Over the last five weeks we have gotten to know Fauzia pretty well. This girl is opinionated , confident and ambitious. She does not hold back from expressing her views on everything and anything. Most recently her sister Nazia’s husband got an earful when she lambasted him for his abusive behavior. And it wasn’t just him, Nazia too was scolded for putting up with such unexcusable behaviour. For Nazia, however, things are not quite as black and white. She is compromising for the sake of her children, she tells her younger sister. Fauzia remains unpersuaded. Were it her she would never have put with such behaviour. Little did she know then that her words would be put to test almost immediately.
When Fauzia had chosen Abid, she had done so because his Dubai marka oily charm appealed to her, as much as his financial solvency and his promises to not stand in the way of her dreams. But it didn’t take even a day of marriage before all her dreams were shattered. Gone was her ‘ashiq and in his stead stood her brand new desi shohar. Her tears the next day give voice to the story she is reluctant to tell her friend. She is now begining to realize that words are easy, real life is not.
After his mardangi ka bukhar simmers down, Abid is back to being the ‘ashiq, but no matter how much they both pretend otherwise, things are different. Abid’s mother is a full fledged drama queen, but much of what she tells her about her son is an eye-opener for Fauzia. Though it hasn’t quite sunk in yet, because Fauzia is determined to not be proven wrong about her choice of husbands, it will all come together once she starts putting two and two together. Going by Abid’s behaviour it doesn’t seem like Fauzia has that long to go before her marriage starts unravelling.
This in a nutshell was what happened in this latest episode. My peeves with the writing continue to build up. There is a heavy handed approach to story telling and every little thing is being spelled out to the point where it loses its meaning. Scenes, particularly those that address “social issues” may be well-intended but are didactic to the nth degree, Fauzia, Nazia and her husband’s scene for one. A little more nuance and subtlety would have gone a long way towards imbuing some depth to the onscreen narrative.
Despite not having much room to maneuver, what with the explicitly explained emotions and the flat writing, Saba Qamar shines as Fauzia, making the character entirely her own. Her anger and heartfelt emotion in her scene with Nazia, is very real and palpable, and this is remarkable considering the cardboard cutout lines. Similarly Fauzia’s expressions with unshed tears, post her wedding, were beautifully essayed. One could totally understand the trauma this girl must be going through. And if she does pain well, Saba also has Fauzia’s flirtatiousness down pat. Her gajra scene with Ali, her confusion in the wedding night scene, all very nicely done.
For his part, Ali Kazmi has done really well as the slimy dukandar. I am glad that we are given a bit of time to see Abid’s transitioning in to the bad guy and Ali has handled this bridging over nicely. I see how a weak-willed man like Abid can be easily persuaded to turn into an abuser, it is the mahol and the prevailing culture, and so don’t get the writers’ need to further blacken his character by adding cheating to his ever-growing list of vices. After all that we heard and saw today there is no denying that he is not Fauzia’s knight in shining armor, so why the need to underscore Abid’s badness even more. It is this kind of heavy-handed approach to story telling that grates more with every passing episode.
Simi Raheal was another standout today. Like Sarmad and Nadia and Irfan sahab and Saba Faisal, Simi ji too doesn’t have much she can do with her stock character – the quintessential evil saas. But again, much like we saw Sarmad and Nadia doing, she too adds in little quirks – the playful glee in her eyes when she convinced her son to take her to the doctor – that add a measure of interest to the character. And on interest, the only interesting and intriguing shot today was that of a menacing Sarmad Khoosat standing behind bars. I thought that one shot spoke louder than the talk talk we heard in this episode.
In this early phase of Fauzia’s life, she is on paper a girl born in a lower middle class family with very little education, and is unpolished and raw. The Fauzia we see on screen is nothing like that. She and her family are very well-dressed and dont look anything like the gaon walas I have seen in Pakistan. Fauzia’s wedding outfit and makeup was more sophisticated and classy than so many of the shehri brides we see featured in the social columns. And if Fauzia is already so polished then where is the margin for a makeover? Given the amount of work that has purportedly gone into this serial I had expected a bit more attention to the overall look of the actors. Apart from Sarmad’s surma-ed eyes and unkempt bearded look, the rest could’ve been characters in any of the other currently on-air serials.
All in all this was an interesting installment. Fauzia’s character has turned a corner of sorts. She is no longer that tell-it-all girl we met at the begining of this episode. Things are definitely changing, looking forward to how Fauzia handles it all.
Written by SZ~