Preet Na Kariyo Koi ~ Episode 16 Review

PNKKWay back when, when everybody was warning a young, madly in love Goshi to pause and rethink her rash decision, to marry Shams, she scoffed and lashed out at them  for not putting her happiness above and beyond their petty-minded concerns; she knew what she was doing and that was that. No matter what anybody said it all went in one ear and out the other.

Now, so many years later, were Shagufta to take stock of her life I’m sure she’ll wish that she had heard them and paid heed to their concerns. But here’s the thing: Nobody, not her father, nor her chachi or Suleri sahab, or Mushtaq, or even we the viewers could’ve predicted that one day Shams would become so blinded by his insecurities and ambition that he would willingly barter his only daughter, that too a mere teenager, for a superficial personal gain. Yes, we all knew he was dumb and easily influenced, but this?!?

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Shams’ has to be one of the most fabulously written characters of recent times and it has been even more beautifully directed and played with great finesse by Ahsan Khan. Week after week the bar keeps getting raised in Preet Na Kariyo Koi. Just when we start getting complacent and think we have our fingers on the pulse of this story we are thrown yet another curveball.

Smart as she is, Shagufta never saw this coming. She knew Shams was unhappy and chafing at the bit but to do this?? What kind of a man does this?

Well, as we saw today, apparently somebody just like Shams.

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For Shams, Noori is merely a random girl who happens to be his daughter. That emotional connect, the warm bond that exists between a father and daughter is entirely missing here. He might explain this as a natural outcome of his being incarcerated for most of her life, but the undeniable fact is that he was simply never interested in getting to know his daughter. Every time Shagufta tried to introduce Noori into their conversations he would simply ignore her and steer her attention back to him and his self-centered world.

For Shagufta, on the other hand, Noori was her reason for living and how she survived all those years alone. That is, this is probably what she believes to be the truth, and to be fair to her, she does love her daughter and has worked very hard to provide for her and  wants nothing but the best for her. But, all this falls by the wayside when it comes to choosing between Shams and Noori.

With the latest curveball thrown her way, Shagufta has wisened up. It would be hard to pretend blindness in the face of all that went down in this latest episode, but even then, strip away all her ostensible concern for Noori, and Shams, in spite of everything, still holds her heart in the palm of his hand. Hence, as she has his measure, she still cannot bring herself to confront him openly. It’s still a game of cat and mouse where she is doing her best to not upset him to the extent that he leaves her and goes back to Zarina. Its not just Shams who carries the burden of a huge ego, Shagufta too has her own crosses to bear.

While these two are busy planning and plotting for each of their plans to succeed, Noori, the girl at the middle of this tug of war, is completely forgotten. Shagufta is afraid of history repeating itself and Shams is self-absorbed, both are so busy fighting their own personal demons that nobody’s bothered to ask what she wants or desires. And if it is not enough that she is being pulled from both sides, Rumi too has started pushing her.  She is interested in Rumi, sure, but is she ready for marriage to either of the three candidates?

Ever since Shams’ return things have gone totally crazy in Shagufta’s world, so much so that she has failed to pick up on the gradual change in Suleri sahab’s behaviour. When they had first met, so many years ago, Suleri had labelled Shagufta as a frivolous, bewaqoof girl. He thought she would be compliant and easily controlled. Passage of time, however, has shown him otherwise. She’s grown into a woman of substance, someone who is not just a pretty face, but also a faithful wife, a dedicated single mother and a hardworking politician.

Initially Suleri had been amused by Shagufta’s youthful bravado and naivete, then attracted to her beauty, and now he’s impressed. That he is proposing a marriage between his nephew and her daughter underlines the respect she now commands. It is indeed ironic that Suleri, who has everything he could possibly desire, all worldly material comforts, is actually envious of a loser like Shams. Somewhere along the line aap apne hi daam mein sayyad aa gaya … 

Unlike Shams who carries his feelings on his sleeve, Suleri has much more depth. While his gestures speak volumes, the way he’s gone out of his way to provide for Shagufta’s needs, he is yet to open up about the depth of his feelings for her. Or perhaps, he may never open up, at least not till Shams is still in the picture. Shagufta trusts Suleri, looks to him for advice and direction, and relies upon him for emotional support, but that is about that. For her it’s always been Shams, but after this latest stunt will it still continue to be so?

