ThrowBack Thursday ~ Mora Piya ~ Piya Re ~ An Overview

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If ever there was a pair that was meant to be together it was that of Faisal and Ujala. It took them over six years but together they persisted and persevered till they wore down familial resistance and overcame objections to Faisal’s profession, that of an investigative TV journalist. All this because the pair couldn’t imagine living without each other. Now when they were finally married they looked forward to a life where they would share their joys and sorrows, hold each other’s hand and support each other through thick and thin. Theirs was a love strong enough to withstand whatever life threw their way. Or so they had thought before it all went very wrong.

79-59B9F7CB-A How does Faisal look his wife in the eye and pretend all is well between them. How does he absolve himself of the guilt he feels for putting Ujala in a situation where she’s brutally raped, in front of his very eyes, on their wedding night? How does Ujala pretend to be a blushing bride when all she wants to do is to be left alone, to wash away the marks left on her soul by her rapist.

Mora Piya is not a story of a couple who blame each other for all that went wrong. Rather this is one is a story of a couple so in love they feel guilty for being the cause of the other’s pain and suffering. The soul-searching, the what-ifs drive them crazy: What if Faisal hadn’t gone that night, what if Ujala hadn’t insisted on going with him, what if he had been firmer and not let Ujala come with him, what if Faisal had heeded everybody’s warnings and taken more precautions before leaving home that night, what if he had not been selfish and continued his job, even after Ujala’s dad had cautioned him so many times, what if …..

When everything changed they did too. After the initial bout of self-flagellation they realized they needed to move forward, but how? They could not pretend nothing happened, but to move on they had to first acknowledge something happened, which meant they had to broach this taboo subject, but where would they begin? 1376626_642879395732254_76457894_nCould they start the painful healing process without either blaming each other or themselves? How would they purge themselves of the guilt without hurting each other in the process? And, once a tenuous truce was reached, could their already fragile bond bear the weight of an unwanted pregnancy? What kind of pressure would this unexpected news put on not only their strained marriage, but also on their relationship with their extended family, all of whom remained blissfully unaware of the trauma and were thrilled with the news?

These are the kinds of tough questions that Faisal and Ujala face in Mora Piya. Much like in real life these questions do not come with easy answers, if indeed there exist any. Like so many others this too is ostensibly yet another shohar-biwi story. But, unlike others, this does not involve a saas-bahu angle, frothy romance, physical abuse, or the easy resorts to jadoo tona. A mature love story, Mora Piya is a bold, yet sensitive attempt to open up a conversation seldom had in the privacy of our own homes, forget about in the public media. We’d rather not deal with such controversial issues; pretending they don’t exist is much easier.

Once Ujala’s pregnancy is confirmed, the couple are faced with the ethical, moral and emotional dilemma of dealing with this unwanted baby. Faisal, tormented by this constant reminder of his failure to protect his wife, is vehemently opposed to the baby. Ujala, on the other hand, initially in agreement with Faisal, finds it increasingly difficult to consciously make the choice of taking a life. While for most couples these stresses are hard enough to deal with privately, for Faisal, unfortunately, there is no separation between his private and professional life. Ujala’s rapist is one of the crime lords he had done a story on, and Faisal was, therefore, justifiably consumed with the desire for revenge.

Piya Re

Over time Faisal and Ujala grew as a couple, not closer, unfortunately, but away from each other. He is no longer the charmer, the perfect lover of the first few of episodes, this Faisal is a bitter and hard man. Hating his status quo of a relationship with his wife but unwilling to either accept the child or let Ujala go. This is a man angry not only with himself but the world at large. He loves his wife but cannot bring himself to love her child. His dilemma is heart wrenching: How long is he to be punished for behaving like a mortal that he is? When did he ever claim to be a saint? Humans, even the most well-meaning ones are wont to make mistakes and Faisal is no exception.

