Uff … Yeh Muhabbat, written by Faiza Iftikhar and directed by Amin Iqbal, is the latest offering from A&B Productions. Starring Mehar Bano, Goher Mumtaz, Hina Bayat, Manzoor Qureshi, Juggan Kazim, Fahad Sheikh, and a host of other actors, this is the story of Dilkush ,a bratty, high-spirited teenager, and Sameer, a khuddar 30+ yr old, who would rather teach music than practice what he’s actually studied – psychiatry. Added in to the mix are Ghazal and Ali. Ghazal is a school teacher in love with Sameer. Unfortunately though, Ghazal’s parents are less than impressed by their daughter’s yateem and jobless suitor and reject his proposal of marriage. Also shot down is Ali who professes to be romantically interested in his first cousin Dilkush. Our heroine, however, claims to harbor no such feelings and sees Ali merely as a good friend.
In addition to being a story about the younger generation, Uff … Yeh Muhabbat is also a story of the older generation. Firdous is Dilkush’s doting single mother, and lives in a palatial house with her widowed father. Firdous’ brother and bhabhi, Ali’s parents, live in Australia. From what we saw there seems to be bad blood between Firdous and her brother. Overall, the first episode established the very contrasting personalities and social backgrounds of our lead protagonists, and ably set up the premise for Sameer and Dilkush’s first takra.
That so much was conveyed so coherently in the space of one episode speaks to the pacing of the narrative and the skill of the storytellers, Faiza and Amin Iqbal. The fact that Goher is doing so much better here, as compared to his forgettable outing in Tanhai, speaks to Amin’s ability to get his actors to perform. I only wish the director had spent as much time with Fahad Sheikh… his Ali was mediocre at best. After having seen Mehar Bano as the mazloom chaar bachiyon ki amma, it is a delight to see her play an age appropriate character. That said, though she is playing a high on life girl, there were places where Bano’s performance could have done with quite a bit of reigning in, read controlled the shrieking. She has an author-backed role so there is no reason to play it so over the top. Its been a while since I have seen Juggan perform and even though she didn’t have much to do it was good to see her. Hina Bayat and Manzoor Qureshi were their immaculate selves, and I look forward to seeing their characters fleshed out as we go along.
So far so good. Ordinarily, I would be signing off at this point, saying this was a good introduction and I looked forward to more. Unfortunately though, even with the pluses highlighted above, this installment fell way short of my expectations. To begin with the background score was all over the place. The continuous loud, not to mention jarring, music did not make for a great viewing experience. In many places it didn’t match the onscreen narrative and then to make matter worse the OST was cut into the score at various places and used almost like dialogue. Editors, please, please, note that we the audiences may not be as smart as you guys, but we do get what the actors are conveying through their expressions and dialogues. Much like what happened with Numm, here too the OST is used to the point of redundancy. Sameer and Ghazal’s walk in the park was one of those scenes that I had no choice but to watch on mute. I have no clue what went on in that never ending scene, the music pretty much drowned out all the words. And yes, I did say never ending – quite a few scenes were rendered ineffective because of sloppy editing.
Not only were there aural issues, but aesthetically too this episode was a mess – purple walls, red lampshades and strings of beads all over a single 30+ yr old bachelor’s apartment?! That psychedelic apartment, those jaunty puffs of cologne, the red helmet and the motorbike, all seemed to point to a much younger, carefree man. Given these pointers, the conversation that followed, between Sameer and Ghazal’s parents, about his yateemi n all, and the later efforts to establish Sameer as a deep, thinking man, seemed out of place. Even if I check my brains at the door, I still can’t get over the fact that tutions take place in bedrooms, high-school/college students are expected to learn music by passively listening to their be-suri teachers, a psychiatrist can teach music, or that the said psychiatrist obliquely acknowledges that his prospective patients are pagal – so much for clearing up that dated misconception! Many of the scenes that should have been funny did not come across as such. Granted the music teacher was pathetic but I did not find the firecracker scene amusing. Neither did I find Dilkush’s joke, about her mother’s alleged past, funny.
Overall, I would say this was a below average opening. A promising begining, a great OST and a fresh pairing, all rendered pretty much ineffective because of sloppy editing, horrible sound and poor production design. I have no clue why production companies feel the need to churn out one serial after another in such quick succession. A serial like this one would have greatly benefited from some more effort put into the post-production process. As it stands now with so many rough edges I am not sure if I would want to follow this one on a weekly basis. How about you all? How many watched this first episode? Did you guys enjoy it? Looking forward to reading your take!
Written by SZ~