After an insightful and engrossing last installment this latest episode was more of a slow plod, focusing mainly on Haider’s past and shedding light on Sajeela’s connection to the main track. While I appreciated the insight, a nicely done segue from last week’s cliffhanger, Mazhar asking Sajeela why she’d married him, I didn’t quite get the need for dedicating an entire episode to this long-winded flashback. Rather than spending time on closeups of various monuments, pictures of eminent Turks, and the shaadi ki taiyyaris, it would have been great if the present had been intercut into this narrative of the past. I wouldn’t have minded Haider and Sajeela’s thandi thaat love story as much if we had gotten parallel scenes of the present day Karachi track. In its stead what we got was a loosely edited episode with long scenes that seemed neither here nor there.
The episode started off well enough with Haider in Turkey on a business trip. I enjoyed Haider and Sahir’s frank discussion about his step-sister, and liked the gentle manner in which Haider managed to quell his fears about Aiman. After this, however, the episode went gradually downhill. Maria, Haider’s sister, seemed way too young to be a mother of two kids, both of whom were supposed to be older than five years of age. This issue, of who was how old when, kept coming up throughout as Haider took strolled down memory lane and re-visited events that took place five years ago, when a freshly graduated Haider had come to Turkey for an advanced course in human resources.
Looking back, Haider remembers reconnecting with his childhood friend Sajeela, Almas’ sister. In a matter of days Haider fell in love with her, and after a whirlwind courtship the two get married with full blessings of their happy families. On paper all this sounds romantic, unfortunately though there was zero chemistry between the pair onscreen. Adnan Siddiqui is a very good looking man, no doubt, but there is no way he can pass off as a young man in his mid to late twenties. Despite their best efforts, Hareem and Adnan looked more like casual friends rather than a couple in love. The various efforts to illustrate their growing closeness – trips to museums, cozy dinners, omelettes being passed off as half fried eggs, gharelu totkas, exchanges of coy glances– all fell flat. Conversations about shaadi, various joras and zewar, and a very young Sahir showing off his dance moves appeared unnecessary. I get that the flashback was necessary to illustrate the extent of Haider’s present day heartbreak and his subsequent attitude towards Aiman, but I can’t help questioning the need for so much detail. Also having seen how well Farhat has dealt with time in her earlier serials, I cant help wondering why the past was shown in such a linear fashion? A more innovative weaving in of Haider’s present trip and his memories would’ve made for a more interesting watch.
Throughout, I kept thinking about the difference an experienced director makes as to how a story gets translated on to the screen. Humsafar was not an extraordinary story, but Sarmad’s understanding of Farhat’s characters and their emotions kept us glued. We fell in love with Khirad and Ashar and the rest as they say is history. Similarly with Mata-e Jaan. The fluency with which Mehreen handled transitions between the various tracks, and worked in the flashbacks meant that even as we questioned the chemistry between the lead pair, we remained hooked. To this day Hajra remains one of my most favorite characters ever. By contrast, even after seven episodes, despite its emotional pull and well-etched characters Mere Humdum Mere Dost is yet to make its mark.
Though the precap promises more flashbacks here’s to hoping that next week brings us a more engaging episode.
Written by SZ~