Pehchan ~ Episode 1 Review

pcI’m not telling you anything new when I say that by now we are all fed up of the stereotypical roti dhoti mazloom aurat we see in our dramas. How often have we begged for this helpless weepy female to be replaced with a woman who stands up for herself, holds her own against the duniya and duniyawalas, who does not need a man to act as her spokesperson, and who strives for an identity independent of the men in her life? Kitni baar? Pretty much every time we watch a Pakistani drama aajkal, I would say. Nahin?

Today while watching the first episode of Pehchan I found myself wondering that even p6as we are critical of the stereotype of the mazloom aurat, aren’t we equally guilty of responding to one stereotype with another handy dandy one, that of the mazboot aurat? If we call the TV wali mazloom aurat one-note then isn’t our picture perfect mazboot heroine uni-dimensional as well? Come what may, nothing would faze our ideal heroine; she might suffer in the process but would ride out every storm, eventually emerging victorious with her head held high. In this version of our idealized woman how much thought have we spared to the price she pays for this distinction of being the “strong” one.  Much as we malign contemporary TV heroines for being sappy, have we left any margin for weakness in our so-called mazboot heroine? Just one tear rolls down her cheek and we are ready to peg her as yet another mazloomiyat ka ishtihar. Conversely any woman who does not shed tears, no matter how bubble brained she might otherwise be, is happily designated a “strong” character.

P8All this is to say that with Pehchan Bee Gul and Khalid Ahmed extend an eloquent invitation for us to revisit these stark binaries and re-think our simplistic understanding of mazloom vs mazboot. On the face of it Mrs. Khan is our typical sati savitri wife. Whether it it pleases her or not, whether her haircut suits her or not, this woman is willing to go to any lengths to please her domineering husband. Juxtaposed against this weak woman is the stunning, self assured Kuku. She is the epitome of our definition of a mazboot aurat. She is all that we want to see in our idealized heroine. Kuku is bold, independent, living life on her own terms, married to a man of her choosing – all the good stuff we want for our gal.  But wait… why are Kuku’s eyes so shadowed… why is she so melancholy?

Stepping behind the mirror, looking beyond the obvious, p7we meet a woman who is vulnerable and hurting. She has paid a heavy price to earn the dubious distinction of being mazboot. Her young husband who had married a khaas, bohot mehnati, bohot solid, supportive aurat, has no empathy for her maternal inclinations. He is infact disappointed in her aam aurton ki tarah bacchon ki khwahish. Even now as she threatens to leave him all he begs for is yet another handout. It is all about him, his chance to prove himself yet one more time  – at her expense. Her lover Mansoor Ahmed, though not as much of a weakling as her husband, is another one who was initially attracted to her for the challenge she posed. Kaun aisa mard hoga jo Kuku ko paa lega, he thought to himself. p3Once she succumbed to his charms he was elated,  that she was married was an easily overlooked footnote in their relationship. Once he conquered her, yes she is no more than a trophy he is proud to have won, his impression of her makes a 360° turn. This once mazboot, bohot khas aurat is now deemed as unhappy, someone in dire need of a savior – him. It is only after Mansoor reaches the obvious conclusion that she needs him does he allow himself to fall in love with her.

Like she did in Talkhiyan, here too Bee Gul plays with time ever so effortlessly. P1Pehchan is not a simplistic linear story nor does it lend itself to easy storytelling, but once again Khalid Ahmed does a fantastic job narrating a very nuanced script. The transitions between the past and present are fluently accomplished and the parallel tracks are skilfully woven into the onscreen narrative. Even as Ammi ji is celebrating her son’s nuptials we see Kuku dressing up, for a groom getting married to another woman. She, who had wanted to have her hands adorned with the mehndi of her lover’s name, now has her hands reddened with her own blood. The attention to even the minutest of details plays a huge part in creating an ambiance that sucks you right in.

p5Though an intense story, this one succeeds in walking that fine line between oh-this-is boring-artsy-stuff and the full-on-ratings-guaranteed-tearjerker stories. An important factor that keeps this one from sliding into the darkness of the narrative is the visual appeal of Pehchan. DOP Naveed Malik breathes life into Bee Gul’s vision. The stark shots of Kuku walking among dead leaves, sitting alone in an empty playgrounds, her on an old fallen tree surrounded by withered branches add so much more to texture her musings about her barren life. p2I could go on an on about the cinematography, lighting and the framing of each scene, but suffice it to say Pehchan is a visual delight.

To come to the characters, Kuku is as real as can be and is lovingly brought to life by Iffat Umar, who is back with a bang, reminding me of the Iffat I had fallen in love with way back when in Ghulam Gardish and Nangay Paon.  Sohail Sameer was good but it will take me time to warm up to his portrayal of Mansoor. I would’ve loved to have seen somebody more polished like Adnan Jaffer here. Fawad Khan was adequate as Khurram, Kuku’s immature loser of a husband. That said, it is good to see lesser seen faces and theater trained actors on TV. As a first episode this was a very effective opening chapter and I am now eager to see how the rest of the characters fit into the larger narrative and where we go from hereon forward.

It will be nothing less than a travesty if I did not comment upon the über fabulous OST. Faiz Sahab’s kalaam set to tune by Arshad Mehmood took me back to the days of those melodious PTV era classics like Yeh Dhoop Kinara,  and then Arshad Sahab’s unforgettable works with Nayyara Noor like Hansi Khanakti Hui and Main Tum Se Na Poochoon. I would be lying if I said that I did not miss Nayyara Noor, but to be fair I enjoyed this rendition by Erum Nafees just as well. The background music, Elvis Costello and Liz Callaway’s songs, fitted in so well with the story unfolding on screen. Do I need to say that my drama drought is over!?!

Finally, a huge thank you Seema Razi and Raziuddin Ahmed for once again backing such a classy project. It is great to see smaller producers (Nouman Masood being another with Ullu Baraye Farokht Nahin and Sannata) standing their ground, resisting the ratings hoopla, and willing to take risks by experimenting with a hatke story. And yes, a huge round of applause for  A-Plus for taking on this kuch alag project. Previously it was Aunn-Zara and Ghoonghat and now they are back with Pehchan. Lets hope these are only precursors to bigger things.

Accha ji, so this was my take on Pehchan… ab you tell me….what did you all think?

Written by SZ~

Pehchan ~ Episode 1 (Alternate links available here)

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57 replies

  1. Was waiting for this SZ 🙂 Happy for you specially that the drought is over….want to see you atleast once a week!
    That said, liked this first ep for all the reasons you mentioned. Specially liked the use of music and the songs sung by the actors themselves. Waiting to see how the story now reveals itself….

    • @Afia: Yes! I too am thrilled that the drought is over … tobah bara mushkil waqt guzara hai hum sab ney! Lets hope ke we dont have to go through this again .. happy with one good serial too 🙂
      Haan, Pehchan has started off well and I have high hopes.. lets keep our fingers and toes crossed 😉

  2. nice change from the usual bakwaas, looking forward to ep 2.
    iffat umar is classy,nice to see her after a long time.

