Sang-e Mar Mar ~ Episode 26 Review

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When I have to watch an episode two/three times, because my mind is on everything but the screen, then it is pretty obvious know that the once beloved serial is no more all that. It is with great afsos that I have to say that I am now officially bored with this ver. 2.0 of Sang-e Mar Mar. Kahan gaya woh intelligent serial aur kahan gayi woh nuanced and textured kahani?

Are the creatives of this show that much out of ideas that we have to sit through long-winded scenes of a grown woman sobbing her eyes out -crying about about her toota hua dil and wasted life – all because of what an eight year boy once said to her?? If ever there was a chalta phirta hua ishtihar for drama-women needing serious hobbies to occupy their farigh dimaghs, Shirin is it! Bibi please go get a life! Eight year olds do not do gehri gehri baatein and a randomly gifted mor pankh does not a nikah ka w’ada constitute!

Yes, I am really really annoyed after today’s episode. This whole Shirin-Aurang-Palwasha-mor pankh scenario .. taubah! All I can say is that Aurang is a bigger better person than I can ever aspire to be. He actually continued offering explanations… I would’ve turned around and walked out right at the beginning of the bachpan ki muhabbat ki kahani. Moral of the story: Eight year olds should not be watching Pakistani dramas and must be kept busy – read really really busy.

And if that wasn’t enough then we got a very simple end to Pari’s pregnancy. Like really?? She swore on the Quran and her baby died – bas foran?! If this is how justice is being meted out in Sang-e Mar Mar land tau going by this fast and furious logic Torah, Gulistan Khan, Durkhaney… all should’ve been struck dead a long while ago.

One of the biggest attractions of Sang-e Mar Mar had been that none of these characters were saints … all had done their fair share of flirting with the dark side, some more than flirt. Then why pick on Pari to make her the blackest of all? Us ne aisa kaunsa ziada bura kiya? Going by this logic, why hasn’t Durkhane yet slipped on the sang-e mar mar ka shiny farsh in her house – the same house where she is happily exchanging cheesy romantic lines with her shohar sahab? Isn’t it her idiocy that started this whole mess?

Beyond these two tracks, Torah and Gulistan Khan too had their moments together but I am now at the point where all I want is for the story to end. I get that all this shaadi business is intended to tighten the net and tie everything together in a neat bundle, but the problem is that the said net now has been dragged so much that it has developed big gaping holes, and my interest in this story has fallen through one of those holes.

The precap promises a catfight between Bano and Shirin but after all those previous instances I have learnt to not take anything at face value. For all we know this could be just another one of Shirin’s day dreams … or maybe now it’s Bano’s turn – has she too has caught her bhabhi’s beemari? Or is it Palwasha or may be Aurang’s day dream? Who know and who cares … agle hafte dekh lenge

So yeah, my dil has become like sang-e mar mar – cold and unfeeling – towards this serial and I have no insights nothing meaningful to share. What about you all? Looking forward to your take!

Written by SZ~

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121 replies

  1. I was waiting to read your review on today’s episode cuz I relaly enjoyed your last one. I agree with most of the sentiments you shared here. Sang e Mar Mar, for me, has been this BEST thing ever. The only one I am religiously following these days and can talk about it har dafa. But but but, ye last 2 episodes se it’s losing it’s pace. That SangeMarMar-ish charm. And honestly, itnaaaaaa koi ghussa araha tha Shireen pe, please woman, have some self respect. Bachpan ka crush tumhara tha, let him be who he is. What kachra with that bad-duas and all?
    Pfft. And yep, bhabi too. I mean I knew kuch aisa hi hona tha (also wesy she REALLY was horrible) but this toon-qasam-toon-bacha.dies was uhhhh flop. Her acting however, was amazing. That lullaby and qabar se lipatna gave me goosebumps.
    I hope they make the coming episodes better. Bring back the magic, yo!

    – Maria (also, hiii)

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    • Hiii back Maria – chalo finally because of SeMM I get to hear from you 🙂
      Haina! I feel so personally let down ke I feel ke koi jalsa juloos nikaloon .. I was so mad at Shirin for exactly the same reasons as you .. matlab ke hadd hoti hai!
      Lol Pari got hit by a double whammy – not just the qasam but also Shirin’s bad dua .. bechari just woke from the wrong side of the bed that day 😱I know I just can’t take any of this seriously at all and now that my annoyance has subsided somewhat I can only laugh at this mess .. but yes Kaif was fantastic👏👏
      But was it just P who was horrible? What abt the purana papi GK .. P tau had just started her burai .. GK had been at it for so long and dekh lo he still expects and look for forgiveness! Kya yaar!

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  2. SZ, uff, I am so done with this. The dialogues have lost their freshness, the back stories are all out (it seems), so nothing new. At this point I don’t care if Shirin kills Palwasha, Torah kills pretty much everyone, Aurang kills Torah and GK is left listening to Torah’s mother’s song collection. The kind people at Sky TV have given the spoilers for what’s up and it’s no thank you from me.

    Maybe like GK was obsessed with power, Torah was obsessed with revenge, Shirin with Aurang (version 1.0 – aged 8), I was getting too obsessed with SeMM. The moral of the story is, obsession is not good.

    Gone are the days when stories decided the length of a play. Now it’s the TRP cow, with its infinite supply of ad revenues. As opposed to my interest level that cannot be sustained ad infinitum. They are making me tap into my limited Latin supplies, that’s how bad it is.

    Sorry SZ, had to take it all out. And thank you for giving us this space to rant. I’m not planning to watch this until it finishes.

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    • VZ: Uff!! I am so with you on this .. I have never typed as fast as I did today because I was just so flippin’ furious! As I just wrote I am all wound up for a dharna outside HUM office if you and others would like to join in with me ..
      did you watch today? If not then just watch the last scene between A and S ., taubah astaghfar .. matlab ke story down the drain and how!!!

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      • I watched it SZ, I felt like shaking Shirin and asking her to wake up and smell the coffee. But Sara of Humsafar has taught everyone that no matter how educated you are, go after that man who doesn’t love you, and die if you don’t get him. Shirin Bibi, please go look after the 9 shops your lala has left for you. Or discuss construction plans for the school, hospital etc that’s likely to come up soon. Kya yaar… They had a golden opportunity to show a heroine with dignity uska bhi yeh haal kardiya.

