Sang-e Mar Mar ~ A Reflection

semmBe it in the des or the pardes desis all over are hooked and how! Thanks to Sang-e Mar Mar Thursdays are now marked off as must-watch-TV days!

Reviews are typically brief recaps followed by a discussion of the various pros and cons, but this for  Sang-e Mar Mar is a one off. For starters, it is a bit late in the day to go back to alif anaar, secondly, and more importantly, for me at least, what sets this one apart is not the plot but the intelligent writing and the skillful unfolding of the said story, and the broader implications of that. From the creatives to the cast to the techies, all have put in a ton of work to make the age old zar zan aur zameen saga look and feel fresh and novel. Yes, this one is all about the art of storytelling.

Patriarchy, honor killings, blood feuds, male privilege, unrequited love, revenge, murder, forced and/or multiple marriages, infertility, domestic violence, none of these themes are new to our screens. Infact, our drama industrialists aka TRP tyrants love them since violence + tears -> higher ratings -> increase in revenue. The formula is simple and the stories written per this formula simpler still. That viewers – other than the thousand odd TRP households – are fed up of the steady diet of misogyny, mediocrity and mindlessness seems to be of little or no concern.

Amidst this dismal scenario it is heartening to see writer Mustafa Afridi pen a script that reads between lines, striking the right balance between commerce and art, weaving a story as simple as it is complex, as straightforward as it is layered, and as grim as it is empathetic. Sang-e Mar Mar is set in picturesque Swat, the serene valley an unlikely host to a bloody inter-generational feud between the families of Gulistan Khan and Saif ur Rehman.

As events unfold there are twists and turns galore, some likely and others convenient plot points, but it is all kept believable by the fact that these characters and their stories are uncomfortably real. Honor killings, forced marriages, and domestic violence continue to make news headlines with depressing regularity. Afridi pulls no punches with his writing and his male characters are no heroes, conversely they aren’t the typical villains either. Gulistan, Torah, Saif ur Rehman all are beautifully written characters with well-defined back stories that do not justify but certainly put their present actions in perspective, giving viewers a lot to chew on.

Safiullah, Gohar and Aurang, Gulistan Khan’s three sons are all a study in the crucial role played by the familial environment in shaping a child’s personality. The mother might be their go-to person but at the end of the day she is a woman. Patriarchy in general and tribal cultures in particular make no accommodation for women and the boys sense this intuitively. For the boys, the father is their hero and role model and each seeks his approval. Even this late in the day, Aurang appears to grow in stature, stand up a little taller, as his father opens up to him. No longer is he a weak mama’s boy, he is now Gulistan Khan’s heir. To what extent can Shamim’s upbringing prevent history from repeating itself remains to be seen.

And on Shamim, while Afridi has a firm grip on all his characters, it is in writing Shamim that we see him at his empathetic best. She might have been nameless for most of the serial but Shamim is the pivot that holds the story together. In earlier episodes this woman seems to do nothing, but look closely and she is the one holding the family together. Gulistan Khan’s sons look up to him because she treats him such. Be it resolving tensions between siblings, dealing with Bano’s issues, handling Gulalai’s insecurities, or easing Shirin’s entry into the household, it is Shamim who handles the aftermath of every decision taken her husband. Tribal cultures might have no place for a Shamim or a Shirin or a Gullalai but it is because of the unwitting support of such women – dutiful wives and obedient daughters – that such a misogynistic system continues to thrive.

Pari is the antithesis of Shamim. Where Shamim is warmth and grace personified, putting everybody else’ needs before hers, Pari suffers from no such compunctions. Had she been a man she would’ve given Gulistan Khan a run for his money with all her scheming and plotting. But tperhaps, much like Shamim, she too grew up unwanted in her paternal home and looked forward to her marital home as her own little fiefdom. The difference being that while Shamim reconciled herself to her fate, Pari fought and hard. She may have been thwarted for now but the “lullaby” to her unborn child signals that Aurang may not have as an easy transition into Gulistan Khan’s shoes as he perhaps is imagining right now.

About Aurang, also unresolved is the question of Shirin’s future in Gulistan’s household. With Gulistan having passed on the mantle to his son and Shamim having passed on her responsibilities to Shirin it does seem like that theirs is a pair meant to be. Where will this then leave Palwasha and how would Bano and Torah respond to the possibility of such a match, particularly after Durkhane’s impending confession, is yet to unfold.

Keeping all these intertwined tracks coherent, allowing the story the space to unfold at its own pace, and resisting the temptation to over tell the story is no mean task and director Saife Hasan makes it all look effortless. The darkness of the subject is skilfully juxtaposed against the bright and open landscapes of the valley, making for that much more easy viewing.  In a story rife with possibility of filmi-ness, we are thankfully spared the heavy duty melodrama as the director opts for the subtle and nuanced route. Also forgone are the cutesy folk/ethnic costumes that seem to be very much in vogue these days and in its stead we see actors transforming into their characters by the sheer dint of their craft.

Speaking of actors, Nauman Ijaz and Sania Saeed are the best in the business and here they prove that yet again. Nauman has the author backed role and he takes to it like fish to water, adding in exquisite nuances – the stooped shouldered walk after the recent deaths – that are really a connoisseurs delight. Sania, on the other hand, plays a character that seemingly has no presence, but so powerful is her performance that Shamim does not even need to speak but still manages to anchor the entire narrative. Her body language, that duck walk, her drab getup, the faded omnipresent mehndi – all gel so well that it is almost impossible to think of her as a much younger woman otherwise. Together, Nauman and Sania are a match made in acting heaven.

Not to be left behind, the rest of the cast also pitches in with superb performances. Paras Masroor is a revelation. It would be so easy to hate on Torah but he imbues him with such humanity that makes it hard to hate on him. Omair Rana is fabulous – the gamut of expressions across Safiullah’s face, right before he is shot, were absolutely applause worthy. Working alongside so many accomplished actors Mikaal Zulfiqar too turns in a very well thought performance as Aurang; his moments with Sania are very special. It is great to see Uzma Hasan back on screen with a character that gives her margin to perform. Kaif Ghaznavi is so so good as Pari; the scene where she was singing to her baby was so very eerie. Tipu Sharif is very effective as the conflicted Saif ur Rehman. First in Preet Na Kariyo Koi and now here Hasan Noman has turned into quite the scene stealer. Kubra Khan is the newcomer but she certainly leaves an impression. Rounding up the cast, Najeeba Faiz, Beenish Raja and Sharmeen Ali all do justice to their characters.

All in all Sang-e Mar Mar is quite the serial, a perfect blend of entertainment and raising awareness of endemic social issues. And this brings to mind the latest trend of a whole new breed of dramas, claiming to address social issues. Why? Shouldn’t all our dramas be entertaining and informing simultaneously? Why the need to hold press conferences and highlight particular drama as social issue based? As opposed to what? The rest of the talaaq, doosri shaadi, halala, rape dramas that are now by default designated as mindless entertainment? Does anybody realize how dangerous a thought that is?

I sincerely hope that the unprecedented success of Sang-e Mar Mar has signaled the fact that entertainment, raising awareness and educating the audience are not mutually exclusive. We as audiences are not dumb and do not need to be hammered on the head with social messages – a little subtlety goes a long way. Its all in the story telling and Team Sang-e Mar Mar proves it so. Two thumbs up guys!

So this was my take, now looking forward to what you all have to say!