Every passing week reveals a bit more of the story and I am always left with wanting more. Kudos to Amna Mufti for her brilliant, tightly written script and a huge round of applause for Ehteshamuddin for not letting the narrative pace slack off for even a bit. Credit also to the director getting fabulous performance from his very talented actors. I say this pretty much every week, but honestly, how fab is Rehan Sheikh as Suleri?! Ahsan Khan is very impressive as Shams and has played this very complicated man so well, never allowing his character to turn into a caricature. Hira Salman is an absolute revelation. The two younger actors are also giving a very good account of themselves as Noori and Rumi.

Amid all the positives, there is one huge negative sticking out like a sore thumb – the makeup. I had earlier complained about Hira and Ahsan’s aging makeup, but this week’s the friend’s patently fake beard has to take the cake as the worst attempt ever to try and age a young guy. What the heck was going on there??

This complaint out of the way, I am happy to say that sixteen weeks later I’m still enjoying Preet and cannot wait to see what is in store for us next week.

Written by SZ~

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31 replies

  1. Dear SZ,

    I can see how much you are enjoying this one! And those memes are so apt 🙂 I enjoyed your very fluid review – Shagufta – Shams – Noori – Suleri sahab: the flow was so well put-together. Thank you so much for such a well thought through review. This play does make us think, wonder…

    To me this week’s episode was about smart (intelligent) girls. I was reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” and some of the things I read there reminded me of Shagufta. Sometimes this play makes me think of Shagufta as just another a single parent, a working woman with an unsupportive/absent family. At some level, her story is not different from many others. Her problems, the adjustments she’s had to make, going out of the way to play second fiddle to her husband to protect his fragile ego – these are what many women face day in day out.

    To me, it appears that Shagufta’s real match (as life partner) was no one. Ilyas was too timid (Shagufta might say “low brow”) for her. She could never have adjusted to life with him. Shams, ’nuff said. Marriage, ishq and all that jazz actually brought her down when she could’ve soared in her career, even though it was because of Shams that she got into politics.

    For most women in politics, this career choice is usually because their family is in politics. But several of them do do a better job at it than their male counterparts. May be women have an inherent ability to care and support, and even, dare I say it, plot conspiracies? (Where’s that raincoat? Need it pronto!!)

    I somehow felt that, if politics was a genuine career option, someone like Shagufta, with encouragement and grooming, would’ve made it big (if she wanted to, of course). But our traditional set-up doesn’t really give Shaguftas that choice to bloom. In many ways we condition our daughters’ dreams to home, shohar, susral etc. Care is usually taken that career does not intrude on marital life. Not many homes free their daughters from the traditional bindings of marriage, kids, etc. Sometimes I feel Shagufta was made for bigger things than what her circumstances allowed her (and of course she herself is also responsible – may be she limited her dreams herself?).

    This led me to think: we can for where Shams stands in her life, but is Noorie, Shagufta’s strength or weakness? If she had handled her relationship with Noorie differently (by involving her more/being more involved as a parent), could Noorie have been her confidante and her strength than what it appears now?

    Suleri sahab is the only one who has seen her potential. As you’ve pointed out, he has moved on from being the “leader” in their relationship to acknowledging her as an equal. In a way Shagufta intrigues him with her commitment and patience in her one-sided relationship with Shams. I really don’t know what his next step might be, with regard to his equation with Shagufta, but a big round of applause to AM for writing these humane characters.

    I’ve typed it all out in a hurry, not sure if the bundle of thoughts in my head landed in a sensible way or not!