        Fed up of Torah’s stroke-beard, make-vow, look-lethal routine. Irritated with Palwasha – why did Bano stop her from making halwa yaar, atleast yeh activity/hobby pursue karne deti usay?

        All this giley-shikwey because they dragged and dragged – as you say, the net has got gaping holes now.

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        • Hahaha!! The halwa thingy .. honestly!
          Why Hum TV why???
          I feel like standing in a katehra and screaming loudly ala our filmi heroes of the ’60s:
          Mujhe insaaf chahiye judge sahab insaaaf!!!

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  3. This ep marked two things :
    1. The return! – the return of the mor pankh …(and Bulbul… )
    2. The unlimited uses of ‘qainchi’ ! – I mean from child birth, to hair cut to cutting the wrists or the gala!

    haven’t read the review or the comments yet .. just finished watching and just had to let this out of my system asap my mind asap!

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      • uff what a disappointing ep! Honestly Shirin is one to talk about tauheen.. I mean woman just check urself out.. Iss se ziada tauheen madam koi aur aap ki kar nahin sakta jitni aap khud apni karrahi hain! i mean that was so bad!
        One thing I was looking forward to was Torah GK in the promo.. I thought we might see another skeleton.. but yahan tou it was same old same old.. like bilkul hi same old same same old..
        I thought Gk’s ghalatfehmi towards shamim might be an interesting twist.. magar woh bhi nahin..
        Then Pari’s miscarriage couldn’t have been handle any worse.. I was dreading the qasam last week but the results were gonna be so instant.. hadd hai! and the qainchi just did it for me!
        Well looks like this episode of Sang-e-Marr Marr was cursed by bad omen – with the tooti kasams and bad-duaas written all over it (or through out it more like..)

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      • Oh btw VZ I think Arung heard you – aur kuch nahin tou he will be busy bulding a school and a ‘hospital’!!!.. hopefully 8 yr olds won’t be that farigh after that..

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        • FA, given that all the mor pankh nonsense happened at school, I’m not entirely sure that’s the kind of busy those 8yo should be exposed to! That mor pankh, uff root of all evil.

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            • Why leave out Pari and Bano.. waise we were talking about Mubashir and the interesting women in his life.. Saifurrahman’s has had his fair share too.. Phele Bano and then Pari.. Wonder if Pari knows about Saifurrahman and Bano thing.. Also I wonder if they would use that detail to tie up some of this mess.. or if it was thrown in for nothing..

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    • FA, re: qainchi – it’s a weapon made uniquely for the ladies I believe – I mean, did you see how casually the Gul Begums and Shireens are handling it? Can you even imagine GK or Torah with it? No way. And Bano doesn’t need external ones, she was born with it – placed right where we have something called tongue.

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      • lol @ uniquely for women. And they only use it on other women.. except Bano!
        Honestly did u see the size of that qainchi?! and the way she was holding it.. i thought she brought out one of those huge hedge shears!
        Btw that scene where Pari leads the way and maulvi ko bhi peeche chor deti hai could’ve been quite something if that didn’t come slap between all the rest of the circus going on in todays ep… unfortunately the curse and bad-duaas didnt just kill the baby…. it killed all the goodness in the ep too.. 😦

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        • I know, those curses were so unnecessary. Just completely ruined it for me. No charm left in the story yaar, where’s the nuance, where are the layers, the clever plots? For once I was hoping Shirin’s bad-dua scene with Aurang was one of her day dreams, but alas!

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  4. Well, that was…actually, what the heck was that?

    I’m so with you on all the frustration with this episode! At one point, I genuinely wanted to reach into my screen and slap Shirin hard. I know that’s the sort of haath uthao-ing we don’t like around here, but wow, she really needed it. How can she hold on to something from when she was a child and expect Aurang to remember it the same way? Aurang showed saint-levels of patience in that scene, because if I were him, my reaction would have been much, much different.

    Also, everything else in this episode felt disjointed and kind of tacked together. I get that this was maybe needed filler before the final denouement, but good grief, everything was so boring and trite. I didn’t even enjoy the one scene with Shamim and GK because even SS and NI seem like they’re phoning it in now.

    Pari…OMG, don’t even get me started on how disappointing that whole scene was. She was great, and what a gorgeous and sad lullaby for her child, but I can’t believe her false swearing had immediate consequences. She didn’t have a chance to reflect on what happened before she lost her child. For me, the impact of the scene was lost, and I couldn’t muster sympathy for her. I will say that if there’s a filmed version of an Urdu Macbeth, she should absolutely play Lady Macbeth though. I can’t get over the similarities in their stories.

    I’m really worried about the direction of this show, and I’ve figured out what’s happened to the production in the last few weeks. It’s all been downhill since Safiullah died. Bring him back and everything will be awesomesauce again, lol.

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    • RK, when the show was new, I really liked the Shakespeare meets Godfather set up. But now, all gone down the drain. How did they manage to mess up so badly?!

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      • Right? I binge-watched the first 20-odd episodes in a weekend because the story was so engaging and fresh. And yes, it was all very Shakespeare-meets-Greek-tragedy-meets-Godfather, and the Swat setting was perfect too.

        I think the show lost something when it focused in on Aurang, because he’s less interesting than Gulistan Khan and Torah. Similarly, Shirin is a bechari, but she’s not as interesting as the scheming Bano or the slightly unhinged Pari.

        Also, there’s no mystery left here, and that’s a problem. The only interesting plot point left to resolve is whether Torah’s hand in all the tragedy will be discovered soon, and I’m curious about his future with Bano. I just hope we don’t need 10 more episodes now!

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  5. Excellent review, SZ. You’ve said it all. I forwarded most of the episode yesterday. Just couldn’t stand the same old same old. The only Bano line I LOL-ed at was main jhoot bolti hoon iss liay jhootay ko pehchan leti hoon. Or something of that sort. Anyway, the Shireen-Aurang convo was a HUGE letdown though a part of me somewhere was glad that she finally got a much needed dose of reality and maybe now she can move on in life. Her fixation with Aurang has caused her enough trouble already.