    • @Deeba: Glad to know you will be with us on this Pehchan journey .. lets hope and pray this one stays the course 🙂 And yes, great to have Iffat back and that too in a substantial role.

  3. what a thought provoking review …very deep itna deep k reader k ander uter ker oos ko poori tra shake ker dalay ….first time main nay realize kia hai k hum jis baat k liay dosron ko criticize ker rahay han ek aur level per hum khud bhi oosi cheez ka shikar han lekin mujhay is baat ka bhi ahsaas hoa k her action ka reaction bhi hota hai aur action ager extreme level per ho tou reaction bhi oosi intensity ka hota hai ye natural process hai
    hamaray dramas jitni strongly aur devotedly aur quantity wise large scale per mazloom aurat ka perchaar kiay jaa rahay han wo bhi last 4-5 years oos ka reaction ya outcome hum jaisay rebellious nature rakhnay walay viewers per “masses” ki nisbat ziada hoa aur hum nay bilkul ek opposite direction main jaa ker “ek strong independent” aurat ki demand start ker di ….haan ye thik hai ye dono extreme thinking ko represent kertay han per ye natural hai jo hamesha say hota aya hai aur insaan dono extremes ko dekh ker perkh ker hi middle point ka andaza kerta hai …jo aap nay ker lia obviously is k liay jis insight ki zaroorat hai wo ek ordinary vierwer k pas nahi

    main nay pehlay bhi aap k baray main kaha tha “aap ki practical pragmatic yet balanced approach” hi mentally mujhay aap k qareeb lanay ki reason bani “BALANCE” kehnay ko ek word asan saa lekin is ka hasool asan nahi hota dekha jaye tou zindagi ka nichor ye hi maloom hota hai kahin na kahin aap nay isay hasil ker lia hai isi liay aap k reviews perhtay mujhay hamesha ek ahsaas hota hai (jo aj tak sirf apni mom ki batein sun ker hota tha) k inhon nay zindagi ko bohat “samjha” hoa hai jo wisdom aur jo sakoon aur thehrao main nay aap k haan dekha hai literally apni poori life main sirf do logon k haan paya hai 🙂 werna reviewers tou bohat han aur sab apna apna best day rahay han tou is hajoom main ager hum bhag ker SZ k paas atay han is kaa reason ye bhi hai …oh God bohat emotional ho gai main 🙂 aur maahol bhi heavy ho gaya chalo is ko light kren aur drama ki terf ayn;)

    i think aap nay her aspect ko bohat brilliantly aur precisely review main mention ker diya hai aur hasb e adat hasb e sabiq main completely agree kerti hoon 🙂 …bilkul ost is melodious and beautiful(BTW bushra’s sis ka song bhi acha tha kitna sur main gaa rahin thi tone alag piyari thi 🙂 actors main iffat ki main bohaaaat fan hoon in k lehjay ki “khanak” mujhay achi lagti hai jo shrill nahi lekin soft bhi nahi bilkul different tone hai aur pretty tou wo han hi ..alishba mujhay bilkul nahi pasand aur is ka actual reason mujhay aaj tak nahi pta shayed in ka bhi style ya way of talking mujhay strange legta hai (lisping slightly) jaisay in ko speech therapy ki zaroorat ho lekin pta nahi i like sohail sameer (LOL isi liay kaha tha almost agree kerti hoon) mujhay is role main bohat comfortable aur convincing lagay ye alag baat is qism k kai role ker chukay han…”khurum” (is actor ka naam fawad khan hai? …plz naam change ker lo 😉 totally unimpressive thay …poor dialogue delivery expressionless face wise aur tone wise bhi ..phir character k accordingly naa cute naa young aur ….bulk kuch bhi nahi lag rahay thay i hope in ka role ziada nahin ho gaa talkhiyaan kaa sab say strong point oos ki perfect casting thi mrs khan was adorable wo achi experienced seasoned actress han let’s see agay aur kon ata hai

    yes starting/opening kafi strong hai per aur main nay be-hud enjoy kia 🙂 aur haan apna waada torr dia tha k pehlay review phir epi 😦 bulk tarteeb ulat dee ..kiun….bus main check kerna chaah rahi thi waqai meri aur aap ki choice same hai yaa review perh ker main influenced ho jati hoon 🙂 …..mujhay sirf ek problem hoi aur wo different characters k monologue say thi …monologue main awaz ki importance kahin ziada ho jati hai sahi accent pronunciation k ilawa perfect mood aur expression ka hona bohat zaroori hai kiunk listener ki understanding ek blind ki tra sirf awaz ki base per hoti hai ..i think is ki perfect example talkhiyaan main young zoye thi (really sorry actor ka naam yaad nahi aa raha) aur talkhiyaan k itnay effective impression main oon ka bohat bara hath tha second best fawad khan in zgh oh God he was out standing kamal expression k oon ki awaz main simply mind blowing…third best apni “ruqaiya” aur kon 🙂 yes saba qamer in sanata…..yahan sohail was best aur baqi sab average k ooper neechay thay ..yahan kafi takleef hoi bee gul k itni khoob-sorat poetic deep meaningful lines ka qareeb qareeb “kabarha” ho gaya..hopefully next epi main behter lagay ..werna literally saari beauty kharab ho jye gi

    khalid sahib apnay best per han aur mere fav directors main ek aur naam ka izafa ho gaya hai …ab tittle per ayn “pehchan” kis cheez ki ..”self realization” ya kuch aur like cukoo said “main apnay aap say derti thi apnay aap say milnay say derti thi” aur “cukoo tanhai say khof-zada hai” ..kis qader depth hai ek strong independent lady kisi cheez say nahi akelay pan say khouf ka shikaar hai aur ek bitter reality/truth strong logon say kis qism ki expectations hoti han aur baaz dafa hum bhool jatay han wo strong han per insaan hai ..normal jeetay jagtay humaray jaisay ..bilkul thik “price/qeemat” kitni barhi aur shayed ye hi hoti hai khud ko calm composed strong show kerna hai chahay ander kitni toot phoot ka shikaar ho aisa insaan sach main tanha hota hai kiunk apni dil ki baat kisi say share nahi ker sakta even closest friends ya relatives bhi aisi hi stupid expectations oon say rakhtay han k kuch bhi ye khara rahay gaa…shayed isi liay cukoo bhi isi tanhai say derti hai is ka shikaar bhi hai lekin is realization say bhi derti hai oosay maloom hai oos ki personality k strongest point jis ki waja say log oos ki terf attract hotay han oos ko oosay pose kertay rehna hai
    khurum aur manssor ki cukoo k liay attraction samajh aye dono ka same reason tha mager cukoo kis base per khurum jaisay useless joker aur phir mansoor jaisay flirtatious insaan ki terf kiun attract hoi ager wo tanha thi tou hazaron log oosay miltay hon gay phir mansoor hi kiun

    mujhay sab say cute laga jab cukoo mansoor k her her action ko copy kerti thi 🙂 ye bhi mohabat ki nishani hoti hai kehtay true lovers mirror ki tra ban jatay han oon k actions/reactions ek doosray ko reflect kertay han yahan bhi hoa lekin one sided cukoo ki side say:) lekin iffat aur sohail ki onscreen chemistry kafi achi lagi ..ok next round fellow commentors k comments k baad (ager zaroorat pari )…werna next review per ..hopefully ye humain dissappoint nahi kray gaa ..bye bye 🙂

