Mein Sitara ~ Episodes 8-10 Review

Mein Sitara -Cover

Ten weeks ago Mein Sitara had started off as something different. In the weeks that followed, the story gathered steam with the vibrant socio-political landscape of ’60’s and ’70s providing a rich backdrop against which we saw some very colorful characters take shape. In the past two weeks, however, this fast moving story seems to have hit a roadblock – much like Jharna and Farhad’s stalled relationship Mein Sitara too needs a dhaka to get going again.

To get to the story, Suraiya is now Sitara – to the Tee. She who had had a hard time coming to terms with the unexpected turn of events is now not only comfortable with her newfound status but has also started acquiring an attitude and an entourage befitting her newfound status as the female lead in a Fahad Sethi film. Pappu, her makeup man, is the perfect massage for an ego that is now making its presence felt. For too long, she had been the little girl standing at the doorstep looking on wistfully at the party inside. Today she is the party.

Her parents’ visit was as painful and as uncomfortable could be, but it many ways it also provided answers to what previously had been a question mark in her head. Any romanticizing, about them,  that she might have indulged in as a child was firmly put to rest with their visit. Along with bringing closure this was also the moment that the door was firmly closed on her past as Suraiya. Going forward this would be read as only Sitara’s story.

Moving on is never easy nor does it come without a cost. Sitara’s newfound comfort with this chapter of her life is the cause of quite a few discomforts in her benefactor baji’s life. Though Jharna is from the industry and fully aware of the truth that invariably lies behind the lurid gossip nonetheless she continues to fall prey to the jealousy monster every single time. Had she been an outsider married to a filmi insider, her ongoing insecurities would’ve been easier to understand. But here, rather than being proactive and doing something concrete, taking an active part in the filmmaking process for instance, we find her continually reactive. This is the third time that we’ve been down the same road with Jharna. The same suspicions, the same accusations, the same reiteration of all that she’s done for him, and the inevitable demand that he change his heroine. I don’t know about Farhad and you all but I sure am exhausted by her daily jhig jhig.

Jharna’s passive aggressive attitude towards Sitara makes for an interesting text. While she remains as solicitous as ever, the subtle and not so subtle ways she keeps reminding the younger girl, and her husband for that matter, of Sitara’s “reality” are very similar to the way she deals with Farhad as well. Time and again we’ve heard the story of how Farhad’s fame and name is all courtesy Jharna. That Farhad might’ve done something for her in return, provided her the stability and family she so craved, is almost always left out whenever Jharna reminds him of all her ehsans.

Likewise, while Jharna initially went out of her way to provide for the left behind Suraiya, done with no ulterior motive in mind at the time, one cannot help but wonder how much an ego booster this star struck child’s unvarnished, unabashed and unquestioning adoration must’ve been for a fading star like Jharna. So much of what we’ve heard in the past couple of episodes has pointed to Jharna’s inner turmoil. The one person whose loyalty she thought she could always count on was now letting her down in the most painful way possible.

Bu then is Sitara at fault here? Doesn’t every child have a right to grow up and live their own life? Is she the one coming in the way of Jharna and Farhad’s “happy marriage”? What about Jharna’s role in making her relationships work? What of Farhad? Ruptures happen because of preexisting fissures … and marriages are not immune to this phenomenon, outsiders can break a marriage only where there are issues already brewing between couples.

What I do continue to enjoy here is Faiza’s etching out of some very complex characters, all of whom react in a very real manner to their changing circumstances. Neither saints nor sinners, just human.

While all this human drama is engaging and interesting, what is causing viewer fatigue is the repetition and reiteration. This is the third time we’ve seen Jharna behave like an insecure wife. I can only wonder as to how long each of these films take to complete and how much they cost! Imagine changing heroines twice in the course of a film!?! The scenes between Jharna and Farhad, and Naseem and Jharna had a sense of deja vu about them, as did the scenes between Jamal and Naseem. When the serial had begun there was an element of visual narration, but now with every passing episode, scenes seem stretched out, Jamal and Naseem convo went on forever, and are very heavy on dialogue.