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    • @DB: Shirin gets a dose of reality when and if the powers-that-be decide that she’s ready to get one .. it is really sad how stories are being messed around like this by drama industrialists who should know better…

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  6. Top notch review … and i agree with all comments above..this epi was heck boring.. i was like matlab aur kitni episodes to complete the circle and just get over it.. its getting bit annoying now… shirin needs 1 thapar idhar 1 thapar udhur…. koi self respect nh… i guess she sold that with that morpankh… who in their righy minds …take seriously n remember 8 year child ki baatein.. tauba… aurang was sachi mard ka bacha.. saying each n everything clear.. with no point of misunderstanding again.. but ye shirin.. bad duas dene pe agayi n please dont tell me aurang has to marry her because of thosr bad duas…

    As v saw bad dua happening so quick with pari and her jhooti qasam.. i so agree with @RK.. she didnt get time to reflect on wht she has done.. poor v poor.. but Kaif was just brilliant after she lost her child… tht lullaby at graveyard gave me goosebumps

    So precap shows gusse wali shirin matlab shr was bearing ciz of tht muhabat😏

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    • Rehmat, you hit the nail on the head – where’s her self respect, doesn’t she see how ridiculous she sounds, talking about what was said to her when she was 7-8 years old? Hadd hai! I’m so annoyed that they’ve ruined the charm of the show.

      Keep meaning to ask you and FA, hope you are not affected by storm Doris.

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    • @Rehmat: Its all so sad isn’t it? I mean this was sommething we all used to wait for :/

      And I agree with RK: If I weren’t opposed to such things a tight thapar is what Shirin deserved .. How just how could they all put together such a scene is beyond me .. but then I guess this is what the awam is lapping up so …

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  7. Sorry, just wanted to add my two further cents to this saga.

    I think we found the earlier episodes interesting because the story was being driven by interesting and layered characters like GK, Torah, Pari. They are good actors to boot so that helped as well. Now the story is being driven by Aurang, Shirin and Palwasha and the others have taken a back seat – and these three characters are the weakest links (in my opinion). There is no real interesting feature in any of them, as long as they were in the background, the drama was fine. I mean, Torah fighting for the injustice to his mother seemed like a strong story line, Torah fighting for Palwasha to get married to Aurang is not really cracking it for me…

    They should’ve kept the interesting characters in the centre stage and not relegated them to the background. That way we would’ve seen a more interesting drama on our hands. Sorry, rant over. Need to get this out of my mind!

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    • Exactly …and all I can do is shake my head and think what muhabbat?? And they are also applauding her for not being a mazloom aurat and fighting it out for her luuuvvvv.. ugh! spare me!

      See we are not just thora sa left of center .. hum tau bilkul hi khiske huey hain 😉

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      • The thing is that Shirin didn’t seem this mazloom in the beginning, no? I mean, her advice to Durkhane is practical and cautious, and she deals with both Bano and Gulalai with confidence and just the right amount of self-consciousness. She even handles her sudden discovery of Aurang’s feelings for Palwasha really well. So why is she going to pieces now over a mor pankh and things an 8-year old boy said to her years ago? Is it just because everything was finally working out in her favor and now she’s lost it all…again? I don’t get it.

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  8. Firstly thank you SZ for allowing me to have the following rant, we are only up to episode 12 but I am already feeling much of what you have said.

    Episode 12 and I have not warmed to Shirin’s character yet. Where was the sensible Shirin we had at the start who was warning Durkane about the evils of men? Now she herself is acting foolishly. Her manner in front of her bhabi’s mumani was plain stupid. It could be interpreted as her being a strong girl who can stand up for herself but no it was plain stupid to turn down the rishta in front of her bhabi and the mumani. There are more subtle ways. You shouldn’t be rude to your elders, maybe in the city but not in a conservative society. Then her over enthusiasm for her coming (possible) marriage to Aurang. This was a decision by the jirga and she was just behaving totally besharam because she was so overjoyed. I am not being conservative but seriously she could have behaved with some decorum. She is oblivious to the fact that Gohar was Aurang’s brother, and Aurang will probably be saddened over his brother’s death. At one point she tells Durkane that she will complain to Aurang when she sees him about the lack of baratis that came to the wedding. She is in lala land, doesn’t she realise this is a jirga imposed wedding and Gohar (yes he was evil) was someone’s son and brother. Its just me me me (okay I know this me took the fall for Durkane).

    Because by this stage Shirin was being an annoying character we barely had any sympathy (just a little actually) for her when she found out at the last minute she was marrying Safiullah. We thought thank goodness now she can come out of lala land to face reality. Okay it was bad whats happened to her but it seems she still had one foot in lala land when she showed Aurang the mehindi on her hand with his name? She is his bhabi now, what exactly does she expect from him?

    It may sound I am being harsh because by episode 12 Shirin’s in a pretty bad place but its mainly because I am fed up with Shirin ‘childhood love’ scenario. As you said SZ, they were 8 years old and he never made any promises to you because apart from Indian films (where they will sing a song as well), eight year olds don’t make such promises. And I must also confess my feelings are influenced by the fact I see Shirin as a kebab mi hadi between Aurang and Palwasha, who are among the very few characters who have no agendas and are kind hearted.

    Ok I think you get the picture on my view on Shirin, I will stop on this point.

    By episode 12 you can see how they are beginning to stretch the elastic band on this story. The silly dream sequences were not needed, seriously we don’t need to see Shirin’s fantasies about life with Aurang, I think we the audience have noticed how ga ga she is over him. Then Gulalai’s vision of her husband approsching Shirin on the marriage bed….again I think we already got the message that Gulalai is ‘slightly’ upset over the situation. These scenes were unnecessary fillers.

    Since the situation with a certain drama that shall no longer be named. I have been weary of watching any drama from the start. I waited a while, reading the reviews and catching 5 minutes here and there of the odd episode before starting this drama. One of the things that was and is good about this drama despite the elastic band approach of the producers are the amazing characters (apart from Shirin). I loved how apart from Pari and Gohar all the characters were shades of grey. Even Torah the villain, had justifiable reasons to do what he did. Bano was forced into a marriage with Torah and no one listened to her when she said no. Apparently according to the scene shown of their wedding night she had even told Torah she did not want to marry him. I loved seeing Gulistan Khan reading namaaz one minutes and then working out the amount of interest he is owed from debtors. We see characters like that all the time. Absolutely great characters with great acting. I have read what VZ has said, that possibly once these characters go into the background and we are left with the bland Aurang, Palwasha and Shirin, what is left to watch?

    The use of flashbacks at key points is great. This is how you do it!