Written by SZ~

102 replies

  1. Welcome back!! And Wow.. You always come with a bang… Totally loved it… How you manage to include everything with such finesse… Please keep writing 😘😘

    I agree with your take,specially how you mentioned Sania’s body language.. I too am in absolutely awe of her… Her scenes make me cry literally.. The way she have done it… Nobody else could have.. Period!! Even for that matter NI too.. Fantastic.. I liked Qazi Wajid too.. Have always seen him in bit lighter roles .. Seeing him like typical male and with such roubdar awaz is great.

    I started watching from episode 15 it was ,i think.. Where Shirin got married.. Dynamics from then on of every character was just brilliant… How Torah manipulating Safiullah… Shirin coming to accept her marriage and Bano getting one more person to vent out.. How amazingly these actors have portrayed their was 21 epi this week.. And i so want to know what happens next and how..

    Pari’s lullaby gave goosebumps… Kaif Ghaznavi nailed that scene… Does that mean they will show us leap if she wants her child to take revenge or was it just an indication that cycle of revenge never ends


    • Dear Rehmat – Re: Pari and child, I read it as the revenge thing goes on, as she’s mad at GK and co for going back on their promise. I made the mistake of watching the OST yaar and it has spoilers galore 😦 Why does Hum do this all the time? #nothappy.

      Pari and Bano are played so well na. Makes me wonder what will happen if these two are locked up in a room, who will survive?!


      • @Rehmat & @VZ: Haha!! Now won’t that be the mother of all cat fights! Pari and Bano are quite the pair! Aurang, Safi Ullah, Saif ur Rehman, Bulbul, saarey ek taraf and these two ladies on the other side .. and we know who would win!


    • @Rehmat: Thank you for always being so supportive ❤

      I too was watching sporadically till when Shirin got married and then everything just took off … earlier I was watching only SS and NI and Bano and Torah parts and skipping over the MZ and two girls and their mor pankh story -that bit went on forever and annoyed the heck out of me – but now I am totally into the whole story … no ffwding any more.


  2. Dear SZ, really enjoyed your take, you were worrying needlessly, you’ve not lost your touch at all. Thank you so much for writing this up 🙂

    Just want to pick up a few things from your review to discuss.

    1. “Yes, this one is all about the art of storytelling.” Absolutely. When I watch it I get the same feeling as I used to get when curled up with an engrossing book or listening to a story told by a good storyteller at night by candlelight on a cold winter night, buried under mounds of quilt. The duo of Afridi and Saife Hassan have weaved an interesting tale.

    2. “…characters with well-defined back stories that do not justify but certainly put their present actions in perspective, giving viewers a lot to chew on.” Bingo. The past is given out not to justify the present but to give perspective. Also, the way a little bit of the past is revealed at a time, on a need-to-know basis, is very well done indeed.

    3. “Even this late in the day, Aurang appears to grow in stature, stand up a little taller, as his father opens up to him.” Every child looks to parents for approval, no matter how old and no matter how strained the relationship. This building of bridges between father and son was portrayed very naturally – both Noman Ijaz and Mikaal did really well, shows you what an intelligent director can get Mikaal to do!

    4. “In a story rife with possibility of filmi-ness, we are thankfully spared the heavy duty melodrama as the director opts for the subtle and nuanced route.” Cough cough, here’s looking at you Haseeb Hasan and DeD! This play does crying and tears just right. You get the impression that the writer-director duo were on the same page and actually enjoyed making this play.

    5. Absolutely agree about the actors – every one of them a gem and fitting into their roles perfectly. The strong backbone of a story has given everyone from the director to actors something rich to work with. Sania’s faded mehndi was something I noticed as well, how good is she! Getting real actors to play the key characters was an excellent decision, props to the casting in-charge!

    6. “Why the need to hold press conferences and highlight particular drama as social issue based?” Hmmm, that’s a very naughty trend. Because these producers and channels seem to think they can show rubbish the rest of the time and keep their conscience clear by ticking off two or three shows that purportedly tackle “issues”. It’s as if they are buying a free pass to show what they want the rest of the time… For every Udaari that they keep shouting from the rooftops, they keep quiet about their “Sangat” and such rubbish… You are right to call them out on this. Problem is there is no regulation (PEMRA toh is namesake only) and they are getting away with these gimmicks…


    • @VZ: Re: Udaari vs Sangat and other nonsense: More than naughty I see it as equivocation of the highest order. Lets also not forget that Rehaii, Udaari and now Sammi have all been sponsored by outside funders.. so much as HUM makes a brouhaha about them, the fact of the matter is that the economics of these serials does not impact their pockets at all so they can be as goody two shoes about them as people want them to be. I can only take these press cons and tall claims seriously when they do it on their own dime …


    • @VZ: You absolutely hit the nail on the head when you said “actors” in the comment above .. Absolutely, more than anything else this serial underlines the difference between stars and actors and farq saaf zaahir hai …

      I can’t find it now, but I think it was you (if it was someone else, I apologize) who mentioned violence and ratings and warnings .. absolutely!! I was quite put off by the graphic language in the beginning eps – the qabar khod kar qarz wapis loonga types – and then the slew of murders and the domestic violence .. thankfully it was all handled aesthetically and everything seemed to be blend in organically, but again credit goes to the entire team for being so sensitive about it all .. but can you even begin to imagine if that hadnt been the case … and just because we are liking this serial should not be read as an indicatiom that we are onboard with the violence and graphic lingo … I was watching another serial today and that too seems to have a good story but violence is so amped up .. .its like as a society Pakistanis have gotten so innured and accustomed to quotidian violence that all that is playing out on screen seems to be familiar and recognizable … and TV is not helping at all by speeding up this process of normalizing what is most def not normal…


  3. Just a few more thoughts about SeMM…

    I almost didn’t watch this because of the blurb that appears on Hum channel for this drama. Anyway, heard the OST, saw Sania and wanted to give this a go, I’m glad I did. As you put it so aptly, the way they’ve told the story makes this ‘Godfather meets Shakespeare’ take very enjoyable.

    And they’ve managed to balance out the dark story with lighter moments as well. I think they’ve included every form of humour in this play, from slapstick to irony to sarcasm… And they are willing to acknowledge that us viewers have brains and we’ll use them if given a chance!

    It’s not that the play doesn’t have any negative points – you already pointed out the convenient plot twists, there’s also the “eaves dropping” by everyone in GK’s household, some noticeable slowing down of the story (after Gohar was gone) (made me wonder if team Hum was onto SeMM’s case!), etc.

    Also, I felt Omair Rana didn’t quite fit in (he was brilliant in the very last episode). It is just me, when I see him, I see an educated, cultured, soft spoken man, whose image just didn’t go with the cut-throat, ready-to-kill-for-revenge Safiullah. I felt he was more believable with Gulalai, or when he was quietly in the background.

    With all the bloodshed, language and topics covered, the show really needs ratings or warnings at least. It does worry me that it comes on at prime time as it is.

    But kudos to the team for keeping it real. The flavour of Swat does come through, especially with the stories (like the one GK told Aurang last week), the dialogues, the humour, the traditional music…

    The way they show the characters talk about biases (Torah’s skin colour, his mother’s Bengali roots, childless couples, city vs village), this sort of quietly showing society a mirror style, is interesting. Every character makes you question things, think about how things are, makes you think about open and subtle biases we display…

    Is the story based in late 1990s/early 2000s, given how no one has a mobile phone and going by the dates on some of the graves? Also, what happened to Tora’s father?