    • @RJ: Aap na sirf lafz balkey teh-tul-lafz parhney ke fun se bhi bakhoobi waqif hain… All I can say is thank you for taking the time to read and making sense of what I was/am convinced came across as an incoherent rambling… so your generous words are much appreciated 🙂 I am also very humbled by your comparing me with your mom … don’t think I am worthy yeh aap ka husn-e nazar hai …

      As for the episode, thank you for reminding us all of the little details that added so much to the overall ambiance of the serial 🙂 Yes, Sumbul Shahid singing, and then Iffat adding in her lines, was lovely. Actually I forgot to mention the excellent job by the editors … the seamless movement from the past to the present and then back again. The way she hit the lamp then and now … the movement from Mansoor’s house to Kuku’s house, when he was getting married and the two ladies were singing… just fabulous!

      I think we are on the same page as far as reading Kuku is concerned, what I would like to add here is another interesting facet of this “mazboot aurat,” which I think we will see play out in greater detail later is the fact that this woman has a huge ego as well… by thus I mean that she has worked very hard to get to this point where she can be called a strong woman, and for her then to show any sign of weakness,, ask anybody for help or appear weak to anybody is something she cannot bear to do at all. So yes, people do take her strength for granted/as a given, as you rightly said, but then she is equally responsible for perpetuating this infallible image as well. Remember she is also a product of our society where a woman with tears in her eyes is immediately labelled as weak. So in many ways this woman has backed herself into a corner and in many ways isolated herself, which in turns leaves her open to being seduced by the charms of an immature boy like Khurram or the suave charm of a Mansoor who deliberately sets out to seduce her, You asked why she would fall for these two .. here’s what I think … they both fill a void in her (one unconsciously the other very calculatedly) by catering to the inner most of her that desires to be treated like someone special, a precious thing. Khurram appealed to her fun loving side, a childlike side that perhaps she never got a chance to explore when she was young (perhaps too busy struggling to make ends meet). Sadly though Khurram’s appeal goes only so far … he does not grow like she thinks he would .. her disillusionment in Khuraam is more of a disillusionment of her vision of him.. b/c he hasnt changed he is still like he always was.. its she who is now seeing him differently. For Mansoor, her attraction is much more visceral. After being with a boy/man the woman in her responds to Mansoor’s manliness and remember he sets out to pursue her .. so he treats her like a woman. Given our male oriented society, where a women is supposed to be demure and look to her man for direction, I’m sure a man like Mansoor must’ve really appealed to her, a strong man who was not afraid of being with an equally strong independent woman.

      LOL! Bee Gul ne tau pata nahin kiya likha hoga main to apni reading likh di hai ab lets see how far it pans out .. but I think if the title is indeed “self realization” as you too see it, then I think it will be interesting to see how Kuku evolves in this journey.

      Yes, bechara apna FK, inhon ne impress nahin kiya. Sohail Sameer is a good actor with a lot of acting experience under his belt, so I’m sure he will be a good Mansoor, my issue was more nitpicky… going by Bee Gul’s lines, Mansoor is a polished, suave, smooth charmer, and for such a man I would not have picked out Sohail Sameer right off the bat. But again, this is more to do with me and my expectations 🙂 My issue aside, he does look good with Iffat Umar so I’m sure I’ll warm up to him soonish.

      Oh, and haan, you asked about Zoya’s name … Mehak Khan was the narrator in Talkhiyan and yes she did an excellent job with the voiceovers there.

      • @SZ: “hoi takheer tou kuch baa-isay takheer bhi thaa” 😉 …ghaib nahin thi soch wichaar main gum thi ab her kisi kaa mental level aap ki tra tou nahin jo k2 ki tra buland o bala hai…so pohunchnay main time tou lagta hai naa LOL …yun bhi pehlay ek adh din tou main review/reply achi tra enjoy kerti hoon (is kaa tareeqa kabhi phir btaoon gi 😀 khoob mazay lay ker phir comment ki terf ati hoon phir main aur meri sochain aur mera door qareeb vision (thanks to FA bara mohazab naam dia hai mere pagalpan ko 🙂 so koi ek museebat nahin per chalo haanp-tay kaanp-tay pohunch hi gai k2 per LOL

        coming back to “pehchaan” ….jis tra aap nay kukoo /mazboot aurat ki personalty k different aspects per roshni daali hai “kill ker dia” …bilkul ego sab say imp factor hai kisi bhi mazboot aurat kaa…I think is ego k bhi 2 phases yaa 2 different roles hain 1-ek aurat apni ego ki waja say hi mazboot aurat kaa roop laity hai oos ki egoistic nature k liay unacceptable hai kisi ki help lena yaa apnay problems share kerna…yaani first phase main ego reason hai oos k mazboot aurat main transformation ki (after all ye process kabhi tou start hota hai naa aur hamesha is k start honay k peechay bhi koi reason hota hai ) ….2-ek baar jab wo ye status hasil ker laity hai aur osay ahsaas honay yaa dila dia jata hai ab oos ego ka second phase start ho jata hai jis ego ki waja say wo is muqaam tak pohunchi hai ab wohi muqaam oos ki ego ko mazeed hard core bana deta hai k choonk ab wo ek mazboot aurat hai is liay osay ye suit nahi kerta wo nahi kerta yaani ab problem nature kaa nahi k osay perda daari ki adat hai bulk oos muqaam ki hifazat kaa hai jo oos nay hasil kia…

        yahan say oos price/qeemat kaa aghaz ho jata hai aur sath hi internally kisi bhi mazboot aurat ki toot photo kaa bhi..ab apni egoistic nature k against wo baat kerna chahti hai share kerna chahti hai mager wo isolation k jis shell main jaa chuki hai wahan say nikalna oos k liay possible nahi aur naa hi external factors oos ki help kertay hain ye ek cycle ki tra hai jis point say baat shuru hoi ghoom ker wahin aa gai….well ye bohat confusing hai main khud nahi samajh paa rahi main kia likh rahi hoon ek minute mind clear hota hai mager likhtay likhtay phir confuse ho jata hai….shayed main ek aurat k mazboot aurat bannay k process ko discuss ker rahi hoon k koi aurat apni ego ki waja say is safer per nikalti hai mager raastay main oos kaa zaad e raah (ego jo oos ko hosla himmat deti hai) oos ki manzal (mazboot aurat) tak oos ko pohnchata hai I think yahan tak ego ek positive role play kerti hai manzil per pohunch ker oos ki sathi ego ab oos manzil ki protector hai aur apni sathi aurat ki importance secondry ho gai hai ye oos ego kaa negative role hai…. hahaha (aap ko pta hai main nay kia kya hai…. chalo aj apna ek trick ap ko bta deti hoon lekin aj k baad use nahi ker sakoon gi 😦