    I can now see they are going to stretch the episodes from 12 to when Saifullah dies.

    Just one more observation, I wonder if Gulistan Khan ever realises (despite Gohar and Saifullah’s deaths) that Aurang is his true heir. Gohar was a spoilt and dangerous bully. Saifullah did not have two brain cells, he is led by others. Aurang was the only one with brains in the family. The only problem with Aurang is that he wouldn’t play by the rules of the society he lived in. Maybe that is why Gulistan Khan is disappointed in Aurang because that was the son could have carried his legacy forward. Okay I know that eventually down the line when Saifullah dies, GK has no choice but turn to Aurang and he is suddenly discovers he has a conscience. Although as we all know its Torah who has actually inherited the brains and the conniving strategic mind but everyone else is to racist and blinded by his Bengali heritage to see this.

    I have a prediction: Will Bano wear Torah’s mum’s sari as a sign of accepting him and if she does will he accept it or get angry at her sacrilege.

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    • @NKhan: I dont want to give away spoilers but this one kind of comes and goes in waves and as you watch it is very easy to pick out parts which are organic to the story and those that have added on as per TRP mandates .. Which is all such a tragedy because the characters were so fab and they really demanded better, more honest treatment :/

      Re: Your prediction: sounds good .. but after all that has gone down between them i dk if I can stomach a happy ending between them .. seeing how justice was meted out to P I think the whole lot should just be banished to the farthest corners of the earth.. theyve done far more harm than she did .. after all her victim is still alive and whining about her luuuvvvvv!

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      • Maybe I went a bit OTT on my anti-Shirin tirade but as I have been reading other reviews even before reading yours today I realised that Shirin has still has not come to her senses even when Aurang has showen his indifference to her. Also because Shirin is on the promos and publicity shots along with Aurang and I am thinking seriously they are not going to give these two a happy ending.

        However despite this as both you and VZ have said there are enough good characters and scenes that make this worth watching. Noman Ijaz is brilliant, as are the actors that play Bano and Torah. The actress that plays Bano was in Dil Lagi where her character was rather one dimensional but here you can see the lady can act. I have not made it to Episode 12 (excluding watching Pehchaan recently) in a while. We made it to I think Episode 5 of Dil Banjara due too the storyline of the senior actors but got fed up with the bad acting and glamour.

        VZ you mention the ‘duality we all show’. Absolutely and what is amazing is that when we all do this we actually don’t realise we are doing this even though it is obvious to everyone else. If we do have some inkling we justify it in our minds. GK is a great example of this. I also liked how Gullalai who is ordinarily a very nice person can’t help herself in being negative to Shirin. There is not much Gullalai can do but she is not going to be vocally silenced. Is these layers as you say that makes these characters interesting and you want to know what happens next.

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        • Dear NKhan, you are right about Gulalai, the way she changed from being this benign, submissive person to being quite sharp with Shirin when her position is threatened, was quite realistic. The blatant bias against Torah, because of his skin colour – even Bulbul takes a dig at that. Without preaching, the writer has brought out all these issues which makes us reflect about our own attitudes.

          GK’s pride and arrogance, Shamim’s quiet acceptance, Bano’s bitter nature, Torah’s simmering anger – such realistic emotions that we see all around us, are reflected in the characters.

          The actress playing Bano is Uzma Hassan – she’s done many plays and works in theatre as well, SZ may know more. I have usually seen her typecast in nand or bhabhi roles without much scope to show her talent. Here she’s so good as Bano. And of course Sania Saeed, who has taken a shell of a character and given it life. All the actors are really good, they have breathed life into these characters.

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    • Hello NKhan, you are right, by episode 11 or 12 the stretching was quite apparent. It was as if they put the brakes on suddenly.

      What I liked about the play was the subtle questioning – through the characters and their actions the writer asks us to think about so many issues – from the treatment of a fellow human being to the duality we all show (one rule for others, one rule for us or for example being religious but not following the spirit of religion etc etc). There were so many layers to the dialogues, to the characters, to the humour.

      With all the stretching they lost that richness. They spent so much time on day dreams and eaves dropping that it did not fit in right. Like SZ says, it’s not organic to the story.

      You are so right about the flashbacks – they were meaningful, impactful, they were intrinsic to the story. And the placement of those flashbacks was really beautiful. You were given information in just the right amount at the right time. For once it felt like the writer, director and actors all worked in tandem and it was a pleasure to watch it unfold.

      Now we just want it to end, we don’t care for this love triangle and the characters that were really layered and interesting are now feeling like mere props. What a shame 😦

      Yes, Shirin of the first few episodes was a sensible girl, but they did bring out the obsession she had for Aurang and how Durkhane did her best to fan it. And even then it wasn’t the most interesting part, but there was some hope that she would grow out of it. After yesterday’s episode, that hope is gone forever.

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  9. Ok, so here are my two cents of conspiracy theory, but before that let me clarify I do not know Mustafa Afridi personally, never met him so all this is my own dimagh ki dahi:

    I think Mustafa Afridi writes really well, I mean really well .. his stories have strong characters put into unique situations, they feature characters who derive their power through controlling others through any means possible, but at the same time they are never simply evil or black .. he redefines grey in his writing .. case in point GK or Torah in SeMM. The problem though is that he is not a commercial writer, i.e, a writer for the kind of TV we are being forced to watch these days. Hence, methinks he has these concepts and great characters, say about 13-15 episodes and he takes them to a producer and he is told story acchi hai magar commerciall nahin hai … add in masala – read romance. Enter characters lilke Palwasha/Shirin/Aurang. They might have alreay been in the original story but not in the over exaggerated form we see here. There might even have been this triangle already in place, but most certainly not as a the centre of gravity of the entire story. Rather it would have played in the background much like Bano’s failed love story. This addition of the TRP material is what is causing all the mess here .. and this is where Mustafa Afridi fails – in making the nwe “dictated” material seem organic to the story. Hence the whole mess…

    I saw similar things happen with Aseerzadi as well. It was a fab fab story – SS was brilliant and Sakina Samo and Farah Shah and Salman Shahid all were fab. The problem, apart from the fact that HUM conveniently posted the big twist on their FB page before te serial even started, was the romantic track of the younger generation – Noor and Annie. If you’ve watched that serial then you can immediately see how foreign that forced in romantic track is and how it sticks out like a sore thumb and for me that was a huge huge turn off. But now in hindsight this is exactly what I see happening here. Also, Firaq.. another MA serial, started off really brilliantly – the first 10-12 eps are a must watch then watch as the producer steps in and budget cuts happen and you get the ver. 2.0 … and the rest of the story bears no resemblance to anything like what it had started off as …

    So basically, this, to me, is an issue of producers not giving space towriters to tell their own stories… I have always held that if a channel is showing 7-10 dramas a week why not apportion one weekday slot for an “adult” drama that is free of these commercial trappings …

    Finally, its not just MA … Bee Gul and her Zidd is also a case in point of producers “dictating” their input …

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    • Subscription channels are the answer, IMO. I mean, imagine what a Bee Gul or a Mustafa Afridi could do if they were essentially guaranteed complete creative control and TRPs and ad revenue didn’t matter because subscriptions were already in place?

