Piyari Bitto ~ Episode 2 Review

Shakira!

And our nameless protagonist is no longer without her naam-o nishan.

Shakira is originally from Karachi where she lived in a bhari puri middle class family.  A much loved younger sister, Shakira has two older brothers, the sickly Aslam married to Sakina, who though beautiful on the outside is quite ugly on the inside, and Mushtaq who is married to a more reasonable but kanon ki kacchi, easily influenced Rukhsana. Bitto is Aslam and Sakina’s daughter whereas Mushtaq and Rukhsana have a boy, who doubles as a tormentor and playmate for Bitto.

After an intriguing first episode, where we met a very distrubed and distraught Sakina, with no memory of either her name or address, this second installment took us back to Shakira’s past, back to where it all began. And right from the get go we are drawn into this lost woman’s world. Khanakti chooris, rangeen dupattas, a warm generous smile, this lovely confident woman is so far removed from the drab, dull, scared woman we met last week. What happened to her? What’s her story?

Saji Gul’s characters belong to the world created for this story. Mazhar Moin is working in a milieu he is very comfortable in, and with great actors on board what we get are very real characters in very real surroundings. There is an authenticity to the story telling so markedly missing in many recent designer designed serials. Hence we get to see real location with real characters. And just like their appearance and surroundings, these characters’ concerns too are relevant and relatable.

Shakira’s two loving brothers want nothing but the best for her and so when it comes to the matter of her rukhsati they want to give her the sun the moon and the stars. But all they have to give is the house they live in. Well intentioned and large-hearted as the brothers might be, this news does not sit well with their wives, particularly Sakina. While her concerns might be understandable, Sakina’s motives are certainly questionable. She is clearly unhappy with her lot in life and the way she treats her family and child, particularly her husband downright disgusting. Bitto’s accusations have a ring of truth to them.

I have no clue how it will all turn out and how the drama will shape up, too early to tell, but it is easy to see that it is definitely well-cast. Atiqa Odho is a perfect choice for Sakina as is the fantastic Nayyar Ejaz as Aslam. It is easy to see in Sakina a woman who grew up receiving compliments about her beauty, and for her to have gotten married to Aslam must’ve been a blow. And his sickness was probably the last thing their marriage needed. And because she is the ultimate narcissist, a genuinely nice woman like Shakira must be a thorn in her side.

For her part Shakira chooses to ignore much of what goes in her bhabhis‘ minds, focussing instead on being pro-active and keeping the family together. It is she who brings in cheer, be it through her smiles or timely servings of chai with piping hot pakoras, it is she who understands her brothers’ financial strains and quietly helps out with tuitions, and it is she who tries to talk her brothers out of their sentimental decision to give her their house as a patr of her jahez.

But before there was talk of jahez, there were the very sweet moments when Mehboob and his mom come to talk about Shakira’s rukhsati. We had last seen Fawad as Kuku’s husband in Pehchan. There he was the annoying pesky Khurram, but here we see Fawad in a completely different avatar. Sania and Fawad look very good together and their scene in the kitchen was very nice. Halal romance, if you will. Going by appearances Mehboob is exactly the kind of man Shakira needs, but is he what he seems to be?

This second episode was fab in the way it answered as many questions as it introduced. We now have our curiosities satified about who Shakira was, but now there are other questions galore. So yeah, I’m still just as intrigued as I was last week, and just as awed by Sania Saeed as I was last week. I am not quite sure how she does it, but I believed in her as a younger woman just as much as I did last week as an older one.

Atiqa Odho was great as the Queen of Mean. Farah Shah’s Rukhsana seems like an easily persuaded woman, but could just as well be a meesni, lets see. I like how Saniya Shamshad is playing Bitto. Fawad Khan was excellent as Mehboob. While all these guys were great, my favest moment was when I realized it was Shamim Hilali in the burqa. How fabulous is she?! Little touches, like her holding the spoon awkwardly while eating, go a long way towards establishing authenticity, and she nailed it.

All in all this was a well executed second episode, a great follow-up to an excellent opening. That I enjoyed this episode and loved it as much as I did speaks to the caliber and talent of the cast and crew, because Express Entertainment seems to be doing their best to sink this project. Last week the video upload was of a poor quality and this week it was worse – picture and sound both flickered off and on throughout the episode, making it really hard to follow the narrative. Could someone please look in to this? Shukriya.

Written by SZ~

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7 replies

  1. Problems with the video quality notwithstanding, I really enjoyed this episode. The show is obviously still trying to set out all the characters and future plot lines, but it’s unfolding at a pace and in a manner that I like. So far, I’m fully on board.

    Shakira is a fascinating character, and for once, it was nice to see Sania Saeed playing woman full of joy and good cheer, but also someone so loyal to her brothers and her children that she might sacrifice her own happiness for theirs. So far, nobody (not even her less-than-ideal bhabhis) has asked this of her, but I fear it’s coming.

    I really enjoyed the Shakira and Mehmood scenes, even if they were quite short. Sania and Fawad are great together, and that scene where he first sees her and his eyes light up but he’s so distracted by her that he walks into the door jamb was SO adorable. It made my romance-loving self swoon just a tiny bit, to be honest.

    I’m intrigued but also saddened by the fact that a woman like Shakira–so surrounded by love and happiness–ends up losing it all somehow. Can’t wait to see how this all unfolds.

    Since Saji Gul is involved here, it’s interesting how different Shakira and O Rungreza’s Sassi are, no? I’m glad at least some writers are capable of writing different characters instead of just recycling old tropes.