    Sania is fab. The way she’s taken a shell of a character, fleshed it out and brought it to life is unbelievable. Watching this show just makes me feel so happy and proud at our talented artists and technicians. Something very heartwarming about it…


    • @VZ I noticed u were calling me on the other post.. Aap ne bulaya.. Missed this fun.. bass abb Im back – ill try and keep up with it now…

      Re Omair Rana : I felt he wasn’t quite the cut-throat, ready-to-kill-for-revenge type guy.. He was not like the original GK and that showed in his relationship with his Gulalai. He was however weak and could be easily persuaded. Torah took full advantage of this weakness and talked him into it. If he was left alone he would not have gone down this route especially after the deal was made. Ghairat and mardangi are embeded in that culture – and unfortunately that’s difficult to root out, education or no education.. Aurung is obviously an exception..


      • Re: Safiullah and Omair Rana – I can see how Safiullah has always been in the shadow of his father, ie never led anything himself, but was led by people around him, be it GK, Torah or even Gulalai. To me, it didn’t quite sit well when he was making all those claims about killing Saif-ur-Rehman for revenge (agree Torah played him really well) and I put it down to a certain mellow softness in the actor that stopped me from believing in it. I thought Safiullah should be weak/unable to think for himself but not soft (that’s more Aurang). There should still be a crassness in him. But maybe there’s a bit out Shirin in him as well – contrast that with Gohar (all brawn) or Torah, who’s had to make his own decisions, with no father around. (By the way, how was Torah’s relationship with grandpa Khan?)…


        • @VZ: You asked about Torah and his relationship with grandfather and father and now that Im thinking back i cant seem to remember .. perhaps because I might not have been that into it at the point when they showed that or did they ever show it? Perhaps somebody who’s been watching closely from day dot can answer that for us?


          • IIRC, there’s a scene in one of the early episodes (the one where we see Torah’s father) where GK’s father is shown playing with a toddler Torah.


            • Thanks RK and SZ.
              That episode with Torah’s mother was so heart wrenching to watch, wasn’t it…
              But what happened to Tora’s father is still a mystery isn’t it.


  4. @Rehmat and @VZ: thank you so much ladies for your encouragement and support- truly means a lot! ۔۔۔ I have sat with this one since Thurs and just finished it late last night – so yeah I should not take long sabbaticals .. doesn’t sit well with my rhythm ☹️
    I’m out right now so can’t respond at length but am
    Enjoying reading your insights and want to reply to all that araam se .. but just wanted to say that like you @VZ I too wasn’t sold on the serial from the get go .. infact the first couple of episodes had a very strong DeD hangover and that as you can well imagine was enough to raise my hackles, but stuck to it cause of NI and SS and so glad I did!
    There is so much that can be said abt the DeD and SeMM comparison but the biggest one that leapt out at me was how well Sania has performed as compared our dear Arju and Roohi – can you even imagine how different a serial DeD would’ve been if they hadn’t messed with it!
    And yes, I too think it’s in past, and it will be interesting to see Aurangzeb’s son (?) interact with Pari’s daughter(?) , or vice versus, perhaps it’s their union that will end the blood feud forever?
    More later … keep your thoughts coming


    • @SZ @VZ @FA… Hayee missed you guys and your amazing discussions.. as usual late.. got my me time finally with baby having sound sleep ..

      VZ.. when SeMM’s promos were aired it was only NI & SS promo that intrigued me. The one where he says chappal saaf karo their wedding night.. n SS’s expressions were enough for me to watch this.. but coincidently when it started to air, zunairah was just 10 days old thus me missing all episodes n OST. So im glad for once tht i didnt watch that as you are right hum ppl ruin the fun by telling whole story in ost.. i watched sanam ost n my goodness you don’t need to see whole drama.. its all in 2 minutes ost 😏

      Idk but i liked Omair Rana as Safiullah.. have always seen him as this softie ..he always remind me of his character in Ullu Farae Farokht Nahin .. his softness towards gullali i feel was to mark difference between him n GK… lol im not making sense

      Reg: DeD and SeMM.. kisko kis se compare karahe hain 😂 jokes apart.. i feel biggest disadvantage ded had that it was based on novel.. n only few directors can do justice with classic novels like this .. then it was script changing and v.rightly u guys said more focused on scenic beauty.. n i noticed how in SeMM they are not forcing to have pashtu accent like ded.. cant forget Ali Rehman’s accent..

      FA: i loved how you have elaborated costumes.. so agree.. they make it so believable… oh and such interesting possibilities.. tomorrow’s epi is surely going to be interesting.. bano would prefer palwasha to shirin… gosh her slap to shirin when both guys were killed.. so full of hatred.. haan could be possible that after knowing torah indulgence n shirin being innocent.. she prefers shirin…

      SZ… now you have mentioned about SS answering our questions during shoot.. makes it more interesting hehe.. she waiting for her scene n meanwhile recorded few answers 🤗 pinjara looked no different.. n Sammi too.. havent watch SS promo yet.. was waiting for that.. both were not appealing at all..

      Im so sorry for such long comment.. couldn’t resist joining u guys 🙂


  5. @SZ spot on review as always 🙂
    I had watched first couple of eps and the DeD hangover feel had put me off. I felt it was loud and too much in your face at the time… I returned to it recently and started watching after Gauhar’s death and where Pari negotiates the deal. And how things seemed to have settled.. Gone was the DeD touch and it was back to basic storytelling and brilliant performances.
    Agree with everything you and @VZ highlighted – the pros and cons 🙂
    SS and NI were a treat to watch.. It was after a long time when we got a story which focusses just as much (if not more) on the older generation and not as much on the daastane ishq of the younger lot, which makes SS and NI and their performances all the more special. Each character has its own special place and weight.
    Re costume : Yes there’s no costume drama but I like how the wardrobes are designed to blend in with the modern day Swat/ village. SS’s kameezs are long and have this A-line shape which is not quite the traditional frock style but has that essence.. I loved her typical sandals that aunties from those parts wear. The younger ladies wear more streamlined cuts with subtle touch of local traditional embroideries and bright colour palette and prints which keeps the looks grounded and relevant. One thing that bugs me though is Ss’s grey hair.. 😦
    Comparing DeD and SeMM : I feel the biggest difference is that SeMM is a story that’s relevant to it’s location which doesn’t make it look like a long tourism ad.. I felt that in DeD the landscape and the overpowering shots were too dominating and the location being irrelevant resulted in shadowing the narrative rather than supporting it. Perhaps partly because of the magnitude of these majestic mountains in real life, but it felt like there was much more much emphasis on the surroundings than required. In SeMM the shots feel well balanced and well blended – the landscape is in the background where it should be – not a highlight.
    I’m enjoying the wit and the subtle humour.. amazing how there is room for humour in such a dark story. The visual narrative is to be applauded. I loved how GK was on the kandhas (shoulders) on his Saifullah’s funeral. How both Aurung and Torah were carrying his weight rather than the coffins… That was the end of the old GK who was weakened by Gauhar’s death.
    I like how they are unfolding the story.. and like you said there is backstory not to justify but to add perspective. It was bugging me that I couldn’t work out the reason and rhyme for GK’s pardon. It was interesting when it was revealed that GK had assisted in his fathers death, and perhaps it was that guilt that softened and humbled him after Gauhar’s death… It was his father who made him who he was and his death initiated the change.
    Yes there were some typical twists but in general I felt the story is quite unpredictable. You never really know what’s round the corner.. I hadnt watched the OST until last week (yes @VZ it has way too many spoliers) and i didnt have any clue that story would shape up like this.. Although the OST is a disaster, the weekly teasers/promos are edited well I think – not giving too much away but enough to keep you guessing.. I’ve been missing my mumkinats zone lol


    • FA, SZ, sorry my comments are all over the place.