      The question is then one of demographics. What percentage of the TV-watching public in Pakistan is likely to subscribe to such a channel? Is it a big enough number to keep the channel afloat? Also, maybe a subscription-based channel could air content that would not pass muster with most of the viewing public (as we were discussing re: the Numm ladies).

      The alternative is that a channel like HUM could just launch a secondary channel that would air less “commercial” content but where the content would still get plenty of critical notice. Maybe this is a thing that already exists?

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      • @RK: Subscriptoin channels will not work in Pakistan because of illegal cable operators … the only answer is if they start providign original content to online streaming services like Netflix or Amazon or Hulu … which has started happening in India and is probably being negotiated for Pk as well .. the other option is web series, which I believe is being talked about very seriously in the artsy circles in Pk .. the problem there is funding … PK is a small market, when compared to India, so fewer corporates etc available to fund these start up projects .. they would still rather invest in mainstream TV channels where they have guaranteed ROI. Also remember Pk is very unstable as far as streaming services or other online channels go .. YT for instance was banned in PK for years and all it would take is one supposedly “blasphemous” or “morally inappropriate” show for these services to get banned as well. Given such an environment it is very difficult to secure funding for indy projects .. this among other similar reasons is why brilliant creatives like BG, Khalid sb, Mustafa Afridi, Ehtesham, Sarmad, etc are doing what they are doing . .stick with the mainstream and perhaps get in a project or two in sideways … or atleast get a semi-intelligent project like SeMM out .. after all art alone cannot pay the bills .. and BG was brilliant in being honest and upfront abt this in her interview with us …
        I might come off as very cynical and all but I have spent a lot of time talking to these guys about these very same issues and putting forth the very same suggestions that most of us here are recommending .. .. I have heard of a few web series and indy short films being made exclusively for yt coming up soonish .. lets see.

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          • LOL. My blood stream is mostly caffeine at this point.

            That’s a good point about illegal cable operators, although it’s not like HBO (or the BBC, for that matter) hasn’t had to deal with illegal streaming of content in the past. I’m guessing on balance there’s enough money made off legit cable subscribers that the illegal streaming doesn’t siphon off enough revenues here in the US, but that the situation would be very different in India and Pakistan.

            Since you’re in the know on these topics, is there some reason why the mini-series format isn’t more popular? I mean, a show like SeMM could easily have been condensed into say 4-5 episodes of two hours each, and then you wouldn’t have as much padding with subplots that seem tacked on and don’t really work in context. Basically, I’m suggesting something in between a telefilm and a drawn-out 30+-episode format.

            The web series model would be terrific, especially with a newer generation of viewers who see TV as just another form of media and not THE form of media. Would crowd-funding work for smaller web-based projects?

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            • RK: re: mini serials: it might surprise you – or maybe not- but before humsafar or a bit before than our standard drama serial was 13 eps which went to 15/18 at the max .. and telefilms were huge as were tele series, where each story was individual and stood on its own. Humsafar became a huge turning point in the industry as it drew attention of sponsors etc and TRPs came into play and that introduced this stretching aspect .. hence more the eps more the money .. in this scenario telefilms, abd tele serials are no longer considered viable because they can’t guarantee TRPs .. Mehreen J had done a lovely short series called Coke Kahani which was basically what you are suggesting – a short 10 something episodic series, but it was a corporate sponsored project and though it did well online it didn’t do as well in the TRP section of the audience hence wasn’t repeated again. So that was the end of that. Recently, however, MJ has announced we return to the tele series and so we should be seeing something more meaningful from her. Basically, in short, TRPs are the be all and do all of the industry and it is all about ROI .. no longer abt story telling ..
              Re : crowd funding: Again an idea that is being thought abt very seriously but it can only be fruitful in terms of a particular project that has a special resonance for a certain gp of people, enough that they want to put money on it .. easier to do for a single film than something for tv .. but all that said there is a lot of buzz abt new things coming from the non traditional sources- web series etc that gives me hope and compels me to say engaged with the media otherwise going by what is on these i would’ve called it quits a while back.

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          • Also, sorry! Didn’t mean to come off like the newbie who thinks they’re the smartest person in the room! That was definitely not the intent. I’m just curious, and this is all still very new for me.

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            • @RK: no, nothing to be sorry about! It’s all good 🙂 infact it’s great to have convos which are a bit more involved than merely the superficial – not that I don’t enjoy the superficial 😉
              Infact this is one major reason for this blog – to view dramas in a wholistic manner – from how they are conceived and executed to their impact on society, etc.
              keep these convos going 🙂

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    • SZ, I agree with your analysis. The demands of commercial era. But when the play was doing so well without their interference why did they bring this forced “cat-fight for Aurang”? I can understand if things weren’t going well but yahan tau they were getting the ratings!

      I wish we could have a visit from Mustafa Afridi to tell us about what the original story was and what happened. But I guess it will be too risky for him to antagonise the powerful hand of Hum. (Also, he might not know we exist, but that’s another story)…

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      • Interesting discussion.. But looking from drama industrialists pov they’ve managed to keep the masses on board that brings them revenue, as well as reign in ppl like… although both segments have been on and off this bandwagon, but we were all hooked at some point or the other.. Yes we would’ve loved for it to carry on how it was at one point with the brilliance we thought it had, but that’s when the masses started getting bored.. I think if it was an experiment to mix and match and get the best of both worlds it was fairly good up until now.. And if this formula works maybe just maybe there is hope that we might get an effort towards making more balanced dramas like this than just churning out masterpcs like DeD and Mann Mayal .. #beingoptimistic

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      • I just don’t see any hope its the demand of the commercial era. Even in India if you go back maybe 20-25 years there were decent TV serials. I remember a drama called Koshish about a lower middle class girl who gets married into a rich family only to find out on the wedding night that her husband is mentally a child. She was married to be his childminder. However this been a TV serial there was masala, we discover the husband’s mother is a his step mother and its all about the family inheritance. The acting was good, no close-ups of everyone’s reactions and the story actually progressed during an episode. But then came the Ekta Kapoor saas-bahu period and Indian TV has never recovered.