Furthermore, even by the roughest estimations we’ve covered a span of around ten years in this serial, then pray tell why the same set still? I don’t know about you all but what was once an attraction, watching the song shootings, now seem like dragged out scenes. Watching the same settings, the same gol chakars, the same director and crew setup – sorry, I’m officially bored. The fact of what they’re doing has already been established, then where is the purpose in showing the same things over and over again. Also, the filmi songs which were initially an attraction are now a cause of puzzlement. Why is Farhad still filming songs from the mid-late 60’s when we are now in the mid-late ’70’s? Similarly, the styling and overall ambience – time seems to have truly stood still for Mein Sitara.

Overall, while I’m still interested in the story and vested in the characters, the visual storytelling is no longer as engaging at it potentially could be, with long winded repetitious scenes it is hard to stay focused, no matter how good a job the actors do – Aisha Gul and Meera continue to be the pick among actors and Adnan Shah Tipu is pitching in with a stellar performance as Pappu –  or how well-written the story. The preview for next week holds out the promise of some dhamaka so here’s to hoping that Mein Sitara can brush off the overall air of lethargy and get back to being the fast paced drama it had started off as…

Written by SZ~

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13 replies

    • Nashra: Finally indeed! Bas ji what to say.. took a leaf out of your book and decided to go on a long vacation haha!

      No, but seriously was out of town for a bit then got bogged down with work and yahan par the graduation season is on in full swing so nibtao-ing two three grad parties per week and then itni ziada parties karne ke baad dimagh ki tau bilkul hi dahi ban gayi and I had a total brain freeze where I couldnt write no matter how hard I tried .. bas ab aaj Allah Allah kar ke got this one out so hopefully brain will not go back into zombie mode again .. bas ji yeh thi aap ke chotay se sawaal ka lamba sa jawab … clearly I’ve missed talking to everybody here 😉

      And why hopefully?? Itna nakhra why? Bas ab if Im back tau you have to be present as well … chalo ab jaldi se aa jao .. #waiting

      • @SZ: Good to hear from you! Bas ab please consider your fun parties and vacations from drnr over coz we’ve all missed talking to you right back! 🙂

        Hahah no it’s not nakhra! It’s coz over here exam season is in full swing and that’s taking up almost all my time and energy these days. I still take time out to watch tv shows tho 😉

        Re: the review: Insightful as always. You put your finger right on what’s ailing this show these past few episodes. This time I didn’t pay any attention to Jamal’s conversation with Naseem coz it really is so repetitive. Not only the situations but also the dialogues. I think repetition of one kind or another has been a bit of a problem from the start, only before it wasn’t that annoying because the narrative didn’t get bogged down by it. Remember the scene where Surraya’s mother comes to fetch her but she’s busy watching a film? I remember the mom kept saying the same dialogues over and over, like maybe 3 or 4 times. It was irritating because who does that? But the story line was pretty exciting then so it seemed like nitpicking. And all the dance reprisals and using the exact same set over and over has been mentioned here many times as well.

        I like your reading of Jharna! That part about how she keeps reminding others of what they were before her, it is so subtly portrayed in the drama I had totally missed it. But now that you mention it I realize this is exactly what she’s doing to maintain influence over people who are close to her. Again this is good writing because it in no way means she doesn’t love those people. Her character can be made great but for this repetition!!!

        It is really, really bothersome now coz it has induced this monotony and stagnation in the characters that seemed real and alive just a few episodes back. Jharna, for example. Outwardly she doesn’t look the part but I’m disappointed that she’s slowly turning into a scheming wife of the mainstream dramas, if only a more well-dressed and elegant version of it. Really, why doesn’t she ever get out of the house? Doesn’t she want to? Being a happy housewife doesn’t mean one has to languish on the couch all day long without having anything to do at all. I mean she doesn’t even have her kids to take care of. Maybe the kids shouldn’t have been sent away to boarding, that way Jharna would have someone else besides Farhad to occupy her every hour lol.