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    • If you ever have the time and inclination do check out Saji’s Sannata, starring Saba Q, Sajal, Samina Ahmed, Nadia Afgan and directed by Kashif Nisar (Pinjra and O Rungreza ) … it was philosophical no doubt but def a must watch for its characters. SQ and SA had such an intersting co-dependent relationship and they were fab together! Sadly another of those dramas that nobody watched because it wasnt passive watching.

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  2. Sania is no doubt a wonderful actress but she doing characters of young girls with young heroes is what bothers me while Atiqa Odho and Farah Shah who are younger than her are playing bari bhabis! Secondly I found a better version on tune.pk without those interruptions after I found problems in the video uploaded by the official channel. Here’s a spoiler that Bitto isthe reason behind the current condition of Shakira she will develop good terms with her mother and will torture her phupho on her mother Sakina’s directions

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    • I don’t know how Farah Shah is, but Sania Saeed is definitely not older than Atiqo Odho, at least according to their respective published dates of birth.

      She’s not playing a very young woman here either, just an unmarried one. As Sakina keeps saying, she’s at an age where it’s a wonder someone still wants to marry her.

      This is a weird double standard we have, where it’s alright for Humayun Saeed to be cast opposite actresses half his age, but Sania Saeed has to play mother to actors only a few years younger than she is. F

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    • @orderitpakistan: Hello 🙂 Welcome to DRNR .. thank you for visiting, reading and commenting – much appreciated.

      Thank you for the heads up on the alternative video sources, this helps. Hopefully Express ppl can pull their act together and put up better quality uploads.

      I will concur with @RK on the age issue, Atiqa is older than Sania and Farah is probably around Sania’s age give or take a couple years. And if Humayun sahab can romance an Urwa who is at the very least 15 years younger than him tau phir Sania ne kiya qasoor kiya? Equal opportunity for both no? 😉

      Khair, jokes aside, within the context of the play there are various references to Shakira’s “advanced” age. Also, if lets say Shakira’s bhabhis are younger than her, then doesn’t it also point to yet another fact of our society, that its only the woman’s age that matters, never the man’s? Im sure we’ve all seen innumerable marriages where wives are 10-15 younger than their husbands and nobody blinks an eye. And there could well be an age difference between Sakina & Aslam, yet another point for Sakina to be upset about.

      And, your comment also made me think ke chalo if not Fawad, who else could’ve played this part against Sania, of a suitor in his late 30’s early 40’s? And agar socho tau there is nobody around. Not that we dont have actors in that age range, we do – Faysal Qureshi, Ahsan Khan, Humayun Saeed, heck even Imran Abbas is in his late 30’s – but the problem is that all these guys are still playing the typical hero, romancing a girl a decade or so younger than them .. ab aisey mein where do the story-tellers go? We as audiences keep asking for more stories featuring women in characters other than the typical hero heroine type stories, but aisi stories banen gi kaisey if there are no guys willing to play age appropriate roles .. and this brings me back to the earlier point abt why only demand that women play age appropriate roles? I remember Hina had once said how unfair it was that she was asked to play Humayun’s mother when really there is not more than a 6-7 yrs age difference between them…

      And, arreyyy yaar .. why the spoiler? I love guessing who is doing what ab main kiya guess karoongi?!? 😦

      I hope we shall hear more from you on this and other threads as well.

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      • We as audiences keep asking for more stories featuring women in characters other than the typical hero heroine type stories, but aisi stories banen gi kaisey if there are no guys willing to play age appropriate roles ..

        This is really important, and I think a sign of a larger issue with how women of a certain age are portrayed in both television and film.

        In order to accurately portray women, we need to see women–of all ages, but particularly older women–as fully actualized human beings. This means that a woman has to be shown as smart, capable, calculating, kind, self-sacrificing, loving, etc., but also that she needs to be shown as the object of romantic desire. But this is a thing that rarely happens, or at least not without complaint, partly because we’re uncomfortable with the idea of grown women being objects of desire and/or having their own desires, because we put them in the “mother” box and assume they instantly become ascetic and saintly. But why? Are older women not human? Do they not have the same wants and needs as young women? Does a woman stop having wants and needs when she’s the age of the average mother? Why can’t she be drawn to a younger man, and why is this considered wrong when older men are frequently paired off with younger women?

        Anyway, I’ll get off my soap box now, but one of my favorite literary/television tropes is the May-December romance, and I don’t understand why we can’t have more stories with the woman as the December! It happens often enough in real life, so why not in dramas too?

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  3. This was equally interesting episode.. when there is done to death serials where bhaiyas come in bhabhis baatein.. this was absolutely refreshing to see bhai behn ka pyar unconditionally.. seeing all these class actors in one frame one can’t but just to praise their craft and approach to characters.. and how adorably sweet and innocent is Sania ‘s smile.. mehboob kya koi bhi bokhla jaye.. and loved seeing Fawad as her fiance.. made me remember their work together in some children story telling programme.. I saw on fb page of DRNR.. anyway their scenes together were tooo cute.. and Shamim Hilaley playing mother.. wah bohat khoob.. i dont know whats in her.. just her presence is so remarkably beautiful..

    And maan what is this Sakina made of.. chalo we can see whts her botheration with hubby dear.but bitto se bhi utni nafrat.. Attiqa odho has played superbly well.. as you rightly said SZ.. the intrigue factor is still maintained..but i so wish Shakira could see inlaws and shohar ka pyar bhi..

    So hooked to this one..

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