Let me begin by admitting that this is an unabashedly biased review — I LOVED Ghoonghat! A beautifully penned story by Mohammed Ahmed, superb direction by Mehreen Jabbar, stellar performances from Bushra Ansari, Mohammed Ahmed and Mansha Pasha, excellent cinematography by Naveed Malik, and the fantastic setting, all added up to make this one a surefire winner in my book. There might have been slip ups here and there but nothing that stood out like a sore thumb. Even though I watched the version without any background music, fancy editing or even credits, lets just say that I was so into the Ghoonghat groove that nothing could mar my thorough enjoyment of this fabulous telefilm.
Strongly reminiscent of the PTV era simplicity, Anwar Maqsood’s brand of witty but meaningful writing, and Mehreen’s circa Kahaniyan storytelling, Ghoonghat is one of those gems that are becoming increasingly rare in this era of TRP driven productions. Building on the literary analogy of a ghoongat this story revolves around a bickering middle aged couple who have made it their life’s mission to argue and disagree with each other about everything and nothing. What makes this one a standout is how exquisitely the writer and director trace the journey of this couple, from being constantly aggravated to grudgingly accommodating each other’s quirks.
Unbeknownst to themselves, over time this couple has become so habituated to each other, that all those things they think irritate them, are the very things they miss the most when they stop talking to each other. Ghoonghat is about learning to accommodate each other’s idiosyncrasies, learning to live together and veiling each other’s shortcomings. This also a story of giving each other space, not in the physical sense, but a mental space, one which allows others the freedom to be themselves. This one is about accepting each other for who they are, without needing to always have the last word.
Even as Ghoonghat is a delightful commentary on marriages in particular and relationships in general, I could not help but be reminded of the problems that beset us as a nation. Be it religious, ethnic, linguistic, or socio-economic, we have failed to accommodate difference. Much like this couple, rather than gelling together and taking pride in a singular identity, we continue to fight among ourselves. So busy are we in these pointless games of one upmanship that we fail to see how these differences are not only ripping us apart, but have also left us vulnerable to outsiders. If only we could pause for a bit and think through our issues, we too would realize that after six plus decades much as we talk about nasli and lisaani tazad and tafarqqa, somewhere along the way we have become a unit. There is way too much of history tying us together. High time we put our differences aside and grew together as a stronger whole.
Back to the telefilm, Mohammed Ahmed and Bushra Ansari were fabulous as the middle aged couple. His underplayed character was a perfect foil to her slightly over the top performance. I do wish though that Bushra had gone easy on her cakey makeup. Mansha Pasha looked lovely and nailed it as Sabeen, the beleaguered daughter caught in the crossfire of her parents’ never-ending battles. I hope we continue to see her in other similarly substantial roles. Mehreen Jabbar’s direction was spot on and did more than enough justice to the brilliant script. Naveed Malik’s cinematography added a whole other dimension to the story. And, a huge shout out to whoever was responsible for the selection of that house – what a beauty!
The fact that I so enjoyed this one without any background music raises the question yet again: Do we really need to have blaring music for each and every scene? I have nothing against the aesthetic and judicious use of music to enhance the narrative, but the fact that it usually tends to drown out dialogues, and more often than not does not jibe well with the happening onscreen, makes me really wish that production companies learn to go easy with the overuse of music. Here the story was absorbing enough on its own merit that I for one did not miss the music at all.
Its been a while since I’ve gone this gaga over something on television; is it just me or did you all enjoy this change from the routine as well? Do you think we need more stories like this on our screens? Waiting to read your responses!
Written by SZ~
Ghoonghat ~ A Telefilm