        I still like the drama and want to feel interested in it so I hope this gets better soon.

        And are you watching Udaari, SZ? I just watched all available episodes of it last week; read about the PEMRA fiasco too. I found the serial to be very engaging and it’s good so far, despite some obvious flaws. Would love to read your take on it! 😀 #farmaishiprogram

        • @Nashra: Good luck for your exams!! IA you will do phenomenally well 👍

          I so agree with your read on Jharna and it is indeed frustrating to see her turn into this clingy stereotype of a wife .. what I dont get is that if she is so insecure abt him then why doesnt she take concrete steps to deal with the situation ..either suck it up and not complain or go work alongside him in some capacity or the other (her children are no longer in the house with her so what is she doing at home the whole day?) also, to stir the pot a bit, for once I would like to see an independent women (as in those with the financial wherewithal ) to walk out on her errant husband .. not permanently but at least for a bit and see the response Warna tau saari umar yehi kahani repeat hoti rahegi ..

          Yes, Udaari finally this week .. I just need to finish my binge watch session 🙂 Will wait to hear from you there 🙂

          And yes boss! Aap ka order sar aankhon ar and will try to not socialize any more 😉 Altho have to share that I had a lovely time at the Mesha Shafi Arif Lohar concert on Sunday ,, much fun was had! 🙂

          • @SZ: Thank you so much! 🙂

            It doesn’t look like Jharna would do that, financial independence or no. Maybe she realizes Farhad will do well on his own without her and she probably can’t say the same for herself. Their situation can be interpreted as an inversion, of sorts, from what it was when they married to what it is now. I think we’ll have to bear with their more-conventional-than-it-looks marriage, at least until something really really huge happens.

            Yay, you’re going to review Udaari! I’ll be on that thread, SZ. It’s a date 😀

            I watched the video you uploaded (haven’t gotten around to watching Mor Mahal yet but have kept up with the reviews) and it does looks fun! Meesha Shafi’s rendition of Dasht-e-Tanhai is gooood. I knew it existed but I still never watched it before coz I love Iqbal Bano’s and decided (without giving it a try, so clever of me, duh) that the newer one would just spoil it. Khair, I stand corrected 😉

  1. @SZ, AoA. I agree with your disenchantment about recent episodes. I still like this drama but repetition kills me. Same set, same crew, same stairs, similar songs! They really want to move on.
    I’m disappointed by Jharna’s character. A shrewd professional person has been turned into an insecure house wife.
    What happened to her singing? Why does she not leave the house and go on sets to help and contribute; and this I find depressing.
    I hope and I think it will happen- writer should take us out of this rut.
    You are doing wonderful job. Apna khayaal rakhein.

    • @Farah S: Wasalam.. Kaisi hain aap? Good to hear from you and good to know I’m not the only one who felt kind of blah-ed out by this recent turn of the story.

      Yes! That same set just makes me want to beat my head against the wall .. I so so wish they had thought things a bit more thoroughly and not skimped out on such easily correctable issues ..Ab lets hope and pray that with the new turn they will move into a different phase of the story and we will be able to finally say goodbye to the stair case and the 60’s waley gaaney!

  2. Throughly missed you and your classic reviews… 😘
    I literally agree to your each and every word.. Its spot on.. From last 2 episodes MS has really got stuck… And it was epi 9 hie where Sitara became full flesh Heroine.. Us ke baad se hie things have started to repeat and all focus is on how Sitara dances well, and looks beautiful n blah blah… I am so so and so fed up of dance sequences.. Bus bhayee we got it k she is maahir raqasa…koi dialogue bhi bulwalo.. Lage tou sahi k main lead he… And yes same set..Ufff highly irritating…

    I might sound bit off the track but considering how shy Sitara was in her first dance as supporting actor… And achanak se itna confidence and full on bharam heroine wale..thats an other off for me.. May be i am being too picky but this sudden thing didnt work with me.. Also i am unable to understand what made her feel for Farhad? That he agreed easily for giving money ya the way he was boosting her confidence..

