Seven episodes in and I am happy to report that I am still enjoying Express Entertainment’s Gar Maan Reh Jaye. What had started off as a seedhi saadhi kahani of a mazloom baap, stressed out about his three jawan daughters, the eldest of whom was engaged to be married to a munh-phaar-ke-jahez-maang-ing-amma ka beta, has turned out to be quite the thriller. Thanks to Khurshida begum’s demand for a jahez befitting royalty, hamarey becharey Ameen bhai is forced to look for means to supplement his humble salesman’s salary. From here the story leaves the same old same old behind and takes on a novel twist – enter Farrukh.
He, who had initially appeared to be just another rishwat batoro-ing corrupt cop, turns out to be quite the angel in disguise. It is through Farrukh’s connections that our mazloom baap finds a night job. Without giving away any spoilers suffice it to say that while this new job pays enough to satisfy Khurshida’s demands, it also takes a heavy toll on Ameen sahab’s health. His ill health leads to him being hospitalized and after a crying fit or two, a tantrum and a half, and an almost broken mangni, by the end of this latest episode, much to the relief of his daughters, Ameen sahab is back home. Given that it was Farrukh who helped them in their time of need, it is no surprise that by this point, this hamdard, corrupt-but-shareef cop has become like a son to the teen betiyon ke abba. There is no family issue that is hidden from him, and is to him that Ameen sahab turns for every mashwara.
While Ameen sahab’s family are all fond of Farrukh, each for their reasons of course, Khurshida begum and more particularly her son Ahsan are not so thrilled with this new entrant in their midst. Being the ever so pragmatic person that she is, amma has no issues ignoring Farrukh. Naya fridge, deewar pe lagney wala TV, naya furniture, all reasons enough for her to not mess up this rishta. Ahsan, on the other hand has no interest in his mother’s duniyawi needs, his big hangup is to marry a “pure” woman. Nissa, because of her ever increasing interactions with Farrukh, falls short of Ahsan’s narrow vision of purity and he begs his mother to call off this engagement. Needless to say, Khurshida begum bhi apney naam ki ek hain. Jaan jaaye par jahez na jaaye. Placating the son, calming down an agitated Ameen sahab, she uses her wily skills and manages to get a tareekh for the nikah. What happens when Ahsan finds out about her machinations remains to be seen.
It is to Mona Haseeb’s credit for weaving such a well-knit narrative. There is much that she touches upon – corruption, complicity between criminals and cops, evils of the dowry system, problems arising from a narrow understanding of religion, importance of education, hypocrisy and double standards of our society – but all issues are deftly handled and well presented. The viewer is never left confused as to the who what when, everything is presented very coherently by the director. Overall Mohsin Talat does a good job handling a multifaceted script. That the visuals are stunning, kudos to the DOP Luqman Khan, make the story that much more appealing. Having spent a lot of time in Hyderabad I can say that the older neighborhoods have never looked this good before, to say nothing of being this clean!
Among the actors, this is Hina Bayat’s show, no questions about it. She is excellent! Gone are the Ghazalas and the Appo jis and the Mummy jaanis – she is Khurshida begum, right down to her gol gol eyes, aching knees, wobbly walk, black burqa and paan stained lips. Nadeem sahab is good as well, but I am yet to buy into his Ameen being a lower middle class salesman. His clothes, mannerisms, way of speaking, all tell a very different story. Noor Hassan has really impressed me here. Farrukh appears to be a knight in shining armor but there is something in the way Noor is playing him that makes me think there is more here than meets the eye – or perhaps it’s the conspiracy theorist in me that refuses to accept things at face value… dekhtey hain kya hota hai aagey. Bilal Qureshi is very good as Ahsan as well.
Of the three girls, Kiran Haq I find the most passable, her krazy-glued curls notwithstanding. Manal Khan looks age appropriate but has a long way to go as an actress and same goes for Sanam Chaudhry. And its not just their acting that I find difficult to watch, their perfect hair and makeup is a huge turn off as well. I really wish someone had sat down with these girls and worked not only on their acting but their overall look as well – kuch Hina se hi seekh letey. Given how perfect they look 24/7 it is very hard to take them seriously whenever they talk about their mushkil zindagi. The sisters’ interactions are the ones I find very difficult to sit through, if only the director had spared us their long scenes.
The loud background score is another huge turnoff. If someone at Express is reading this, then I would request them to please turn down the volume. Another request for Express is to please upload HD quality videos within a day or so. This serial is such a visual treat that to watch it in less than HD is an absolute travesty – zara is taraf ghor kijeye ga, thank you!
Overall, give or take a few issues, I am enjoying Gar Maan Reh Jaye. The fact that this one is an original script intrigues me that much more. Hoping that this one stays the course and doesn’t derail somewhere along the line. How many of you watching this one? Looking forward to reading your thoughts!
Written by SZ~