Ladies Tailor ~ A Telefilm Review

Shaukat is neither an Ashar  nor a Wali and Hoor Shumail is no Khirad. They, along with Hero and Fatima bi, are very ordinary people leading very mundane lives. The darzi, the beauty parlor wali, the burqa clad muhalley bhar ki khabar rakhney wali aapa, the golden range huey balon wala larka who fancies himself as the second coming of Shah Rukh Khan… these are characters we are all very familiar with, we’ve all seen them, interacted with them and if pressed can possibly even share an anecdote or two about them. How often, though, have thought about their daily lives or wondered about their stories?

But why, you might ask, should we think about them? We live in very different world, our lives run on different tracks, our day-to-day concerns are very unlike theirs –  why should we be interested in a what a darzi or a parlor wali baji thinks or does? Ladies Tailor shows us otherwise

Written by Sameena Nazir and directed by Tariq Siddiqui, Ladies Tailor is the story of a darzi and his chamak challo of a client. These are two very different people, he comes across as stodgy and boring and she is a live wire. Intertwined with their track are the stories of Fatima bi and Hero. Fatima bi is the quintessential neighborhood gossip and Hero is someone who comes across as a typical wastrel, someone not interested in studies but very interested in neighborhood girls.

As events unfold the first impression we have of these characters gets gradually revised and by the time the story ends we see them in a very different light. Shaukat has hidden depths; he is not perfect and is judgmental but there is self-evaluation and a learning curve. Hoor Shumail starts off like a floozy, the typical buri aurat, but we get to know her and see beyond the obvious. Sharply contrasted against the tight-fitting kameez loving Hoor Shumail is the modestly covered Fatima bi. She may want us to believe she is a kindhearted benevolent person but the joy she derives out of maligning people tells us otherwise, she is societal hypocrisy personified. And Hero is not as shallow as he might seem.

Though she writes about a particular strata of society, the observations and implications of Ladies Tailor are universally applicable. Being rich or poor doesn’t stop people from rushing to judgement based on appearance or a first impression, nor does socio-economic status come in the way of gossiping about others’ misfortunes. What I particularly like about Sameena’s writing is her ability to write simply about very complicated issues, without turning her story into a sermon. Here too woven in deftly is a very strong comment about the prevailing political scenario. Hungamas, strikes, gun firing, random business closings have no place in civilized societies but in places like Karachi unfortunately such happenings are now a part of daily life. Also sadly commonplace is the increasing frustration of the youth, Hero’s character brings to fore many of today’s hot button issues.

Well-written as it was Ladies Tailor wouldn’t have worked as well if it hadn’t been cast and enacted well. Kaif Ghaznavi is absolutely fabulous as Hoor Shumail and her singing abilities are beautifully showcased as well. She is the heart and soul of this telefilm. Nazrul Islam is a very talented theater actor and he was perfect fit for Shaukat. I must say, though, at times I felt a disconnect with this character; the acting and dialogue delivery seemed theatrical, as in it looked calculated and there was a disconnect between the actor and his camera and he seemed to be addressing an audience sitting beyond the camera. But when with Kaif, these issues seemed to disappear and they were very good together. Haris Khan was generally good as Hero, but he too appeared plagued by the same issues as Nazrul Islam. I had waited to see Bakhtawar Mazhar on TV and I wasn’t disappointed. She was great as Fatima and I hope we get to see more of this talented actress.

To maintain viewer interest in an hour+ story with only four characters and two/three settings is no mean feat but director Tariq Siddiqui does well here. The places where I found my attention wandering was during Shaukat’s scenes, either by himself or with Hero. The styling of the characters (loved Kaif’s clothes), the set design was good and the background music was well-chosen, though a bit loud at places.

All in all with pros and cons taken into consideration I enjoyed watching Ladies Tailor, something hat ke from the same old. Did any of you guys watch? Kaisi lagi?

Written by SZ~

Ladies Tailor ~ Telefilm ~ TVOne 

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12 replies

  1. It was a brilliant play. The clarity and direction of the whole play, written, directed and more importantly portrayed, especially by Kaif Ghaznavi and Bakhtawar Mazhar shows a well knit unit that works on the same wave length. Those who endeavour to make such attempts should be greatly encouraged and supported. All in all, some thing worth seeing. Hats of to the unit and all those who supported and stood by them in this undertaking, especially the channel

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    • Hello Imran! Lovely to hear from you.. absolutely spot on in that the team work shines through here.. kudos to the team indeed. And yes! Seema Tahir at TVOne seems determined to lead a single handed revolution – more power to her and the channel.. hope they’re able to stay the course.

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  2. SZ many thanks for recommending this… and if it was not your review i couldn’t have seen the larger picture behind the telefilm.. thank you for writing ..no sorry actually writing beautifully..