        Now if this happened in India where there is more money and commercial viability what hope in Pakistan?

        I think its not the TV channels that need to change but the viewers. We may not like it but there are a good number of people in Pakistan who like these dramas. I remember an interview with Marina Khan, I think she had just taken a job with Geo and when asked about these dramas bluntly said ‘these dramas are not made for you and me’

        Both in the UK and USA less people are going to the cinema as TV has got so good. You see movie actors appearing on TV serials, something that would never have happened 20 years ago. Peoples viewing habits are changing and they want to watch a story line and characters to develop over a set number of episodes rather than in 120 minutes.Just watched a programme about TV in the USA in the 80s and shows like Dynasty and Dallas. I don’t know if anyone can recall or knows but for Dallas they wanted to bring back a dead character (Bobby Ewing) the following series so they decided that the previous series had been a long dream that his wife had. When she woke up they carried on as if never died. There is no way they could do that today.

        My point is guys we are in a minority.

        By the not sure if this is a silly question but whats happening to PTV nowadays? Every now and then I see the odd review for a PTV drama. With digital technology making production cheaper surely PTV without any commercial considerations could put out a decent drama. All we need is good acting, we don’t need big houses or overseas filming. For example apart from the train scenes Mera Naam Yusuf didn’t seem to have big set-designs.

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        • Re: PTV: it’s precisely because they are not advertising oriented that we don’t get anything exciting .. they might have good stories etc, but a good production costs serious money – from the equipment to technical facilities to writers to directors to actors .. all come with money .. no matter how evolved we all might pretend to be the simple matter of fact is that we do want to see a hd print, we want to see great aesthetics, great cinematography we want great actors, we want all the bells and whistles and they cost money. Mera Naam Yousuf Hai had MJ – the top tv director, Khalil ur Rehman Qamar, the most in demand writer, actors of the caliber of Hina, and Behroze, and very popular stars like Maya and Imran Abbas abd it was beautifully shot by Qasim Mureed .. all these things go a long way ..
          I am hopeful though that change will come — maybe not in the next two years but gradually .. when I first started writing abt these issues, abt social messaging and it’s impact etc, I know so many who told me categorically that I was making too much of it , it was all just entertainment why make such a big fuss abt it .. but see now in four five years social impact or dramas with social issues have become all the rage.. ppl are talking abt it – not always in a good way but the diff is there.
          Re: TV in the west: that had also taken a long time to come to the point where we now have film stars returning to tv in search of good roles.
          I know it’s easier said than done but hey at least we can say we tried 😊

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          • Interesting thanks for the PTV update. Okay I just had a daydream or hallucination, if PTV could pull it together and do a big promo on billboards that advertises a drama and straightaway advertise it with the line ” guaranteed to finish in only 20 episodes” Then if they could get the story and production I am sure they could give HUM Tv a run for its money. The new talent introduced in SeMM means that there is raw talent so they only have to have maybe two known faces and the rest can be new actors.

            Okay this is never going to happen as you said its more complicated then that, cinematography, lighting equipment, technicians. Dream over!

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      • @VZ: I don’t mean to sound like I know anything abt what’s going on behind the scenes with this serial at all but my guess is that story had been messed around with before it went to shoot .. notice the “dictated” bookends – the morpankh story and the love triangle – which are in such obvious contrast to the real story that lay in between .. and the fact that ratings started happening might have been the worst thing ever because now we are getting the ver 2.0 – the stretched kind with all the silliness on full display .. I still can’t believe that the Shirin Aurang scene was even shot -how just how??!?!

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        • Thanks for the link to the new promo. OK, I may need to revise my estimate of 32-33 episodes. Unless and until Shireen has been paired with every male member of that family, the story is not going to end – sorry for the blunt words SZ. I honestly don’t care for these characters – I can’t believe an educated girl like Shirin has no options left in life apart from getting married at whoever and at whatever cost. Where they had a chance to show a girl holding her head high, using her education and her brains in a way that’s useful to other girls, this is what they show? Shirin has education, money, her in laws are supportive, can’t she find a better solution out of the messy situation she’s in?

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          • Agreed! Basically back to the dark ages ..
            and on a lighter note a strong case for giving children a bit more than a madressa education .. deen ke saath dunya ki education ki bhi zaroorat hai.. worldly education as in how to use your brains!!!

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          • The masterpiece known as MM was 33? This latest masterpiece… a bigger one than MM .. should definitely go to 40 .. us se kam hoga tau pata kaise chalega ke masterpiece tha! 🙈

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            • Sorry guys, I’m just bowing out of this one. I don’t care about the story anymore. I can’t believe this – you have the country watching, you’ve got the TRP, you’ve got revenues, you’ve got the chance to send out a strong message – the people are listening, tell them and they’ll atleast talk about it, may be think about it, may be prompt a girl or two or a family or two to understand that an educated, sensible girl with a supportive family can start a school, a small industry, something – she can help herself, help others, but no.

              Right now, I’m probably feeling so angry and disappointed that I’m not making sense, but what a wasted opportunity! #shame

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          • Yeah, now that I’ve seen the new promo, I don’t think they can wrap it up before Episode 40. And wow, aurat ko koi aur rasta toh dikhathey! Magar nahin, shaadi is the only way. Ugh.

            The only thing that excites me just a tiny bit about this twist is that it might result in some Torah-Bano fireworks, and I think Paras Masroor and Uzma Hassan are so terrific in their scenes together that I might be able to tolerate a bit of nonsense just to see that.

