Yaqeen Ka Safar ~ Episodes 15-19 Review

Yaqeen Ka Safar had started off on a promising note but after nineteen weeks seems to be meandering around with no sense of purpose nor an end in sight.

As a novel Yaqeen Ka Safar had been Zubiya and Daniyal’s story, Daniyal and Gaiti’s track and Zubiya’s familial issues se bharpoor kahani were both used as background information, to flesh out the central characters and help explain their motivations. In this reworked version, however, both these back stories were turned into full-fledged tracks and so much that could be easily skipped when reading was mainstreamed as a part of the central narrative. Hence incidents such as Zubiya’s mother’s death, her father being a murderer, Zubiya’s indiscretion and the ensuing badnaami, Noori’s death, Daniyal’s murder, all took on a whole new importance in this screen version.

I don’t have a problem with new material being added or the story being re-worked, but when the said revision is not handled properly then I do have a problem. The gross mishandling of Zubiya’s mother’s murder is not something that can be easily overlooked. In a culture where domestic violence is a very real problem the glib manner in which a murderer was rehabbed as a bechara beemar baap is troubling to say the least.

Similarly Noori’s rape, Daniyal’s murder and it’s aftermath. After spending so much time on the buildup to Noori’s case, it was all haphazardly rushed through and most of the questions raised therein died a natural death with Daniyal’s murder. The question then is, why raise issues if they all have to be mitti-paoed in the rush to get to the next plot point. We have been promised a resolution to Noori’s rape case but after so much time, will it really matter? The only purpose it can possibly serve at that late a date is to clear Daniyal’s name, but then was that the only purpose of introducing rape case?

Nineteen episodes in I cannot help but wonder if Yaqeen Ka Safar would’ve worked better if divided into two seasons – one dedicated to lawyer Daniyal and the second to doctor Asfandyar. The serial started off with Daniyal’s wedding and reached its mid climax after his death. His parent’s subsequent move to Kashmir and Asfi’s going abroad for higher studies was the point where the first season could’ve easily ended.

Asfandyar’s return signals the opening of a new chapter in Yaqeen Ka Safar. Now a responsible doctor, this serious man is a far cry from the happy go-lucky med student we met in the first half of the story. The no-nonsense Asfandyar cannot stand any kind of incompetence, real or perceived, and when compelled to hire a young, inexperienced female doctor for his new remote hospital, the scene is set for sparks to fly between the stern boss and the fresh new hire.

Yaqeen Ka Safar is a very popular novel, and I know many who love it for its strong central female character, Dr. Zubiya. Unfortunately none of the textual Zubiya’s strength translates on to the screen. After her initial difficulties, one would’ve thought that with time Zubiya would’ve learned to look life straight in the eye, but the way this character is written and executed she is nothing of that sort. From being kicked out from her brother’s house to being at the center of the OTT melodrama at her khala’s to meekly listening to Dr Asfand’s scoldings, this girl is yet to display any kind of agency whatsoever. She is still as mazloom as when with her overbearing father and brother, always afraid of facing their wrath. So far there is nothing that hints at strength, or inspires and impresses. In fact the scenes which should’ve sparkled with chemistry come off as a continuation of Zubiya’s bechargi.

If the mishandling of Zubiya’s mom’s death wasn’t bad enough, this latest episode introduced us to Khajista and her abusive in-laws. As someone who has worked extensively with DV survivors I watched with my mouth literally hanging open. Pick up any DV manual and it will tell you very clearly to NEVER confront an abuser. There could be many outcomes to such a meeting, none of them pleasant, the most extreme of which could result in the survivor’s death. That this standard procedure was not just ignored but the obverse actually advocated was extremely disturbing. Please, please, please, do not ever try to replicate today’s scenario.

On the issue of DV, it was strange that Zubiya would remember her abusive brother but not her murderer of a father. I guess one could say his rehab was now complete – the murder forgiven and the entire gruesome episode whitewashed in not just her mind but the audiences’ minds as well. And this brings me to the thing that has upset me the most: The careless handling of “social issues” and the lack of background knowledge necessary to depict such sensitive matters convincingly on TV.

