.
The entire episode seemed to consist of a few very long scenes. The “nightclub” sequence was hilarious to say the least, and the climax scene went on forever. The heavy deluge coupled with Sonya’s over acting and Shehzad’s non-expressions made for a literally painfull watch. The precaps have already shown what is going to happen next, leaving no suspense for the next episode. Lets hope the promo editors take notice and stop revealing upcoming twists and turns.
Mujhe Khuda Pe Yaqeen Hai
The first episode of this serial aired on Tuesday from Hum TV. A huge improvement over Monday’s serial, this one showed the stamp of a more experienced team , comprising writer Seema Munaf, and director Barkat Siddiqui.
The story revolves around Shakeel and Sajida Syed’s family, consisting of two sons and a daughter. Mikaal plays Shaiq, the older brother who gets married to his first cousin Narmeen, played by Aisha Khan. The raison d’être of Mujhay Khuda Pe Yaqeen Hai is an as yet unknown transgression committed by Arham, the younger brother played by Ahsan Khan. We are not told what really happened, but whatever Arham did was enough to cause a permanent rift between him and his father, causing a lot of stress in the family. Through various conversations we also get hints of some latent tensions between a very bitter Arham and his newly wed bhabhi.
As an opening installment this was a good introduction to the story and its characters. Aisha is a fine actress and it is good to see her play a more complex, non-mazloom character. Ahsan is a good actor and was quite effective in conveying Arham’s disturbed state of mind, but in many places his reactions were too over exaggerated. Same was the case with Shakeel’s sahab’s character. If Arham’s harkats were so despicable and objectionable, then why was he still living in the same house? And what the heck was going on with Shakeel sahab’s auburn hair and the strangely shaded black and white beard??? Though Arham occupied center-stage today, it seems like Shaiq too has a lot of issues simmering beneath the surface. Moomal Shaikh, who plays Areeba, is paired with Ahsan Khan and it will be interesting to see how she fares here.
Apart from some heavy duty dialogues, and Narmeen’s outburst against Arham and her complaints about Shaiq always being against her, which were strangely out of sync with the rest of the episode, this was an engaging watch. The serial has begun on a intriguing note, but lets hope that the writer and director do not drag out the suspense till the bitter end, waiting till the last episode to reveal the mystery – that would not be fun!
Of the three serials, this one had by far the best opening scene – Aliya at the graveyard and then walking back home, memories of a sepia toned past haunting her every step. This was a beautifully directed sequence, the past and present blending together seamlessly, kudos to the editors for a job well done. Syra was pretty amazing in those opening frames. She is a pretty girl, we all know that, but the DOP managed to catch not only her outer beauty, but a part of her soul as well – beautifully done!
After a stunning opening, the episode lost its creative edge and became much more routine in its story telling. In fact some of the scenes afterwards, Aliya’s attempted suicide and the mother consoling her afterwards, the overlong engagement party sequence, particularly Farishtey’s hunt for earrings, Rehan confessing his love to his friend, seemed quite disconnected in terms of artistic sensibility. And while on technical details, could someone please lower the volume of the loud background music. That said, the story moved along at a decent pace and I look forward to seeing how the writers move the narrative forward, connecting the past to the present, so that the actual story can take off from thereon.
Darmiyan marks Syra’s return to TV after her marriage, and I for one am glad that she is back. One among the very few actresses who are very selective, it is good to see her back in action and giving it her all. Apart from Syra, Sania Saeed is the big hook here, so I am looking forward to seeing how her character shapes up.
Overall, these three first episodes were a mixed bag, all with their pros and cons. Which ones did you watch? Did any one pique your interest? Which ones are you likely to follow? Looking forward to reading your thoughts!
Written by SZ~