      Re: DeD versus SeMM – DeD was certainly a lost opportunity – the problem started with the illusion they were creating that DeD was going to be this masterpiece, and they slipped up on the script really badly. SeMM didn’t have this baggage to start off with. This is a multi generational story done right, flashbacks done right.

      Add to it the director’s vision (or lack of it!) that DeD was to be presented as this big melodrama, the choppy technical work (editing, make-up, costumes), the huge expectations created for OsMaya fans, etc etc, DeD was a goner. Here, the writer-director have both had a firm hand on the story and presentation.

      As for SS versus Roohi or Arjumand, the DeD ladies never stood a chance (though both are good actors, still not in the same league as SS). There was no nuance or subtlety in their performances – may be they couldn’t overrule the director, maybe they weren’t able to seize the chances to show their skills? The DeD ladies, sorry to say, came out as laughing stock. Shirin? No chance.

      Plus the script and direction didn’t help – like Sanam Saeed in Dil Banjara, just didn’t sit well with her body language or her confidence…

      Also FA, so true that in SeMM, the location adds to the mood but stays in the background, unlike the tourism ad that was DeD!


      • One of my biggest beefs with DeD was that the makers were not honest to the story and played around with it at will to make it conform to what the marketing ppl thought audiences wanted. So the older generation got summarily sidelined after a certain point, characters were whitened and blackened at will and the “romance” was all from the circa ’60s abd 70s era when it was deemed fashionable to show a heroine read damsel in distress falling in love with her “macho ghairatmand” savior.
        Also, both actresses and actors for that matter did not work on their body language, choosing instead to rely on the crutch of eyeglasses, sarees and shawls ( as if only middle aged ppl wear them) and padding cheeks etc .. I remember when SeMM started I had a very hard time buying Omair Rana,MZ, Uzma as Sania’s children but really her on point body language made all those thoughts disappear pretty quickly. And I’m sure all these things must not’ve come easy but they have obviously put in work and it shows…
        As a random aside isn’t it cool to think Sania aka Shamim was reading and responding to our questions while at this shoot 😬


    • @FA: spot on abt the costumes in use here abd their understated-ness. Love the delicate embroideries that Kaif and Uzma have worn. And this aesthetic sensibility is carried forward in the sets as well, which are real locations but thankfully not re-decorated because they are now on TV.
      And on costumes, do check out the ost and teasers of Pinjra I posted for @RK. Story and narration ka tau pata nahin but like Udaari and Seeta Bagri this one too looks like the female characters are dressing up for a fancy dress part y.
      And on being OTT dressed up, it’s not just costumes, but even locations and sets. Please, all of you MUST check out the first ep of Muqabil on ARY. The house, garden, heroine, heroine ki amma … matlab ke sab log aur sab kuch OTT and how!!!! Warning: Must watch with sunglasses (ek nahin do ya teen) 😎😎😎!!


        • Yes! What an eyesore that was! But Muqabil you have to check out .. the garden especially! I forced a friend to watch it last night and idk if she’ll ever talk to me again 😂


      • @SZ Watched Pinjra. I felt it’s loud in every sense but the story seems to have lots of layers.. not just juicy but wholesome – 40 min ep had some much packed in ke didnt feel like 40 min – felt much longer, but in a good way.. dunno if its appropriate to say it but felt like dil ka pait bharr gya.. lol


        • @FA: “dil ka pait bhar gaya” what an absolutely superb line, one of my fave modern time movie lines ever! Don’t know why the movie got such a bad rap.. I thought it had an exquisitely lovely thought behind it and I appreciated the esoteric philosophy which is rarely seen in movies these days .. execution went off in quite a few places and the window dressing was so glitzy that most ppl couldn’t see beyond that but I loved it!! #goesbacktolistentochannameriya


  6. btw do u guys think the big revelation will come in the next ep? It seems like its Turkhane’s nikah – It doesn’t make sense for Aurung to be there in a room full of ladies.. Could it be a dream sequence?

    Re what will become of Palwasha and Torah & Bano : methinks Bano would rather let Shirin marry her brother than let her nand become her bhabhi.. Torah will have to break his pledge and strike back. mumkin hai noman will drop the beans about Torah’s role in the murders and he will get killed.. In the OST Bano is dancing like Torah which suggests he’s probably dead??.. who would kill him? Pari perhaps? Oh Bano might avenge her brother’s death by killing Palwasha??..

    would love to here other possibilities..


    • FA, it’s nice to hear from you, hugs and best wishes for the new year.

      Re: Aurang in the room, I thought it was Sharifullah, Durkhane’s brother holding the gun. Was Aurang there too? Will watch the promo again.

      Possibilities – Torah will of course break his pledge, that’s why they showed that scene at his mother’s grave elaborately. The only thing I can imagine will break his pledge is Palwasha’s heartbreak, ie Aurang-Shirin together. So much I can gather. And Hasan Noman’s character will spill the beans, but don’t know what will lead him to do that, Aurang doing some digging around maybe? Doesn’t look like many (any?) of the men will be around. And there’s Pari in the mix as well, she’ll want revenge. Also there’s the relationship between Torah and Bano (remember he said I’ll stick to my promise jab tumhara waqt mere haath mein hoga tab bhi)… I’m sure they’ve put out all the jigsaw pieces out there, I’m just being a bit thick about it!


      • @VZ: Uff! These OSTs and promos and the synposes of dramas on wikipedia and fb pages … all rubbish.. give away everything! Shamim’s name was not brought up in this serial till recently but the wiki had it up happily ..So wish channels would stop thinking that audiences need to be spoonfed the entire story before the first ep even goes on air. I remember even with Aseerzadi, the major plot twist was given away on their fb page which is why I never bothered going beyond the first two eps ..


        • SZ – agree. There were quite a few touches (like Shamim’s name), that were brought out beautifully in the drama but kuch logon se raha nahi gaya 😦 And it’s almost impossible to avoid spoilers because the OST reveals it all and the OST can be telecast anytime! I’m glad the team could keep a few surprises still, in spite of the best efforts of the OST people.

          Want to watch Aseerzadi, haven’t watched it yet. You recommend?


          • Yes, I do 👍
            I had some issues but overall a good watch with remote in hand. Another one of those reviews that’s sitting in the drafts folder 😳


          • @VZ I felt aseerzadi was one of those that started off well and u find it intriguing – then derailed and went haywire along the way… But nevertheless it was different so made an interesting watch. I watched in one go so it was easier to digest alot of nonsense that was goong on..


  7. Dear SZ and all
    Wonderful to have your review SZ. I hope all is well with you. You have been missed terribly! No DRsNRs pleasures during writing breaks (sob sob).

    I too skimmed through the earlier episodes because I have seen several older dramas set in the feudal/tribal situations. I kept watching because of NI and SS. And wow! They have not disappointed. This last episode (21?) was totally SS & NI’s performance hands down; gave me goosebumps!