Khajista told us about her issues, but where was a workable alternative to her situation? Why spend an entire episode on her story if there was to be no takeaway for me as an audience? Why show us Zubiya’s mom getting beaten up, or Zubiya being abused again ‘n again if there  was nothing to be gained from it? So far the only purposes I see served is that these “issues” extend the length of the serial and checks off a box for those who enjoy seeing women abused on TV.

When I had first tuned in, it was the warm affection of the two brothers, Daniyal and Asfandyar, and their parents that had hooked me, there was real camaraderie there, and Shaz Khan and Ahad Raza Mir gelled very well together. Hira was another one who added in a lot of sparkle to the family scenes. Since Daniyals’s death, however, the story has lost its path. There is a discernible attempt to shift focus on Zubiya’s track, but sadly there is nothing really there, except the same old duniya ki satayi hui larki. It is now nineteen weeks, how long are we to wait for our female lead to show her spine? Sajal is very good and thankfully subtle in how she plays Zubiya but there is nothing to work with so far. Ahad Raza Mir is a good fit as Asfi, and has done well to create a proper graph for his character and has put in effort into Asfi’s different phases and his hard work shows.

As a director Shahzad Kashmiri has done well with his actors, but has been unable to ensure a fluid narrative. I don’t know if its him or the editing but the pace needs to even out and pick up. Writing wise, Farhat Ishtiaq has the emotions of her characters on point, but the characters themselves have failed to impress. The female characters in particular have been a huge let down. Zubiya’s mother died a DV victim, but still worried about duniya kya kahegi meri tarbiyat ke baarey mein. Asfi’s mother did not register a protest when her husband dictated their move to Kashmir. Gaiti is a nutritionist but only in name. Zubiya is a doctor but yet to assert herself.

All in all its been nineteen weeks and I am badguman, how much longer before my yaqeen in this drama begins its safar?

Written by SZ~

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36 replies

  1. Another mix chat. Because like other farhat’s novel turn drama’s it’s single track is ki waja sa at least for me it’s drag and boring. wohi dada and pota laying football wohi dr.asfi ki shadi. Why can’t it be, like in last night episode’s where zobia gave emotional taqreer to Dr.asfi then he had a flash back about his brothers bravery and struggle. also totally agree with your review about social issues, DV and bechari zobia sb under the carpet maza sa. Since you have read the novel you must have remember the end khajista story has in the novel. agr wohi drama mein bi hoa tu drama is simply without any purpose. They touched two main social issues of the society both without a proper end or solution.

    • Hello Asma,

      Yes, this drama has been a huge disappointment. The initial parts were interesting, but ab tau its really dragging out and I dont see it getting better. It is indeed dragging because there is nothing intrinsic within the script to justify this length, all the new additions are badly tacked on and not adding anything of substance to the story.

  2. Dear SZ, my DRNR friends,

    I’m writing after such a long time, I’ve hardly been watching TV these past 2-3 months. But yesterday I watched 3 episodes of YKS -episodes 17-19. I read your previous recap post on the drama SZ, thank you for filling us in, and since I was keen to start watching just now, I did not bother watching the earlier half of the story. As you’ve noted above, SZ, the story from episode 17 onwards feels like a separate drama and I didn’t feel like I missed much. So my observations are only based on this new “season”.

    The main attraction to me in these episodes was the setting that reminded me of my favourite drama Dhoop Kinaray – but alas, expecting a civil engineer to write an interesting medical drama (at least where medical issues are a key to the two leads clashing then falling for one another) was not going to work. Mani’s cringe-worthy imitation of Dr Irfan of DK was enough to bring my hopes down lol. So I lowered the bar and put any hopes of realism away. That said, Ahad Raza Mir is really good as Asfandyar – he is playing the character in a quietly dignified way and his demeanour and language suit the character to the T. But how I wish he was given some meaty stuff to work with!

