Teri Raza ~ Down The Rabbit Hole

This is neither a review nor a recap of Teri Raza – I’m not qualified for either. A story as abstruse as this requires a viewer with a particular kind of intelligence, which I unfortunately do not posses. I, therefore, cannot attempt to explain what the what is going on here. What I can tell you, however, is that lately whenever I have watched Teri Raza I have walked away with a lingering sense of déjà vu.

Bachpan mein, Lewis Carroll’s  Alice in Wonderland was a story that fascinated me no end. I would literally spend hours thinking about Alice and her adventures and try to understand the going-ons. Main aur meri tanhai aksar yeh baatein karte thay how must it be to see a fully dressed talking rabbit, to fall down a rabbit hole, or to be a guest at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, perhaps even meet the Cheshire Cat.

Kaafi ghaur-o fikr kiya karti thi main bibi Alice ke baarey mein and sochti ke  feelings kiya hongi us ki when she was meeting all those crazy characters one after the other. Did she ever question her state of mind or wonder about theirs?

Fast forward some decades and I see now how silly I was then. Bekaar mein tab itna socha aur time za’iya kiya. I should’ve just waited for Teri Raza and Suhana’s shenanigans. Kuch saal zaroor lage but now I totally get how Alice must’ve felt then. Ergo the lingering déjà vu and the familiar inabilty to make sense out of nonsense. 

Point yeh hai ke Suhana tau bhaiya is beyond my comprehension. I have been writing about dramas for a long time and not once have I met such an incoherent character. Itna koi convoluted ke neither the writer nor the director or even the actor seem to have a clue as to this girl. Other than blaming others for her problems what else is Suhana’s goal in life?

Going by how Sanam is playing Suhana it seems like it’s not just us, the actor too is equally lost, lurching as she does from scene to scene with no sense of continuity – pichley scene mein kiya hua aur agle scene ka present scene se kiya connection hai kuch pata nahin hai. Suhana bibi kiya bolti hain, kiya sochti hain, kiya chahti hain jitne chahe istikharey niklwa lein koi jawab nahin milne wala. Calling Suhana an unmitigated disaster is me being kind.Similarly Rameez. Another character without a sense of place in the larger picture. Likewise Jeena. What is she doing in this story? What purpose is Seema serving? Why do we need Tweedledee and Tweedledum’s icky romance? Why is daadi happily dispensing orange juice mein kaali mirch ka totka when her only poti has just been sent packing? And what was that random bit about Suhana ke bachpan mein baalon ka texture while Zafar is hospitalized? How does Zafar end up blaming Talat for Suhana’s tarbiyat and why are we made to sit through stories of Talat and Zafar’s compromise ka rishta? And if your head isn’t already spinning there are the omnipresent istikharey ke nuqsan aur fawaid lectures.

Kaha tha na bilkul hi Mad Hatter ki tea party wali feelz aati hain is dramey se. Same 2 Same. 

So … why then are we all still watching this madcap serial? What is it about Teri Raza that attracts our desi dils and dimaghs.

Simply put: the brilliant Sarmad Khoosat’s absolutely brilliantly played Imtiaz.

In a culture where masculinity is typified by the mard ko dard nahin hota mindset, Imtiaz brings to fore a completely new kind of hero. Here is a man who does not need to prove his mardangi. He is self-aware, confident enough in his manhood to seek consent, initiate frank, and at times tough, conversations, solicit advice and ask for opinion from the two women in his life – his mother and wife. He is the “man of the house” why then does he care for what these women think and desire and want?

When was the last time we desi ladies saw a man this respectful, this attuned to not only the women in his life, but even otherwise? Much is made of women wanting romance and so much of that is equated with whispered sweet nothings and roses and hearts. Not that there is anything wrong with these, but beyond a certain point all that is merely fluff.

And fluff can go only so far. What Sarmad Khoosat has given us via his super sensitive, underplayed portrayal of Imtiaz is a 3D definition of what women want in a man and from a man. Respect. Equality. Partnership. A veritable humsafar who promises hum-nawayi for all reasons and seasons. The actor and the character he is responsible for bringing alive on screen deserve a standing ovation at the very least.

Ab what is such a gold standard of a character doing in Teri Raza is a big mystery. That this is the only character with a specified arc, has continuity, and is imbued with meaning and purpose tells me that there is more than a hint of individual effort and investment here. And this then leads me to question what the rest of the team were doing with their time on set, other than posting BTS pics and selfies that is.

It is not like this was a story without potential. There was a lot to be mined here in terms of issues faced by newly weds, particularly in our system of arranged marriages. There was also the space to explore a young girl’s coming of age arc, her doubts and dilemmas as she approaches the threshold of womanhood. Basically there were a multitude of stories asking to be heard. Two fantastic actors with explosive chemistry totally wasted because makers refused see beyond the chhapo aur cut paste karo template so beloved by production companies.

Bottom line, it is an absolute travesty that a character as brilliant as Imtiaz is being wasted in such a trivial drama. So much of a character’s strength and beauty lies in its interactions with the others around him. Magar afsos. One can only wonder about the extent of Imtiaz’s impact in a different, read logical, story. If ever there was a character crying out for another fair shot, Imtiaz is it. Sarmad, sun rahey hain na?