    First was when Gulistan Khan holds Shameem’s hand. Or should I say he extends his (well-manicured) hand imperiously and Shameem takes it and say it was a “…badA sauda…”
    NI’s expression was priceless (before he gets up and awkwardly goes to dinner) – anyone care to interpret it? Embarrassment? Guilt? Regret?

    Then Shameem handing over the grain to Shirin under the tree. Haay haay! Excuse me while I reach for a handkerchief.

    And finally, in the end, when Gulistan Khan gives the key to Aurang and says, ‘mujpe pIlA kapadA daalo”…it was a breath-taking closing to the episode.

    SZ anything to add about the symbolism of the pila kapada? I get that it gives the soul both peace and release. But yellow seems to be auspicious in weddings/mehendi as well…recall the song “peela joda.”

    This was by far the best episode thus far.

    We are so lucky to have access to the brilliant work of these actors. They not only breathe life, they breathe magic into the characters. Anyone in Bollywood watching?

    Love and peace to all


    • Hello JR, have you read “Pathans” written by Khan Abdul Ghani Khan? It’s a very short book but depicts the mind of a Pathan really well. Try it if you haven’t read it 🙂 (Sorry for barging in).


    • @JR: Hello! Hugs and Happy 2017! Aww! So sorry to have gone MIA during your winter break – chalo, I promise to be good from now on … bas ab am I forgiven 😀

      Waisey, missed you on the SS interview posts …. did you get a chance to listen to her responses, particularly to your questions?

      Isnt it funny how most of us weren’t on board from the get go? I guess we’re all now wary after being burned so many times… but yes, it has gotten progressively better, hitting the ball out of the park in the last two three eps …

      Re: the Yellow Cloth: I honestly dont know … I will look it up but in the meanwhile if anybody else has any insight please do share …

      And yes, SS and NI are just breathtakingly good .. dont even know what to say about that scene in the bedroom where he just sat there and she broke down … yes, I thought it was a brill combo of embarrassment, guilt, regret sab kuch blended together.

      Btw, anyone notice how he never offered an explanation (apology tau door ki baat hai) to Shamim, his later behavior was supposed to be a stand as an acknowledgement of all that he now accepted was wrong.. so while even after all this the wife not given the words he opens up to his son … perhaps another sign that even though he acknowledged he was in the wrong with her, she was nonetheless still a woman and as a man with an upbringing of the kind he had, he would never give her the words, but the son was a man, so an equal of sorts even though he had previously always been deemed as the “pansy”…Just my own interpretation of those two exchanges … similar but different …. what do you all think?


      • Re not offering an explaination : Shamim had never questioned GK, whereas Aurung had! Fundamentally, this was the one thing that had distanced the two and for years this issue had been standing between the two. GK mentioned he ad been meaning to talk about it for years but it was his anaa (ego) that kept him. Shamim perhaps added to his anaa by always consorting to it and obeying aankhein band karr ke.
        Also Aurung needed to hear this explaination whereas Shamim understands him..
        But most of all I felt this was the case of actions speak louder than words.. Tbh I feel words would’ve felt khokle and ‘melodramatic’ – bit out of place. no?


      • @SZ…yes i too took in tht way.. Since she is woman, theek he im guilty but i can ammend through actions why to word it out n make her feel acknowledged.. At times it’s important to say…


  8. Thanks for the article on Sang e Mar Mar, we are planning to start this drama from the beginning this week. After DeD we rarely start watching a drama from the start and wait to see how it will develop.

    Sorry to once again deviate from the topic but did anyone manage to watch Dobara Phir Se? Would love to see a review for this film by SZ.


    • @NKhan: Hello! New year’s greetings! Great to hear from you.

      Yes, DeD did put all of us off but doesn’t that have its own fun, to watch and see how things unfold and then come together and vent as a group rather than watch a great drama then have nobody to discuss with? Of course, I wouldn’t do it with every second serial that airs but once in a while its fun, no?
      Yes, please do catch up on SeMM, would be great to have you on board.

      Re: Dobara Phir Se: I would’ve loved to have reviewed it, but it never came to Boston and so I am yet to watch .. did you watch? kaisi lagi?


  9. Ugh, I typed a whole comment and then lost it. Computers are not my friend today. Or any other day, for that matter.

    I started watching this show a week ago, but I’m only three episodes in so far. I’m kind of glad there’s just this one post instead of twenty episode reviews to catch up with. And for once, I’m not late to the party, lol.

    Sang-e-Mar Mar presents an interesting exercise in TV watching for someone like me, i.e. a person not familiar with Pakistan and/or Pakhtun culture/traditions. The show’s setting and story are not as relatable as a show like ZGH, for example. Also, the actors seem to be speaking with a different accent, which has been a bit distracting for me.

    That said, the plot here is so well constructed and the narrative flow is so natural that I’m still motivated to watch. Also, I think the range of human emotion and conflict represented on the show are fairly universal and easy to pick up on once I get used to the show’s setting and locale.

    So far, I’m intrigued by Torah Khan’s character arc. He appears to be both a generally nice/fair person and a man bent on revenge, which is an interesting dichotomy. Aurang is probably the main character, but as yet, outside of the old-vs-new conflict he represents, I don’t have a good handle on where his story is headed. I suspect he’ll be at the center of the show’s romantic subplot too, with Shireen.

    I’m mostly watching this show for Sania Saeed, and although her role here seems smaller than I expected, she’s still brilliant as the old-before-her-time matriarch of the family. (Seriously, how is she not in ALL THE THINGS?)

    I’ve never seen Noman Ijaz in anything before, but he has a new fan in me! I’m really impressed by his ability to convey both dignity and menace in nearly every scene. That bit in the first episode where he wipes his muddy hands with such disdain and disgust on Aurang’s shirt? He had me right there. What else has he been in that I can watch?


    • @RK: Hey! Lovely to have you in on real time convos 🙂

      Yes, this is different from the drawing room/bedroom urban stories that are the usual settings but there are quite a few that do take a different route. Some do it really well and others .. well lets just be kind and say they try 😉

      Ullu Baraye Farokht Nahin (Owls Not For Sale) – with Nauman Ijaz in the lead – is truly brilliant, with a very different story, set in the rural Punjab.

      Pinjra: Just started today – also with Nauman Ijaz – is also based in rural areas, and deals with the issue of Vani, like Numm. I havent caught the first ep so cant comment as yet.

      Sammi: Starts Sunday – Sania Saeed in the cast – also based in the rural Punjab, and this also deals with Vani (flavor of the month social issue??). Am planning on reviewing this, so keep a look out.

      Topmost amongst those serials that tried:
      Diyar-e Dil – starring Osman Khalid Butt & Maya Ali from Aunn Zara – is also based in the same geographic area as Sang-e Mar Mar, and was wildly, and I really mean wildly, popular. Unfortunately, we hear at DRNR had a “slightly” different opinion … check it out and see where you stand.

