… And then they lived happily after.
Thus end all fairy tales. And like those much-beloved stories Yaqeen Ka Safar too ended today on a very upbeat note. Asfi and Zubiya made up with a very sweet hug and bas everything fell into place. Audiences rejoiced, shed a tear or too and like the newlywed couple, they too walked away with huge smiles on their faces. Who doesn’t love a happy ending?
Pichley zamane mein shadiyon pe chuharey baantey jaate thay magar aajkal hum zara modern ho gaye hain so here… jordan almonds ke saath munh meetha kijeye and let’s all send up a prayer for Asfi and Zubiya.May they win all the best jori awards and may the fans remember them forever with fondness. Ameen.
Moving from reel to real, any and all applause for the success of Yaqeen Ka Safar must begin with a standing ovation for Momina Duraid and her production team. MD has now honed to perfection the art of putting together a project that checks off all the right boxes in terms of aesthetic appeal. From the first episode to this last one today, the entire serial has had an air of quality and class. The settings and sets were beautiful. Actors were cast well and gelled like real family members, the chemistry between them palpable. Direction wise Shahzad Kashmiri’s work with his actors showed and there was rarely a false note from among the main cast.
Ahad Mir as Dr. Asfandyar has to be the casting coup of the year, and for his part Ahad more than lived up to all the trust placed in him.This was the role of a lifetime – we rarely have characters with such well-defined physical and emotional arcs – and he did full justice to Asfi. In a very nicely paced evolution we saw him grow from a carefree and chirpy young Asfi to the responsible and introverted mature Dr. Asfandyar. Kudos to him for stepping up to the plate and carrying the entire second half of the serial on his young shoulders.
Pairing the more experienced Sajal with newcomer Ahad was another master stroke. Not only was this a very fresh pairing but it was also great to see Sajal pitted against someone from her own age group. Sajal was very good and even though her Zubiya was uni-dimensional and lacked texture and grit, she nonetheless held it together and made us want to root for the girl who never really came into her own.
Shaz Khan and Hira Mani were another pair who came into their own as Daniyal and Gaiti. Shaz Khan has come a long way since his last appearance on TV in Zid. Similarly Hira too has worked on her acting and after an unimpressive début in Firaaq she impressed with her brilliant outing in Preet Na Kariyo Koi she has done well here too despite a character that really went nowhere.
Apart from the main leads, Sabiha Sumar was fab as the boys’ loving mother and Farhan Ali Agha made an unpalatable character almost likeable. And this is another reason that this serial was so watchable – the actors who imbued life in their otherwise very problematically written chracters. Suhaee Abro, Ehteshamuddin, Mariyam Nafees, Mani, Shamyl Khan, all made their mark.
Speaking of problematic, remember those jordan almonds I offered you at the begining? Kitney mazedar hotay haina?! If you remember the deliciousness then you also know how awful it tastes if you happen to bite into a bitter one. No matter how many more sweet ones you eat after, that bitter taste refuses to leave. Bas, that’s exactly how I have felt about this serial.
Yakeen Ka Safar is presented just right, its sweet, it packs an emotional punch and you can’t help but get swayed by the actors playing these characters. Butthe story at the core of it all is like that karwa badam the taste of which does not leave you in a hurry. Farahat Ishtiaq’s characters have been pitched just right emotionally, but the story and chracterization have left much to be desired and in some places the plot points have been downright problematic.
I have written about my problems with the writing in earlier episodes (here, here and here) so will not rehash those, but I have to put on record my great dissapointment with the way the serial ended. Before it began there was a lot of talk about this addressing social issues and presenting positive female role models. Well, I waited and waited and waited. What we eventually saw happen was quite the opposite of what we were promised.
Instead of the empowered strong female lead, what we saw today was a heroine who would rather take her own life than find in herself the courage to stand up and look her tormentor in the eye. Earlier there was Daniyal who died trying to get justice, now we had Asfi. How is Zubiya a positive role model? Just because she happens to be a doctor does not make her empowered. Where was her spine? In all these years hadn’t she even learned to trust herself? Why did she need Asfi to validate her in order for her to move in with her life? What kind of a message is this sending to young impressionable girls?
Also, that Rehan actually got to cry and plead his case was absolutely hogwash. This was so reminiscent of what his father had done. And so is this the takeaway? For men to cry and beg for forgiveness after committing all kinds of wrongs, and for women to forgive them? Really? Murderers, abusers walking away scott free? What kind of irresponsible message is this? This is problematic to the extreme, particularly in a country where the rate of violence against women is rising with every passing day
In terms of addressing issues, this was yet another whitewash. Here too Khajista’s problems were easily resolved by making the right phone calls to the right people. Bas, all done. What kind of takeaway is this? How many girls in a similar situation have a Barrister Usman in their corner? On Usman, he admitted to Asfandiyar that he had done Daniyal wrong by not trusting him and for running away and hiding in a small town, but what of his apology to his wife? Wasn’t she owed one? From the day we met this couple Usman has been mansplaining .. making decisions for Lubna and continuously telling her how she could do things better. The couple was great together so we bought it, but otherwise no.
The one truly empowered woman we saw in this serial was Noori – she dared to live life on her own terms and defied familial and feudal pressure to stand up to the stystem – but her end was so bad that I don’t think anyone would be motivated to report a similar crime to the responsible authorities. This was the only message that came through loud and clear from that track. Did we really need to drag a rape case into this story, particularly if there was no hope of doing justice to this very sensitive issue.
Another message that came across loud and clear is that shaadi is the be-all and end -all of a woman’s life. Gaiti came to the hospital, ostensibly to work but as it turned out this was only a convenient ploy to introduce her to Dr. Haroon. Earlier Faryal had begged Asfi to marry her after her divorce. Arrey bibiyo aur bhi gham hain zamaney mein shaadi ki siwa!
For a channel and production house that has given us such fantastic dramas, with memorable female characters, in the past, I fail to understand the reason why women took such a huge step backwards in this drama. They might not have cried bucketfull of tears but they were just as weak and lacking in agency as those other typical drama heroines. They talked the talk but failed miserably when it came to walking the walk. Zubiya had lectures galore for Khajista, but when it came to her own life she opted for exactly the opposite of what she was preaching. Suicide is not something that should be dealt with so carelessly, simply so that the knight in shining armor can come charging in to rescue the damsel in distress. No.
Suffice it to say that while Yaqeen Ka Safar was a beautifully wrapped package – the wrapping and bow perfectly tied just so – the content inside left a lot to be desired. A lot. The happy ending not quite as happy as it looked from the outside.
And so we come to the end of yet another safar with yet another drama serial. Thank you to all who read and ranted and raved about the good, the bad and the ugly of Yakeen Ka Safar. Ab its your turn – your take?
Written by SZ~