At last! After a lifetime of watching her mother wither away into nothing, having grown up feeling abandoned, unwanted, unworthy, and insecure, Aiman was finally standing face to face with the man the world called her father. Taufeeq Kamal. Here was the man who had turned his back on his wife and daughter when they needed him the most. How would he react to her now? Anger, fear, anxiety, apprehension, dread, you name it and she had felt it all in the days leading up to this first meeting. She knew he was a heartless, cruel man, but never had she imagined that Taufeeq Kamal would be this cold, this unwelcoming. Her drab appearance, hesitant gait and dazed expressions, all were evaluated and judged in a fraction of a second – like mother like daughter. Aiman was Zainab’s daughter hence unworthy of his attention. Taufeeq Kamal had made up his mind.
Zainab had never held any attraction for him and, going by his first impression of her, neither was Aiman worthy of his attention. Why even bother wasting his time greeting her, offering his condolences, or getting to know her. Nope, this mouse of a girl was not worth his time. Not that Aiman had expected him to welcome her in to his life with open arms, but still… she was his daughter not a random stranger… her father’s frigid reception was the stuff of nightmares.
What Aiman does not know but will eventually realize is that Taufeeq Kamal is in fact not a warm fuzzy man. Its not just her, he is equally brusque with his son Sahir. Any display of emotion is frowned upon by him. He holds himself to the highest standards (he started off as a middle-class man, but worked his way up the social ladder) and expects others to do the same. What he does not realize is that not everybody is built the same way. He deemed Zainab unworthy because she failed to keep pace with his ambitions and aspirations, his son Sahir disappoints him with his clinginess and lack of drive, and now with one look he has pigeon-holed Aiman in the same category as well. Little does he know that there are quite a few surprises in store for him. In time both Aiman and Taufeeq will go beyond first impressions and hasty judgments and perhaps learn to accept each others’ flaws and appreciate their qualities.
Layered personalities like Aiman, Taufeeq, Haider are what make Farhat Ishtiaq’s writing so enjoyable. Her characters are not just cardboard cut-outs, rather they have depth and nuance. All characters have their own stories and pasts histories and are there for a reason. For instance it is now becoming clear that Sajeela is not above playing games with people’s lives. Unlike our typical female characters, this one is a live wire. Rather than crying meray saath dhoka hua hai, Sajeela demands Mazhar divorce his other wife. For now it seems like he has given in but somehow I am not entirely convinced; he’s too much a jalebi to cave in that easily. But here’s the fun thing about these two, both are ek se barh kar ek. Though Sajeela overheard Mazhar’s phone conversation, she is not that easily phuslao-ed. Her telling off Mazhar, after he invited his brother to Turkey, indicates this woman is not one to make the same mistake twice. She trusted Mazhar once and lost her family in return… she is not a fool and has learned her lesson well.
Back in Pakistan, Aiman is gradually settling into Taufeeq’s household. Once again, like she did with Sahir and Taufeeq, Almas is helping bridge the emotional gap between her husband and step-daughter. Aiman continues to feel slighted but is gradually discovering that she is doing herself a great disservice by dumbing herself down. What is fascinating about Aiman is that on the one hand she is insecure, unsure, lacks confidence, but on the other hand she has a very strong sense of self as well. Much like Khirad, Aiman too feels insulted that she is forced to live at Haider’s house for an extended period of time. It is her ego, and to some extent her self-doubt, that stops her from going to meet Haider when he comes to visit Almas.
Interesting insights in some seemingly straightforward characters are the reason I continue to watch Mere Humdum Mere Dost. Though Aiman continues to show shades of Romaisa, and Sanam’s expressions go completely blank at times, nonetheless I am finding Sanam Jung a lot more convincing than I found her in her first two outings, in Dil-e Muztar and Muhabat Subh Ka Sitara. Farhan Ali Agha is very good as Taufeeq and I am really liking ZQ as Almas. Adnan Siddiqui is very effective as the kind and gentle Haider and Shamim Hilali is so fab as Bibi – love her! In the Turkey track, Hareem Farooq wavers at times but overall she’s good as the repentant but strong Sajeela. Her co-star Junaid is the one who is completely one note as Mazhar. This episode seemed a lot more interesting than the past ones because of fewer Sajeela Mazhar scenes. The narrative flow was much better here mainly because there were no flashbacks. My one big complaint has to do with the background score – could someone dial it down, please?
Overall, Mere Humdum Mere Dost is gradually shaking off the ghosts of MD dramas past and gradually coming into its own. Not hooked yet, but definitely looking forward to watching Aiman go, grow and glow.
What about you all? What did you think of this episode?
Written by SZ~