Pinjra ~ Episodes 3 Review

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Picking up from last week, this third installment of Pinjra detailed the whys and hows of how Aasiya ended up as Jahanzeb Mazari’s vani. But this was already a given, what made this episode interesting was the skillful unfolding of the narrative.

To say feudal cultures are a world in and of themselves is something of a cliche now, but to actually see feudalism up close at work is a whole different deal. Many of us have seen and read about the control exerted by the jirgas and panchayat – they operate outside the ambit of law, the subjugation of many because of the absolute power of a few – but what gets left out is that in many ways feudalism continues and perpetuates because of the very people it oppresses.

For those who have grown up under this system, fear and suppression is so deeply internalized it is like a part of their DNA – to even question the legality of a decision, let alone protest or rebel is unthinkable well nigh impossible. Hence generation upon generation continues to pay the price for sins never committed. And this is what was saw happen in this latest episode of Pinjra.

One look at Mubashir’s face and the family knew Bibi had extracted a heavy price for sparing his life. Had he been in jail there would’ve been some recourse, to submit a plea in his defense perhaps, but here he was dealing with the omnipotent panchayat. That he would comply was a given. So much so that even after the death of his daughter Mubashir had no choice but to look to his sister next. Such was the weight of the panchayat’s verdict. The helplessness of such ghastly a situation was very effectively portrayed here.

Contrasted against Mubashir’s heartbreak and desolation is Bibi’s triumph. She might have lost a son but has walked away with her head raised. Her son’s killer having paid the highest price in the form of Aasiya, now a vani in the Mazari household. Just in case Aasiya was harboring any delusions her lowly status is made very clear on the moment of her arrival. Everybody’s subsequent behavior leaves her with no illusions.

How the serial will eventually turn out is anybody’s guess, but so far I’m enjoying the way Kashif Nisar and Imran Nazir have a firm hand on the story telling. There is a lot of emphasis on getting the actors to express and connect with the characters rather than merely going through the motions and mouthing long winded dialogues. The story and its characters are real and their dilemmas understandable. I am also enjoying the way information is shared with audiences, in little snippets of conversations. Hence we now know Shahzeb (Daniyal Raheal?) is Bibi’s third son who is currently studying abroad.

It is at this point that Pinjra underscores a very important point. All this is happening in today’s time, in the twenty first century. Families, who on the one hand are forward thinking enough to send their sons to study abroad, are on the other hand actively participating in this medieval system of blood feuds and vani, etc. And this to me is the strength of the narrative that everything is done very subtly. There are no agendas, no monologues, no sermons, no showy stands taken… all is handled with nuance, allowing audiences to reach their own conclusions.

Finally, even as we talk about the evils of feudalism and the oppression of the jirgas and panchayats in a mind boggling decision the National Assembly of Pakistan has recently passed a bill to extend constitutional coverage to these tribal councils, hence legitimizing them. Voices are being raised in opposition but to what extent will these make an actual difference remains to be seen. Meanwhile dramas like Pinjra are a good resource for raising awareness and educating the public at large about these endemic issues against which we all need rise and protest for change.

Written by SZ~

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58 replies

  1. As I was reading your post, I was reflecting on the modernization of the jirga and panchayat patriarchal oppression, particularly Northern India. In the state of Haryana, we have the khap panchayats which issue edits on girls not having mobile phones, no boyfriends, not marrying within the same ghotra, etc. And, occasionally, we have a flare up where they order an honor killing or a punitive rape and attention/outrage is focused on these non-elected bodies. But, in the general scheme of things, they continue on their agenda of enforcing the patriarchy without much attention because, as you said, it is so normalized in the culture that no one blinks an eye.

    • @Sonya Pelia: I hadnt realized panchayats were still operational in india.. I had just simplisticaly assumed that with the abolition of feudalism these wouldve died an eventual death, but now that you bring it up so pertinently but ofcourse now that I think abt it why would these die out.. might have lost the influence they once had but because of patriarchy they would def continue … thank you for drawing attention to this connect and for bringing in the Indian context…

      And ab can you imagine that the Govt of Pakistan has taken all this to a new level by legalizing such an atrociously outdated parallel legal system .. basically taking away the last bit of naive hope that ordinary poor people might have had that the police/court system might be able to help them .. sigh!

      Also points to the very strong feudal lobbies that exist within the govt …and how each group is help prop the other up … beech mein mari gayi ghareeb awam .. And this is precisely the reason why Im enjoyin this one so far … ab hoping this doesnt derail … are you following this one?

      • I think the land reform of the 1950s and the abolition of the privy purse merely ensured that nobody could hold large tracts of land and thereby exert a huge influence on politics at the national and state levels in India. But zamindars are still very powerful locally in certain parts of the country.

        There are two sorts of panchayats in India. The gram panchayat is an actual arm of the government designed to administer villages and small local government. These are constitutional bodies and help administer various social and economic programs that are funded by the state and national governments.

