Way 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?!?
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.
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~