    • @VZ: Loved reading your taking on the characters — so so agree with your reading of Shagufta.. yes, she is just like so many of us, single or married mothers, all trying to play different roles and juggle so many diff responsibilities. I say we, as in we desi girls, who are brought up with “traditional” (I use that term in the loosest sense possible) values and conditioned to play gender specific roles as prescribed by our societal norms. There are so many highly successful and financially empowered women, like Shagufta, I know who turn into someone completely different the minute they step in the house. No matter what, the husband still expects her to cook hot roti for him and also look to the children and household chores, and this is here in the US! So yeah, this is an excellent comment on our patriarchal setup, where no matter what a woman will always play second fiddle. And here, I am not going the ‘feminist’ route and insisting that Shagufta or any woman should be superior to her husband if she brings in more money or is in a more powerful position, but just that they should be equal partners,, no matter who is more successful of the two ..

      As to whether society limited her dreams or whether she limited herself , I think that is an excellent excellent point, one that I have been thinking about a lot these and reading up on as well.. but yes, this is exactly what bothers me about all our tele serials that we see on TV or these digests that are being touted as literature these days, in that when we talk about society and societal norms, our norms are being formed and re-formed by all that which is around us .. for instance a girl from a lower middle class, where does she find her role models? But obviously she begins by looking to her family for inspiration but then her aspirations are formed by what she sees in the world that lies outside her immediate environs, and where and how is a young girl to see the world outside – TV and easily accessible books, of course. And if TV and digests are only talking about pyar, shadi and ghar and shohar and designer clothes and talaq then that’s what her aspirations are going to be limited to ..

      Given this scenario its not surprising that this exactly what Shagufta wanted .. this all that she had ever known.. so much so that even when opportunities came knocking her way (her chance to become a lawyer) she rejected them because her husband suggested that she work with Suleri. Later, when she had made something of herself with Suleri, she was so willing to give everything up because it all made her husband feel insecure .. not once did she stop to reflect on why was she jealous of Zarina .. If looked at rationally Zarina was never ever a threat to her .. but again, for a person weaned on a steady diet of romance and fantasy, a second wife would always be that evil person who would snatch her husband away .. but here again Shagufta let herself get swayed by emotions and everytime Shams mentions Zarina its a sure bet that Shagufta would be willing to stand on her head if Shams asked her to .. Its been 17 years that she’s been fending for herself and dealing wit the like of Suleri but she is yet to internalize the fact that she is actually a very intelligent woman, someone who has not just survived but actually thrived under very adverse conditions and she really does not Shams’ stamp of approval anymore .. but then ab ‘ishq ki andhi ko kaun samjhaye ..

      Re: Noori: Interesting questions .. She is a strength, in my opinion, who has only been seen and understood as a weakness, and I think some part of this because Shagufta herself grew up without a mom or a sister so does not know how to be a friend to her daughter, and part of it is because she does not want to appear weak in front of her daughter. In owning up to the mistakes of the past she does leave herself open and vulnerable something Im sure she does not want to do.. like everybody else she too is caught up in this fantasy that being strong means being perfect … had she opened up to her daughter I think they would’ve both benefitted from each other’s support specially when it came to dealing with Shams ..

      Suleri and Shagufta’s relationship is fascinating to say the least, a mentor mentee relationship. This is an equation we’ve not really see on TV before and I dont know what happens next but I do know what I dont want to see happen .. as in a typical desi drama ending where she marries Suleri after dumping Shams or some such… in an ideal world they would all go their separate ways after all have their moment of truth and acknowledge they’ve all been less than perfect ..

      As @JR aptly puts it .. very elegant writing indeed!

      • SZ, so sorry for the late reply. Enjoyed your detailed response to the points I mentioned, no apologies please 🙂

        You talk about the desi mindset of highly successful and financially independent women. Nigella Lawson and the infamous episode at the restaurant involving her and her (now ex) husband came to mind. So it is something that’s such a paradox isn’t it, no matter how strong women are, many of us still “toe the line”, may be to keep peace, may be because we are conditioned that way (and these popular literature and dramas keep harping on those messages openly or subtly), may be because we don’t want to admit we made a mistake in picking the man we did (Shagufta would give up everything to make her marriage a success – she’d rather not admit she was wrong, ” losing” to Zarina is part of that feeling, but surely she’s reaching the end of her patience)… Just by presenting a character like Shagufta, isn’t it wonderful how many questions the play raises about such women?