        jab main apni kahi hoi kisi baat main ulajh jaon aur bahir nikalnay kaa raasta naa ho in other words baa-izzat raasta naa ho tab thori poetry yaa philosophy jhaarh ker jaan chura laity hoon…so jaan choot gai bus khushi is baat ki hai 😉

        lekin ab ek aur pehloo bhi mere samnay aa raha hai…. kia her mazboot aurat ander bahir k inhi tazadaat kaa shikaar hoti hai…yaa phir …kia waqai kukoo ek mazboot aurat hai yaa mazboot aurat honay k zoum/dhokay main hai ….kia kamzor /mazboot aurat k ilawa ek teesri aurat bhi hoti hai jo kamzor aur mazboot dono tra ki characteristics apnay ander rakhti hai shayed ye hi asli aurat hai mager ye humari nazer kaa qasoor hai jo “uni-dimensional” hai aur hum viewers oos ko kisi naa kisi category main fix ker dena chahtay hain

        pta nahi lekin ek baat jaanti hoon “Pehchaan” nay ek bohat hi thought provoking topic ko touch kia hai jo aaj k waqt ki awaz hai jis per hum sab ko ghor kerna paray gaa aur ye tou opening chapter hai abhi tou poori kitaab baqi hai chalein aap weekly is kaa ek chapter read kren gi aur hum sunain gay kiunk
        “wo kahay aur suna kray koi”

        • @RJ: Spot on! Loved reading your analysis and haan totally agree … it is her ego that is her biggest strength but then it is also the cause of her weakness .. no? Lets see .. aagey kiya hota hai .. second ep was yummmm!! Looking fwd to reading the continuation of your comment 🙂

        • @Sz @RJ this reminds me of numm days… when we dissected the play good and proper!
          mazboot vs mazloom aurat..either way i feel at the end of the day she is human. And its very human to have insecurities, fears, shortcomings and to make mistakes. Pehchan is portraying the underlying fact that an apparently strong, independent woman can still be vulnerable inside.
          like u guys said her ego is what gives her strength, and yes its this ego/show of ego that she struggles to maintain as well. How kuku is shown washing away her blood, trying to erase her mistake.. again, trying to salvage her ego, her biggest asset. but at the end she ends up in her lovers arms, crying and deflated… shows beautifully she is a human afterall.. with emotions & feelings and sometimes na chahte hue bhi, these emotions do overcome this ego…
          on the other hand, her biggest fears are tanhai aur mazboot aurat ka perception toot jana. And in this particular instance she is fighting to salvage both. she has left her husband and her lover is marrying someone else. if she lets him she feels wo tanha reh jai gi and trying to stop him will hurt her ego. She feels she is in a loose-loose situation.
          Now after her foolish suicide attempt her mazboot aurat persona bhi toot gya hai.. will she let her husband come back to her now in an effort to salvage something? or will face her face her fears and emerge as a stronger woman?

          • @FA: Let me add on to your scenario of whether she give this sham of a marriage yet another go… can a woman like her allow herself to fail at anything? That too at something as basic and elemental as marriage? Also, if she fails, then isn’t it also an oblique acknowledgment that she had made a wrong choice to begin with? Khurram was after all her choice, no? She fixed the cell phone on her own.. she couldn’t at first but she kept at it till it was fixed … doesn’t that say something about her not-giving-up-till-I-have-conquered-this-issue attitude to how she deals with life?

            • @SZ haan yeh tou socha nahin!.. Thats in line with her character but she had already left him once..and she loves mansoor now.. what if she decides she doesn’t wanna give up on him instead? lol
              then again, hubby who wouldnt give up on her is better for boosting her ego than the lover who left her to marry someone else..

  4. SZ thanks . Nice review. Thinking of Talkhiya. What in reference to Sati savitri ( isn’t it hindi phrase. ) Looking forward for 2 episod .

    • @Ranjan: Hi 🙂 Yes, Like you I too am hoping thus one will be a good solid serial like Talkhiyan. Yes sati savitri is a Hindi phrase and I used it for Mrs Khan to say how hard she worked at pleasing her husband … even getting her hair styled the way he liked …

  5. First of All, Great to have you back! your reviews were missed! Guess you cant be blamed because there isn’t anything out there worth anyones time.

    Gave this one a shot after reading your review, and it was def worth my time. Well I was sure of that after reading your review, that okay, we may finally have something different to look forward to.

    Pehchan’s opening episode gave a pretty good insight to all the characters and what we have to look forward to in the forthcoming episodes. Iffat Umer is well a seasoned actress so fits right into the role. I am not sure how i feel about the name thief “Fawad Khan”. He was a pain to watch. I hope we dont have to see anymore of him.

    Thank you!, for returning and bringing back the reviews ever so eloquently written!. Looking forward to episode 2 and your review! 🙂
    Stay awhile.

    • @Ash: Hey! Great to hear from you …. been ages! Thank you for reading the review and checking this one out, Yes, lets keep our fingers crossed for this and hope it doesn’t disappoint. LOL @ “name thief”. Poor guy, has a lot to live up to! 😉

      • @SZ: Gul phainkay hai auron ki terf bulk samer bhi….. aye khana ber andaz e chamen kuch tou idher bhi 😉 ….ab pata chala “tehreer aur taqreer” say door honay ka kia matlab tha LOL …ab aap ye sochnay main huq ba-janib hain k “door hi rehti tou acha tha” 😀

  6. Quite late with watching and commenting.. But atleast better late than never 🙂
    I first read your review, enjoyed it as usual but it made me curious enough to see the actual product and when i saw the episode i was like Oh my goodness this is it LOL 😀 your review did justice to each and every thing and loved starting paras ,.. Good job!!

    Trans – is word that comes to my mind for first epi,, right from starting till end and how director have completed the circle was brilliant… The narration though by multiple people was similar but yet so different.. Beautiful selection of songs was cherry on cake..

    As you rightly said how we tend to forget that fine line of balancing between mazboot and mazlooom.. being strong and independent not only externally but internally requires heck lot of willpower and control and seeing Kuku as our mazboot aurat it will be interesting to see how she actually becomes the real one… Iffat Umer has always been a great star but i equally liked Sohail Sameer as Mansoor.. Very charming.. So looking forward how story unfolds 🙂

    • @Rehmat: Pehle RJ and now you .. am I the only one who didn’t warm up to our man Mansoor right away? LOL! Ab I’ll check him out extra carefully in the next ep .. dekhein zara what is it that you two can see and I can’t!

  7. You can call me dense but i did not make head or tail of the story..i didn’t watch this on tv because of loading shedding,but watched online..couldn’t make out when iffat was married did she meet mansoor before or after her marriage this flash backs were very confusing..i wish the review told the storyline instead of doing postmortem of the characters ..one minute she is setting house with mansoor and in another scene she has cut her wrists .