    Sajal Aly’s Dr Zubia – apart from admiring Sajal’s wardrobe and beautiful eyes, I’m not sure we are seeing anything interesting here. The main problem is, the character appears completely inefficient and not very bright. If we want to understand her struggles, we need more details about her problems at work, which at the moment, appear superficial to say the least. The scenes where she is messing up are so blandly written that I fully understand Dr Asfi’s frustration. Where is her growth curve? As you’ve pointed out, she is all mazloom – but why?

    Partly it’s the writing and partly the director – I’m yet to be truly impressed by SK’s directing abilities. He makes everything bland – just imagine someone like Mehreen tackling these storylines! Anyway, no point going there.

    Regarding Khajista’s storyline – I want to smack that senior doctor on his head – is that really the way to tackle such a serious issue (US returned doctor should know better)?

    Also the way Zubia’s brother dealt with his wife in this last episode – why was it all her fault? Was he in coma when his sister was thrown out? Why are the men depicted as whiter than white and the women as the instigators of all trouble?

    Part of me is tired of the compulsory “social issues” add-ons to dramas, given how irresponsibly they deal with them – it’s a bit like the lip service to corporate social responsibility that companies do.

    Sorry for the long rant, but long story short, I can see how this storyline has potential but I’m resigned to a bland Safar ahead.

    • Welcome back!! Lots of pappis and jhappis ❤ Hope you're doing better. Lovely to hear from you, you and your comments have been missed!

      Spot on! I agree with everything you've written. Uff that Dhoop Kinare chaapa .. When this track started I could not believe it, but then I had to stop myself because I feel it is an insult to the classic for it to be drawn into such a demeaning comparison. Mani is doing what Mani does, no surprise, the bigger surprise is that somebody in the production dept thought it would be a good idea to bring him on board this drama .. did you notice that cringe worthy moment when he told a nurse/doctor to not spend so much time on FB – I mean whaattt?? It almost seems like a family special pkg we are getting here, the little boy playing Saim is Hira and Mani's son.

      Re: zubiya's bhai and bhabhi, you are right about the inherent misogyny in the script, that has been always a given in Farhat's scripts, we saw that on full display in DeD, BR as well. Also, I dont get this dragging out of Zubiya's bad kirdaari ..I'm sure it happens to people, but honestly this long?? Why is the burden of proving her kirdar only on the woman? Surely, there are other worse things in life?

      You brought up MJ, I dont know if she would have done such a drama to begin with, and even if she did I am sure she wouldve asked for changes, but then again I guess a director can only do so much .. we did see stalking being passed off as love in MNYH, an MJ drama .. Specifically with YKS, I see this as the producers' failure, to sit with the writer and ensure a sensible script .. they have entore content departments, whose job is to work on the script before it goes on the floor .. but yahan tau I guess everybody is in agreement ke this is a great script, woman oriented with a strong female lead …

      More I watch these A-list dramas more I am convinced that the fault is with me for not getting the "messages" and not getting these "strong women" … It is me who needs to go into rehab not these writers and producers and creative teams and viewers who are happily convinced by these "masterpieces" that are being churned out with such regularity.

      See what your return does to me .. 🙂

      • Dear SZ, I have no hopes from Hum’s content department – when was the last time they did a decent job with a Farhat Ishtiaq story?

        Uff, it was hard to resist the Dhoop Kinaray link, last night I ended up watching a couple of episodes of DK for nostalgia sake, and what a refreshing change it was!

        Anyway, I’ll wait for 4-5 more episodes of YKS to build up before I do a mini binge-watch. Want to catch up on O Rungreza and Teri Razaa too. Baaghi is not enticing me just yet – I’ll wait and watch it later.

      • Dear RK, thank you so much yaar! I missed all of you too, so I just took the plunge and watched this drama, will catch up on Teri Razaa too, so we can vent, rant and rave together! Lots of love.