        The khap panchayats (and their southern equivalents) are the traditional extra-legal panchayats. Some would argue that they take some of the pressure off an already beleaguered legal system by solving local problems through a local arbitration-type process. But it’s never that simple. These panchayats are also tasked with upholding caste and religious heirarchies that keep people from moving forward.

        As women in rural areas become more educated and self-reliant, their lives often run right up against the so-called “rules” these traditional panchayats make, leading to all kinds of cruel and barbaric behavior. People do have recourse to actual legal system, of course, but the police and courts in India aren’t exactly on the up-and-up, so who knows?

      • Am following Sammi (SGMM and Pinjara). If you consider the people who get elected to the panchayats for the most part are from those communities, it is not surprising that the patriarchy is supported and upheld by govts. Anytime there is a situation where the head of a panchayat is a women who is not a front for her husband, there are gushing articles on her and her work clearly indicating the rarity of the situation.

        Am not totally negative about the progress in gender rights but it is hard to argue substantive changes when the live female to male ratios in India are at shamefully low rates and continuing to slide.

  2. I had watched the first ep when it aired and just finished watching the next two eps.
    So far so good.. First two eps were compelling but after watching this ep and vani in her pinjra (the doli) Im worried that from here on it’s going to turn into vani ki dastaan e mazloomiat..
    The story and the various tracks have a lot of potential. I personally think it would make a more compelling watch if the story is not focussed on vani but the system and the society – much like SeMM..
    Samina Ahmad is the heart and soul of Pinjra. She reminds me of Waris.. NI was brill but as you all said very surprised to find out he was just a guest appearance.. NI was the strongest male performer and I find the other two actors a bit flat.. so not sure where and how it will shape up after NI..
    The one to watch out here is Kiran Haqq.. Her character is the most interesting one here – far more interesting and colourful than Asiya – she is the chauhdrani (Samina Ahmed) in making, and Kiran is doing a fine job! Ok her make up is OTT but somehow it works for her.. ”soag wala make up” cracked me up.. and her idea of saadgi (jiss par mubasshir will marr mite ga).. Her equation with jahan, mubasshir, and now asiya makes the only reason to watch this vani-fest. If I was comparing her to a character in SeMM, I’d say mix Pari and Bano and you will get Zulaikha!!!
    Re the recent amendment : I know it’s not a political blog, but that’s such a shame! Now do we need a bigger testament for the regression in our society! #Appalled
    Re forward thinking families and the medieval system : yes that will be interesting. but i think Numm had a great potential there and portrayed that effectively… How our foreign return hero sahab had to comply with that system.. The entire family including the Bare Sahab himself was learned and apparently very modern yet set in the ago old ways – all as a means of power game.
    i wonder how affective the one man show will be when the youngest son returns.. how much change could he bring on his own.. let’s face it he won’t be Wali 🙂 .. I do wonder how that one escaped while the other two are such brutes.. Another vani drama that had that one man foreign return show going was Muhabbat rooth jaye tou…. and Sammi also also has someone settled abroad.. what’s with vanis and foriegn returns??! …mmm lol (Ok SeMM has shehri babu.. not from ”abroad”.. )
    The fate of the three girls from Mubasshir’s family was quite something.. 3 rukhsatis . aik ki shadi, aik qabristan and as they put it aik zinda dargor.. Chauhdrani wants everyone gone in Mubasshirs family.. well 3 down already..
    As I said so far so good.. wayyy better and so much more rational an well thought-out than Sammi, but for me to stay on board the story has to move on from the plight of vani…

    • @FA: Agree with your comment and share your apprehensioo give this re: the direction of the story, but I am willing to give this a fair chance .. baqi tau we all know how easily dramas derail .. #BaJamaatDuaNeeded!

      Also, not that it can compel me to watch nonsense, but I do feel that we need to move away from the general nonsense being churned out by the hum aur humarey lot … their aesthetics are great and they can bring big names to the table but glitzy wrapping can only go so far ..and back to this lets see … #FingersAndToesCrossed

      • @SZ Yes I’m all up for moving away from general nonsense but Idk I find it really hard to stomach the bechari mazloom aurat saga any more.. I think that’s where I find SeMM is different, all the women, nomatter how oppressed or majboor they might be, they don’t come across as the utter becharis…they’re not the roti dhoti mazloomiat ki tasweer.. And there’s the man’s story that brings the balance..
        As I said so far so good, but abb I’m hoping and praying that they don’t just focus on the ‘pinjra’ bit alone, and maintain a balance with all of its very interesting characters and their dynamics..

        • LOL. I may have a slightly unhealthy obsession with the Numm wala Wali (and that whole show…which I just watched all over again…because I’m clearly insane). 😉

          • Numm! What a serious tragedy that show turned out to be ! Imagine if it would’ve been treated like SeMM.. FK and SS and those lines: ek shohar apni biwi ki muhabbat lauta raha hai..

            • I’ll say this for Numm: it stands up really well on a second watch. All the annoying is still totally annoying, of course. But all the good stuff is even better when you watch it with the benefit of hindsight. I mean, there were scenes that made me cry actual tears when I watched them again.

