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~