After a relatively ho hum opening last week I wasn’t exactly holding my breath for the second installment of this latest take on the Cinderella story. But after smiling my way through this latest episode I am happy to report that I thought this one to be a vast improvement over the previous week. Yes, there was still way too much talking in Romaisa’s ghareeb family, and all the brouhaha over a used car in Nabeel’s ameer family was too much to swallow, and not to mention also brought back bad memories of Mirat ul Uroos. Nevertheless I enjoyed the juxtaposing of the loud OTT politicking in Romaisa’s family with the subtle but equally insidious planning and plotting taking place in Nabeel’s house. While I am yet to be swayed by this oh so routine story, stereotypes n all, I am enjoying the fresh, crisp manner in which Sakina Samo is narrating this one.
After all the beating around the bush last week I’m glad we didn’t waste more time and right off the bat were introduced to Nabeel’s younger brother and almost-wife, Zeeshan and Rabia. Though too early to tell how Adeel Husain and Mira Sethi will shape up here, I liked the first look at this fresh pair, although I did keep expecting my beloved Chotu to stick his head around the corner somewhere somehow. Adeel Husain seems a good fit for his character of a police officer, this career choice also helps explain Zeeshan’s reigned in, intense personality, glimpses of which we saw in the promos. At first glance Mira’s Rabia sounds a bit too close for comfort to Natasha, the choti behen from hell in Silvatein. Hopefully there will be some more nuance to Rabia’s so far uni-dimensional character. That said, I liked Mira’s more polished look here and loved the red outfit she was wearing in that first scene.
Like Romaisa’s khala’s bursting at the seams house, and unlike most of our other serials, Nabeel has not just one younger brother, but an older brother and younger sister as well. While I am not looking forward to watching all these leech like relatives in action, it is good to see a more representative family on TV. Ali Tahir and Tara Mehmood made a good pair and while Ahmed Hassan is good, Hira Tareen has a long way to go yet. It is always such a pleasure to see Naeem Tahir and here too he leaves an impression. Annie Zaidi has been away for a long time and it showed in her stilted performance. Nonetheless it is good to see different faces and I am glad that MD cast a wider net when it came to selecting actors for this serial.
Wrapping up the introductions, the episode ended with a quick look at our hero sahab, Nabeel. Mikaal looks appropriately haseen, as his mother calls him, in his new bearded look. Even from the little we see of him today, it is evident that Mikaal has turned in a good performance here. A director’s actor, Mikaal tends to vary a lot depending on what is asked of him. His lackluster outings in the ongoing disaster Mujhe Khuda Pe Yaqeen Hai, the recently concluded forgettable Ek Kasak, and the earlier dragged out Mirat-ul Uroos, are in sharp contrast to his more memorable performances in Shehr-e Zaat and Durr-e Shehwar among others. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping to see some great moments from Mikaal and Adeel here.
Alongside Nabeel’s story, deftly woven into the narrative was a closer look at the Romaisa’s family. Though completely mad and totally OTT, khala’s tabbar is hands down the winner for the more interesting, not to mention fun family. Gone are the niceties and polite rivalry we saw in Nabeel’s family. Here its a free for all and each woman for herself. It is hard to pick who is the zaniest one of them all, but Mansha Pasha’s Aliya is a complete scene stealer here, with Farah Shah’s khala running a very close second. These two ladies are simply fabulous and do complete justice to their sparkling lines. I love the way the director has gotten them to step out of their skins and go wild. I wish these two ladies make it to the very end, where their kooky take on life will be much needed to provide comic relief from the tears that are sure to come.
Now on to the part that so far is just not clicking with me. Romaisa, the pivot around whom the story revolves. Sanam Jung has yet to make any kind of an impression on me. She looks the part but that’s about all. The scenes where she heard her father’s voice and woke up to look for the subh ka sitara, were beautifully shot and the ambiance was just right, but Sanam failed to deliver. In other scenes too, she was too forgettable, too easy to overlook. There is nothing about Sanam that compels one to focus and feel for her Romaisa. I sincerely hope that she comes into her own sooner rather than later.
To wrap it up, this was a much more happening and entertaining episode than last week. The pace was appreciably faster. We not only met Nabeel but his family as well. The web of familial relationships was laid out well, and their character traits were spelled out in quick succession. In Romaisa’s family too we got a closer look at where Romaisa stood in terms of family hierarchy and her khala’s priorities. What did come as a pleasant surprise was a hint of goodness in Aliya’s character. She is self-centered for sure, but whether she is intentionally mean is something that remains to be seen. The episode ended with a shot of a very smitten Nabeel. Given that our heroine sahiba is such a babe in the woods I wonder how much mehnat hamarey hero haseen sahab will have to do here – Nabeel certainly has his work cut out for him next week!
Written by SZ~