Chalte chalte …. here’s another of my favorite Imtiaz moments – an achingly beautiful scene that brings to mind the exquisite sentimentality of Mera Kuch Samanfrom Gulzar’s Ijazat.

Today, when I look back at Alice in Wonderland I am awed by the complexity of Carroll’s story telling. There are layers upon layers of meaning. Each new read opens up different avenues of thought, a fresh way of looking at the world. Comprehending Teri Raza, on the other hand, requires us viewers to live more than one lifetime. Any takers?

Written by SZ~

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40 replies

  1. Ah.. I am the first one to comment… Wow..SZ are truly a gifted writer…yes..you have put it in words exactly the feelings I have … My head use to spin..while watching ,rather forwarding Teri Raza..Yes , trying to comprehend was ..was beyond my capacity….the only reason I had started watching was on Sanam Baloch… like the comparison to Alice in wonderland…

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    • Thank you Kanta – glad you enjoyed reading it 🙂
      Haha! I have a feeling all us have had plenty of similar WTH moments when watching this one. Had it not been for Sarmad/Imtiaz I wouldve dumped this one a while ago too .. but he is soo good ke I cannot miss his scenes .. did you check out the two clips I posted above? Isnt he so good in those?!

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  2. I loved your review. I remember reading Through the Looking Glass and Alice in Wonderland on summer afternoons and really made a movie out of it in my head. Lewis Carrol has amazing cinematic quality to his prose.
    As to Teri Raza, which I did a bunk on some 8 weeks ago– I am only happy it allowed me to watch Sarmad act. What a masterclass act! But even he is enough to drag me back to Ter Raza.

    Not my monkey, not my circus!!!

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      • SZ thanks for pointing me towards that clip– what a master act by Sarmad. He is a thinking woman’s actor. Totally floored. (wondering…..)Should I get back to watching it?…. Maybe I can find a video of just Sarmad’s scenes on YT ?

        Liked by 1 person

          • Molly & Rehmat: I just added another video at the end of the post – from ep 17. Uff! Its beautiful!!!

            I dont know if I could in all honestly recommend you go back to watch this . but maybe just ffwd to Imtiaz scenes .. Honestly they have more of a semblance of a story than the rest of it all put together

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          • Rehmat , that would be like public service in a good cause. I will try and search for it. I am sure there are other people like us in the same situation of being attracted and repulsed at the same time..

            Liked by 1 person

    • @Molly: Haina! What fab books these are!
      Sigh TR is bas … ab what to say .. Sarmad owes us all a big Imtiaz wala hug for putting up with this nonsense for his sake ..

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  3. Hey SZ
    You are so right , it’s mind boggling as to what is going on in this drama . Suhana Bibi , what do u want akhir kar ? ? You got what you wanted , you’re back home , almost divorced so stop whining and marry rameez coz that’s what u wanted.
    Imtiaz is superb , a perfect man but he made a bad choice .
    I’m more keen to see Manzoora and Manzoor get together , they seem like the only sensible couple in this drama….

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    • Deeba : LOL! I wonder if Imtiaz is aware ke there are so many women waiting for him line laga ke!
      Bechara kidhar phans gaya!

      Nahin yaar, Manzur and Manzura are weird. Did you see the look he gave Suhana before he went back and snitched to her mom.. no bhai he’s a creep.

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  4. Hi again!
    Loved your review/rants about Teri Raza. This serial has been boggling my mind as well since it started. I was so excited about Sanam Baloch’s come back but hugely disappointed, not by her acting but her choosing this project. May be she only agreed because of Sarmad and did not read the script properly. Lol
    That clip you posted was the highlight of this episode. Sarmad was brilliant and for once, after ages, Suhana did make a tiny little sense to me keh aakhir uski problem kya hai. Otherwise, everytime she asks somone ‘mera kasoor kya hai’ she reminds me of Nawaz sharif’s ‘mujhe kyun nikala, mujhe kyun nikala’, and I felt like slapping her across the face.
    But that scene too was ruined in the end with that dialogue ‘agar ap mere se shaadi na kerte toh mere best friend hotay’. I was like SAY WHAAAT??? Haven’t you hurt that man’s ego and emotions enough already??
    All in all, two brilliant actors completely wasted in this serial.

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    • Hey Mavra: So glad to hear from you on this thread as well 🙂

      Haha! I think all of our minds have been collectively boggled by TR. Na sar na payr .. bas chaley hi jaa raha hai ..

      Yes, exactly! I am on exactly the same page as you. Suhana made sense for a change, but only within that scene …but why was she going on abt mujhe nikaal diya …is she really that much of a bacchi ke she thinks she can could’ve continued playing happy houses with Imtiaz while still meeting Rameez on the sly? I dont know its almost as if each scene makes sense only on its own, without any continuity with the past and present. And notice that its only in her scenes with Imtiaz that she makes sense .. otherwise she’s off on another tangent. Kiya yaar! What a wasted opportunity!

