Bearing little or no resemblance to the complex and intricately nuanced narrative that preceded it Preet Na Kariyo Koi ended today on a very rushed, sappy and clichéd all’s-well-that-ends-well note.
Last week’s episode had ended on a turn rife with possibilities. Shagufta’s reunion with her long lost relatives, Suleri’s sister’s response to Shams’ visit, Noori’s impending forced marriage, Bhola’s role in Noori and Rumi’s elopment, Shams’ response at having his plans thwarted by Shagufta, the future of Shams and Shagufta’s relationship from this point forward, Zarina’s location in Shams and Shagufta’s lives, Shams’ political future, if any, Sham’s brother’s duplicity – were but a few of the many issues that had been raised in the previous weeks and we had been looked forward to further engagement, not necessarily conclusive black and white answers but a serious consideration nonetheless.
What we got in its stead was an ending reminiscent of Karan Johar’s brand of fluffy storytelling and his famous tagline – it’s all about loving [and trusting] your parents (to be fair though to KJo, he has evolved and has since changed his mantra to its all about understanding your children). Noticeably missing was the delectable nuance and absent were the meaningful dialogues and visual storytelling that had us all hooked; this episode was all about laying the blame squarely on Shagufta’s shoulders and having her be passively contrite … mitti pao on all that still remained unanswered.
In many ways this rushed ending seemed to loop back to the first seven or eight episodes, with all the twists and turns in between being left by the wayside. Not once did Shagufta ask her chachi why nobody had tried to ask her khair khairiyat in so many years… why wait so long if she had been missed as much as was being said. Bhola’s angst, all those years of pent up rage and fury, all were built up only to be oddly deflated today. I so wish we could’ve seen an honest conversation between Bhola and his once beloved baji instead of the tepid lecture to his niece.
On the neice, I don’t get why the spotlight was trained squarely on Noori’s track in this episode. All of a sudden all other characters receded into the background and it became all about Noori’s shadi. I get that theoretically speaking in Noori’s track we were also getting a resolution to Shagufta’s story, but it did not quite translate that way on screen today. The scenes with the younger actors playing Bhola, Rumi and Noori, all seemed interminably long winded, and then flashbacks did not help the pacing either. What we should’ve gotten instead was more of the triumvirate – Suleri Shagufta and Shams – who held the answers to the questions raised in the previous episodes.
Suleri and Shagufta’s equation has to be one of the most interesting ones we’ve seen in recent times, theirs was a relationship that refused to be filed away under a convenient label. Sadly for us even that came crashing down from the high peak of last week. Who were these two people today? I could barely recognize this Shagufta who held out her hand to Shams. Suleri too was a shadow of his former self, going from being a master puppeteer in the begining to turning into a rishtey wali khala at the end. Was Zarina’s tearful plea that convincing? I understand and appreciate that Suleri saw himself reflected in Zarina, and empathized with her situation on an emotional level, but this turnaround, in just one meeting, was very hard to digest. If Zarina’s words had so much purported impact why couldn’t she ever make an impression on Shams?
Coming to Shams, for a man who had loved only one thing in his life – politics – it was very strange that we heard no mention of any future plans or any more conversations with Shagufta about his thwarted plans. It seemed as if Shams had been turned into a bystander in his own story, even the maid got more screen time than he did! That lame shot of him and Shagufta holding hands was very out of place in a serial where every single frame had spoken a thousand silent words.
I could go on and on about all that was amiss in this final episode but suffice it to say that for a serial that kept raising the bar week after week in terms of writing and execution this simplistic finale was a disappointment. I am not usually a conspiracy theorist but this episode does make me think that something went seriously amiss for us to get such a slapdash end to an otherwise brilliant serial. Disregard this episode, however, and the entire team deserves a huge round of applause for giving us one of the more engaging serials in the past year or so.
The finale notwithstanding, Amna Mufti’s Preet was a story that compelled us to think out of the box. Written within the existing framework of ‘ishq wala love and doosri biwis this serial moved away from the traditional concept of the hero and heroine and introduced us instead to beautifully conceived characters, all of whom defied easy labelling. If we had started off being annoyed by the high spirited Goshi we could not help but feel for the world-weary politician Shagufta Shehzadi. When we first met Shams he was a flamboyant troublemaker who dreamed of becoming a big time politician but nineteen weeks later he was a mere shadow of his old self. Zarina had looked upon marriage as her ticket out of a miserable abused existence but she soon realized otherwise. Suleri, the man with everything, would’ve laughed then if anybody had told him he would walk away empty handed at the end, but that’s exactly what he did.
Along with Amna, it is to director Ehteshamuddin’s credit that we enjoyed this unsung gem as much as we did. His visually storytelling imbued yet another layer of meaning to a very elegantly written story, and his understanding of the understated, subtle nuances of each character allowed his actors the space to make their presence felt. Among the actors, Rehan Sheikh was the heart and soul of Preet Na Kariyo Koi, his Suleri sahab was in a class all his one. Ahsan Khan is another actor who really took on the character and became Shams, essaying all stages of his character’s arc – from the flamboyant bad boy to the embittered and insecure middle aged man- so very beautifully.
For the story to work it was vital for the central character, Shagufta, to come alive, and here Hira Salman really came through brilliantly. I have no qualms in admitting that I was no fan of hers, but after this stint I have to say I am impressed. She worked very hard and it showed. Though she started off a bit shaky as the OTT Goshi, but after that she was stellar and became Shagufta Shehzadi.
On Goshi, the story started off with her as a young girl who was the apple of her father’s eye. Fayaz sahab was played to perfection by Erfan Khoosat sahab, it is to his credit that an otherwise small role became so very memorable. Hasan Noman is another actor who really made an impression with his very strong performance as Ilyas. Mira Sethi impressed in her very brief role and I wish he had gotten to see more of her as Maryam. Adnan Shah Tipu is a great actor but we never really got to see Mushtaq in full form, his was another character that I missed in the last episode.
Unlike so many other characters, Bhola did get a chunk of time in the final episode and I have to say I was disappointed. The actor playing Bhola needs to work on his dialogue delivery and more importantly learn to speak Urdu properly. Watching Bhola’s scenes with Rumi, it was hard to decide who needed to worker harder on their acting. I so wish their scenes could’ve been cut down to give more time to others, Shams for one.
While this final episode left a lot to be desired, overall the editing, sound quality, cinematography all were very done and played a big role in us enjoying the serial as much as we did. Where the technical department exceeded expectations, the makeup department fell way short. I have complained a lot earlier so won’t again, but it is high time that MD Productions invested in some quality theatrical makeup and rely on more than ugly specs and grey streaks to denote aging.
Finally, kudos to MD Productions for bringing us an intellectually engaging serial after so long. I do wish the final episode hadn’t been rushed along as crassly as it was, but overall Preet Na Kariyo Koi did bring back memories of a time when MD Productions’ was a name synonymous with meaningful, quality entertainment. Here’s to hoping that we see more of these kinds of projects from them, kyonke aur bhi ghum hain zamane mein ‘ishq ke siwa.
And as I sign off, a huge heartfelt thank you to all you dear readers who kept me company on this delightful journey. We may have been only a handful but our discussions were always meaningful and thought provoking. I now look forward to reading your take on this episode in particular and the serial in general. Bring it on!
Written by SZ~