Written by Naila Ansari, directed by Aabis Raza and produced by Big Bang Entertainment, the much awaited and anticipated Teri Raza opened its account on ARY Digital today. First off, it is great to have Sanam Baloch back and is a pleasure watching her onscreen. Setting aside the Sanam factor, the first episode failed to live up to the hype created around this project.
A largely derivative affair, Teri Raza is the story of Suhana, a young chirpy college student beloved by her parents Zafar and Talat. Theirs is a happy household where the dadi rules the roost and every decision is made only after performing an istikhara. Suhana is a hopeless romantic who dreams of being wooed in an ishq wala love kind of style. Suhana’s romantic fantasies are given further fuel by her maid Manzura, who seems to hold a PhD in matters of the heart.
In sharp contrast to the relaxed atmosphere in Suhana’s household, Sultan and Tanveer live a stress-filled life. Apart from financial worries there are also concerns about their only son Ramiz, a self-absorbed young man who is lot more complicated than he lets on. Ramiz is Suhana’s class fellow, and though he teases her and she calls him a narcissist they profess to be in love with each other.
Imtiaz’s entry in this story stirs the pot. He is Suhana’s cousin and has returned to Pakistan after spending several years abroad. He remembers her as a chubby child and she calls him presently overweight in return. Repartee aside, Suhana promises to help Sitara, Imtiaz’s mother, find a suitable bahu for her not-so-young son.
As was obvious from the promos there is not much new about this love triangle. That said, I had hoped to see a fresh approach in terms of story telling but I am disappointed. Every single cliché was played out here and not too elegantly at that. Sanam and Shahroz both got their filmy entry, but while Sanam was able to work her way through the typical azaan and alarm intro, Shahroz’s college hunk wali entry was a complete washout. Try as he might Shahroz does not fit the bill as a cool dude, a heartthrob who college girls are majorly crushing over.
And speaking of college girls, where and who are these chichoris so excited about a pack of chocolates?!? And why this need to show Sanam and Shahroz as college students? Both look much older and would have been so much more believable if they had been colleagues at work or some such. Matters are further messed up due to zip zilch chemistry between the two. The only place where Shahroz left an impression was with his dancing skills.
All was not lost though. Where the Suhana and Ramiz pairing flickered and fizzled, Suhana and Imtiaz’s chemistry made for an interesting watch. Sanam and Sarmad’s pairing works quite nicely, Sarmad’s brown suit not so much. Among other characters, sequences with Suhana’s family were nice and made me happy to see normal people on TV for change. Infact these and the scenes with Sitara and Imtiaz were the best part of the episode. Ramiz and his family’s track was a complete washout.
Teri Raza was originally entitled Istikhara, and after the first 20+ references to this word it is easy to see why. I wish someone had cut down on the constant references, we get the point, trust me. In terms of acting, Sanam, despite not fitting the bill as college student, was so much fun to watch. Shahroz might make an impression at a late stage but for now – no. It is good to see Sarmad back on-screen. Tanveer Jamal, Shaheen Khan and Ayesha Khan made for a believable family unit. Shamim Hilali makes me want to adopt her every time I see her onscreen, and I am disappointed to see Tara Mehmood wasted as Ramiz’s mother. Oh, and jatey jatey Manzura ke hair and makeup ko salam... I am beyond impressed with such a made up maid.
Pros and cons considered this was an average opening. Let’s see what is in store for us next week. So, this was my take… what did you all think? Kitnon ko Shah Rukh Khan ki yaad ayi?
Written by SZ~
Teri Raza ~ OST ~ Ali Sethi