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      • Hahaha….thanx so much SZ.
        Actually I am watching Tv serials as a full time job these days (LOL) so love to share my view here with like minded people. Love your blog too. Keep writing!
        Much love,
        Mavra

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          • Hi. Sorry for the late reply.
            I am currently watching Alif Allah aur Insaan (God knows why), Baaghi, Teri raza ofcourse, O rangreza, Ghairat. Also YKS and ‘muhabbat tume se nafrat hai’ which recently ended.
            Out of all these I can only recommend baaghi and O rangreza, Saba Qamar and Sajjal r two of my favs. Ghairat is also good, with Samina Ahmed and Iqra Aziz in the cast, but too much drama in there.

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            • Thanks Mavra.

              Hope among the new dramas, there is one that makes us feel-good. YKS was like that. Did you read recent review of SZ..khaani

              I also watch Alif and I hate it and I hate myself too 🙂 Same with Teri Raza

              I saw last 3 episodes of muhabbat tumse..I liked it but didn’t understand why did she commit suicide

              Baaghi- you know they say C’est la vie .. sadly such is life for some

              OR – I didn’t like Tipu hitting his gf in recent episode. I look forward to its review from SZ.

              Ghairat – I will check its 1-2 episodes

              Did u see.. Mubarak ho beti hui hai

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  5. Bhayee SZ you are on roll.. love love reading this maze ka not review.. and i so agree with you on every thing.. i stopped watching after may be 6 or 7th epi. But this guy Imtiaz is pure magic.. yes the character is nicely written but its because of Sarmad Khoosat that Imtiaz has become sooo damn loveable.. his mannerisms, body language, the way he expresses through his eyes.. is just fabulous.. a dream husband for sure.. played by SK remarkably excellent..
    Thanks for sharing this clip.. i got so sad watching this and last scene of previous epi.. where he says tum nh ho.. uff broke my heart..

    Suhana n Ramiz ek dusre ko mubarak hon.. bus Imtiaz ko ek awesome si larki mil jaye to take care of this guy 😍

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    • @Rehmat: Thank you – glad you enjoyed the [not]review .. remember my earlier ones? This was a fun one to write 🙂

      That phone clip was soo fab .. I wanted to fly and give Imtiaz a huge hug .. stupid Suhana!
      I dont even get the Rameez Suhana track .. so are they back together again? If so then why dd Rameez come back to Jeena? And why is Jeena hanging around this loser guy? Suhana tau ‘ishq mein andhi hai, what’s Jeena’s excuse? Qasam se why do they show such educated otherwise intelligent girls going crazy over such lallu guys… na naukri na kuch .. If Jeena is that desperate to get married why doesn’ she find another guy .. Im sure there’ll be many willing to marry her..

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  6. This review was terrific. Thanks for a fun trip down the rabbit hole, SZ!

    So…a small confession. I watch Teri Raza with greater commitment and expectations than I have given any drama not called Numm, and Sarmad’s portrayal of Imtiaz is the first and only reason for it. #TeamImtiaz Forever!

    Speaking of Alice in Wonderland, I was reminded of this: Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!

    This is, I think, is the problem with Teri Raza. It wants to be so many things, and all before breakfast! The plot appears to be, in the main, about free will and whether young women like Suhana can exercise it. But the plot is also about a young women adjusting to an arranged marriage, a May-December (ok, more like July-September) romance with the attendant personality clashes, a family drama with loving but disappointed parents/relatives, etc.

    The problem is, in trying to be all these things, Teri Raza is none of these things. This whole drama is a perfect example of the whole being significantly less than the sum of the parts. Sigh.

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    • @RK: What an apt quote! taaliyan!

      Bas bibi ab tum Tshirts banwa hi lo! And send me one too!

      Haha! You’ve understood more of the plot than I have … I jut cant get over Suhana bald faced lies .. I wonder if she was dropped on her head as child, some kind of damage in the head area is the only way I can make sense of her 180 degree turns after every few minutes .. or maybe its all those turns that are making her dizzy and therefore respo0nsible for her belief that she is the one who has been wronged .. #terriblyconfused

      Have you seen the amount of weight our boy’s lost? Bechara is larki ki tension mein aadha ho gaya hai!

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  7. SZ thanks for posting my favorite clip of Imtiaz. He is very talented .i stop watching after episod 8 but today I saw few clips of Imtiaz . (Fast forward )

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    • @Ranjan: I think most of us are watching this only for Sarmad/Imtiaz now .. other than him there is not much else here. And yes, the Imtiaz moments might be few and far in between but they sure are worth the wait!

      Did the second clip I posted – the phone call – remind you of Gulzar’s Ijazat as well?

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  8. By the way Manto was supposed to start airing on Fri … did anybody manage to catch the first ep, Geo channel? I tried to search but couldn’t find a link anywhere .. does any one have any info?
    Thanks!

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  9. SZ – my feelings on reading your write up as below:

    When some one does a good job, many times you not only want to complement the person but also want to give some reward as a token of appreciation.

    I am following the drama and scene jo aap ne upar lagaya hai tab bhi aankh bhar aayi thi aur abhi 2 times dekha, it had similar effect.

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