For her part, Ujala too is no longer the same girl who loved life, wore a constant smile on her face and dressed in bright clothes. This Ujala still smiles, but only on the outside. Like Faisal she too is merely going through the motions. She is a woman torn and tortured. Why is she being asked to choose? How can she pick between the one who completes her and other who is a part of her. She loves both but is now tired, exhausted after flailing and failing in her continued efforts to make them love each other.

From the begining to the end Aamina Shaikh and Adeel Husain are fabulous. First as the young carefree lovebirds and later as the mora12hurting, burdened couple. Both correct in their own perspectives. Faisal said he needed time but did not how much. Similarly, Ujala too has her dilemmas. With both firmly entrenched in their positions, both right and neither wrong, where do they then find, if they ever do, a common meeting ground, is a question that Mora Piya seeks to answer.

What I enjoyed the most about Mora Piya was that rather than resorting to screaming, crying and finger pointing, for once there was an open honest dialogue between a husband and a wife. They talked to each other on equal terms. Both were right and wrong, both progressively getting equally rigid in their stance. Whether one agreed with either Ujala or Faisal, or disagreed with both, there is no denying they were both equally empowered, partners in the truest sense of the word. For writing such a powerful story that deals with a very sensitive, almost taboo, subject, for showing strong characters that stand up for themselves, for challenging the viewers to think differently, and for offering a new point of view, major props should be given to writer Mohsin Ali, screenplay writer and director Anjum Shahzad and the producers, Fizza Ali Meerza and Filmwala Productions.

The sensitivity and the aesthetic sensibility with which this very emotional story was handled is something that is quite a rarity these days. mora1Director Anjum Shahzad resists the temptation to over tell the story and for this he deserves a round of applause. Given the story revolved around the entangled lives of Faisal, Ujala, and Azaan, it was vital these actors come through in order for the viewers to empathize with the characters’ dilemmas, and in that they do not disappoint. Simply put Aamina Sheikh and Adeel Husain are excellent here. We have since seen them as a pair in Silvatein, but Faisal and Ujala were something special. There was an openness, an honesty about their portrayals that we don’t get to see everyday.

When it first started airing, in late 2011, I remember not being that gung ho about Mora Piya and the Adeel Aamina pairing because: a) Geo had obligingly revealed the shocker in their synopsis even before the serial started, and b) because I had very fond memories of Adeel and Aamina as siblings in Daam, but once the story got underway all else was forgotten. The characters’ predicament and their almost impossible options, their very real responses to their circumstances, the choices they made or didn’t make, all had me totally hooked. The chemistry between Adeel and Aamina amped up the emotional quotient of this very well-written deceptively simple, but a very powerful story. The child star Usman mora1 (1)Umair was absolutely fantastic as Azan. Supporting them ably were the rest of the cast: Firdaus Jamal, Manzoor Qureshi, Parvin Malik, Ismat Iqbal, and Benita David.

All in all, I count Mora Piya among one of my fave serials in recent times. Despite the fact it was generally dismissed as being too slow and boring I totally fell in love with it once I started watching and in fact it was the first serial I reviewed on a weekly basis. When I started writing this overview, to coincide with the airing on Zindagi, I thought I would write this from memory since I am guilty of having revisited this one quite a few times, but dekh lein … I ended up binge watching all day today, and am now writing this with a huge smile on my face.

79-64AF41EC-3I’m not quite sure how a serial with such a serious subject does that, but somehow by the time it ends Mora Piya always leaves me happy. Perhaps it is the fluent translation of the written word into a smooth onscreen narrative, maybe the uplifting message of the story, the faith this couple have in their love for each other, the delicacy with which a very sensitive issue has been addressed, the resilience of the strongly etched characters and the superb actors who became the characters, ya phir the aesthetic sensibility – whatever it might be, bottom line is that Mora Piya works because all elements come together just so, and how beautifully they do so is for you to watch and decide.

There is a lot more that can and should be said with regards to the very compelling story but I leave that for our ensuing discussions. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on Mora Piya /Piya Re.

