Preet Na Kariyo Koi ~ Episodes 8-11 Review

PNKK

Had this been the only serial I’d been watching in recent times I would’ve seriously questioned all those complaining of deterioration in drama standards. Boasting a novel plot, intelligent writing, great narrativization, on-point aesthetic sensibility, and some fabulous acting, Preet Na Kariyo Koi represents what I would ankh band kar ke call the quintessential Pakistani drama.

I am, unfortunately, a serious follower and know that all of us complaining are not doing so in vain – in the past few years our dramas have infact touched new lows and continue to sink deeper. But then just when you think all is lost along comes a serial like Preet, a reminder of all that used to be good and great about the drama industry; when serials had a purpose other than filling available time slots and a stories were less of checklist, of things required for high ratings, when it was about flexing creative muscle and experimentation and innovation were the name of the game, and when audiences were taken seriously as intelligent entities rather than passive mindless beings easily pacified with colorful and shiny wrapping.

Eleven episodes in and I am totally into Preet, appreciating the deftness with which Amna Mufti and Ehteshamuddin are controlling the narrative pace and unfolding Shagufta Shams’ story. A far cry from the pampered, carefree Goshi who lived with her doting father and loving family, this newbie politician is a woman who has seen more in the past couple of years than most people go through in an entire lifetime. Though she seems to have gone through it all with her head held high, the fact of the matter is that she’s been flailing even since the day she got married. Up until the morning after she thought she had the upper hand, but with Shams dropping her off at her father’s house her luck too seemed to have taken leave, leaving her high and dry, helpless and abandoned.

When we first met her, Shagufta was looking for a man who would protect her, take on the world for her sake, and this was the reason why she pursued the ‘manly’ Shams and rejected the masoom sa Ilyas, but now fast forward a few years and we see a complete role reversal. Rather than Shams it is she who is fighting his battles, it is she who is Shams’ bulwark against the world at large. So far Shagufta’s so in love and so busy running from pillar to post, to save her husband, that she’s not recognized what is really happening. The husband she believed to be her knight in shining armor is turning out to be no more than dead weight holding her down. He was never the hero – she was!

Like legions of young girls who grow up on a steady diet of romanticism and idealism, Goshi too grew up looking for her very own swashbuckling hero. And now that fantasy has come back to haunt her. Were Goshi to reflect she would see that there was never any need for her to seek security and protection outside of herself. Fairy tales are just that – tales. Imaginary and fantastical, not real and practical. But for people like Goshi such lessons can only be learned through first-hand experience. That such a day will come for Shagufta is a foregone conclusion, but when and how it happens is something we will have to wait and see. Hopefully it will happen before Shagufta’s loses everything. So far, as poet Amir Meenai puts it: Sarakti jaye hai rukh se naqab ahista ahista. 

To put things into perspective, Shagufta’s losses began the day she met Shams. First she lost Ilyas’ unquestioning, unconditional love, later her entire family lost their trust in her, Shams abandoned her, her father died, this was followed by her family throwing her out, then Shams went to jail, Suleri too offered empty promises and fled to London … the list is endless. Amidst all this darkness though, there are a few fluttering lights of reason, but so over encompassing is Goshi’s blinkers-on love for Shams that at the end of the day she wills herself to shut out everything and only heed her beloved’s wishes.

Unlike his ‘ishq mein andhi wife, however, Shams’ sole concerns are he and himself. All of Goshi’s sacrifices are taken for granted, her obligation as his wife and his just due. Forget about all the trials and tribulations she’s gone through as a single mother without any financial or emotional support, nor is he concerned about how Shagufta is dealing with a player like Suleri, all he cares about is his freedom. Such is his mardana ego and pride that the fact that Suleri might actually consider his wife more worthy than him has never even occurred to him.  Not once has he paused to think about his extended jail sentence on trumped up charges – surely it wouldn’t have been much of a stretch for a man like Suleri to have gotten him free a while ago?

As for Suleri sahab, he is the consummate politician. An urbane man of letters, reciting Ghalib in persian, he knows exactly which buttons to push where. A jab here a pointed remark there, this man is devil incarnate, but oh what a charming devil! For Yazdani, Suleri’s time might’ve come to an end, but from where I’m seeing it, Suleri’s at his peak as puppet master extraordinaire. The way he’s manipulated both Shams and Shagufta and gotten both of them to do his bidding is lip smackingly delicious. Goshi’s transformation as mohtarma Shagufta Shams was brilliantly handled. His spin on Bhola’s ‘qatilana hamla’ was oh so reminiscent of all the back and forth bayan baazi we read in the papers on a daily basis. With the precap showing him returning home next week it will be interesting to see how Suleri handles Shams’ demand to be re-included in the party.

