Ostensibly slower paced, today’s episode of Main Sitara was equally if not more gripping than its predecessor. Where the first chapter had been all about etching out the context and introducing the characters that existed within, today’s installment helped flesh out the details, filling in the various shades of light and dark, highlighting and underscoring the complexities and nuances of the various characters.
Farhad and Jharna might be the shimmering stars of the silver screen but strip off the glamor and we get a very real couple struggling to balance a marriage with a career. Jharna was a reigning superstar when she decided to give it all up to become Farhad’s wife. She had played her professional innings and was now ready to settle down with a husband and children.
For Farhad, on the other hand, marriage to Jharna was akin to formalizing a great personal equation, an exciting opportunity to have a like-minded partner, someone who shared similar dreams and ambitions. That Jharna might not be on the same wave-length never occurred to him, just as the reverse never occurred to Jharna. Now, Jharna busy with children and Farhad busy with his project it’s as if the two are not even speaking the same language.
Both feel betrayed in equal measures and both are hurting, each finding it hard to come to terms with the reality that they had entered onto this marriage with different goals in mind. For now, though the status quo remains unchanged, the faultlines are easily visible. She has taken to having her newborn baby and the young hired help sleep with her in her bedroom and he has taken to finding solace in sad songs and drinking the nights away.
While Jharna and Farhad are too busy trying to sort matters between them, others on the outside are having a field day gossiping and speculating about the causes of the visible rift in this star couple’s marriage. Be it her seniority by a few years, his being from the small world of television, or him marrying her for her star status, no possible and impossible cause is left undiscussed. Such is the world of glamor, where every personal matter becomes a cause for public speculation.
Important as Farhad and Jharna’s story is, in a deftly handled subversion the text retreats into the background and becomes a subtext for young Suraiya’s story as she is abandoned by her parents. In a heartbreakingly real portrayal Suraiya’s walks into her parents’ quarters to find them all gone. Now all she has left are memories of her mother standing by the door calling her to come outside. With her parents out of the picture Suraiya is left at the mercy of Jharna and Farhad’s kindness that they will not turn her over to the place nor would they send her to an orphanage.
Though the maid cautions her otherwise, one cannot help but wonder as to if her kindness, saving Suraiya, will come back to haunt Jharna. The age difference between her and Farhad has already been brought up as has the fact that temperamentally Farhad is behaving like a neglected child – will these factors widen pre-existing rifts? From the precap it seems like Jharna is not as unaware as she might appear and is aware of her husband’s nature hence perhaps her return to singing? Also indicated is a team leap and the entry of a new female character into the narrative, all of which signal a ton of interesting twists and turns – looking forward to those!
For a seemingly straightforward episode there was a lot that happened here and kudos to Faiza for writing such a layered story in so very approachable a manner. Seema Taher deserves a round of applause for keeping her narrative style very simple allowing the complexities to play themselves out. The attention to detail in terms of screenplay and sets was again impressive. The matching up of music and songs in the background to what was happening in the narrative was very well done; scenes from Mughal-e Azam were also very appropriately selected and added much to the appeal of the onscreen narrative.
The actors were in their element, beautifully led by Aisha Gul; hers is truly a casting coup so beautifully does her face and speech and demeanor lend itself to Jharna’s character. Mikaal Zulfiqar also impressed as Farhad. Rashid Farooqui was spot on as the uncaring eye-on-bottom line father. The young girl playing Suraiya has absolutely stolen my heart, she is so so good!
All in all so far so good – I’m happily on board. What about you all?
Written by SZ~
Main Sitara ~ Episode 2