              Whatever else the writer and director did wrong, they got the Wali-Mahjabeen stuff perfectly right. I know that this sort of thing is common in Pakistani dramas, but I can’t remember ever seeing two actors on screen who barely speak to each other, never touch, and yet have such screamingly intense chemistry. It was absolutely explosive, and I still don’t know how the actors did it!

              I’m also disappointed the show didn’t do better with the audience because (a) I think this might be some of FK’s best work so far, and (b) I think FK and SS might never appear together again, and that makes me sad.

            • It stood up well then too! Well at least for us here .. the rest didn’t quiet have the patience .. and that’s the other thing I have realized in 5 years of doing this .. our general viewing audience likes stuff spelled out, all those silences did them in .. but then to be fair to the viewers the makers didn’t make it easy on us either – there were innumerable places where they kept using the same shots ( SS checking her grey hair in the mirror, walking in the lawn) to fill up space and then having gaping holes in the story, editorial issues, sound issues .. uff too much to deal with on a weekly basis .. it’s a very diff deal when one can watch on one go and ffwd scenes at will. But yes, def FK’s most mature work, having SS opposite him really pushed him to put in his best abd yes that pairing will in all probability never happen again ..😞

            • Watch them whenever .. Fk in comic avatars in them .. both very different from each other .. kpkp had tons of issues but was fun regardless and AA got dragged in the middle but still worth watching for Fk

            • While we are talking FK and the tragedy that Numm turned out to be – what abt the masterpc Ashk.. lol – Actually I’d love to know wahan kia hua tha??!

            • Uff!! Ashk!! I have deleted that from my mind, matlab ke bilkul hi!
              Oh you must read the not- reviews ( only serial I ever did that for since the production team would literally come out and tell me and @DB that we were incapable of understanding that masterpiece!! Infact not only they block us from their fb page but at one point also took to writing their own reviews and posting them as critical reviews 😂😂 #lifeofareviewer

            • Re ashk : thats so funny!! Well abb how could you understand?! There was nothing to undersstand 😂😂 i mean it was all so nonsensical ke hadd nahin.. did they really think that was some philosophical masterpc?! #delusionaldramabazi
              But what i don’t get is how and why did sarmad agree to go with that?

            • @SZ: I watched a few episodes of KPKP last night, just for kicks. I’m enjoying FK’s slightly over-the-top portrayal of Mujtaba (and I assume that’s intentional and not just bad acting on his part, lol). His comedic timing is surprisingly good, and I’d love to see him do something utterly ridiculous and slapstick now.

              But I found the KPKP plot so far a bit confusing and hard to follow, and there are weird errors that just take me right out of the narrative. For ex, they’re allegedly in the US, but it’s some Hogwarts-type location where everyone inexplicably owns right-hand drive cars and you can fly to-and-from Greece in a day or something.

            • @RK lol.. yes it was shot in Turkey and passed off as US and that wasn’t the only issue with it lol – but I think FK was fab there and I really enjoyed his comical avatar, and the serial was good light hearted fun overall.
              Re something completely redic and out of the box : check out his Asghari Akbari..

            • @ SZ great review. I am enjoying the discussion and from the discussion I get my answers. Tum ho ke Chup was about feudal between two family. In that Humayun saeed was abroad studying . But once he came home he follow what his father says . No use education . Sorry for sidetrack . @ RK did you watch Pehachan and Talkhiya? .We had good discussion on Pehchan .

          • @RK lol @ Numm wala Wali.. (Was it on on Ded thread?) where we were discussing the obsession with Walis in our dramas and had some fun comparing these anokha ladlas..
            Re Numm re-watch : after the disastrous ending I could never go back and watch that all over again, but when Geo were doing a rerun I did catch a few scenes chalte phirte and I totally get you! – watching them in the hindsight took them to a whole new level!
            @SZ Re ek shohar apni biwi ki muhabbat lauta raha hai : ufff #KiaYaadDilaDiya – and the thought of not being able to see SS and FK together like that again – Honestly abb I really want a remake! – we should start a hashtag?!
            On a separate note , seeing FK is not doing Bollywood in the near future do you think there’s any chance of seeing him in TV serials again?

            • Fk is doing two films and has hinted at something on tv .. who knows .. I am at the point where I don’t anticipate anything .. jab kuch hoga tau dekha jayega

            • I haven’t watched DeD, so Numm wala Wali is my one-and-only Wali, the Wali-ahad of all Walis, if you will. 😉

              Some years ago, a group of friends and I decided to rewrite BBC shows that had disappointed us for various reasons. It never got anywhere, but it was a super fun exercise, and Numm would be perfect for a rewrite! #NummAsItShouldHaveBeen

              You guys, I’m not even kidding! I have SO many ideas for a rewrite, lol. Someone stop me before I become a danger to myself.

              I think FK hinted at maybe possibly being involved in a TV project? Let’s see.

