Written by Farhat Istiaq, directed by Shahzad Kashmiri and produced by MD Productions, Yaqeen Ka Safar brings to mind HUM TV dramas of yore, when class and quality were a given and wholesome entertainment never a question. Though I have questions and concerns, about the handling of certain issues, overall this is an engaging watch.
Adapted for TV by Farhat Ishtiaq, from her own novel with the same title, Yaqeen Ka Safar opens up as a multi-track story. We are introduced to three girls from three very different walks of life. Gaiti is the blushing bride, a nutritionist happily anticipating her new life with Daniyal, a well-settled foreign qualified lawyer whom she has loved and supported through the years. Noori is a grassroots activist, a strong-willed girl from a humble background. She has fought the odds to become a teacher and is determined to spread education and awareness in her small village. Zubiya is from a middle class background, a college student whose life undergoes a 180° turn when her mother is violently murdered by her abusive father.
As the story progesses these characters are further fleshed out, we meet their families and see how the various tracks intersect and impact on each other. Noori’s life is drastically changed after she is raped by an entitled feudal and this unfortunate event introduces her to Daniyal. Daniyal has a beloved younger brother, Asfandiyar, who is studying to be a doctor and is engaged to his bratty cousin Faryal.
While at med school Asfi has a run-in with Zubiya. Her mother’s untimely death had a huge impact on Zubiya. Life was difficult enough with her mother around, but after her death Zubiya’s father’s excessive control and her bhabhi’s constant manipulations lead her to an ill-advised fling. Though she messes up pretty badly, fortunately she is able to escape with her honor intact, and it is at this point that her path intersects with Asfi’s.
Fourteen episodes in these characters have had quite a journey. Today Gaiti is a grieving single parent. Asfi is now a doctor, no longer engaged and is on his way abroad for specialized studies. Zubiya is now in med school, her father no longer the demon he once was and her bhabhi worse than ever before. Noori and Daniyal are no more. After a lot of emotional upheaval these past couple of episodes have functioned as a bridge between the past and the future – older chapters being closed and new ones being opened. The baton has passed on, from Noori and Daniyal to Zubiya and Asfi.
The serial started on a rough note as the director and editors had a tough time juggling the various tracks and there were many questionable editing choices. As the tracks came together the narrative grew more fluid and the pacing picked up appreciably. Casting has been done well and I am liking how the actors have grown into their characters and are now owning them. Shahzad Kashmiri has an eye for emotions and he has done justice to Farhat’s writing, particularly in his handling of Daniyal, Gaiti and Asfi and their family’s scenes – which I think are beautifully done – and Daniyal’s death and its aftermath. Also, the different settings for the different tracks are very nicely distinguished in terms of visuals and the overall feel.
Shaz Khan and Ahad Raza Mir seem like real brothers and Asfi’s grief at losing his brother was real and palpable. Similarly Hira Salman has been very impressive as Gaiti. I don’t know the actress playing the boys’ mother, but I really do like her a lot. Sajal is good as Zubiya, but so far there is nothing that we haven’t already seen her do in similar musibat zada larki characters. I like the way she’s evolving and am looking forward to seeing her as Dr. Zubiya, a girl no longer seeking others’ approval. Suhaee Abro was very good as Noori. My issues with his character aside, I like how EhteshamUddin has worked on the various shades of his character.
While all this has been really good and worked very well, I feel let down by the easy closure of Noori’s track. Given that this was one of the highlighted “issues,” I am disappointed in the glib handling. I hope there is a more complete resolution further down the road, because as it stands now, the takeaway message is that even in dramas there is no hope for a rape survivor in our present societal setup. Daniyal’s lawyer track brought in a welcome change from the routine gharelu masley masail, but the nitty-gritty of what he was actually doing was very naively handled. No lawyer worth his salt would be handling a politically charged rape case and its investigations this way.
Another issue problematically handled is that of domestic violence. Basically Zubiya’s father is a murderer. That he is repenting or that will suffer later is no way a propper closure to this track. Also left by the wayside is the role played by her father’s abusive control in Zubiya’s behaviour. To be fair there have been subtle hints, but in a drama where everything is so clearly spelled out, I wish Zubiya’s situation had been explicitly underscored. In all the talk about her bringing shame to the family honor and what not, the role played by the men in her family in all this seems to have become an almost non-issue. Also, her murdered mother’s vision, asking her daughter to beg forgiveness from her father because she was her mother’s daughter, was troubling to the nth degree. I understand that this is not a dark, gritty drama. But then by the same token I wish the team had not spent so much time building up issuesto then sweep them under the rug once they had outlived their utility as convenient plot points.
So yes, there are pros and cons, but all in all I find Yaqeen Ka Safar an engaging watch, a throwback to the times when one did not have to think twice before watching dramas with the entire family. Farhat Ishtiaq is in full form here in her writing of fully fleshed out characters with a well-paced emotional graph. Shahzad Kashmiri’s direction is on point and the acting is topnotch. Yes, this one does take me back in time.
What about you all? How many humsafars on this safar?
Written by SZ~
Yaqeen Ka Safar ~ OST