Written by SZ~

OST~ Mora Piya /Piya Re

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17 replies

  1. Hi SZ, how are you?

    Are u some magician or a mindreader. I watched a couple of episodes of Piya Re n then couldn’t bcoz of a busy schedule but wanted to really watch this one. What I was waiting for was for a positive views on this one from someone who has already watched it to give me a Lil push. And here you come with such a beautiful overview. Muuuuuuaaaahhh 🙂

    We have seen these kind of stories in Bollywood movies (Rekha’s “Ghar” for instance if anyone remembers) but what intrigued me was such a bold concept being turned into a television serial n I wanted to see how sensibly and beautifully such a difficult story could be handled. Reading your views, I think I got a gist of it n now will definitely watch it on YT during the weekend.

    Will definitely share my views once I finish all d episodes.

    Thanks once again 🙂

    • Hey hey! @Samrita how’ve you been? How’s your new schedule working out ‘n all ? I;m good, thanks for asking 🙂

      Re: Piya Re: If you ask me, I cannot recommend it highly enough … I love love the AS AH pair here and they are fab together. Yes, I remember Ghar, but as you rightly said a serial, which is broken into 17 eps and airs right into your living room is a very different deal than a film and here PR scores big time .. except for the smoking which really got on my nerves in the last few eps, and my usual broken record type complaint of the loud bgs score there was really nothing to complain about … many complained abt the slownes and dragging as I wrote above, but for me the acting was good enough to keep me glued so I personally had no issues on that front. And unlike what we see in the other run of the mil serials the aesthetics and sensitivities are kept at the forefront here.. infact if I have to put it crassly this is an educated approach to story telling, not aimed at the masses so there are no masala ingredients here, infact you even see a marriage counselor here!

      Khair, I would love to hear what yo think of it .. because I dont want to give you any more spoilers…

      Oh and also keep a lookout for Ali Zafar’s dil jhoom jhoom in the opening ep and his other one from coke studios as well ….

      I’m really eager to discuss this one … so jaldi jaldi dekh ke aao …

      Oh, and this one and Jalpari and MeJ have been sitting in my drafts folder forever, just never got around to completing and posting them .. so this Zindagi airing gave me a much needed push, so keep a lookout for more overviews of older dramas under the throwback thursday heading 🙂

  2. SZ, I think this is your best review yet. This was such a wonderful serial, and you picked up on all the emotional nuances so perfectly. Really well done.

    I still remember Mora Piya – I had been blown away by Daam, including by both Amina and Adeel (neither of whom I had seen before), which is what drew me to this. I hadn’t seen any of the promos, so when I first started watching, it seemed like just another romance, and I certainly didn’t expect the twist even knowing what kind of a journalist he was (I though maybe, as all the parents talked about, Faisal would be kidnapped). So when the kidnapping and rape happened, I actually had to stop watching for a few weeks – it was too unexpectedly intense. But even during that break, I thought over and over again, I cannot believe they went there – to me it was so impressive that this even happened on a desi television show. And when I went back to watching, to see how they handled the rape and then the pregnancy and eventually the raising of the child – I literally wanted to hug the whole team. I still remember the scene the morning after when they decide not to tell any of the family, and having to go through the motions of breakfast with both parents. Superb. And both of them did such an amazing job with dealing with the child, in their own way – you really felt for both of them. Maybe they could have cut it short by an episode or two, but for me, the story, acting, and direction were so good that I never thought it dragged on, personally. And this is all just from memory – maybe I need to go back and binge-watch like you 🙂

    I did have a few complaints about the serial, but only because they took away from what was otherwise a great story (background music, mostly). But then I also discovered Jhoom, and I did like the OST, so…

    I’m curious as to why they changed the name to Piya Re in India.