    Now when i read this.. i realized why those dialogue of Hero literally shook me where he mentions sardiyon me jacket nh.. khudkhush jacket dekhney ko milti he…Sameena Nazir hits the nail on head.. loved that convo… Kaif was beyond brilliant.. her singing, her changing of body lang according to mood was just perfect,, loveeed her,, i found Shoukat acted nice too,, Fatima bi was nice,,a typical gossiper..

    I couldnt understand one thing when Shoukat says to Hoor reg those dummies k ye mere khuwab hain… can u elaborate that please..:)

    Baaqi tou after reading your review i m seeing this in different n interesting way.. us se pehle i was like han ok he… so thanku once again 🙂

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    • @Rehmat: Thankyou for watching this on my recc.. it means a lot that you take me seriously enough to follow up – appreciate it 😘

      Re: the dummy in his house .. the way I read it was that it was a representation of his ideal woman. He had enough of a reality check to know that he, the way he was, would never attract such a woman, hence his dreams .. when he had first seen Hoor he was shocked because it was like his dream woman had walked in the door but he knew he could never imagine a relationship with her .. hence his willingness to compromise and marry that other woman .. but when he read the letter + his extended interaction with her that night he figured that he could atleast try and she might agree .. of course in coming to that decision he had to work through a lot of his biases and pre-conceived notions abt sharafat seerat etc .. hence the learning curve for both of them .. because even Hoor had to put aside her idealistic dreams abt a rich suitor and a handsome man .. a knight in shining armor to come to her rescue.. basically both realized that fantasy and reality are two very different things and rather than dreaming of Ashars and Khirad they should look around for somebody who values them for who they are .,
      Does that make sense?

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        • I watched this one on your recommendation and was not disappointed! I love your take on this telefilm. I really enjoyed Hero’s character because his dialogues were really well-written. I wish there was more of Hoor though – her character’s so memorable!

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          • MM: Totally! Hoor Shumail was one heck of a character.. she needs a sequel dont you think? Would be fun to see the kinds of changes she brings in Shaukat’s life and wonder if she would feel the need to tone down her chamak challo-pan after marriage.. what do you think? Kaif was fab!
            Yes, I thought Sameena wrote a great script and Hero’s lines gave voice beautifully to the frustrations of the Pakistani youth … and that too without sounding like a lecture. Thank you for checking this out on my recc.. .glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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  3. SZ: Thanks for the review! Without it, I would have missed this altogether.

    What a lovely little film! For me, the highlight was definitely Kaif Ghaznavi. She was so spirited and fun in the Hoor Shumail role, and even in the few moments when we could sense the darkness of her back story, she remained sort of bright and hopeful (but in a brittle sort of way, which totally makes sense). And wow, her gorgeous singing re: that thumri in Behaag (“lat uljhi suljha ja baalam”)! In fact, all the musical cues in this film were great, although the background score was a bit too loud towards the end.

    I didn’t quite appreciate the Shaukat character until the very end though, when he’s able to set aside his prejudices and also reach for something that really matters to him.

    Is this an original script or based on a short story?

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    • @RK: I was hoping that you would check this out because I had a feeling it would be up your alley, given your interest in writing etc. Glad you enjoyed it .. warna you know na that andey tamatar wala scene 😉

      No, this one is an original script, but when watching it I too felt like this was a short story come to life .. it had very much the same kind of feel. This is patented Sameena Nazir’s style of writing – the attention to all aspects of storytelling, music, styling etc. If you havent already, I highly recommend her “Tujh Mein Zinda Ho” and Tamasha Mere Agay” both reviewed here.. would love to hear what you think of them.

      Kaif is stunning here- love how her talents were showcased here.

      Not to sound like a broken record, but doesn’t watching such stuff on TV make you sad .. itna saara talent magar phir bhi 😥

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  4. Do I need to thank SZ ? and thank you everyone for watching our little effort to entertain you. Har kahani kay peechay kai kahaniyan hoti hain aur un sab kahaniyon kay peechay aik adad likhari hota / hoti hai aur Ladies Tailor ki khaliq hain Sameena Nazir. Humara chota sa idara aap kay liye Tv one say 10 mazeed telefilms la raha hai, hamari koshish hai kay aap ko kuch behtar kahaniyan paish karsakain.

    Aap ki hosla afzai ka shukriya.

    Sameena Nazir say tafseeli mulaqat unki kahaniyon kay zarye kartay rahiye.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tariq Sahib, Adab and welcome to DRNR. Thank you for visiting and commenting.It is always nice to meet the people behind the projects we enjoy so much on screen.

      It was a pleasure watching this lovely telefilm. And now that you have told us about ten more in the offing I will definitely keep a look out. Thank you for the headsup! Please convey our fondest regards to Sameena 😀

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