      Sania Saeed is all things fabulous. Keep watching SeMM and see where she takes her character #Brilliant!
      Check out her Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki … a telefilm I reviewed as a part of my woman’s day post. She was also fab in Aseerzadi, which aired alongside Numm. Nouman Ijaz and Sania Saeed were together also Aao Kahani Bunte Hain, an experimental teleseries that was/is way beyond its time ..available on yt… I have reviewed it here:


      • Chalo ji vani season starts.. Only positive I can see that it might bring in interesresting convos and comparisons with Numm.. Sammi has a very strong Udaari vibe – is it also sponsored by Kashaf?
        just sae the promos and couldnt help spotting Mawra’s amazing smile as she watches from behind the wndow – so pretty and innocent – why always turn her into mazloomiat ki dokan?
        Although seems very loud and in your face, and I do struggle to watch the leading lady there, Pinjra pbbly seems the better one out of the two.. atm that seems like more of a story than a pretty campaign..


        • Sammi is sponsored by John Hopkins Univ. supposedly abt vani, women’s empowerment and girl child .. in short issues ka jumma bazar.. pick whichever you like! I wasn’t really intrigued by it, but today as I was posting promos saw the SS one – and man! It’s a killer! What can this woman not do?!?


        • Oh and udaari vibe probably because it is from the same prod house and the bright colors the folk songs, women dancing etc .. oh and Adnan Siddiqui is in the Ahsan Khan mode with surma and tel


            • Chalo ji lol – resident expert?! Lol – hardly! I think Numm scarred so much so ke abb bhi O / we jump on every opportunity to vent again lol …But yes numm is special for me because thats when I first came across DRNR . It was first time ever that I had commented on anything in the cyber world but ufff! Just had to vent and take out frustrations of watching Numm!! Lol
              Looking back now, it was also the first drama I was watching weekly in a long long time so it was worse! – the whole week of waiting and then feeling even more agitated after watching the new ep… But then it turned into so much fun after joining the gang here… we all had a blast discussing and disecting Numm! Poora hafta we would go on ranting and raving… Just what the doctor ordered!… There I go again lol


            • @SZ @FA: Good to know there’s a resident Numm expert. Hopefully, it’s only because I just recently finished watching Numm, but I have a lingering hangover from the show and I’m still fascinated/frustrated by it enough to want to talk about it. I promise I’ll get over it one of these days. The other shows I’m watching (SeMM, Aunn Zara, etc) are helping a bit, although they both suffer from a lamentable lack of Fawad Khan. 😉


    • Oh, and Nauman Ijaz is also in Jackson Heights (reviewed in great detail here). He is easily the best actor we have in Pakistan today – no question. He’s been in other millions of serials. Dumpukht: Aatish-e Ishq just ended on Aplus .. and the new ones I’ve mentioned above.

      Others, please help @RK with other SS and NI drama recs .. I seem to be drawing a blank :/


      • @SZ @RK there was Jumka Jaan, that I had watched years ago, with both NI and SS. I dont remember much abt it now but it was back in the days when brought dramas back in fashion.. And with the two of them together it mustve been a treat to watch.. I must revisit that now..
        There was Jalpari too. That drama is off beat and but very interesting, but he wasnt really the main lead. There was also mera saein.. Which was very popular when it aired.. While it was airing there were rumoirs it was based on My Feudal Lord by Tehmina Durrani , however they denied it..but u get the gist of it the genre…
        He was brill in jackson heights!
        First time I watched him was in the first drama i had ever watched abt halala lol – with Mahnoor Baloch.. Think it was called Yeh zindagi And there was Nijaat with Atiqa Odho. Think they will feel quite dated now.. Not really what ai would call classics..
        There was also Bhai.. It wasnt mu cuppa tea but many ppl eenjoyed it.
        I watched dampukht ishq recently – @ SZ let me know when u catch up with that. Woukd love to hear ir take on it..


      • I loved Sania in Aur Zindagi Badalti Hai. The telefilm Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki is also an excellent watch. Noman Ijaz, to me, gets too typecast as the go-to wadera character in our dramas! Jackson Heights is good that way as we saw him in a fresh character…


            • Thank you! I figured wadera was another word for jagirdar, and that seems mostly right?

              I’m fascinated by this entire culture built up around zamindari culture and what a rich vein of storytelling this can produce. I don’t think there’s been an equal level of interest in feudal culture narratives in India.


            • yup, jagiradar same meaning .. that comes from jageer : property/ ownership of land etc .. deshmukh another variant .. sardar in punjabi ..
              My guess is that in India because feudalism and privy purses were abolished after the post partition land reforms there is hence no equivalent narrative ..


    • @SZ Yes there is a alag maaza in watching a drama weekly and then coming together to discuss it. I will try and catch Saami as you are planning to review it.

      Reading all the comments it looks like many of us have still not recovered from DeD and it has influenced our viewing for all dramas that have come after it.

      Dobara Phir Se – I loved this movie. It had Mehreen Jabbar’s name on the label that made this a must see for me. I have watched Bachaana and Actor in Law which were good but this movie was on a different level. Usually I am weary of movies set among overseas Pakistanis or Indians as they always seem to show the characters living the ‘good life’ in big houses and big cars. They never show the economic struggles of these communities, everyone has achieved the American dream by simply being in America. In some ways this movie had this although it did show the economic struggles of Hareem Farooq’s character as a single mom but she miraculously was able to sub-let an apartment from a ‘friend’ at a good rate. Despite this the movie had a good story with good characters. Despite my issues about movies set overseas I think this story could only have been set overseas. To show a divorced single mother in Pakistan carries to much social baggage that would have maybe made the movie into a social commentary. Instead the movie was set in the U.S. where we were shown a developing love story between two people. Hareem Farooq was good in the movie and and she is no longer associated as Arjumand in DeD in my mind (yep that same DeD hangover we all have).

      Does anyone know what the policy is on releasing Pakistani movies on DVD. You still can’t get a DVD of Manto in Pakistan even though that film was released in 2015.


      • @NK: Fab to read your take on DPS… there had been such mixed reviews that I was like okay chalo Ill catch up sometime, but now after reading you I will try and see if I can find it somewhere.

        Re: Pakistani movie DVDS I think Manto is the only one stuck in the pipeline, and thats because of Geo and their international distributors not sorting things out properly, also its still on the festival circuit so might not be out so soon… The rest are slowly making their way out .. .Na Maloom Afraad, Bachana, Dukhtar, Moor, Shah, are all out on YT. Now that the serial has aired I would expect Bin Roye to be out as well ..maybe Eid, first on TV then YT?

        And Sammi review is up … aa jao .. waiting on you 🙂


  10. Hi SZ! So nice of you to finally post a review. I understand the predicament. There have not been a lot of good drama’s recently. I truly enjoyed this review because I only watched the entire drama till now two weeks back. I am so happy such a beautiful drama has finally been broadcast. Too be honest the last drama which had the same impact on me was Durr e Shahwar and that’s been a while.

    I love love love Noman Ijaz in this. He is in so many drama’s these days its hard to follow. Basically I am seeing him in this after Jackson Heights in which he again was great. And this role is a complete contrast to Mr. Bhati. Now I know Noman Ijaz and Sania Saeed have done many drama’s together. However now I am very curious to see their previous work. Their whole dynamic is amazing to watch and the biggest highlight of this drama. It seems to me from all the comments that no one thinks too highly of Mikaal as far as acting is concerned. I guess I differ. He was the only actor who actually made a good impression in DeD and was convincing. Also I like his acting in Mein Sitara (which unfortunately I am having a hard time to get through). He is good in this role too. I really enjoy his scenes with Noman Ijaz. Overall truly excited about this drama. Really hope we get some more gems like this to see soon!