    And since you mentioned Daam, SZ, and the fact that you have other reviews of other old serials, please consider a review of Daam, specifically an episode-by-episode review because I think a serial like that deserves that; I promise to watch along and be front and centre in the comments 🙂

    • @Amudha: Aww! Thank you– glad you enjoyed the review and found it worthy of this beautiful serial. I’m so glad you loved this serial as much as I did, ’cause I remember when I was reviewing it weekly many complained if this being a really slow serial or that it shoud’ve ended in 5-6 eps, they felt there wasnt enough of a story to merit a 17 ep serial …but see how times change .. in just three years 17 eps serials seem like they belonged to another era and I am sure if this were made today, we would def have Faisal’s colleague making goo goo eyes at him, and him involved in an extra marital affair, and Ujala doing shukk ..

      Khair back to MP, yes it was a bold subject and to take it to the extent they did really shows a lot of courage on the part of the producers… and the direction was exceptional in how subtly and sensitively everything was played out … all the characters were able to maintain their dignity and the actors were magnificent … This was Adeel’s first solo hero serial and MeJ followed after.. and for him too ppl called him a bad actor and a parchi actor LOL

      I agree with you on the annoying bgs ..by the end of 17 weeks I didnt want to hear the Mora Piya taan ever again … but yestreday it didnt feel as bad .. so I guess time elapsed makes a difference

      Re: the dragging, I found it slow on occasion too, but when I watching yesterday it was a very diff experience because there were no annoying “after the breaks” precaps and recaps .. so I thoroughly enjoyed it .. watch it again and then lets talk more … do you remember the times when Ujala leaves Faisal lipstick notes on the mirror, or when Faisal hears the news of Pasha’s death and gets out of the car top throw up .. and the ;last few episodes with Azan and Faisal … so good!

      Re: Daam: I dont know if I can do each ep, but I think we can easily divide it in three/four chunks making it more manageable for me and give us a lot more to discuss .. but yes you are right, Daam is def worthy of being re-reviewed and discussed.. can you just remind me when it starts airing on Zindagi? Might be better if we time it accordingly …

      Re: the name change, I honestly don’t know, but I hear its partly to make the more Urdu-ized names more accesible to non Urdu speakers hence MZZB and Mirat ul Uroos Durr-e Shehwar were changed .. but names like Mora Piya being changed don’t make any sense, but ppl say it is to stop the audiences from watching these serials on YT .. ab such kya jhoot kya I dont know ,..

  3. fantastic drama and review,i saw it a few years ago when it was airing and i remember quiet clearly being very shocked by the unexpected twist it was very disturbing and unsettling t watch and i even cried as ujala and faisal were screaming it was the first time rape scenes were shown on pakistani television and this topic was the focus of the story and everyone was talking about how unexpected this was it with too much.
    i however liked the serial alot it was a very different and emotional and i rememebr crying quiet a few times,this is where i developed a huge crush on adeel. its amazing how all of his serials are hit he has a good judgmet when it comes to choosing a project and script.
    its fantastic how those who dismissed it and left watching it due to the taboo subject are watching it again with eagerness after it started airing on zindagi and really liking it for the gem it is.
    the show was a hit back then but now its a cult classic.im glad people are appreciating it for what it really is, however i feel it came too soon on pak television, the audience needed time to mature to accept these kinds of stories. had the show aired now it would have been even bigger and very huge because pakistani people can accept the show on taboo subjects much better now. the fact that we watch series togeter with family affected the shows ratings a bit because we cant watch such stories with our families together coz of the ‘sharam’ syndrome but i do remember that alot of people i knew caught it online as they couldnt miss what faisal would do and how he would react next.

    btw excellent review u just made me excited to watch the show again!

    • Just dropping by. I watched this one on your recommendation and it is definitely one of my favorite!! So deftly handled by AH and AS!! I think the peace although slow was necessary to show the passage of time and the unfortunate distance between the two leads. They were torn apart by fate yet couldn’t let go. It was very realistic.