        Loved your explanation about Noorie being Shagufta’s strength. Yes I can see how Shagufta puts on this armour when Noorie is around, not wanting to appear weak in front of her. You are right, Shagufta wants to be perfect/ideal and always tries to “fix” things herself lol. That’s why she never really went back to her family for help either…

        Re: the ending, because the play is “Preet na kariyo koi”, I’d guess no one’s affections will win – already Ilyas has lost, Maryam too hasn’t really won Ilyas’s love, nor has Zarina won hers, Shagufta has not managed either, not sure what will happen to Noorie and Roomi. Suleri sahab, if he has romantic affections for Shagufta, somehow doesn’t give me the vibe that he’ll end up with her (just my feeling)… I won’t mind any ending as long as it’s logical and natural under the circumstances.

  2. @SZ. Another great episode with so many twists and turns. And a review that does it justice SZ.

    Now that Noorie is coming to center stage, I should say initially I wasn’t impressed with the casting. Her persona and demeanor are almost lifeless. Even though Noorie schemes and lies and skillfully camouflages things for/from her mother, she lacks Shagufta’s dynamism and strength. I guess one could argue that Shagufta’s strong personality has overshadowed her but we shall see how this all fits with the challenges ahead – referring to the promo.

    I’m glad you and VZ brought up the relationship between Suleri Sahab and Shagufta. What a character this SS. A sheer pleasure to watch RS. The scene where Shagufta talks to him about Noorie displayed an intimacy that was both unique and extraordinary. Even though she refers to him as Sir, she can speak to him in ways she cannot and does not with Shams. Later SS’s slip when he says ‘tumhari jaisi bahu ban ke…” and then changes to Noorie. Smooth, Suleri Sahab!
    You said he may never acknowledge the depth of his feelings, at least as long as Shams is in the picture. I think perhaps his steadfastness and patience (shrewd, political savvy etc.) might eventually win – as compared to the immature, impatient Shams. SS is the antithesis of Shams. Our sleeping beauty (with toothpaste on her burned hand) has yet to wake up.

    In general Shagufta is calm, patient, even subservient with Shams (recall the scene where she is heading out and Shams tells her to make all the kitchen arrangements for the class fellows – whose visit he doesn’t think is necessary to schedule when Shagufta is home. Shagufta stands with a very humble, subservient disposition, nodding, head almost bent…ji, ji… then we see her roar like the sherni she is when the issue of Noorie raises its head!
    And of course, it’s Zarina’s fault.
    Actually, I’m glad Zarina left. I was rather disappointed with the two-wives under one roof track they were heading on. I want this show to remain unique.

    Some episodes ago SZ you said Shams was about ‘main main’ and SS said almost the same thing about Shams this episode. “… har baat mein apni main main ka jhanda…” [Are you ghost-writing this script on the side? ] Interesting to note how Shagufta freely talks to SS about Shams. These characters are so very interesting and I’m totally absorbed with the elegant nuances in each scene.

    I’m having a great time with this drama. I applaud the writer, director, and actors. I hope they receive the accolades this show deserves. I also hope we see more fascinating dramas from them.

    • @JR: i agree with you about Noor Khan, playing Noori… I too was not impressed much by her intially, but as you point out Noori has grown up under her mother’s very strong shadow so for her to be unconfident, unsure, somewhat raw, is something that works in her favor here.. I understand that she’s been in a couple of other plays, but she is still relatively new and it shows .. but I like he fact that we have an inexperienced actor here and also somebody young .. what a relief! After seeing Maya play a 17-18 yr old in Mann Mayal I am so thrilled that we actually have someone who looks and acts the part!

      Yes! So glad you highlighted the difference in her relationships with Suleri and Shams .. Even though Shams is her husband and they have a child together, its interesting to note that they’ve never actually lived a normal life together .. yes they were together in their new house for a bit after they came back from Gujranwala, but again those were not normal circumstances with Shams hiding out at home and they were both so young .. by contrast Shagufta has actually grown up under Suleri’s tutelage .. he’s seen her through good times and bad and he knows more about Noori then her own father does .. so even though Shagufta imagines herself still in love with Shams its actually not him that she loves . she is actually in love with the fantasy she had woven around this man .. she still doesn’t even know that Shams stole her chachi’s kangans and that he had lied to her or that went he had dropped her off at her dad’s house the second day of their marriage he had never intended to come back for her .. and so how can she be in love with a man she barely knows .. but then again as they say love is blind ..