    • @Khizra Mirza: No, no, rest assured it is not just you, the story is told in a manner which is very different from our usual dramas, so its easy to get confused. As the narrative transitions between past and present, we hear the thought’s of these characters, and come to know that Khurram, Kuku’s hubby is not just younger age-wise, but emotionally as well. He keeps coming up with new business ventures and he expects Kuku to keep financing his harebrained ideas And from what was said later by Mansoor, Kuku has been giving in to Khurram’s monetary demands through the years, but is now tired and wants out. From Mansoor we hear of his first meeting with Kuku. She was already married to Khurram at the time and working in someone else’ salon. From Kuku we hear of her insecurities, how hard she has worked to start her own salon and how frustrated she is with her married life and her childlessness. Fed up with her immature hubby, and at Mansoor’s urging as well, she walks out. Thats where we see Mansoor, her boyfriend/lover, helping her set up house. Circling back to where it had begun, we see Mansoor is about to get married and Kuku has slit her wrist. What happens next and how Alishba fits into Mansoor life and what happens with his relationship with Kuku is something we are all looking forward to!

      Hope this rough synopsis helped clarify the story for you 🙂 I hope you will continue joining in our weekly conversations about this drama. Please feel free to share your thoughts about the story//characters and ask as many questions as you like .. we all love to discuss every detail so will be more than happy to help out 🙂

  8. I liked the episode but other than the really pretty green anarkali, the gray revealing dress and sleeveless top was not a nice sight. I know Cukku is shown to be a strong woman but the director could atleast give her appropriate clothes. However, if she’s shown to be Christian, then I’m fine with Cukku’s attire.

    • @Aisha: Chalo great! I’m happy that we will be watching a discussing at least one drama together. Looking forward to more conversations with you in he weeks to come 🙂

  9. I haven’t watched Pehchaan yet but its on my list of dramas to start. I have realized that my usual go-to channel (hum) has been utterly disappointing (especially after the fiasco that was the botched up ending to Ru baru). List of dramas to watch this season thus include no Hum Tv offerings. My list is:
    Bhabhi on ARY – i really like the character of Sohai Ali Abro in this. Strong female character thus far. Waiting to see if they’ll botch it up or build it up in the next couple episodes. Strong start though
    Pehchaan & Adhura Milan on Aplus
    Mere humdum mere dost on Urdu 1

    I’m hearing good things about Bashar Momin but still sort of on the fence with that one. If you’re watching, a review would be nice 🙂

    • Hey Atika! Long time!

      You are absolutely right, Hum has disappointed big time. I did check out Bhabhi, the first ep only, and I wasn’t impressed. I thought Sohai’s character was a bit too preachy, and the other bari bahu and the saas had way too much of the typical saas bahu story going on. My biggest peeve though is when these channel run drama FB pages give out pretty much the whole story. So after the first ep, I decided to give that one a miss. Do you think its improved after the first ep? Should I give it another go? Adhura Milan hasn’t started yet, has it? The other day someone also mentioned Kaneez, starring Saima, is another one that has a hatke story and is to watch out for. Have you heard anything about that one? Mere Humdum: I haven’t yet had the courage to watch… Sanam was/is pretty bad in MSKSH, is she better in that one? Bashar Momin too I trial-ed the first ep, but Bashar Sahab’s OTT screaming and the crass sets got to me … haven’t had the himmat to go back to it again. One thing I don’t understand is why these channels dont get it that these days audiences are so spoilt for choice that gone are the days when we would stick it out for the next six seven weeks to see how the drama is going to shape up – at least I find myself getting more and more picky with what I watch. As it is even good dramas start getting to be a bit too much when they drag on for 6+ months!

      Do check out Pehchan, I have my fingers crossed for this one 🙂

      • RE: Pehchaan – I watched episode 1. I think i’m going to have to watch another episode or two before I fully decide whether i’m fully on board. I like the almost book-ish/other worldly setting of the play but I’m completely lost as to the timing of episode 1 in the grand scheme of the whole story. That scene with Cuckoo slitting her wrists to me felt like it might have been the end and the rest of the story would be in flashback. But the clip from the next episode sees her back with her husband avec bandage on wrist. I’m guessing she tried to kill herself on Mansoor’s wedding night with Alishba’s character. However, why did she go back to the husband. While watching episode 1 i got the feeling that she had left him a while ago not just a couple days ago. very confused. and i don’t like being confused.
        RE: Mere humdum mere dost – Episode 1 was okay. Its Farhat Ishtiaq so there was the very humsafar like death of the mother at the end of the episode leaving Sanam’s character with no choice but to be sent off to live with her absentee father in Karachi who she hates. Its directed by Shehzad Kashmiri so if nothing else, i’m looking forward to the direction. Despite all its flaws, I thought there was some very innovative stuff done direction-wise in Dil-e-Muztar.
        RE: Bhabhi – I like that Sohai character’s isn’t just preachy but follows up her words with actions and isn’t afraid to stand up to what is wrong. The story is sort of predictable in that her very supportive husband dies and it’ll probably be a matter of the dewar wanting to marry her since he’s so impressed by her personality (this is my guess). I want to see if the character will stick to her ideals and be a strong woman or if she’ll just crumble under all the pressures.
        RE: Bashar momin – I’m with you in that i’ve seen episode 1 and nothing since. It doesn’t help that I’m not a huge fan of Ushna Shah (I watched shehr-e-yaran for a reason i still have not been able to figure out for myself). Mom, sis-in-law and mom-in-law are watching it though and they’ve all said that its good and very happening. To me that promo with Ushna against the wall saying “i’m so sorry” with her eyes closed to Faisal Qureshi’s character looked a little bit too “50 shades of grey” and was a total turn off. I do like Sami Khan though so I may jump in now that i hear he has made his entrance.

        • @Atika: Aah! Thanks for filling me in on Bhabhi and MHMD… I’ve read the syopsis of the Bhabhi story so not sure if I wana try it again, but you are spot on about Shahzad Kasmiri’s direction elevating DeM to a different place and making an ordinary story look not so ordinary, ok I’ll try that one after a couple more episodes. I would love to hear what you thought if today’s ep of Pehchan.

  10. Loved reading your review and glad to have you back on a weekly basis for a while I hope 🙂
    The visuals are absolutely stunning but I am not completely sold on the story yet. It was quite slow and melancholy for a first episode. Why does a mazboot aurat have to slit her wrist? Is she again measuring herself on the basis of what the man in her life thinks of her? I am sorry not intrigued or excited about a bunch of sad mazboot women walking around because they are unhappy in their marriages. I hope I am not yawning through the rest of the episodes.

    • @Annie: Hey! Haan I’m very much here .. after watching the second ep I dont think I am going anywhere in a hurry.. yes, I’m hooked and booked 🙂
      As for the serial itself, I don’t think this one will devolve into a simplistic mazloom vs a mazboot debate. I think this more a story of emotions and weak moments that all of us face, whether strong or weak, and how you deal with those…I think Alishba’s character adds an interesting layer to the story and lets see what she brings to the table … I dont think Alishba’s Laila is a mazloom biwi of a philandering husband .. again thats just my take on the the serial so far… lets see how this one pans out – fingers crossed!