      One of my favorite scenes that is don’t and center in my memory is when Firdous Jamal finds out and embraces Azaan. He shows so much love for the boy even after he finds out the truth. You see the light bulb go on and everything becomes clear, yet his love for Azaan doesn’t waver. I truly believe that scene shows how and why Ujala and Faisal should come together. This child is maasoom and baykusoor – that moment when Dada embraces his pota you know that Faisal should too.

      • @Nur: Hello hello ji! Always such a pleasure to hear from you 🙂
        Oh yes, that was a fab scene!! Loved it, and you are absolutely right that, it was that moment that gave Faisal the cue and helped him figure out what to do … and on that note wasnt it fab how we saw intelligent parents on both sides, nobody interfered in the couple’s affairs .. they all sensed there were issues but they kept their counsel and heard them out patiently .. and even then did not offer a quick mashwara ,.. I loved loved the subtlety with which FJ’s “advise” if you can call it that was handled … any other drama and we wouldve gotten a long drawn out sermon and what not ..

        Honestly its little gems like these that keep my faith in our drama industry alive ..

    • @fifi: Hey! Thank you – glad you enjoyed the review and hope you did go back to rewatch .. would love to hear what you thought of it this time around 🙂

      Haha! Yes, Adeel H was fab here. I had really like him in Daam and then Mera Naseeb, but this one was/is one of his rawest performances so fat, IMO.

      Re: the reception of MP, I dont remember it doing well ratings wise, they changed timings etc and the biggest complaint I read and heard about was not about the subject matter but the pace. We’ve seen rapes before (and this happened very early on in the serial), but the difference was that typically the aftermath is dealt with, if at all, in one quick episode, so I know that many didnt get the big deal and complained that it was stretched out for too long .. the part I found the most interesting was that non-identification with Ujala’s dilemma … it seemed to be a no-brainer: Ujala got raped so she should have an abortion… or the other reaction was that if her husband is against it then she should go have an abortion, so given that mindset it was definitely a drag fest for the masses … that said, i agree with you that our audiences were not ready for this at that time, but then they are not ready for it even now … in fact at that time it was possible to air dramas like this, but aajkal aisey dramey ka air hona is impossible… not because of the subject matter but because it lacks the necessary “thrills” … keep in mind MP was a very sensitively handled subject sans the bad language, weird camera angles, no close ups of the rape, no low cut clothes .. nothing … compare this with a Chup Raho and you’ll see what I mean .. so even if we as an audience have become more inured, we have also become more used to having dramas spiced up 😦

      Aam junta’s reaction aside, I know those who watched MP were really into it and as you said, I too know many who watched it online to keep track of what Faisal was gonna do next …

      I do hope that those who did not catch it when it first aired or those who didnt know about it earlier will go watch this one .. its def worth a dekho!

  4. Saw this drama a year or so ago, and absolutely loved it! Such a different story and handled oh so well. Aamina Sheikh was amazing! and I like Adeel as well, i think hes underrated sometimes. They both did a tremendous job. Such a difficult and depressing topic, handled so well. Great drama. Highly recommended.

  5. This was seriously a pleasant surprise of overviewing MP.. I liked this drama so much and started to watch after one of my cousin recommended me… But After reading the review ..watched it again and i just fell in love with this one…. and maan this is simply beauty..

    The first part made me go alll awww.. The acting, chemistry, direction was so so n so good.. After daam AH n AS pairing was exciting as their sibling chemistry was rocking tou as a couple dhoom machana tou must tha.. And just looking at their natural chemistry..it was so lovely.. Specially loved that mehndi scene where faisal asks ujala to come out as he wanted to see her in mehndi outfit.. Both AS n AH were so in characters… The way aamina used to cry or adeel used to express frustration that looked damn real..

    The storyline was very different and bold.. But they showed it so aesthetically.. The romance looked so overwhelming.. I dont know why but that lipstick notes scene where faisal writes i love you, u love me, thats it.. It gave me goosebumps..even the scene where baby is born n pasha dies.. Was executed brilliantly.. I felt Ujala was more strong than Faisal.. Faisal always had that option to run away to office but Ujala.. Facing the family with fake smile was toughest thing ever..