    • @VZ.. hey hey.. missed you so dearly and yes your amazing comments.. i saw your name and couldnt resist saying hi back to you.. hope you are doing good. Lots of best wishes for you..😗😗

      @SZ.. sorry not been able to comment anywhere this week.. abit busy in arranging Z’s first birthday:)

      • Rehmat, I was just going to put out a message to you asking about Baby Z turning 1! I remembered it was around August end (you mentioned it during Sang e Marmar days) – Happy Birthday to her and lots of hugs, prayers and special wishes!

        Will catch up with you soon 🙂 Enjoy Baby Z’s special milestone 🙂

        • @VZ.. see thats the reason we all here admire you so much.. you are so very kind and remember important things of our lives… thank you sooo very much dear..means alot😗😗

          Yes definitely soon. Thank you again🤗

  3. Yes, exactly. To, SZ and all reviewers that have posted before me, agree with your thoughts.
    The ‘issues’ weren’t given their due and the story line has continued to drag on unnecessarily.
    The characters themselves are becoming a bit of an irritating and annoying presence on screen due to what they are being asked to do, I guess. Some scenarios do not make sense at all (examples given above in reviews and posts) and some do not match at all to what has been the sequence (domestic violence related portrayals and whatnot).

    Then what is really left to watch.

    Disappointed to see it go the way it has.

    • @Arisha: Bas ab what to say. Preachy dialogues and cut paste incidents from newspaper headlines do not a coherent narrative make .. lets all do a fateha and Quran khwani and pray for the dearly departed story’s soul..

  4. So I watched two episodes of YKS, and for whatever reason, it didn’t really do anything for me. For now, I’m just reading your detailed reviews, SZ. When the show’s all done, maybe I’ll binge-watch it with a lot of forwarding, lol.

  5. Hello SZ – I was looking for a currently popular drama on air these days and audiences feedback to the same. My search brought me here.

    As I have only seen drama’s recent episode so far, I found it ok. Hospital building and its surrounding locations look beautiful.

    Perhaps this location is Azad Kashmir. As we live in a global village, if any reader here has been to this place, you may please share your experiences.

    Readers may also like to note below comment regarding YKS from its writer Farhat Ishtiaq

    “My current TV play shows a female character on screen who is a doctor, and we do need to show more professional women on TV,” shared Ishtiaq. “This way all the women watching TV in their homes will be encouraged to join the workforce. They’ll realize that it’s normal for women to get jobs and work.”

    Among the current shows that you are watching, you are requested to name your most favourite drama.

    • AS: Hello and welcome to DRNR, glad you found us and thank you for taking the time read and comment.

      I personally haven’t visited Azad Kashmir so can’t speak about, if there are other who have visited, please feel free to share your experiences.

      Yes, the serial is easy on the eye and they have capable actors here so all in all it makes for good time pass, provided you dont go looking for depth and meaning.

      Re: Farhat’s statement, thanks for sharing. Would have been great if you could have shared the link as well, just so that there is a complte record and there is no question of anyone complaining about misinterpreting her words.

      Based on what you’ve shared I am glad Farhat is endorsing the presence of working women, but I dont understand how a character like Zubiya is supposed to inspire women. Its been 19 weeks, Zubiya may be a dr, but she is yet to display any signs of confidence of self-assurance. From what we’ve seen of her so far, she may be working away from home and may be qualified as dr, but mentally she is still living in her house, haunted by her past and traumatized by her brother’s words and actions and very much afraid of what the world thinks and says about her. Being a professional or a working person, in my eyes at least, is less about stepping out of the house and more about self-confidence, believing in yourself and your abilities, being empowered and having agency, none of which Zubiya has at the moment.

      Also, if there is indeed genuine concern abt the need to show working women, then Gaiti should also be shown working. She is a trained nutritionist but not once have we seen her working. Surely, ppl in Kashmir could also benefit from her expertise? Also, not sure what they mean to show when Gaiti tells Zubiya that she’s not working because she wants to give time to her child. I don’t think there is any need to spell out the implications of that sentence ..And I don’t think this is helping normalize working women on TV.