    • @Seher: Hey! New Year’s greetings! Sorry yaar, you know that book title, A Series of Unfortunate Events, bas 2016 was that kind of a year for me, where it was one crazy thing after another, but hopefully its all behind me and I can start off with a fresh slate. Thank you so much for coming back and joining in.

      Re: SeMM, I think you started it at the right time, so that you had enough to binge watch and not get turned off because of one scene or another … and yes, it is very well done, and so even as there is plenty of violence and mayhem somehow it all feels organic to the story rather than stuffed in just because the marketing guys said so …

      Absolutely, acting is top notch and Sania and Nauman are simply fab. You should def catch up on his serials. Be warned, though, that as @VZ said, he does have a tendency to take on a lot of similar roles and the wadera types are his favorites it would appear. And he has acted in quite a few forgettable lemon like serials as well and you have to wonder what was he thinking …

      Mikaal can be very effective when he is pushed to do so by his team or the director, otherwise he has a marked tendency to just do his job and move on … His performances in DeS, SeZ, Jalpari, SeMM, even Main Sitara, have all been where he has been motivated.

      You mentioned you are watching Main Sitara.. how is it going? I reviewed it to a point then it seem to lose focus (the film star angle) and became yet another dukhi dastaan.. would love to know your thoughts about it …


    • Touchwood, I was thinking the same thing. I had this huge grin on my face so hubby was asking “Your gang is back?” Hehehe…

      But seriously, thanks for the space SZ, and so good to see you back in action!

      Just waiting for our own Shamim, Nashra, Afia…


      • @VZ: It is not me, it is you guys who are so fab and keep the space populated and make it your own – I cant thank all DRNR’s enough for being so understanding of my absences in the past year ..


  11. SZ you are an amazing Writer . You are the best . After reading I understood better. would love to read your review , so happy a big hug from me . Thanks SZ . So excited . How is the weather ?Take care , weather is good on west coast
    My big Hello to all my DRNR friends .


    • @Ranjan: Aww! ❤ You are always so very kind and gracious with your comments.. I am so glad you understand the story better now .. please feel free to ask any time there is any confusion – you know we are all here to help each other out.
      The weather's behaving itself for now .. hopefully it'll be a short winter this year! Lucky you enjoying yourself in warm West Coast.


  12. Welcome back!!! I love your writing, missed it so much❤️ You have such a way with words, just like the drama is nuanced, subtlle and underplayed, you write in that same exact way, beautiful!
    I love this drama and have so much to write especially when I first started I wasn’t so enamored,but right now I’m hooked! I will have to come back to write more, but yes NI and SS are the stars of this show😃


    • @SK: Thank you! ❤ Its fab to be back with all my fellow ranters and ravers – missed you guys! ll
      Itni tareef!! Shukriya! Am so glad that all of us are really into this .. its been so long since we've had something so good to discuss in detail … waiting to read your detailed thoughts!


  13. hey SZ. I’m quite late to the party it seems. But had a lot of fun reading all the comments here and I AM SO GLAD I wasn’t the only one who got DeD vibes from SeMM when its promos and initial episodes aired. I was beginning to think something is seriously wrong with me. I mainly started following this serial from Shireen’s wedding and no looking back since then. Your reflections are spot on. In a serial like this, there is actually a lot of potential to indulge in melodrama but I’m glad things are realistic, the director has a firm grip on storytelling, and the pace remains smooth. And we are not left second guessing the characters. Oh and for the first time, I stayed well away from the spoilers so I literally had no idea Sania’s character name was Shamim. Looking forward to the next episode. Finally Durkhane’s conscience leads her to speak up. Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds tonight.

    And a (blunt) word on all the serials labelling themselves as social messages or social commentary or whatever fancy catch phrases their marketing team comes up with. I honestly stay well away from them because I cannot stand preaching in a drama serial. SeMM stands out because it’s highlighting all the right issues with more showing and less telling. In stark contrast, I see all these serials that are literally so loud and in your face that even if you care about the core issues, you can’t relate to the way it is being presented on the screen. And what one of these mega serials on air these days is highlighting is the gross lack of research on the writer’s part. So really, I just see it as a new tactic to rake in ratings.


  14. Dear all, there are so many interesting things or convos are bringing up 🙂

    SZ – weekly reviews or not – I think it will depend on the episode, if you have lots to say, make a new post otherwise we can continue in the open thread. I am greedy when it comes to reading your posts, but I’m also conscious of how much time a fresh post takes up. So I’ll leave it with you to judge based on content.

    Re: GK not apologising/expressing his thoughts to Shamim versus talking to his (almost estranged) son. Your take on it is spot on and it reminded me of two things – one was the siyaah raat in DeD (tauba!) and Arjumand never getting an apology from anyone ever. The other was something that happened a long time ago. A friend and I had gone to Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushi movie. When we came out we were both so annoyed that neither Jaya Bachchan’s character nor Kajol’s character got any sorry or acknowledgment of what they had to go through in the battle of the men’s egos. And these were upper class, elite, people with exposure to wider world (both Johar and his male characters). So there’s this ingrained mentality that somehow it’s not important to do that. It’s so sad to see Shamim longing for a tender word, a reassuring touch, but never got them. Even now all she gets is a pseudo apology, the heavy price tag notwithstanding… I’m glad that the writer made Shamim say those words to GK, he needed to be told. As an aside, Shamim has these wonderful one-liners that hit the bull’s-eye and SS hits them out of the park with her body language and intonation.

    Pari versus Bano – I’ll bet on Pari any day! Bano is lots of talk but Pari has proved time and again how gutsy she is. Leave aside her intentions, she is a master strategist – she will put all those Harvard and Wharton MBAs to shame with her planning and execution. The way she negotiated with GK, wah! She knew what to say, she was fearless in going straight to the lion’s den, when the pain was still raw and made sure she got what she wanted. The way she dealt with Saif-ur-Rehman’s family was another example. To me, Pari is one of the lost interesting characters in the play, a perfect foil to all those goody two shoes ladies and a good challenge to GK. Kaif Ghaznavi is beyond excellent with her acting, when it could have gone so OTT negative.


    • Full of typos, really sorry guys!

      Pari is one of the most interesting characters (not lost interesting characters). Apologies for the grammar mistakes as well.


    • Re Siyah raat : The wasn’t even acknowledged! Unlike Shamim Arju was supposed to be gutsy, so that was a real shame..
      I think in SeMM it was huge for a man like Gk to acknowledge – and although he never said it in so many words or to her face, he is sorry. The man who would ask his newlywed bride to clean his shoes is now requesting her to sit next to him and serving her dinner in public. Idk to me it felt ke woh cheekh cheekh ke sorry keh raha hai and Shamim hears it loud and clear but she found it hard to accept this apology (mehnga sauda / and the way she gets up after dinner responding to GK’s support) .. waise isn’t that an amazing chemistry for a couple that were apparently so distant..
      And on a separate note it was interesting to watch Shamim stepping up as GK steps down as .. I’ve seen that with so many older / ageing couples where men mallow down and up as the wife takes centre stage.. the women who wouldn’t dare talk back would now make them run for their money..


  15. So finally got to read your reflection! So good to have to you back. I love this serial and you have written all the reasons for that so well 🙂
    It’s one of those rare serials that I can’t find any fault with. Hey- even Humsafar had some issues 😉 Hope it continues on this awesome path!