  11. Lol Annie!! I was thinking the same thing! I finally watched it, and seemed to be depressing, and prob need to see a few more to decide. Why would someone kill themselves for a man? I think that a woman who has absolutely no will to live because she made the wrong choices and her lover is now ditching her is very very weak, is she really better than the Mazloom auratein we see?
    But SZ great review and I liked your opening as to what is Mazloom and what is Mazboot, we indeed cannot always classify someone. Everyone is subject to various different circumstances and situations that mould them and make them the person they are. Hoping it gets a bit more cheery, but yeah the visuals were beautiful!

    • @SK: Give the next two eps a shot .. the second one is slower paced than the first one but filled with meaning… and haan Alishba looked stunning! Not sold on her eyebrows, but other than that she looked fabulous!

  12. loved it!!.. the drama and the review… both absolutely fab!!
    im a bit late to the party here.. but chalo.. saw the new post alert in my feed last week.. been meaning to catch up but the holiday period is always mad! just watched it today and was absolutely blown away!
    loved the transition from various time zones.. infact i think this was done better here than talkhiyan. What I had loved abt the book ‘god of small things’ was how the story was knitted across various times throughout, however I felt that screen play for talkhiyan was comparatively more linear. But here this was done absolutely beautifully…
    the story itself seems very dark, but i liked the overall feel…the visual.. isloo at its best…
    @SZ mazloom vs mazboot.. spot on! everyone has insecurities, and like our so-called/apparently strong aurat said, she has her own set of such.. and in a moment of weakness she proved to be even weaker than some of our mazloom aurats..
    sati savitri, mrs khan.. now that was very interesting.. i hadnt read her like that at all. but really enjoyed ur take on her. ..btw i thought iffat was gonna burn her hair there lol..
    not sold by the first hubby.. he looks much older than iffat!!! the other guy, well he just reminds me of ashk.. but i can live with that i guess..
    so glad ke theres something worth watching after such a dry period… abb looking forward to ur weekly reviews

    • @FA: Welcome back! So glad to know ke you enjoyed this just as much. I had been so waiting for something like this to come along so that we could get back in to our serious drama discussion mode.
      LOL@ Sohail Sameer reminding you of Ashk.. so true! Thankfully I have a few others to think back too, but yeah Ashk did leave us pretty badly scarred!

  13. Hi All..I am from India, I have just recently introduced myself to Pakistani Dramas, I am very happy to discover this new found treasure. I came across this forum, when I was looking for some more good dramas to watch, I watched Zindagi Gulzaar hai, Humsafar and Talkhiyaan. Talkhiyaan was so far my favorite one. After reading some of your reviews in this forum, I have started Pehchaan, I am quite excited. But I am still in the hangover of Talkhiyaan…I guess it will take days, before I will come out of it. I hope may be this one help me getting over Talkhiyaan…BTW I am open for more recommendations..do suggest me some more off beat one, non melodrama, more like Talkhiyaan. BTW @ SZ, yours reviews are just amazing,

    • @Shilpy: Hey there! Welcome aboard 🙂 Great to hear from another new friend – loving how our shared interests are connecting us online, and in such a way that borders and noundaries are rendered meaningless.

      So it seems like you’ve seen quite a few of the recent good ones 🙂 Following Talkhiyan with Pehchan .. hmmm…. not sure… they are both equally well made and equally strong stories .. but we had a year in between so while we watched with sky high expectations, after a spate of mediocre dramas we were primed and ready for Pehchan. I would be very interested to see your response to Pehchan, because its a completely diff story with a very different ambiance. I hope I’m not thoroughly confusing you, but what I am trying to say is dont go in expecting Talkhiyan .. watch with an open mind 🙂 And mind you, ab I will be waiting for your feedback on Pehchan 🙂

      Re: more suggestions, if you are open to trying current dramas, then Sanam Saeed’s firaaq has just started airing, the second ep just aired, and I am reviewing that one. Another big drama that we are all waiting for is Jackson Heights, that starts next Fri.

      If you’re looking for aired dramas, then try Mata-e Jaan, Vasl, Tanhaiyan Naye Silsilay, Coke Kahani, Sheh-e Zaat, Mora Piya, Jalpari, Daam,an episodic series Tamasha Ghar, the telefilms: Ghooghat, Tamasha Mere Agey, to name just a few off of the top of my head .. If you are an FK fan, then try Akbari Asghari, Kuch Pyar Ka Pagalpan. Hope these help! Btw, most of these are available on my YT channel Desi Rants.

      Ab I hope you wont be a stranger and we will continue hearing from you 🙂

  14. OK, just saw the first episode and I loved it.

    Our pehchan/identity is made up of so many things – our personality – the one that’s known only to us and the one that we project to others consciously/sub-consciously, our jobs/qualifications, our social status, our friends circle, our relationship status, the way we speak/react/interact with others, the way others interact with us, the books we read, the films we see, the kind of humour we enjoy…every bit contributes to what we are as a whole. But how often do we get a full picture of someone before assigning them a label? Do we have the time to understand, do we feel the need to understand, do we get the chance to understand this person before slotting them in a pigeonhole in our minds? No wonder many a time we feel surprised by how someone reacts or what someone says or does – when they get out of that pigeonhole we’ve put them in – even/especially when that someone is close to us, someone who we think we know, sometimes even our own self…

    So we meet Kuku, who appears all in control while she gets her make-up and jewellery on, appears confident, even brave. And then, the lonely Kuku sitting on her chair and with an eerie calmness, slitting her wrists – all our labels get broken then and there – how did this woman who appears so strong do such a thing? What could have driven her to this? OK, so what is she like really?…wow, what a beautiful piece of writing, brought to life by the director and the actor.

    And then her back-story starts.

    I simply loved how they played with time here. From that shocking first scene with Kuku slitting her wrists to going back to showing how and why she ended up there – just brilliant. Getting each character to talk about Kuku and Kuku’s own introspections on what others think of her and what she thinks of herself was very interesting – you get to understand not only bits of Kuku, but bits of others commenting on Kuku are opened up to viewers as well – what drives them, what are their fears and insecurities, what are they happy about, what do their opinions of Kuku say about them? Each and every input on Kuku’s character was so insightful – a technique hardly seen in plays these days… And the best part? No one is forcing judgements here, no one is telling me Kuku is good or bad, Mansoor is practical or a coward, Khurram is weak or conniving… what a relief!

    The almost theatrical set-up of the indoor scenes (especially Kuku’s hair salon/home) where all the props are placed to add to the ambience and mood of the play, to the soft OST playing in the background (at only the appropriate places) to the beautiful outdoor shots to the characters and their dialogues, I feel that the team has invested their best in the play – I couldn’t gloss over any scene or rush through any part of it – I had to give this episode my undivided attention.

    I have lots more to say – on Mrs Khan, Mansoor, Khurram and more on Kuku herself. Will add more thoughts soon. First opinion on Pehchaan – completely lives up to all the expectations I’ve built up 🙂

    • @VZ: Yay!!! You got it!!! LOL!