              For my part, I’m vaguely pleased that his Bollywood phase might be over? I think his particular virtues (a sort of old-school gentlemanly reserve combined with the ability to disappear into a character) are sort of wasted in an industry where the biggest stars just play larger-than-life versions of themselves and where nobody ever takes real risks or does anything new and interesting (aside from the “character actors,” of course). I’m kind of glad that he can now use his “huge star” status as a platform to grow the film industry in Pakistan itself. Maula Jutt2 (or whatever Bilal Lashari is calling it now) seems like it’s going to be one of those blockbuster kinda movies, for example.

            • Also, I watched one whole episode of Ashk, got super-bored and decided to abandon it. The whole time I was watching that first episode, I kept thinking that it was an outtake from ZGH where Zaroon movies to Turkey but is still stringing poor Asmara along, lol.

            • @RK re #NummAsItShouldHaveBeen : there’s no stopping – please! please! go ahead! perhaps that way Numm-oona would get the closure it deserved and would finally be able to rest in peace lol…. warna shayad bechare ki rooh DRNR parr hamesha bhatakti hi rahe gi lol 😉

            • I thought Numm was fascinating and I think my experience may have been different because I binge watched it once I discovered it. I may be the only person on this site who thinks it was an amazing drama: it did have its weak moments and untied lose ends but I think end could be foretold as the story went on. The weakest actor was the person who played FK’s young wife. I think if they had picked an actor equal to the others, it would have been better.

  3. And speaking of hum aur hamarey dramey .. here’s another tourism ad for Nepal … written by Mustafa Afridi, SeMM fame (wonder if this is one of this “dictated” formulaic dramas), and directed by Siraj ul Haq, incidentally director of Dil Banjara.. wonder if he was already there and was roped in for this … #Twoforthepriceofone #Buyonegetonefree..
    Anyone interested in watching this one? should I review?

    • Not interested in this one bit – as far as I can make out from the promos, it’s repackaged and done-to-death formula, so no thanks. Also the director was not very good in his other outing Dil Banjara – did you read Adnan Malik’s displeasure at how Dil Banjara has shaped up? If you or any friends watch and think it’s out of the box or worth our time, then I’ll join in, otherwise no thank you.

      • @VZ: DB was a train wreck from day dot … and I read that interview and it validates what we here have been saying abt the tween demographic and how their “shipping” of their fave celebrities keeps even the worst projects afloat … Siraj ul Haq is not a durector I care to follow .. I saw what he did with some earlier serials and then Bunty I Love You and I was done .. .
        I was not planning on watching this tourism ad … but thought it there was enough interest then I would .. chalo ji good thats done and dusted now 🙂

        And on new serials … Munkir started today .. anybody checked it out? I saw the first scene with Nida Khan dressed as a bride in a church and then being dragged out by ghundas and bas I stopped … kinda left it at that .. if anybody watched tau batana ..

  4. All caught up now, and I’m just going to paraphrase South Park here: OMG, they killed Noman Ijaz!

    Two bits really stood out for me in the last two episodes. First, in Episode 2, Asiya asks whether “badey log” refers to people who are very educated or to people who are very accomplished, and she’s surprised to learn it just means people who own a lot of land. That was a nicely done (if very unsubtle) reference to the problem of the whole jagirdar system.

    Second, (and maybe this is just relative to Sammi), but i was really impressed that the writers here took the time to show how traumatic an event losing a daughter to the vani ritual was. In this case, Farida literally thought death was a better option for her child than to me made a vani. It was shocking, but also really effective.

    Finally, I’m still trying to figure out what’s so great about Mubashir that he has not one, but three (!!) women sort of in love with him?!

    • @RK: Haina! What a shocker that was! But what a smart way to get audiences watching – i know i wouldve kinda let this one go were it not for Ni and Samina A. What a powerful duo they made!

      I am so so glad that you guys are giving this one a go .. dont know how this will shape up, but for now it has the potential to give us a lot to talk about and reflect on .. and yes, the lines are intelligent and thought provoking and in not shying away from the darkness they are able to convey more effectively the plight of those suffering under such oppression … In Sammi, the sight of first Sammi crying then Noor Hasan crying was enough to get me to switch off on account of a pounding headache ..empathy tau bohot door ki baat hai ..

    • Re Mubashir : Haina! yuk na shud teen teen shud?!!! I really don’t get the obsession… I think Ranga’s personal beef with Mubasshir had alot to do with his wife’s mangni to him.. So dekha jae tou this one man has 3 ladies in (sort of) love with him, he’s the cause of 2 murders, and a vani a – in just 3 eps.. He’s chalta phirta disaster.. Wonder how much more trouble he will cause… I think Mubasshir’s gotta be the biggest trouble maker going in the history drama land! lol

  5. Greetings all!
    I am not watching this because trying to finish a chapter by the end of the month. Anxiety-driven!
    I did speed-watch the first and second episode. Want to let you know I am with you in spirit. Enjoyed reading comments here today while I take a break.