    Relationship between Jharna and Farhad had already start showing its cracks when Jharna got her insecurities.. And she is following the same pattern.. Pehle does shuk phir says farhad ko tou srf apne kaam se ishq he.. Aray tou behn is tarah bht jald hie apne shohar ko ghar bhita logi assuming k her heroine k saath affair he.. @SZ you used such an apt word for her Be Proactive… Get in to the business lady.. But no all she does is drink tea and listen to songs.. I was really feeling bad for Farhad when he after tiring day comes back and Jharna na aao na dekha taao.. She literally started..and vo bhi sitara ki shaddi ka topic 😂

    Jamal and ND was so boring… I was hardly paying attention to what they were talking.. Get over with it bhayee..hopefully it will get into track by next week.. Yes AG and Meera are doing fantastic here along with Adnan Shah.. He really made his presence felt ..

    But having all my vent out, i am still into MS and will look forward to it

    • @Rehmat: Aww! Thank you 😘 you are always very kind and generous with your words and yes I too have missed all the friends here … ab bas ab bohot ho gaya .. dimagh is hopefully back to function mode and I will not have my brain freezes any more #fingersandtoestightlycrossed

      Your comment had me laughing .. I love the way you let it all out 😀

      I think she falls for Farhad because for the first time in her life she sees a man stand up for her .. Jharna had also always stood up for her and defended her, but with Farhad its different… from the very begining her experience with men has been less than savory.. she saw her father abusing her mother and then we dont know what all she was exposed to when she was living in those hutments with her poor mother and sister where they didnt have any food and remember her saying that she had to dance for even a piece of ice… so shes always seen men as abusive and taking advantage of a woman’s weakness and this is also perhaps one of the reasons why she was always wary of Farhad .. trying to stay away from him and his line of sight .. but now that she’s interacting with him for the first time as an adult she is seeing him in a very different light .. but even though she imagines her self in love with him, as a woman in love with a man, I don;t thi8nk its that at all .. its more her having a crush on a much older man, a stand in for a father figure she had always fantasized about .. I think it will be interesting to see her convince him that shes truly in love with him and then when he falls for her, for her to then be attracted to a younger man.. more in her age group or to fall for some other glamorous charming man who might sweep her off her feet (Nauman Ijaz?) .. Its all the insecurities of her childhood that will lead her to fall for one wrong man after another ..

      • @SZ: thats v.interesting take. And to see from that perspective it does makes sense and tabhi she was feeling happy when Jamal was praising her so much.. Ofcourse she doesn’t feel for him that way but it gives her boost…

        • @Rehmat: Doesnt Jamal give you the creeps tho? I somehow am not able to visualize him as a hero – Waheed Murad to door ki baat hai – and that vision of him painting Naseem’s toes is like permanently stick in my head 🙈

  3. Hi SZ! Kya haal chaal?
    Enjoyed the review and thoroughly enjoyed these recent eps. I usually see them 2-3 weeks later, in one go so I am not feeling the fatigue that you mention. But yes, I did notice how the stairs are present in each and every scene filmed 🙂
    Adnan Shah’s entry is so cool- this actor is just so fab…nails every character he plays!
    MZ I like in it too 🙂 and SQ is perfect. Can’t wait for NI to make his appearance. Such good actors in a such a well scripted show- maza aagaya.

    • @Afia: Hello! Been a while 🙂 Hope you’ve been well and the girls are doing good.

      Totally understand about not being able to keep up .. it seems like there is a lot going on on TV these days,, I am watching only a handful but i do see so many names and the same faces showing up in so many serialsat the same time that its really hard to keep up ..
      Yes, this one is going well and I gues you have it right, binge watching is he way to go these days . that way you can ffwd the same ganas the same sounding scenes and concentrated on only the parts that are enjoyable .. ab bas I am planning on doing the same as well…

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