      So glad you enjoyed the play with time, not just backwards and forwards but parallel tracks to . Kuku’s taiyars contrasted against those at Mansoor’s house … and yes, as i said before what a welcome relief from the A–> B–> C style of mainstream commercial storytelling …

      I am so emotionally attached to this serial that every time somebody praises it or enjoys it I feel it is my personal tareef. silly me! But the fact is that serials such as these are such a rarity, where it is truly a labor of love, every person has given their heart and soul to it and then for that project to not get widely recognized or applauded is such a shame. As you follow these threads you’ll read from Khalid sahab, the producers, Iffat, and BG too .. rarely does it happen so, but this one really did feel like we were all part of a special group. analyzing every gesture every nuance, even finding meaning where at times none existed!

      You are in for a special treat!!

    • @VZ: Also Pehchan is recognition.. as in recognizing your own inner strength, your own value and your friends .. all of which apply here 🙂

  15. @VZ nd @SZ – My pehchaan with Pehchaan started on the wrong foot and was quite a misadventure. When a drama comes highly recommended then I prefer to download the eps, copy them on the pendrive and watch it on the TV big screen. So that’s what I had decided to do for Pehchaan as well. That reminds me, SZ thank you so much for uploading such HQ videos on YT, it doubles the viewing pleasure 🙂 Anyways it was holiday time for my kids and I decided to start watching it as there were still quite a few days for their school to start and I was getting bored and impatient. So I started and my daughter too was playing around. But I knew it was inevitable that she would be drawn to the screen, but I thought she wouldn’t be much interested. So it started with the wedding festivities going on and the songs and my daughter was glued to it coz of the songs and so was I. And then the isolated figure on the terrace crooning the song and then all of a sudden her slashing her wrists totally took me aback and I realized this is no drama to watch around kids and I quickly switched it off. BTW my daughter, all of 7 years did ask me why I had turned it off. LOLThen when I again started watching, I was so tired that time that I dozed off mid-way. 🙂

    Anyways I found the first ep confusing. Didn’t figure out until much later that the wedding festivities were happening elsewhere and the girl all dressed up (and literally no where to go) and slashing her wrist was elsewhere. A fleeting thought did cross my mind that I should just stick to DeD where everything is spelled out LOUD and clear. But the after I week I continued again and it is engaging. I always prefer dramas that deal with the complexity of human nature and relationships that dramas that merely tell stories and this surely is the former. Kuku is the main protagonist I assume and I am reserving my judgement on her for the time being, though I have no such qualms regarding the 2 men, who r already getting on my nerves, the husband more than Mansoor for the time being. I do find Mrs. Khan a very interesting lady. IMO she’s a lonely soul and is quite fond of Kuku. I like their camaraderie, though she may appear as busy body, but I think she really cares for Kuku. That was my first impression of Pehchaan.

    BTW don’t know in which ep it was, but didn’t Mansoor slip a ring into Kuku’s finger? So I guess he did want to marry her, but couldn’t coz she is already married?

    • @Radiant: Aha! Now that makes perfect sense .. yes .. unlike our other dramas Pehchan cant be watched when multitasking and with kids around.. so yeah once you are by yourself in “that” zone then you watch and it makes sense …

      And its not just the first ep but throughout where its not just paralleling the two tracks, Kuku and Mansoor’s, but also going back and forth between Kuku and Mansoor’s affair and now this marriage . so yeah not making it easy at all for the viewer.. As BG put it, stories like Pehchan require a particular kind of director, actor and viewer to make it all work, of course she put it much more eloquently than me 🙂

      Re: Kuku being the main protagonist, actualy watch and see, yes Iffat Umar is certainly the senior actor here and the story starts off around her, but as you watch Laila becomes an equally integral character and then Mrs Khan is another enigmatic personality .. simply put there is noting here that can be translated as the same old … like in Talkhiyan, no hero heroine, but plenty of grey and darkly shaded characters around. And yes complexities galore .. if you read through some of the reviews and comments .. lots of interpretations but never a right or wrong .. and we had a ton of fun nitpicking here ..

      That ring thing happens, but watch and see and appreciate what an operator Mansoor is … we have to get @FA on this thread,.. she’s a huge Mansoor fan and even had a hamdardi ka bukhar for him .. but LOL she soon got over that …

      Anyways as you guys can see I’m still up for Pehchan .. so keep commenting and lets see who else joins in 🙂

      Oh and fun fact.. Khurram’s real name is Fawad Khan and hes from the theater ..but bechara, the first few episodes there was endless convo about his name, and unfair comparisons being drawn b/w him and FK 🙂

      • @SZ Lol @ Mansoor’s fan.. Yes there was a hamdardi ka bukhar but let me get this on record: I was never a fan of Mansoor. lol ..Without leaving any spoilers, I can say Mansoor is one hell of an operator!.. In the beginning Sohail Mansoor was the Ashk guy, but after Pehchan he will always be Mansoor for me..
        @VZ @Radiant We discuss kamzor, mazloom aurat vs strong /mazboot aurat in other threads. But this opening ep had questioned these labels so beautifully.. no? What makes a strong woman? How strong she really is?..

  16. Before I post more thoughts on characters and the like, just wanted to mention – Kuku was hardly doing anything with Mrs Khan’s hair, lol. No wonder the salon looked a bit empty-ish!

    Re: Mansoor – he’s a smooth guy alright – I thought the actor playing him (Sohail Sameer?) was so right for the role – love his voice and charming ways. No wonder at all that Kuku fell for him… And looking at Khurram and his antics, I can well and truly understand why Mansoor must have appealed to her. But here I go again, assigning labels…

    SZ – yes thanks – Pehchan in the sense of recognition, kisi ko pehchaanna… The play is so rich – everything is up for discussion – music, props, lighting, the characters and then the story, the situations, everything comes together and every single thing has been thought through so carefully that you are constantly looking for why something’s been put in a specific way to why someone said something… I must admit my first thoughts this morning were about Kuku and co!

    And yes, the play with time – forwards, backwards and parallel too – just loved how it all came together. And makes the play so engaging, you just have to be in that world with those characters. Completely focussed.

    Radiant – I can imagine what a shocker it must have been to watch that wrist slitting with a child. I do lament that there are no ratings or guidance on TV dramas like they have with films. Will reply to your comment soon, but thanks for being my partner here! And SZ, your company is always appreciated 🙂

    • @VZ re the salon looking a bit empty-ish : check out our theories on this and discussions on Kuku’s hairdressing skills.. I was scared she would burn her hair here! kia yaad kara diya.. 🙂

      Transition in time was beautifully handled in this ep.. haina! As far as I remember the rest of the play is more linear.. we don’t see as much of to-ing and fro-ing, but still very interesting!

      @Radiant Oops now that must be disturbing! That scene was pretty horrific, even though perhaps it’s not as graphic as the HS scene… but more effective on another level.. I remember her sitting in a pool of light in red & the shot of her hand/arm hanging lifelessly over the arm of her chair… There was darkness all around her.. #haunting

  17. i have completed 7 eps. and must say Mansoor is a real charmer. He sometimes reminds of of Fawad Khan (the original one;)) or rather Zaroon and I am liking the actor. Ah for the actor playing Khurram, twhat a namesake to live up to! LOL. Will gv my take in d other threads.