Even as Preet is all about Shams and Shagufta, it is great to see other characters developing alongside as well. It was sad to see Maryam looking listless and literally in mourning (with her black outfit) about her marriage, while her husband is still unable to come to terms with his uncle’s death. Also deeply affected is the young Bhola (wonder why he hasn’t grown an inch in the last two years). But even as we see the family distressed by Goshi’s entry into politics and blame her for their badnami, it is interesting to see how they fail to realize their own contribution to where she stands today. Had they not disowned her as completely as they did, perhaps Goshi would have been in a very different place today? Why does khandaan ka naam and hamari izzat always trump concerns for a daughter’s well being? Did they ever worry about how she was feeding herself and her baby?

As questions go, Amna’s writing is brilliant in its critique of our social and political set up. She’s written a lot of other stuff since Ullu Baraye Farokht Nahin and Dil Muhalley ki Haveli, but with Preet she is back to telling the kind of stories she tells best, with a characteristic dark humor and sense of irony. Ehtesham is doing a fabulous job bringing this very complicated story to life. After a long while I’ve seen visual narration not just complementing but actually enhancing the written word, for instance the scene in the last episode where Suleri talks about Shams’ family illuminating the world together, but then his actions saying the complete opposite, him closing in on Shagufta and cutting off the light, ‘eclipsing her’ as a friend put it,  was absolutely brilliant. Kudos to the director and his DOP for the visuals on this one. The editors and sound people too deserve a huge round of applause for delivering a very slick end product.

Of the actors, Rehan Sheikh is magnificent as Suleri sahab. Hira has worked very hard and put in a performance that I don’t think any of us expected of her. Adnan Shah Tipu leaves an impression each time he’s on screen. Hasan Noman was very good today as the depressed Ilyas, and once again I’m in awe of how he’s managed to play with the the soft and hard r’s. The actor playing Yazdani is also very good. Mira Sethi’s kept me interested in her Maryam even though we hardly get to see her. I am eager to see what role Ilyas and Maryam and Bhola will continue to play in Goshi’s life. Ahsan Khan hasn’t had much to do in the past few episodes, but I am looking forward to seeing how Shams evolves as he begins a new chapter of his life next week.

Written by SZ~

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10 replies

  1. Fab review SZ. Thank God (and the entire team of PNKK) for this one show that is making sense nowdays. Love it, love it. love it.
    Kaash koi aur bhi inse seekhay…

    • @afia: Haina! This one, ke jis se koi khas aisa aasra bhi nahin tha is really turning out to be the surprise of the year … agree with you this one is fab!

  2. Great review SZ! I love this drama. So many brilliant moments.
    I’m glad you touched on the visuals. Numerous beautiful frames. There was one a couple of episodes ago; beautiful play on light and shadow with Shams in his cell. This last episode Shagufta coming back to her empty family home was wonderful. No dialogue or music needed. The camera told the story.

    I am so impressed with the actors. AK, though MIA, has had his moments. In the scene where Shagufta tells him she has started working for Sulehri Sahab we saw the light go out of Shams’ eyes…slowly…replaced with something of a mixture of disappointment and envy. Another scene where Shagufta is practicing her speech and SS watches her. It’s a brief shot but so brilliantly portrayed. And I think Hira S is doing a great job portraying the intensity of the character. There are moments when there is a naivete to this character and yet there are times when I think she’s playing the game but is smarter than Sulehri Sahab and Shams put together.

    I thought Sulehri Sahab was the most chilling character but the young Bhola beats him hands down IMO. From the time he dragged his much older sister and told her to get out of the family home, to the current ‘izzat-under-siege’ with him pulling a knife on her, the hypermasculinity in training is disconcerting. I recently saw ‘Josh’ and there was a similar character there; same age.

    Couple of other moments…
    …Enter Zarina
    …what about that parallel conversation between Shams and Shagufta at the jail? She’s talking about Noori and he 🙂

    Finally SZ, I am trying to figure out the relationships these men have with Shagufta. The lawyer-mentor who told her not everyone does things for selfish reasons alone. Then there have been a couple of scenes with Sulehri Sahab touching her and the camera zooming in. Since these dramas don’t portray any physical expression (or very little) between couples I am wondering what’s platonic and what’s not. Should we read between the lines? Or is it a sign of what’s to come?

    Can’t wait for the next episode.

    • @JR Yes AK was fabulous in that scene! and parellel conversation was very interesting. abb I cant wait for the next ep to see him Shams really come into action.

