Marriages are hard. Arranged marriages that much more so. Forced and/or rushed arranged marriages the hardest. Ask Suhana and Imtiaz.
Seven episodes in, what I am enjoying in Teri Raza is not the bigger picture, but the little asides, the insights into human psychology and nature of relationships. Suhana and Imtiaz are not bad people, but circumstances are such that neither of them are how they were before this marriage of theirs. Suhana was a cheerful bubbly girl and Imtiaz a warm caring person. Yes, both had their fair share of foibles but nothing that would lead them to be described as difficult.
Post marriage, Suhana has issues with Imtiaz’s clockwork routine, his sleeping habits, food choices, ages of his colleague – she feels caged and enslaved. For Imtiaz, Suhana is no longer the fun girl he fell in love with, she’s too immature, watches way too much TV, makes no attempt to integrate herself into his household and life, and has no sense of boundaries as she share all with her mother. Matlab ke listen to either of them and it’s like both have no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
It is not that they have undergone some sudden change, rather it is their circumstances that have changed, too much too fast. Neither of them thought they would be required to make so many adjustments, so many little matters would become so important so suddenly. And this is where Teri Raza scores. It is in its detailing of this minutiae of daily life that the drama scores a home run. Though most of our dramas deal with marriages in some shape or form, very few show this aspect of post-married life, where even two good people can inflict pain on each other just because they are unprepared for how much work goes into making a marriage work.
In situations like this it is incumbent upon the grown ups in the two families to watch from a distance, stepping in only when specially asked to do so, as when Imtiaz looks to his mother for advice. I love, love how intelligently his mother stays neutral but guides her son to look beyond his hurt ego. Similarly Suhana’s mother refuses to be swayed by her daughter’s litany of complaints. As both mothers rightly tell the newly wedded pair, both need to give each other space and time.
So many couples step into new marriages thinking the hearts and roses will continue forever – well, they don’t. Once the routine of daily life sets in, it’s all about understanding the other, not merely expecting the other to do all the heavy lifting. Suhana and Imtiaz’s nascent relationship is made that much more difficult with Rameez’s omnipresent shadow. Given time, had the marriage not been rushed, Suhana would’ve probably gotten over him but now her imagination has colored him in all shades of white. In Suhana’s mind, Rameez is now everything that he never ever was in real life, a knight in shining armor.
Imtiaz of course has no clue about what’s cooking in Suhana’s mind and so following his mother’s advice, he takes the lead. Unbending, willing himself to be flexible he holds out
an olive branch a chocolate bar. Suhana is surprised by Imtiaz’s gesture and her smile signals her tentative acceptance of this offer of friendship. Again, in a drama so steeped in conventional tropes it is lovely to see a man making the first gesture of compromise, to see him willing to take the lead in this relationship. Otherwise, as was hammered in throughout this episode it is a desi girl’s said and unsaid job to make the marriage work, she has to be the one to compromise, she has to be the one to mold herself according to her husband’s desires. All her duty. Singlehandly.
So yes, plenty of role reversals here, all making for a pleasant watching experience. Unfortunately though, the spectre of Rameez looms large and he is not the kind to sit by silently on the sidelines. Suhana is all warm and fuzzy for now and is on her way to accepting Imtiaz as her life partner, but will her newfound interest in Imtiaz be able to withstand Rameez’s return? From the precap it seems like Imtiaz’s hard work is gonna go down the drain, but one can hope and pray, no? Chalein ji jaldi se baa jam’at dua ke liye kharey ho jayen aap sab loag.
Sarmad Khoosat and Sanam Baloch are fantastic as Imtiaz and Suhana and bring their characters to life with such verve that they become very real relatable and easy to invest in for the viewers. Suhana’s frustration and hurt were palpable as was Imtiaz’s confusion, lack of comprehension and their very real chemistry was on full display in the chocolate scene. Shamim Hilaly as Sitara is another one who just makes me wanna hug her each time she comes on screen.
Ayesha Khan is another favorite but today I felt a huge disjunction between her very peppy character and the circa 19th c. lines, straight out of Mirat ul Uroos, that she spouted about shauhar ki ghulami, hakim hai tumhara. I get the gist of what she was saying but it could have been scripted a lot better in a more updated lingo, so that it didn’t sound as regressive as it did. Similarly, Suhana’s mom’s lines.
Again, I get what she was trying to get across to her hell-bent-on-rebellion daughter, but her lines about the husband’s home being the real home of the wife and that her parents’ house was no longer hers were extremely problematic and sent out a troubling message. Woh tau shaukar hai ke we know hamara Imtiaz is not abusive or anything but what if he was? Were someone to not get the depth of those lines they could very well be taken the wrong way. A bit more careful writing was needed here.
Peeves with writing aside and the horrible decor of Imtiaz’s house notwithstanding, Teri Raza is among my favorite serials this quarter. What about you all? Are you buying into Suhana and Imtiaz’s shadi ki b’ad ki story?
Written by SZ~