    I also liked scenes where kiran came with her son.. Its just how ujala reacted towards baby.. Very touching.. Also when dada knows about azaan their hug was soothing…

    SZ.. Well done as you acknowledge the efforts of team MP 🙂 AS looked gorgerous through out.. Her dressing, hairdo were awesome…

    • @Rehmat: Haha! trying to keeping it interesting for all of us .. its gets kinda routine doing the same old same old 🙂

      You bring up a fab point, re: Aamina’s wardrobe .. I love her for the effort she puts into giving each of her characters a signature look and has a whole wardrobe designed around that character;s personality. Here her extensions (thought they drove me nuts by the end) and the bangles, the clothes everything was so well put together .. loved it! Now if only her hero sahab here, AH, could try to do the same .. On my rewatch I caught him wearing some more stuff that hes worn since… there is a maroon dress shirt in particular that needs to go big time!!

      Also, another great point you raised, Ujala was stronger, because unlike Faisal she couldnt run away .. she had to literally live with the rape and its aftereffects 24/7.. but on the other hand it can be argued that Ujala could cry, in our social set up nobody would question a woman crying with no real reason, but if a man did that his manhood would be questioned .. so basically he hd no escape, no outlet either … in fact though he cried in front of Ujala but even there he had to be strong for her .. so I think they both had their crosses to beat and to me that was the beauty of the script that never got judgmental either way .. both were equally strong and weak, equally right and wrong ..

      Oh man! I wanna go watch it again! 😀

  6. “Mora Piya” feeling noztalgic here.I remember I was the omlu ine who watched the whole 17 episodes ally friends left it half way claiming it was too slow.They never the desired ratimgs I guess because they did change timings and all but still managed to watch the whole show and every time I used to feel like this couldn’t get more real.AH and AS are my favoirite;just like you I too was intrigued watching them as a couple after Daam;infact I wanted this to happen and they got the right script.Did silvatein happen before Mora pya?from what I recall I think “mora pya”came first.I still think Ujala by far is Amina’s best and no other actress or no other actor cpuld have played Ujala and Faisal like they did.It’s been years ao I don’t really remember the background score being loud;I only have good things to say about this.AH and AS are simply magical together.

    • @Ruba: Exactly, so many who were really into it in the begining they too left with that too slow complaint ..but then their loss 🙂 yes this was as real as real gets and if theyd dealt with everything in two or three episodes we wouldve never really gotten the full import of this decision, and how it impacted Ujala and Faisal’s relationship .. and didnt you love how even through it all we still had the sense that both really loved each other and were trying their best to make their relationship work ..

      Silvatein happened later .. as I said it had them as couple as well, but this script was really special and made their pairing a truly memorable one.. and magical is indeed the right word!

      Btw, apologies for the missed review of JH, had guests over so couldnt do it .. but the ep was fab! IA will do a 2 in 1 tom 🙂

  7. This was a fabulous drama, obviously a very unexpected and tragic twist , but acting by both AS and AH was fab! Did slow down a little in the middle but still kept me hooked! The kid was an amazing actor, so good. It’s been a couple years since I watched it but it’s a drama you can’t forget, it was so emotional and sad throughout , you could really feel their pain proving the whole team did a very good job portraying this script and with such sensitivity.
    Thanks SZ for revisiting! I had already enjoyed Daam with these guys, and truly became a fan after this

    • @SK: Yes, that child star makes my heart ache every time I rewatch … he was so so good!! The dir did a fab job in getting this stellar performance from a child…. actually MP and Talkhiyan are two of my most fave serials in terms of how children were actually treated as individuals, with fully fleshed out characters with a proper emotional graphs, rather than mere props to push the story along, easily pushed aside when no longer necessary (read shukk).

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