    SZ yes we still do have panchayats. The Khap panchayats(4) mentioned above did issue mandates that women under 40 could not go to the market and all women could not use cell phones. I was in India several years ago during the summer when I saw this reported.
    There are some excellent documentaries out (on Khap P) and there was one student interviewed in one of them who did a Master’s thesis on this issue – don’t remember if she was from Delhi U or JNU.

    In the southern peninsula we have all kinds of similar mandates being passed. One TV news channel reported that many villages in TN passed mandates that low caste people must take off their chappals when they walk through Brahmin neighborhoods, and if they come face to face with a Brahmin must get off their cell phone. This was in 2012 or 2013. I am not sure if this has been challenged and rescinded since.

    The innumerable and ineffable ways in which technologies are integrated into forms of oppression – recall ultra sound for women!

    In my own fieldwork in our area (Karnataka) the panchayats had joined (some years ago) with samajvadis/social-environmental activists to oppose land acquisition for SEZs.
    A few years later they are also registering any and all kinds of structures to facilitate people getting any kind of money for their land.

    Ok Back to work!

    Love to all
    JR

  6. @FA: “warna shayad bechare ki rooh DRNR parr hamesha bhatakti hi rahe gi lol”

    LOL. Numm-oona ki exorcism ke liye toh team effort karna parhega!

  7. I finally managed to watch this episode. Thanks for the review SZ and for the relevant article link. When I was watching the play, I couldn’t believe the government would actually empower the mechanisms for such brutal practices. Just shuddering thinking about all those girls who are torn away from their families in the name of this cruel practice. It was really disturbing to watch although it was just a play. On a lighter note, at least our Shirin (SeMM) has been spared this treatment (as you pointed out in one of your reviews).

    I am enjoying Kiran Haq here (and Samina Ahmed of course). She is very expressive (the scene of the judgement for example). Yumna’s perfect hair and makeup is quite distracting. And why wouldn’t she know what a vani is, I would’ve guessed there must have been other incidents earlier? But again, minor glitches.

    I wish this drama was publicised better – I haven’t seen any newspaper reviews for example.

    So far so good. Let’s see how the story unfolds now.

    • @VZ: Re: publicity and newspaper reviews: Apart from the fact that this channel has zero marketing skills (pinjra poster case in point) it is very rare to see reviews for dramas that dont feature a famous name .. not many have the patience to sit through dark/depressing stories with no glamorous names attached.. and a press conn , a spin doctor or two, a skilful PR dept, all go a long way in pushing a drama fwd in the public consciousness …
      That said it is interesting to see that despite all the publicity and PR, Sammi is yet to make its mark… in fact I am reading comments that are comparing Pinjra to Sammi and saying the former makes a stronger case …
      Mind you I havent yet watched the fourth ep so dont know what went down today … here’s to hoping it stayed the course!

      Re: Yumna/Asiya not knowing what a vani is, my guess is that shes supposed to be a young girl, someone who lives in her own world so might not be as aware of the exact ramifications as an adult might be ..

      Re: the darkness: i agree this is unapologetically in your face and there is no attempt to soften it by adding something lighter and that does get hard to watch as a mere entertainment and the channel’s aesthetics (or lack thereof) is not helping either …
      I dont know the writer’s work so cant say anything abt his writing style and what to expect, but the director is known for this style .. his Ullu was pretty grim as well, but then the writing (Amina Mufti) there was of a very high quality so even the grim bits were engaging..
      Sannata too was very uncompromisingly dark ..

      • SZ, re: darkness – I watched UBFN, so I get it that this is his signature style. And I’m OK with that, not everything in life is a sweet watch, we also need the stories that disturb us, the stories that frighten us.

        But if this sort of awareness stuff needs to reach more people, it needs to be more balanced. Otherwise we’ll be in the same rut – good story but no audience ergo no revenues and so pull the plug on other such attempts. Which is a shame. Which is why there’s so little of someone like Bee Gul.

        For us not to fall into the rut, writers and directors could also try to think about how to package it so that audience can understand it enough to think about it. And that has to happen in a subtle way. I am not saying plaster the ‘message’ all over the place or water it down so it is unrecognisable. I’m saying make it more accessible so that people engage with it. Which is where SeMM seems to have succeeded across the board…

        • @VZ: Oh absolutely I agree with you that all dark stuff gets tedious to watch, and couple that with bad aesthetics and inept publicity and you have on hand a project that nobody cares abt ..

          I dont know if youve read this Maya Ali interview, but there is an obvious disconnect between what we think and what stars themselves think as to what works and what doesnt …there was so much wrong with Sanam, but for the actress it all boiled down to whether she was crying or not .. ab what to say …

          https://www.thenews.com.pk/magazine/instep-today/186703-The-second-coming-of-Maya-Ali

          • Dear SZ, yes I read that interview. I haven’t watched Sanam or Zidd, but I gathered from Bee Gul’s interview here that it was not something she was allowed to write but it was dictated to her, so I can guess the quality of the play. Strange she did not bring up a play like MNYH or Aunn Zaara, which did show strong female characters and were liked by the audience. Instead of putting the blame squarely on the audience (specifically those 5 houses with trp meters), she could’ve been graceful and accepted that sometimes artists end up choosing the wrong projects.