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  10. Couldn’t catch the episode this time barring a few minutes, was planning to watch on YouTube but the review and the comments, basically the barham mizaaj of everyone here has dissuaded me from following through with that plan lol. Did watch the last few scenes of Aurang and Shirin, and the fuzul ka drama that is pretty much pointless at this point, though I do admit next episode’s Shirin of the Scissors did look impressive to me. Now I don’t know whether the excitement that scene gave me was due to Shirin finally doing something other than moping or from the sight of Bano finally shutting up for a minute or two. Aur kuch acha nai hua iss baar, nothing at all to redeem it?

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  11. Spoiler alert. Copy pasted from the channel’s website:

    HUM TV’s latest play, Sang-e-Marmar is a saga of love, betrayal and revenge and lies that can destroy families and relations. The story revolves around childhood friends Shireen and Aurang. Shireen grows up thinking that Aurang is her life partner while Aurang always considers her as a good friend. In the pursuit of his dreams, Aurang forgets about his childhood friendship. Shireen feels betrayed and embarks on a series of vendettas that fill both the families with hatred and animosity and they become sworn enemies. Will Shireen ever realize her mistake? Will she be able to extinguish the fire that she has ignited for herself and those around her? To find out, watch Sang-e-Mar mar only on HUM TV.

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    • Uff!! So my ver. 2.0 comments was not that off the mark .. .they are running a season 2 now, where Shirin becomes an avenging angle, thus showign that she is not a “weak” woman rather a very “strong” one – wah wah wah!! HUM walo salaam hai apko!

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      • My goodness cant believe.. that’s ridiculous … thank you SZ for promo n VZ for written spoiler… that matches the promo part actually 😣

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      • Picture abhi just started and we innocents were hoping for it to end soon?! Season 2 is spot on! All these days we were watching the prologue.

        Your prediction was right – I guess the actual story was GK and Torah Khan’s. Now the “extras”, oops, I mean the “real thing as promised”.

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      • Oh my….what the *&^$%! Seriously Shireen goes avenging ninja?? I peeped at the promo for the next episode and saw her threaten Bano with scissors. Off course we did just watch episode 13 and saw Bano be extremely rude to her sick mother so at the moment I am with her on this move.

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    • What? It’s like they did a find-replace and switched out Torah Khan for Shirin!

      Oh, wait. What if she actually marries Torah and they just turn into Revenge Squad 2.0 Khyber-Pakhtunkwa-style?

      That would be terrible, but also super fun in a guilty-pleasure sort of way. I concede now that I would totally watch the heck out of that. (Don’t judge me for my love of garbage-y TV, lol).

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  12. How quickly these multi generational sagas have caught on after DeD. At least DeD started with Agha Jaan, SeMM started with Baraan Khan! They won’t stop until we see Shirin, Palwasha and Durkhane with the trademark makeup a la Ruhi, Arjumand… Mikaal tau has already got the experience from playing Behroze.

    See, this is actually Arjumand’s untold story – what if, instead of being a docile bahu, Arjumand had taken matters into her own hands? Ruhi played by Palwasha, Agha Jaan by GK, Mikaal reprising Behroze. OMG! This is DeD rehashed with Arjumand as the evil one and Ruhi as the docile one! Light bulb just came on in my head.

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  13. Doston! Here is a brand new ad for SeMM:

    Dear devoted viewers of our channel,

    Were you missing DeD? Were the diyars of your dils feeling empty? Were you waiting in anticipation to see more of your favourite characters? Then wait no more! After emptying out your minds over 33 glorious weeks, it’s time to lose any remaining grey cells and tear out any remaining strands of hair that may have escaped last time!

    She’s been through the depths of loss, betrayal, borne the brunt of the machinations of others… But now she’ll fight back. She’s back and this time she is armed (with a qainchi) and dangerous! Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Arjumand as you’ve never seen before – in an all new setting, with an all new face and a brand new name. But the feelings are deeper, the stories are more gruesome, and all she has with her, to fight her qismat are her trusted pair of scissors. Watch Arjumand as you’ve never seen her before. In SeMM, every Thursday 8 PM.

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    • Lol. Be careful VZ, someone at HUM tv make you up on this.

      Actually I think how SeMM can be redeemed.

      (thinking of Dallas and the whole season that was a dream sequence for those of you who may know this reference).

      When the plot goes absolutely crazy Torah wakes up and shouts ‘Maaa’….looks around him and in comes his mother alive and well. Kiya hua beta? she asks. Torah says ‘tum zinda hu maa” His mum looks at him and says off course she is. Torah looks around and realizes he just had a the mother of all nightmares. Anyway his mother says that nashta is about start so he needs too be at the breakfast table soon.

      2 mins later Torah is at the breakfast table surrounded by his loving family. There is the patriarch of the family, Taaji, his tayi and her 3 wonderful sons, plus Bano his bachpan ki fiance.. Taaji has to watch his cholesterol, but don’t worry Palwasha is going to cook fried fish for dinner to keep Taaji’s cholesterol down. There is now a discussion among the women on the best way to fry fish.

      Due to his nightmare Torah catches Bano alone later and asks her if she is happy with this rishta. Bano shyly asks why he would even think that. He takes her hand and puts it next to his hand and asks if she can accept him as he is. Bano understands what he is implying and tells him that such things don’t matter to her. Torah is relieved. Later the family all have lunch together.

      Now we could stop here! But if you want season 3 this what I think should happen next:

      A servant tells Torah that someone has come to see him. Torah goes to the picturesque courtyard and there is a young woman with a shawl covering her face. Torah says ‘bibi aapko kya chaiye? The young woman takes out a peacock feather and says ‘yaad nahi ha, tum ni mujhe yeh diya tha jab hum ath saal ke thi, mera naam Shirin hai ur mai humari Nikah ke baat kerne ay hui.”

      And thats where get the Shirin- Torah-Bano love triangle.

      Remember all roads and plotlines lead to Shirin.

      Like

  14. OMG! you guys are so funny! honestly so much more entertainment than any drama on tv these days!
    OK I was gonna say it’s turned into ‘the bold and the beautiful’ but after reading Nkhans mumkinats It’s actually the desi rural version of ”Revenge”.. Idk if anyone here followed that series – it used to be one my guilty pleasures at one point lol .. So series / soap started with the lead character set out to take revenge for her father.. her lover boy is avenging whatever happenned to his sister.. the childhood love is avenging wife’s death..(instead of mor-pankh there was a real dog to feed ).. the lead villain is remorseful about what she had done but still set in her ways big time (GK).. so on and so forth…. after they have finished avenging everyone and realized it was all good for nothing, the dad returns – alive!! .. And he starts the ”revenge ” circle all over again!
    torah, pari, bano, safiullah, saifurrahman, were all at it – and now when u think its nearly over, Shirin Scissorhands will turn Garhi Baran into Badlapur! #YouThinkItsAllOver – it’s def not!!! #sigh
    Well they def named it wrong.. its not SeMM, or Daasi.. its (a better synonym of) badla!