      Re relationships : I had actually started dreading during that ep with those kinda scenes ke lo abb this will go down the drain if they drag those kinda relationships into the story, especially at that stage.. Methinks Suleri is only interested in how Shagufta fits his political motives, and he knew too well that he had a better chance with Shagufta while Shams was out of the way, but still in the game to drive her motivation.. I do hope there’s nothing else there, warna that could potentially ruin it for me.. 😦

    • @JR: I am so glad you are with us on this thread .. I loved reading your insights.. apologies though that l couldn’t get back in time to continue discussing this episode, but yes, absolutely, Ahsan K is great as Shams. When I was writing that review, because it was an overview of so many eps, I did end up cutting out quite a bit from the review, just because it was so long, and in that I cut out the bit abt Shams as well, but yes, all those scenes you noted were great ones. Actually there is so much to be mined here with every scene, and the overall story works on so many levels that it is hard to do complete justice.
      This latest ep has been quite the thriller as well … will be looking fwd to reading your thoughts on that one.

      Also, my apologies for not responding to you on the “Josh” thread, but I wanted to let you know that if you enjoyed the cityscape of Karachi in Josh, then do watch Na Maloom Afraad, which shows another side of Karachi. The film is available on HUM TV’s YTchannel since they aired it a couple of months ago. Also look out for Dukhtar, a brilliant movie, the review of which is beyond overdue now .. that one is available on YT and DailyMotion as well. They are very diff films, but I think you will enjoy watching them both.

      • Thanks for the movie recommendations SZ. Will definitely see them.

        I am tired of glossy sets and foreign locations. I do love to get the feel of a city. I think in films like Josh, the city is a character on its own, with its own story, and identity – the sights and sounds, the foodways, highways and byways, bastis etc. Loved it.

  3. I am absolutely in awe of this play at the moment. It’s hatke, out of the box.. no bher chal seen here.. It’s fast and very, very intelligently written and presented. Well done team PNKK! It’s been a while since I’ve had to use my brain cells while watching pk dramas. lol
    The eclipse ecne : That’s exactly what I thought of it – an eclipse. That scene was epic! – my fav so far!!! How Suleri was talking about the sun, moon and the light, and then creating a perfect shadow to create an eclipse .. and then he goes on to declare ‘soorajon ki qatarin’.. A row of suns.. even after blocking off Shams, Goshi seems to be radiating on her own… whereas Shams’s life now seems to be revolving around her and not the the way round.. The pulling powers, the orbits, the knots and crosses with Shams scribbled all over that looked more like zaicha than a strategy… I can go on and on .. There was so much packed in one scene!..Sheer Brilliance!!!

    Yes there’s Shagufta’s andha ishq that’s her driving force right now, but it’s the politics that I am really enjoying here. The siyasi mindset, the making of an ‘awami’ leader, who is not ‘aam’ any more, the propogandas, the exploitation.. After a long time we got to watch something other than a ghareloo story. Why can’t we get more of the out of the box storylines?.. Kudos to team PNKK, and also to the producers for giving this story a chance once again. As I said in another comment, I feel if the audiences liked the likes of waris, mera sain, mastana mahi I’m sure they can be weaned back onto a more wholesome diet eventually.. so long as we keep getting different flavours, there’s still hope..

    And yes, also interesting to watch here are the notions of izzat, sharafat, namoos, mardangi, etc playing their part.. bechara Ilyas tou ilyas, lil bro Bhola (who is not so bhola actually) has that in his ‘ghutti’ too.. It’s these very notions that drove this entire family out of their own home..

    Re : ”Had they not disowned her as completely as they did, perhaps Goshi would have been in a very different place today?”.. good question! I guess it was because she was thrown into the the deep end and left to her own devices that we got to see a struggle for her survival. There were no typical ”bechari” vibes seen here.. Had her family taken her back she might’ve turned into a case of pity and ‘told-you-sos’…. Abb just look whatever happened to the fiery, full of life Maryam, ever since she stepped into this family… lol

    • @FA: Uff! I get late on one thread and then by the time I get around here, its too late – sorry! Chalo ab let’s continue our discussions on the latest thread xo

  4. Hi SZ, been a long time.
    Off late my plate has been so full that I am not getting anytime to watch anything new. However, reading this review, I am gonna check this one soon. I can’t wait to be a part of all the lovely n animated discussions on this blog.

    • @Samrita Kapoor: Hello! You’ve been missed my friend ❤
      Aww! No worries, its all good . we are here, jab kabhi time miley just drop in and say hello .. always a pleasure to hear from you .. hope all's well on your end 🙂

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