            And yes, the disconnect you mention – wasn’t Aisha Khan singing high praises of her Mann Mayal character which was trolled in all sorts of ways? You would’ve thought she’d have known better, with all her experience.

            Khair, coming to this interview, I found Maya’s answers to many questions quite naïve (eg re the screening of Bollywood movies in cinemas in PK). I’m not sure she understands the plethora of issues lying beneath the ban and its subsequent lifting. Either that or she’s being politically correct (fair enough). Her answers were box standard, usual stuff sprouted by stars. To be frank, I’m yet to see her interviews where she shows she understands her work beyond the superficial. Am i being too mean/harsh/judgemental/all of the above?

  8. Sorry wanted to add one more thing. This drama is dark, in some ways I miss the balance that SeMM has managed to get right. It’s probably not fair to compare the two, but a drama which balances out dark concepts with a bit of wit and humour is probably going to have a better chance of doing well which helps with the raising awareness part.

    I don’t want the message to be diluted, but I would like to see some lighter moments balancing out the stomach churning moments. Let’s see how it pans out.

  9. @RK:
    Re: your comment abt KPKP, am re-posting this overview I’d written this way back in 2012, a week after the serial ended … thought you might enjoy this throwback 🙂

    Kuch Pyar Ka Pagalpan – A Requiem

    Now that dust has finally settled on Kuch Pyar Ka Pagalpan, memories of the absolutely whacko and madcap trials and tribulations of the annoyingly irritating but nonetheless lovable gang of four, Mujtaba, Daneez, Shimraiz and Kiran, continue to reverberate. It was Sunday, but it didn’t seem like it because there was no KPKP; no gritting of teeth at the fact that even though Kiran found time to change her hairstyle every two seconds, she couldn’t be bothered to do the same with her abysmal dresses; no annoyance at the zip zilch zero chemistry between Daneez and Mujtaba; no straining my ears to understand Mujtaba mumbling his lines; no wincing at Kiran’s over the top screeching and shrieking; no hating on Shimraiz for his ongoing plots against Mujtaba; no laughing out loud at the continuity and bloopers ; no …. nothing??!! What a weird way to spend a Sunday?! So for all those out there who missed KPKP on Sunday, this post’s for you —
    Following are some sequences/scenes in no particular order that made me go huh/what the heck just happened/did they really show this/are they serious/honestly/why??

    Turkey as USA – Really??? Enough said ….
    Shimraiz and his F-bomb – What the heck?? How could the editors let that one slide is still beyond me!!!
    A classic: Kiran spending the night on a bench in a random park, wearing an atrociously ugly red dress with high heels and a gold scarf. There was so much wrong here that I don’t even know where to begin. Honestly! What woman wanders around alone in a park late at night, then compounds that error by calmly going to sleep on a bench? Huh? I kept waiting for her to get raped, mugged, propositioned, arrested for soliciting, something … the mother in me was praying for her safe return home. Miraculously, though, she defied all odds and survived! And, not just survived, but thrived! Gold sandals were transformed into sneakers, the gold scarf into a printed yellow one, and she managed to find herself a handbag, a folder, and some headphones, and was back again at Mujtaba’s house nice and early! Wah!!
    A similarly what the heck sequence: Daneez getting upset with Mujtaba, walking around randomly and then calmly going to sleep in what looked like a busy amusement park, complete with a giant Ferris wheel – waahht??
    Yet another Kiran moment: Upon learning of Mujtaba’s marriage, Kiran rushes to confront Mujtaba, wearing some gaudy huge earrings and equally ginormous necklace and a pink lehnga, probably from the 1950s. Again, what the heck was she doing running through deserted streets at night? If this isn’t a classic case of inviting trouble I don’t know what is; throughout I kept waiting for her to get mugged, dressed up as she was like a Christmas tree. Earlier, in the same scene, Sanam and Fawad were absolutely drenched – I realize it must have been extremely hot – but it was beyond gross to watch.
    The hardest to swallow scenario: Daneez and Shimraiz plotting against Tania. The whole bit about giving Tania drugs, photoshopping pictures, cyber-bullying, and finally pushing her to commit suicide – errrr, a bit much to digest! And, then Daneez’s overnight transformation into a “sweet” girl – sorry – didn’t work for me!