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    • Hey FA I remember Revenge, I watched the first two seasons but then it kinda got weird, the whole revenge thing just got silly…what happened was that the first season was a hit…the producers realised they had a hit so got the money for a second series and then they did a ‘Hum TV’ and tried to stretch it and there were so many twists and turns. I watched the last 2 episodes and when the dad turned up alive I thought what was the point of this if he was always alive. May I say that it was one of those programmes that sounds silly but with high production values, glamour and an excellent female villain was indeed a guilty pleasure. The story was stretched but it had a fast pace and the twists and turns kept happening fast…..so you were never bored.

      Note to Hum TV: Have your 40 episodes but then make sure the plot fits 40 episodes.

      Like

    • FA, NKhan, I haven’t watched Revenge, but I like the new name “badla” lol!

      Just imagine all the dead folk walking back alive – BK, Gohar, Saif-ur-Rehman, Safiullah, Gulalai, all back – boy, they’d have some stories to tell!

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  15. oh my!
    i had such a good time reading all this.. and realized how much i have missed..
    Hi to U and FA and Rehmat and everybody! how r y’all? so happy to read same old crazy discussions..
    oh and about Sang-e-marmar.. sadly i missed the discussions.. i will try to catch up on previous reviews.. well i can watch this drama for Sania saeed no matter how senseless it gets. i just love watching Shamim, and her gait reminds me of my nani. Have always loved Sania saeed but she is too adorable here

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    • Atty: Helloooo! Welcome back! Lovely to hear from you .. how’ve you been? Hope all’s been well at your end.
      Bas ab kuch tau karna hai na khud ko entertain karne ke liye since the dramas have become quite useless at that task 😑

      Re: SeMM: indeed Sania is fab as Shirin, although at this point I do think she needs to bid farewell to her loser family .. go to a spa, get a makeover, buy better clothes, watch a movie or two .. matlab ke Simran, ja jee le apni zindagi types scene..

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    • @Atty: hey atty.. long time dear.. whts up.. im doing good… hai na the discussions as usual are fun here though i hardly join them but even the reading part is amazing as well.. 🙂

      Talking about SeMM.. i dont know if you guys are following psl or not.. but our Gulali is crazy fan of Peshawar Zalmi team..
      with a bunny in hands. …she seems
      quite excited lol

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      • @Rehmat oh i m crazy cricket fan, and being from Peshawar definitely supporting peshawar zalmi.. my husbands watches SeMM with me.. In last match when i told him she is Gulalai from SeMM, he was like “per wo tau marr gae thi”..
        yeah i came across one meme about bunny girl. she seems to be the new internet sensation. Going to watch her today and hopefully Peshawar wins. Oh i cannot see Peshawar losing to Karachi. Only team i do not want winning this season of PSL is KK (because of ARY’s shokhiyan)

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    • @Atty Hi! long time! Good to have you back.
      Haina crazy as always.. crazier on the new thread lol. Abb aa jao wahan.
      SeMM has had it’s ups and downs.. lets see what u have to say abt the latest instalment. 🙂

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      • Hahah she was literally crying with happiness when Afridi was hitting sixes and actually crying when they seem to loose match.. she became center of attraction.. and now social media is going crazy on making memes on her.. lol.. i was like maan doesn’t she look like gulali but then it got confirmed lol.. 🙂

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  16. Got so fed up with this play and how SS and NI characters have started getting relegated to the background, I’m planning to watch Aao Kahani Buntay Hain. Just read your overview SZ and it has piqued my interest. Plus it’s in individual story format, so that suits me as well.

    I was also reading Sarmad’s interview that you had posted in the comments section of that overview (the same that you had mentioned in one of the other recent posts as well) and really – the drama-related issues that were worrying in 2012 are still very much there and have got worse.

    There just seem to be no nice role models on TV. It’s as if people have forgotten the meaning of “hero”, “heroine” and “strong character”.

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    • VZ: Go for it! I think you will love it because you are now primed and ready for moving away from the mainstream 🙂 if you like then I shall review a few specific ones I and you liked .. I’ve been waiting for someone seuosku interested to have a discussion. also check out tamasha ghar .. indiv plays written by Saji Gul directed by Sarmad .. before his humsafar/commercial period.. you will see a lot of serious actors in these and get nostalgic abt times when plays didn’t need labels to be called issue based 😑

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    • @VZ: I just started watching this on YouTube as well. It will be fun to sort of watch it together.

      Mostly, it was because SZ recommended it, but also because I came across this comment on Twitter (I’m paraphrasing):

      “I like the actress playing Mikaal’s mother on Sange-mar mar. I don’t know her name but she’s very good and it’s not easy to perform opposite big stars like Mikaal.”

      I needed to remind myself that SS didn’t just show up magically yesterday. 😉

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        • Ha! I’m sure she’ll get a laugh out of that. She doesn’t strike me as someone overly invested in her own fame at any rate.

          Btw, I just found out that SS is Safdar Hashmi’s niece. My dad, who was a bit of a socialist in his youth, knew Hashmi back in the day when he lived and worked in Delhi. It was a nice coincidence to discover this very attenuated connection with SS, lol.

          I’m seriously so impressed with this woman and her talent. Massive girl crush. 😊

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          • No she’s the most down to earth, easy going person you’ll ever meet. Yes, she comes from a family of educationists and activists. SS’ dad- Mansoor Saeed- was a noted activist and his dastak theater was an outgrowth of his political views ..

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      • ya khuda! ye parhna reh gya tha SS k baray me. mujhay is burger generation pey jo ghussa aata hai mat poochen, who have no knowledge of our ptv era. After HSY’s show with bushra ansari in which he talked about famous trio of Anwar maqsoos, moin akhter and bushra ansari maine logo ko poochtay suna k in teeno ney kon sa drama ikathay kiya tha? Zia mohiuddin ko naho jantay aise log.

        Like

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