      Rehan Sheikh is such a fab fab actor … actually we have some really good character actors in Pakistan, unfortunately they never get their due.. other good actors include Adnan Shah Tipu, Salim Mairaj, Khalid Ahmed, Adnan Jaffer, Hina Bayat, Mohammed Ahmed, Shamim Hilali, Simi Raheal .. there is such a long list… these ppl can make anything so eminently watchable no matter what the story or the lead pair I remember recently I watched Gar Maan Reh Jaye only for Hina.

      Haha!! Nah not ghost writing.. I’ll just say that I’ve been watching dramas for a long long long time 😀

    • JR, enjoyed your comment a lot! I was nodding when you talked about the unique bond Shagufta shared with Suleri – he is actually the only person in the whole world with whom she is herself, she can show her vulnerable side to him without hesitating or fearing he would run away or think her to be less of a person. She doesn’t have that equation with anyone else. Hira and Rehan Sheikh deserve a big applause for playing these characters so well, and of course the writer and director too.

      Also, I like how they are weaving all the different characters into the story – no character is there in the play without a reason, they all add to the narrative.

      The last time I checked, Preet was back in the top ten, so the trp people might be watching this too, fingers crossed…

      Love reading your comments JR, not long to go before Tuesday 🙂

      • @VZ. You’re right. She can be herself with SS. Clearly she alternates between walking on egg shells and hot coals around Shams. And with Zarina in the shadows, she probably sleeps on a bed of nails as well. She is the jogini for the love of Shams, our Shagufta! Though it seems like there’s going to be a clash of wills soon. I’m looking forward to it.

    • I am enjoying this drama as well. It is a breath of fresh air after Dayar-e-Dil. I may be projecting, but I think that Shagufta has realized what a mistake it was to marry Shams; however, her love for him is preventing her from taking the next logical step. During her conversation with Sulehri, when he wishes for Noori to be like her mother, Shagufta mutters “Khuda na karay”.

      I wasn’t impressed with the actress playing Noori, but I have been delighted by how they have handled her relationship with Rumi. Rather than uttering cliched platitudes, she lets her gestures convey her concern and affection. In one of her earlier episodes, she asked Rumi to stay with him by grabbing his hand.

      • @Ali: Hey! Great to hear from you and appreciate the reassurance that we three are not alone in enjoying this one!

        I agree with you in that I too think Shagufta has realized that somewhere along the line; I am pretty sure she really misses her family, and so some of her regret stems from that; she’s also realized that Shams is not quite the man she had made him out to be.. those hints had started coming in from when she used to visit him in jail and he would not be interested in what she had to say, or wasn’t interested in the challenges she faced as a single mother without any support.. she ignored all that then but now its become an undeniable reality, and so she must be looking at her past with some regret .. so there are regrets but before this latest episode I think she kinda gave it all a pass, chalking it all up to his frustration with what all had happened to him . but his latest stunt must’ve really popped her eyes open like nothing had done before… I am really looking forward to seeing what happens next .

        Isn’t it also interesting in how Shagufta’s rationalizations of Shams’ behavior are so typical of how desi women tend to give excuses for their men … keep giving them a second third chance when she would likely never be afforded the same luxury ..

        And yes, absolutely, the writing is lovely and direction ha really complimented and augmented it in how the narrative unfolds on screen.. there are so many serials (not talking about the ones I review) that I watch with the drama playing in one window and me doing some other work in another window (I watch all these dramas online) and usually that’s enough, but here I am never able to multi task because there is s much being conveyed via the visuals or expressions and gestures .. great job indeed by the team!

      • @Ali. Yes! Those whispered 3 words. Brilliant. I thought she was regretting her actions. The ones she doesn’t want Noorie to take now. She could have married Shams eventually. But the haste (and zidd) with which it was all maneuvered is probably not as respectable as she’d like for Noorie. Now that she is in the public eye as a politician, there’s that element as well, plus the “do as I say, don’t do as I do” parental hukum.

