Mol, loosely translated as price, is a new serial that opened its account on HUM TV last week. Conceived by Faysal Manzoor, screenplay and dialogues by Amna Mufti, and directed by debutante director Ilyas Kashmiri, this serial has been co-produced by Satish Anand and Momina Duraid.
The story, as it has unfolded so far, revolves around a CSS officer Shehryar Hasan, the only child of well to do parents. That their only son is a bachelor so far, he’s in his mid 30’s, is a source of great concern for his parents, more so because he has been engaged since childhood to his first cousin, a much younger Sajal.
Sajal is our typical TV land airhead with nothing but marriage on her mind, never mind that he’s much older or that she should be doing other things with her life rather than hanging around waiting to get married. Shehyar, on the other hand, is a mature man who envisions marriage as a partnership between two emotionally and mentally compatible people, hence the simpering much younger Sajal holds no attraction for him.
Shehryar’s disciplined approach towards life and his firm ideas, about wrong and right, are a source of constant aggravation for his father, who believes in a my-way-or-the-highway approach towards parenting. Needless to say this kind of father-knows-best attitude is a source of great annoyance for a grown man like Shehryar, hence he gets himself transferred as a DC to Sukkur. And it is here that he meets his subordinate Imtiaz sahab and his daughter Iman.
By the end of the second episode, his parent’s continued insistence on formalizing his mangni to Sajal pushes Shehryar to ask Imtiaz for Iman’s hand in marriage. To say that his boss’ proposal comes as a complete shock to Imtiaz would be an understatement.
The opening episode of Mol was a pretty bland one for me. There was nothing that stood out, apart from the fact that so much of this episode was shot in the historic city of Sukkur. But even in that apart from the interior of the DC’s office, some exteriors and shots of the majestic Landsdowne Bridge there was really not much else that could be pinned down as being intrinsic to the city.
None of the actors made any effort to adapt their accents, nor did I see any Sindhi junior actors, which was a huge let down. The dialogues, particularly Naveen’s, did not sound anything near normal everyday speak. Similarly, the conversation between Shehryar and Imtiaz, dariya bulaye ga, came off as a hodge-podge of Philosophy 101, and did not jive with Shehryar’s pragmatic, get-to-the-point approach to life.
The second episode was a better one narrative-wise, as the connection between the title and the story was nicely established. I appreciated the research in to Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s Risalo and the different interpretations of Leela Chanesar’s story to illustrate the various emotional transactions that we will hopefully get to see as the story develops further. Looking forward to seeing how Amna Mufti retains the essence of this deceptively simple folktale, about love, envy, greed, lust, and fidelity, as she weaves it onto a mainstream story. Here’s to hoping this doesn’t devolve into a brainless commercial dusri biwi story. And on Leela Chanesar, I enjoyed the fakirs singing Bhittai’s vayee on the tambora in their traditional style, this was a desperately needed touch of authenticity.
In terms of writing, long-winded lines and seemingly repetitive scenes test viewers’ patience. In Karachi the talk of the khandani riwayat and the ancestral jora went on forever. The first scene between the two families easily established the ritual importance and significance of the jora and there was no need for yet another scene between the mother and daughter, still arguing over the jora. In Sukkur, the scene where Imtiaz and his wife argued over entertaining Shehryar went on for too long, and in all my visits to Sukkur I have yet to be offered coffee and sandwiches. Again some more effort at grounding the narrative into the local setting would help.
It is good to see Faysal Qureshi play a character more in keeping with his age and so far he’s convincing as Shehryar. Though from nowhere does she look like she’s from Sukkur, Naveen Waqar makes a good pair with Faysal and it will be interesting to see their equation develop as the story unfolds. Like Naveen, Munawwar Saeed too is misfit as a Sukkur-ite, but he’s a great actor and it’s always good to watch him. Imtiaz’s reaction to Shehryar’s proposal was fabulously done. Iqra Aziz is pretty and so far is good in her character as the bubble-brained Sajal. I am looking forward to seeing how she fits into the role of the other woman, Kaunro, as per the folk tale.
Mol marks Ilyas Kashmiri’s debut as a director and so far the visual narrative has been nothing to write home about and there have been no wow moments. And this actually pretty much sums up up the past two episodes – okay, nothing that stands out or has me eagerly anticipating the next episode. I will watch this one to see how the story unfolds and hope to review it periodically to read everybody’s opinions.
So that was my take on Mol … how many of you checked it out … kaisa laga?
Written by SZ~
Mol ~ OST