      Re: current dramas: I would recommend Dhund, for being something very different. And I am enjoying O Rungreza a lot ..there are others as well that I personally enjoy for some reason or the other .. you can check out my reviews..You can also check out the DBuzz thread, that is a place where we post abt dramas not being individually reviewed.

  6. Hey you! The reason I didn’t comment here earlier, quite honestly, was that I am actually really liking this drama! You and the people commenting here are apparently not so won by it but I know I look forward to Wednesdays. 🙂 It’s true that there are some major maslay here in the story. Everything you mention about the father-turned-mazloom and wakeel’s theme that seems to have vanished entirely are true, especially the domestic violence part. I cringed when he advised him ke beta khayal rakho, aisa nahi krty. Like even though it was fictional, I was scared for what he might do next to her.
    Apart from all that, maybe it’s still just interesting, like you know, when you are hooked to something for its overall piyarapan? That. :p Lekin I read the novel, thanks to your post, and know how it will go. I hope they keep it good till the end. Other than that, I really like the actors. Even for the side roles, they’ve used familiar faces. Hira, Asfi are faves. Also also, EID MUBARAK FOR TOMORROW 😀

    • @randomlyabstract:

      Hey! Glad to hear from you.
      Haha! Arrey yaar, you can always comment – no worries on disagreeing with me or others.. who knows you might find others who ar like-minded.:)

      I totally get you abt being hooked on to stuff just ’cause you like the over ambiance or that it stars your faves or whatever – bas di ko accha lagta hai … I’m hooked on Teri Raza despite all the daants I get on twitter and what not 😉

      But yeah, I do agree that YKS has that essential HUM TV drama quality and feel that one used to get in the olden days, when Humsafar, MeJ, DeS, SeZ were on air, that you could watch and enjoy even if you didnt agree with the stories etc .. and I noted that in my last review..

      That said, I do think it is highly irresponsible of HUM to put out that stuff abt DV so carelessly particularly given their viewership and the fact that so many impressionable minds take them seriously, after their involvement with Udaari etc and that the team has made it known that they are addressing “social issues” …. I am very very dissapointed with the team for this … and that I cannot excuse :/

      I just wish they had left the story as it were and ended it within 13 or so episodes or made it into two seasons like i had suggested above – ek Law & Order and ek ER types … but even in this note that the story gets divided based on the men’s professions .

      All that aside, I think Ahad is very easy on the eye and him and Sajal make a great pair and I still like the family scenes 🙂

  7. This serial is not a disappointment. Thus thus serial setting a different example and the freshness u can see acting of ahadrazamir n SajalAly.
    Kudos to Farhat ishtiaq for writing it perfectly.

  8. Such a long and what I believe biased review.

    First thing, the drama is just inspired by novel.I think ,we are sensible enough to understand word inspired.it was never said that the drama will be same as novel.so, its comparison with novel is not needed.secondly, its the life how two individuals who have seen so much in life will understand each other.yes, I agree it was slow pace after daniyal’s death but, they cannot show immediate transformation of character in next episode.

    Every topic is closed in their respective manner.you have written about zobiya mom, frankly I never thought she was a topic but, if you have mentioned ,its closed by repentence of abbi and his miserable life.he watched his own daughter humiliated because of his attitude towards others.

    Rape case was shown in most realistic light.

    Don’t know about daniyal character topic but, they may have thought about it.otherwise, its a good close for me.

    All in all, a better and almost perfect execution of inspired story and popular novel.
    Love asfiya ❤

  9. Dear writer
    I don’t see any regressive stuff towards zubiya.zubiya is strong enough,she studied medical,she was taking care of her father on her own then she was handling everything on her.
    Stop being biased plz

    • @Jiya and Attaf: Hello, welcome to the blog and thank you for taking the time to comment despite disagreeing with me. I apologize for the delayed response, somehow missed your comments with all the ques for Obi – my bad.