    • @Afia: And we get to hear from you 😘 it’s good to be back😀
      So true.. it’s become so very rare to find a serial where everybody comes together and works like a team… now here’s to hoping that they don’t stretch it out just because it’s getting the ratings .. remember DeD and MM 😱


  16. So…not quite caught up to the latest episode yet, but I just watched Safiullah leave Gulalai at her parents’ place, and given how adorably they flirted with each other, I predict that terrible things are going to happen to one or both of them, and I’m so not ready for that.

    Something kind of jumped out at me as I watching SeMM over the weekend. Is there a reason that none of the characters on the show have mobile phones? Is this an oversight by the writers, or do people in that region of the country not use them? Is it a mistrust of technology or something?


    • @RK: Nothing to do with area, culture or oversight, the going theory ( or maybe its just me.. not sure) is that this is set in the past, and by the time it ends we will have moved on to the next generation …
      I dont know if you read the the comments above, or decided to stay away from them on account of spoilers, but this is loosely modeled on the super hit serial Diyar-e Dil, which was a generational saga … and our TV big shots like nothing better than to create clones of whatever works…


    • RK, the story as we are seeing it now is in the past (I think around late 90s) when mobile phones were not that common.

      Sorry to jump in 🙂


  17. Sang e Mar mar 👏. Virtually reading a beautiful novel with a message in it. Going to miss it when it ends. Found it better than humsafar.
    Hope this drama gets recognition worldwide.
    The actors deserve appreciation.


    • @Shifa: Welcome aboard! Lovely to hear from you. Indeed SeMM has been going great and is indeed a throwback to the times when dramas used to be entertaining as well as meaningful.
      I hope we will continue hearing from you 🙂


  18. I’m through Episode 21 now, and wow, what a ride this show is. The last couple of episodes have just put me through the wringer. I think it’s a testament to how perfect SeMM is that a show with such heavy emotional content doesn’t really veer into melodrama, and there’s something very real and tangible in the grief and pain of these characters.

    I’m just going to parrot a lot of things you said in your excellent review already, lol.

    Sania Saeed and Nauman Ijaz blew me away in this last episode. They’re both exceptional actors separately, but together, they’re just magic. MAGIC. I bawled like a baby over that bit where he finally extends his hand to her, and then later, when he makes her sit with him and serves her. She’s paid a very high price for his attention, but he’s finally giving her the dignity and affection she deserves, and in such a public and deeply felt way. Serious props to the writers and to the two actors. Just give them all the awards already!

    SeMM has been so impressive. The photography, the tight narration, and of course, the acting. Aside from SS and NI, I think Paras Masroor deserves a lot of credit for his portrayal of Torah Khan, a character who is at once repellent and sympathetic. Also, Omar Raina is great as the conflicted but utterly loyal Safiullah.

    I’m fascinated by the way the writers chose to highlight various social ills. Honor killings, domestic violence, etc. are shown as part of the system, but they’re also shown as having terrible and lasting consequences for everyone involved, and somehow, it’s all done without that preachy undertone that is so common in “social message” films or dramas. In SeMM, nobody remains untouched by the evil around them, but the sun still comes up the next day, and ultimately, you still have to light your ghar ka choola in the end.

    The show’s portrayal of marriage is interesting too. There’s the near-perfection of Safiullah and Gulalai contrasted with the horrible farce that is Bano’s marriage to Torah. Then there’s Daaji and Amma who have spent a lifetime drifting away from each other, but now have to hold each other up in the face of unspeakable loss and tragedy.

    Finally, on a less serious note, and in a sure sign that the universe is terribly unfair, the whole cast is just really, really ridiculously good looking. (This moment in objectification brought to you by Zoolander).


    • Re ”Just give them all the awards already” : It just made me think ke we’ve all been blown away by SS and NI here, but I wonder if they will / can be considered for the best actor / actress categories in any of the awards (hum / lux style/ koi bhi..) . That category now seems reserved for the younger hero / heroine sort… Senior performers like SS and NI who generally do still play lead roles rarely get awarded…. no?


        • Ha! I wonder if there are viewers disappointed that MZ and Kubra are so rarely even in scenes together. Was this marketed as a Shireen-Aurang romance then?


          • RK, if you see the title card, you’ll see MZ prominently featured with Kubra Khan, both in the foreground, and smaller photos of NI and SS slightly in the background. To date, you can see how many significant scenes/dialogues MZ has had as opposed to others. Pari or Torah didn’t feature in any of the promos (initial teasers) (SS, NI did feature in 2 or 3 of them). By contrast, MZ-KK had all those mor pankh ones and mehndi ones. In fact in the UK, on Hum’s blurb (the bit that explains what the show is about) mentions that it is essentially Shirin’s love story (which put me off this show initially).

            To get ratings, the initial hook always seem to target the instagraming, ‘stars’ ‘shipping younger lot who carry forward the buzz about the show. So it is presented as a love story with a handsome guy and a soft girl…


            • Fair enough. MZ and KK are both perfect for marketing (and well, there’s talent too, so that helps!)

              Fwiw, I’m not at all immune to pretty people being pretty on TV. In fact, considering that ZGH was my gateway drug into PK dramas, I’m obviously right in the marketing wheelhouse, lol.


      • Hmm. That’s too bad, but I guess it’s a sign of a longstanding trend (at least in Bollywood and in regional (non-Hindi) cinema in India) that “actors of a certain age” are relegated to playing supporting roles. Even when the performance is stellar and that role is carrying the plot, the younger cast seems to draw the most attention.

        This is especially true for women, who are quickly demoted to older sister/mother roles when they hit 40. Men don’t seem to struggle as much with this issue (although IIRC FK once complained that casting a 30-something actor to play a university student was kinda lame, lol).

        Why aren’t better roles written for these actresses? There are so many compelling stories to be told about women in their 30s and 40s if TV/film could get over its obsession with romance and boy-meets-girl stuff.


        • Technically its because the youth is the largest growing section of consumers and they have a huge influence on marketing trends etc … not just in PK but all around the world .. check out Bollywood producers’ (KJo for one) obsession to make movies that connect with the youth…. this reflected in the songs etc as well which get more nonsensical by the day … and also factor in the influence of the social media .. the VMS the gifs, the “shipping” of popular couples … all these things drive audiences to watch at least once for the goodlooking lead pair … check out the popularity of serials like Mann Mayal and Sanam .. and ab the poor tweens can hardly make VMs about Ss and NI.. :/


          • Ah, true. I mean, VMs of SS and NI would be terrific, but it’s clearly a niche demographic among fans, lol.

            Now excuse me while I run off to write shippy fanfiction featuring Shamim and Gulistan Khan, lol.


          • True that.. but aren’t the awards (esp jury awards) more serious affair and they are supposed to be decided by more experienced lot and not the tweens?
            Re Bollywood : I understand connecting with the younger audience to rake in the profits, but aren’t awards and recognition a more serious affair? … I mean Amitabh Bacchan still earned his best actor award for Piku, and Naseeruddin Shah for a wednesday.. ( I can’t remember any more senior actresses but perhaps they just don’t get that sort of lead role..? (maybe Madhuri for derh ishqya got nimonated? )… I mean shouldn’t the so called award nominee handlers and jury consider these niche lead role performances by SS and NI for these categories and not just reserve them for a lifetime achievement catgeory.. ?


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