    Wait, no, I’m not done – no! I can’t end without highlighting some of KPKP’s really fantastic moments as well – the scenes, some of which made me laugh out loud and others that made me go awww, for which I will buy its DVD on my next trip to Pakistan. Here they are, and again in no particular order:

    The entire first episode – what a superb insight into Mujtaba’s crazy world. This was a perfect begining, and I would actually rate it alongside Haissam’s latest Durre Shehwar’s first episode. It set up the whole scenario so beautifully, we got a look into why Mujtaba was the way he was, his frustrations with the socio-economic situation in Pakistan. It was a complete package in that it was beautifully written, directed, and acted. Sadly it went gradually downhill from thereon.
    The “hero entry” scene: Beyond brilliant is all I can say! This was Fawad Khan at his best – I would rate this scene alongside many of his heavy duty scenes in Humsafar. The lines were great and the director gave his cues, but really to go beyond that and elevate the scene is all credit to Fawad’s flair for histrionics and his impeccable comic timing.
    Dastaan wala Fawad Khan and Katrina Kaif scene: One of the best scripted scenes. Even though it was an over long scene and Kiran’s loud crunching of her chips was extremely annoying, the lines made the scene memorable, as Mujtaba nonchalantly dismissed that guy from Dastaan… an insider’s joke it was highly appreciated by everybody who got it.
    The saala- behnoi chemistry between Shimraiz and Mujtaba: Unfortunately there were very few scenes between Shimraiz and Mujtaba, but whenever they did come they were always fun. This scene, when Daneez and Mujtaba come to make nice with Daneez’s parents and Shimraiz is already there, was one of their best in my opinion. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of the Fawad-Mikaal pair in the future.
    The panga bolo scene: For some odd reason, for me this was one of the most romantic scenes I’ve seen on TV in a while, and I say this even as I’m thinking back to all the Ashar-Khirad scenes. Here, there was no Mahira, no QB in the background, it was just Fawad Khan, Aisha Khan was a non-player in the scene, and she might as well have not been there. The way he played it was amazing and demonstrated that one did not need to recite heavy-duty dialogues or get physical to show romance. A simple everyday mundane dialogue was fine-tuned into something else entirely.
    Shmiraiz at his best: When examing his bruises, post yet another unseen fist-fight with Mujtaba: Oh no! Ab main parties pay kaise jaaonga?! Absolutely awesome! Another memorable moment was when he dissed Kiran’s clothes – yes!!

    Friends, this was my recap of the crazy journey that was Kuch Pyar Ka Pagalpan. Feel free to agree/disagree, reminisce about your favorite scenes. After all KPKP ka janaza hai, zara dhoom sey niklay…

    • Love that whole write-up! Thank you, @SZ! Brilliant stuff.

      Btw, I just finished watching the “hero entry” scene and OMG, DYING! FK was perfect and perfectly over the top and I was laughing so hard that my husband actually came in from the other room to find out what I was up to! I’m going to have to watch it again now.

    • I’m now more than half done with KPKP, and nothing makes sense anymore? I can’t stand any of the four main characters, and I’m more than a bit put off by the way the very pragmatic Mujtaba is stringing two women along. I don’t even really understand his whole relationship with Daniez and it feels like he’s more into Kiran despite their constant sniping and arguing.

      I would abandon the show but for one thing: how ADORABLE is FK in this?! Be still my beating heart, lol.

      • @RK: Hello hello!

        Haha! Did you forget you’re watching KPKP? 😉 Its crazy!
        Ok, so like you every week we watched KPKP we had similar questions and nothing made sense … Aisha Khan the actress playing Daneez had zip chemistry with FK so they never looked like a hot pair … Sanam B and FK had done two other serials before as a romantic pair so it always looked like Muju and Kiran were really into each other … but . if you’ve continued watching you will have seen that was not the case …basically this serial was really a slap dash affair .. Turkey was passed off as US without ever blinking an eyelid .. some actors couldnt get a visa to NYC so they didnt even bother making appropriate changes to accommodate the location change .. there were scenes they couldnt shoot but never made any effort to change the script to compensate for those…it was a complete mess .. but all that said, I still would like to see this re-made with better production facilities and properly cast actors… this was really one of the very few intelligently funny (ok bar the cyber bullying death which was beyond reprehensible) scripts Ive seen and FK was fab…

        • LOL. I did ultimately warm to Mujtaba and Daneez, if only because the poor guy was working SO hard to understand a woman who wanted something very different in terms of love and marriage. I also LOVED that “panga bolo” scene and towards the end of the show, I was totally rooting for Daneez and Mujtaba to make their way back to each other. I sort of liked how their marital troubles were resolved without a whole lot of explaining and apologizing. Instead, there was just a simple “I love you” and an undeclared promise to keep trying. That was pretty real, and also perfectly in character for Mujtaba, no?

          Mikaal Zulfiqar was mostly disappointing in KPKP, but he had better chemistry with Sanam Baloch too, and if you go by his work in SeMM, boy has he come a long way as an actor!