      Accha ji, so… re: my biased review: Well, lets just say the my review is as biased as your comments, which is to say that both are written are from a particular point of view, and if your POV is to be held correct then might should be also seen in the light. You are free to your opinion as I am to mine, and we should both respectfully agree to disagree and share out thoughts equally freely. There are many people who agree with me and similarly many who agree with you guys. As I have written on another thread, once any particular art/drama/creative project is in the public domain it becomes open to interpretation with no wrong or right answers.

      I am glad you guys are enjoying this and the issues doesn’t bother you and that’s totally cool with me. I am not enjoying the drama but still liking the Sajal+ Ahad pair, so its each to their own 🙂

      Thank you again for your feedback on the drama and my review 🙂

  10. Hi SZ

    This is the first time, I am commenting on any drama web page. Your facebook page brought me here.
    I agree with you on many points.

    This drama got my attention because of medical setup and straight reminded me of our famous and beloved Dhoop Kinare (DK).

    I have mixed feelings about this drama. This seems a mash-up of many dramas and a copy of a classic DK. It’s pity that they have not even acknowledged the DK or its writer.

    Coming back to DK, it was way ahead of its time and female protagonist was an icon for many!

    Here, the lead pair is a treat to watch though, but have less communication between them than the DK lead pair. They were open on many issues and conversations between them were meaningful.

    Here we are talking about exact 3 decades difference in time and I just see a reverse effect of characters and personalities!

    Miss writers like Haseena Moin and a like.

    • Hi Sadia,

      Hello and welcome to the blog – good to hear from you 🙂

      As you can see from the comments we have a whole range of comments here some liking it some not and some halfway there – so clearly it has struck a chord with many.

      The DK comparison is inevitable given the setting and the rough character sketches, but nothing beyond a superficial resemblance. That said, even if one does not compare it to its classic predecessors you are absolutely right that it is a step backwards rather than forwards. It is good thing the lead pair looks so good together, thus keeping the audiences glued to the serial. I am personally not a fan as can be seen from my write up where i have detailed my concerns .. you are spot on: We do need ppl on tv who can think outside the narrow box shaped by TRP demands …

      And now that you’re here I hope you will be a regular and join us in our convos on the various drama threads.. what are you watching these days?

  11. Hi SZ

    Thank you for understanding my point of view.

    I used to follow your reviews since beginning, specially regularly during PEHCHAN time (YAAD KI RAH GUZAR …). Then, got busy in my professional life- had really less time for dramas etc. I though, never ever commented on any blog before, but used to love your reviews alot. Specially, the way you peel the layers of each character, if the are layered!

    These days, I am watching TAU DIL KA KIYA HUA, regularly. Love this drama and its dialogues. Please review it regularly. This drama is unique and really glad to see all the grey shades and multi-layered characters in it. I dont know, anyone else aiming for Zoya and Faris, but I am rooting for them at the end! He needs a woman who knows and understands the real and sincere feelings he had for his wife!

    Also, YKS started a couple of weeks ago, and sometimes watch MTSNH- due to Imran Abbas, almost finishing and sometimes Rangreza. Not regularly, but binge watch them, to know whats going on!

    Keep posting the latest dramas, I will try to catch not all but few of them!

    Best
    Saadia

    • @Saadia: Arrey wah! You’ve really been with us a long time! Aana tha na Pehchan ke time pe .. such a lovely serial that was haina! Khair koi nahin am so glad ke aap ne apna chup ka roza tora and decided to jump in..der aayad durust aayad 🙂

      Re: Tau Dil Ka Kiya Hua .. ok, so that one I refuse to watch and review on principle. This entire drama has already been telecast on another channel a few years back and is available on YT. It is bad enough that our dramas use recycled stories and KURQ in particular has a track record of recycling situations and scenarios but to pass off an old script as a new one is beyond what I can stomach. This is wrong and I refuse to be a party to such shenanigans.

      YKS I follow and do an overview every so often. Rest I am covering a lot of the newly started serials. Isnt it a pain to keep track of so many? Puraney khatam nahin hotey ke naye shuru ho jatey hain and then they last forever — dimagh ka dahi bana rahe hain …

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