        But I do admire Shagufta. She didn’t go crawling back to her Illyas/Bhola/Chaachi after she was thrown out. Despite being all alone with a newborn and Shams behind bars etc., she made it on her own. Er…well, not entirely all alone, there was SS, the “great puppeteer” as @SZ called him. But it did take guts on Shagufta’s part. Without a doubt she stepped beyond the boundaries of many societal norms in the process.

        BTW where’s Bhola? Any thoughts on whether/when he will be drawn back into the plot?

        • Wanted to add SS was not her only help/mentor. There was the professor, who gave her a meal when she was starving, and then introduced her to the lawyer who gave her a job, while SS was out of the country. In a sense we might say that SS didn’t really see her full potential and abandoned her, or saw it but didn’t have the patience at that point. Der aaye….But when he returned he saw that she’d survived. And not just survived but doing OK.

          What’s interesting is that all the folk who helped her were men. Speaks to patriarchy in so many ways. Perhaps the writer could have written in one female helper/mentor/shoulder she cried on, along the way…

          • JR – re: your comment about all her support coming from men: I was thinking of two things: may be the set up she is in, is more likely that there will be more men than women around (politics etc) and 2: would Shagufta have found it easy to take help from another woman? Chachi is sweet enough, she could’ve gone to her, all would’ve been forgiven in a flash, Maryam is caring too… Just wondering… 🙂

    • Hey @SZ, VZ, JR: Haven’t had a chance yet to watch this episode but just wanted to say, I love the discussion this has generated! And of course, the review itself. All your insightful comments and interpretations make this narrative more meaningful and the watching experience more rewarding for me. So definitely gonna catch up and hopefully comment on the next one. 🙂

    • LOL! Maybe.. or perhaps busy with PSL.. but I know from experience that serials like these don’t generally attract a lot of people. I have seen this with Talkhiyan, Pehchan, Sannata, Ullu Baraye Farokht Nahin .. look through their reviews and you’ll see only few ppl commenting on reviews, but despite the low numbers we always have great conversations….

      And thank you for the article, really enjoyed it… made me realize how much I missed academia and motivated me enough to dust out drafts that had been collecting dust for the pat couple of years 🙂

  3. @SZ. I loved Sannata! I will go look for your reviews and discussion.
    Glad you enjoyed the article. Let me know your interests and I can pass on others…while you’re dusting. 🙂 I get the lack of motivation. ABD and burned out here!

    • Thanks for sharing this, @VZ.

      I am sorry to have missed out on this week’s reviews but a very dear friend’s husband passed away a few days ago . We knew the couple really well and not only was this shocking in how unexpected and out of the blue it was but was made worse by the fact that he was abroad on a business trip. Needless to say we’ve been very preoccupied with all the stuff that needs to be taken care of in situations like this … Hopefully will be back to regular routine by the end of this week.

      • Oh, so sorry to hear about your friend’s family. It’s more important you spend time with them just now, so don’t worry about the review.

      • I am very sorry to hear about your friend’s loss. You are right to delay the reviews; your friend is more important.

      • hey SZ. I just saw this post of yours. I was wondering where you were and if everything was alright. I am really sorry to hear about your friend’s husband. 😦

        • @DB: Aww! Thank you for your concern. I’m right here, just been busy with this sad mess, but life must go on and so here I am 🙂 Posted the review of PNKK and will IA post one for Dillagi tomorrow .. ab dekho woh serial kiya gul khilati hai … Are you still following Mann Mayal? I just cant stand it anymore, not even to make fun of it… hats off to all those watching and finding a semblance of meaning in that one :/

          Hope all’s been well on your end.

          • All’s good here. Haha, I am definitely “following” Mann Mayal but not watching it. It’s more fun to read all the tweets and comics related to it…

    • Thank you all so much – all your very warm thoughts mean a lot!
      And yes, I shall have preet up tonight … It’s been two weeks and I know I am dying ( ok, bad word choice considering, but you know what I mean! ) to discuss this with you all!! Gather together your thoughts 😊

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