  18. OK, more comments (still on ep 1):

    Kuku’s men: I think almost all women like sometimes to look after and sometimes be looked after by men and in Kuku’s case, she has Khurram to look after (sometimes their interactions felt more like between a younger brother and an older sister, more than life partners) whereas Mansoor – he’s the one she leans on and for his part, Mansoor not only plants the idea that she needs him, but keeps reiterating how meaningless and dry her life currently is and how lovely it could possibly be… With Khurram, Kuku has to be all practical while with Mansoor, there’s a dreaminess, there’s possibilities, there’s fun…

    Both men give her their versions of “oh you are too brave/smart/independent to want xyz from life” – in Khurram’s case, it’s babies and in Mansoor’s case it’s Khurram. Isn’t it funny how being strong/smart/independent can be such a double-edged sword?

    Mrs Khan: My first observation – here’s a lady with time on her hands. She is perceptive too, she figured out something was strange about Kuku that day – but she didn’t pry…why? Did she want Kuku to come out and talk about it herself? Did she feel it was not the right time to talk to her? There were just the two of them there, still Mrs Khan just made a mental note of Kuku’s state and left. The whole “picking a hair style that Mr Khan would like” bit was telling as well… on the surface, Mrs Khan seemed happy to be playing the flexible wife who moulds herself to her husband’s every wish, almost an antithesis to Kuku, but somewhere I felt she was holding something back…

  19. SZ, sorry for this piece-meal commenting, but I am reading through your review and wanted to pick up on some things you’ve mentioned:

    1. “Much as we malign contemporary TV heroines for being sappy, have we left any margin for weakness in our so-called mazboot heroine? Just one tear rolls down her cheek and we are ready to peg her as yet another mazloomiyat ka ishtihar. Conversely any woman who does not shed tears, no matter how bubble brained she might otherwise be, is happily designated a “strong” character.”

    Is that really the case? I mean, take a couple of examples – Zara in Daam, Zee in Malal, Salma in Jackson Heights are all examples of strong women for me – the reason is choice. When Junaid comes back or Danish asks to marry Zee in the end or Salma’s husband’s repentance it is ultimately the female characters who take a call. And they have each shed their fair share of tears, they’ve made less than perfect choices and decisions, they’ve learnt to live with mistakes they’ve made – don’t we still call them strong? None of these characters are mazloom…so I wasn’t clear about the point you were making…could you please explain? Thanks! Sorry to trouble you…

    2. “Sohail Sameer was good but it will take me time to warm up to his portrayal of Mansoor. I would’ve loved to have seen somebody more polished like Adnan Jaffer here.”

    For me Sohail works because there is a certain “not-so-perfect”ness to the character as I see it – there is something in Mansoor for Kuku to “work on”, like a project, a boyishness in the man. I don’t see him as a perfect guy and in my opinion, Adnan Jaffer will suit a more “perfect” guy character like he did in JH. Not sure if I am making sense here…

    Agree with you on Khurram – Fawad Khan the Second has a long way to go! May be he’ll get better as the episodes go by?

    3. Kuku’s ego – more than ego, I felt it was like a protective wall built all around her and even from her own self. She doesn’t want to know herself or be with her own self (in fact she used the word khauff I think). This is something that reminded me of Mehrunnissa of SeZ – she too was resolute in not looking inward, almost completely avoided introspection because probably it was just too scary? Have I completely misunderstood this bit of Kuku’s character?

    • VZ interesting that u should mention Zara in Daam and Zinia in Malaal. BTW had forgotten to mention, but I have watched Daam too. Many felt Zara should have given Jawed a second chance, but there are some situations in life, where there is a point of no return and that was the case with Zara. There was too much water under the bridge for Zara and Jawed to make a new start together. And I am glad that Zara decided to move ahead and resume her life with a clean state and no past baggage. Though did feel bad for Jawed that he suffered, through no fault of his.

      As for Malaal, thank God at least in the end Zee had the good sense to reject Danish’s proposal. This is the one big issue I had with Zee, was that she repeatedly let herself be used by Danish. And dat reminds me, I really likes her friend Lily, who gives it straight to Zee regarding Danish and I liked her equation qiht her husband too.

      So yes VZ I do agree that this labeling of strong and weak characters, especially the well thought out and well-etched ones is faulty.

      @VZ don’t read further if u haven’t progressed in Pehchan, but now that it has been brought up, Zee-Danish-Mahi story seems kinda similar to Kuku-Mansoor-Laila one, though I suppose Pehchan is much more darker and Khurram is as far removed from Javad as anyone can possibly be.

      • Radiant – thank you for your comments, really enjoying this conversation 🙂

        Re: Daam – again, a superb drama from Mehreen-Umera. I thought Zara did the right thing by moving on, instead of getting back with Junaid. I felt that somewhere, their love story was a bit weak – Junaid accepted Maliha’s words that Zara got married and he did move on didn’t he (even if it was for the sake of his sister) and get married to Fiza? And had a child with her? Zara has this depth to her, she doesn’t reveal her innermost thoughts and feelings to anyone – not to Maliha, not to her sister, not even to Junaid. May be in her heart of hearts she would’ve liked Junaid to have come after her and not relied on what Maliha told him, but that never happened. All said and done, I don’t think Zara could’ve lived with Junaid after what Maliha said and did – that relationship was just too broken to be mended. So I was happy she found Hasan, but I do wish someone other than Humayun Saeed had played that character – someone charming like Fawad Khan would’ve made the end more palatable to me, lol…

        Re: Malal – Zee needed some time and space away from Danish to move on, but Danish never really let her move away. He was repeatedly interfering in her life, even as he was happily carrying on with his. Zee’s character is the sort who finds it difficult to say no, especially to Danish. Remember, the play takes place over a span of a few months, whereas Zee and Danish have been friends for 10 years. A relationship like that does take a long time to heal when it gets broken or the dynamics change. To her credit, Zee never crossed any lines once Danish was married, she never ever encouraged him, in fact she kept trying to show him where the limits are (eg when he tries to complain to her about Mahi after their fight). But when Danish asked for specific favours (like looking after Mahi), she couldn’t outright refuse, which I think goes with her character. I loved Lily and her husband was very understanding and mature too. The way Lily “interviews” Jawad was fun! And I agree with you, Lily said it like it is and was a very good friend to Zee 🙂

        In both plays, I love how the emotions are subtle and underplayed – when Zara or Zee cries, it is done in a quiet, dignified way – MJ is very good like that! Compared to the hoopla we are seeing in DeD, these plays show us how even very strong emotions can be conveyed in a gentle, non-OTT way – and they end up making us teary more than all the chest-beating and wailing we are seeing in DeD…

        I am planning to watch episode 2 of Pehchan tonight, will leave some thoughts in the ep 2 post… once again, Radiant, thanks for the company! We must catch up on DeS too 🙂

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