      • Here’s another blast from the past …. written as the serial was ending … an insight into the characters and their motivations … P.S. #SpoilerAlert

        Compared to the past episodes, this week’s episode was much more introspective. Mellower than usual, each character seemed to be in a reflective mood. The episode opened with Mujtaba prepared to defend Kiran to all and sundry. Muju’s desi brand of chivalry was in sharp contrast to Shimraiz’s the-end-justifies-the-means attitude, and Kiran being nobody’s fool was sharp enough to pick up on that. Even as she is fighting her growing attraction for Shimraiz, Kiran is now quite cognizant of the qualities he lacks. Now she needs to take some decisions: should she walk away from Shimraiz? Should she compromise and accept him as he is? Or, will Shimraiz realize his shortcomings and turn over a new leaf? Kiran needs to do some serious thinking before the last episode …

        Shimraiz, on the other hand, startled me with his ruthlessness. We knew that he wanted Daneez and would go to any extremes to get her, but what surprised me was that extent to which he bad-mouthed Kiran. She was after all his partner in crime; he should have been more protective of her. Though he professes to “love” her, Shimraiz’s attitude towards Daneez was perplexing. He couldn’t wait to dump her at her parent’s house and to get back to Kiran. Seems like it is no longer about Daneez, it is more about punishing Mujtaba, for taking away from him what he thought was rightfully his. Methinks Shimraiz has a hard few days ahead of him: he’d better think back on all his moves of the past few weeks and re-evaluate what is it he really wants –is he orchestrating this dog and pony show to get back at Mujtaba, or is it Daneez he really wants, his ostensible perfect match, or is Kiran his destined mate, the loud-mouthed badtameez from the wrong part of town…

        Daneez, devastated as can be, at the thought of Mujtaba’s extra-marital affair and his broken engagement with Kiran, has now decided to divorce Mujtaba. Refusing to listen to his explanations, she does not seem to comprehend how much it must have cost a quintessential desi man like Mujtaba to request her to listen to him and return home. Seems like Daneez still has a lot of growing up to do; one does not just get married on a whim and then decide to divorce when the fantasy turns out to be a grim reality. She, like her “best friend” Shimraiz also has to do a lot of thinking over the week: Will she realize that fantasies spun around hearts and roses and knights in shining armors cannot withstand the humdrum realities of everyday life? Can she learn that “love” does not happen when and how one wishes? Will she be able to accept the extremely practical Mujtaba for who he really is – warts and all?

        Finally, Mujtaba, the character who got the story rolling with his dreams of greener pastures abroad, is the only of the four who has actually acknowledged that he has seriously miscalculated. Life back home, filled as it was frustrations, had filled his head with some serious misconceptions about what life abroad would be like. Used to taking shortcuts, the street smart Mujtaba has had to suffer some serious setbacks; his huge desi ego has been seriously deflated. His fantasy of the perfect package, in form of a rich wife, a foreign nationality, and a big house, has been sadly shattered. For the last two weeks he’s been in a self-critical mode, re-evaluating his choices, but still he is bumbling around looking for answers. Basically a straight guy, but practical to the tee, no silly notions of romance and flowers, he finds himself stuck in a situation from where there are no short cuts. He is wife is completely opposite. Now he too needs to spend the next week buying some Hallmark cards, spending some money and sending her flowers, and wooing her back.

        Even though we bashed it a great deal, when it did come together it was a good story, all four characters had their own funda going, each one using the other as a means to an end. Nobody was black or white, nobody good or bad. All were users and all were used at one time or the other. Mujtaba was the way he was because of his family, his mother’s constant chatter about the rich bahu and the rich chacha-ji, and how he deserved a shot abroad, all went a long way in shaping Muju’s thoughts. Kiran was all messed up because of her family’s extra harsh attitude towards her. Shimraiz and Daneez had always gotten everything on a silver platter – the world was their playground. They just blithely imagined that everybody would always play by their rules. And, when things stopped going their way they were at a complete loss … I can’t wait to see how these characters make out next week. Hopefully all four will be a little wiser at the end of this journey, finding practical solutions to their problems, and realizing that there are no short cuts in life. Nothing comes easy.

        As I’m writing this I am also thinking how the story was sadly lost somewhere along the line. Beginning with Turkey masquerading as USA, it was all downhill from there on. Half the time we couldn’t hear anything and for the other half we heard too much (background noise, loud OST). The miscasting of one leading lady, the over-acting of the other, the utterly atrocious styling, wardrobe, makeup, all distracted from the issues being shown on screen. The editing left so much to be desired that I don’t even know where to begin. The bloopers became de rigueur and continuity turned into a joke. Hopefully future projects from Six Sigma and director Haissam Hussein won’t be plagued by similar issues. Looking forward to Haissam’s next outing Durre Shahwar…

  10. @Sonya Pelia: “I thought Numm was fascinating and I think my experience may have been different because I binge watched it once I discovered it. I may be the only person on this site who thinks it was an amazing drama”

    You’re not alone in this for sure. I binge-watched Numm recently too, and despite the show having so many production/editing/supporting cast problems, I kind of fell in love with it. I think it might end up being one of those “cult classics” in the (very very distant) future, lol.

    • @Sonia and @RK: I too think it was fab – in theory. Sadly it didn’t live up to what it couldve shouldve been … a modern day classic.. As a story and acting wise – SS, FK, UP- it was so much better, with tons more depth, than the Humsafars and ZGHs that so many of us still talk about .. #Afsos ;(

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