Qurban ~ Episodes 1 & 2 Review

Written by Zafar Mairaj, directed by Ahmed Bhatti and produced by iDream Entertainment, Qurban opened its account on ARY tonight with a double episode. Qurban is story of Heer, a pampered rich girl who falls in love with her classmate Jamal, a young man not as economically fortunate. Shahmir, Heer’s bachpan ka mangetar is destined to play the proverbial kabab mein haddi, the third angle of this love triangle.

While the posters and teasers highlight the younger generation’s love triangle, it was the story of the older generation, that kept me interested as I watched this BOGO episode. Shafi, Heer’s father, may be a rich man in the present, but he wasn’t born with a golden spoon in his mouth. Quite the contrary. An orphan with no identity, even his birthday a gift to him by a benevolent adoptive father, Shafi is very much a self-made man.

Weighed down by the burden of their benevolence, Shafi’s relationship with his adoptive family is a difficult one. It is this feeling of obligation that led him to get his daughter Heer engaged to Shahmir, back when they were children. Now that Heer has grown into an independent-minded woman, Shafi can see the fallacy of his rushed decision. Ghulam Rasool’s family is nothing like theirs.  Led by a very stern matriarch, who values her zubaan and khandani izzat over and above everything, this is a family where archaic traditions matter more than living people. Hence a daughter of the family was married to a handicapped person and another made to wait ten years for an absentee fiancé.

What had seemed like an easy decision while at home, to break off Heer’s bachpan ki mangni, took on a very different meaning when Shafi came face to face with his benefactors. By the time the double episode ended, Shafi had managed to stand up to the emotional manipulation and guilt and walked away. But does returning the ring necessarily signal the end of this long-standing engagement? More so when Shahmir’s elder brother is someone like the rough tough feudal Kaiser Khan?

As an opening chapter these two episodes made for an interesting beginning. This is not to say that Zafar Mairaj’s story is anywhere near radically innovative – it’s not. Right from the get-go the plot has a very familiar arc. The rich girl, poor boy and zalim samaj angle has been done to death before. What held my interest was Shafi’s track, and his connection with Kaiser Khan and his family. I am intrigued to see how these two men negotiate their spheres of influence vis-à-vis each other. Both are men of means and both have very strong personal and emotional stakes in this rishta. Who of the two will win?

Rehan Sheikh as Shafi, Omair Rana as Kaiser and Shamim Hilali as the matriarch were easily the pick among the actors in this opening installment of Qurban. We are watching Omair (his strangely colored hair was extremely distracting though) and Shamim ji in other serials as well, but there was not even a hint of those  other charaters here.  Shamim ji in particular was brilliant. Rehan Sheikh was impeccable as always. I enjoyed watching Laila Wasti – it is good to see her back on TV.

Of the younger lot, Bilal Abbas needs to be careful and more mindful of his character selections. Jamal may shape up differently later but for now he could easily pass off as Qasim’s twin. Iqra was strictly okay, there was nothing memorable about her Heer. Shehzad is yet to make an appearance.

I have not seen director Ahmed Bhatti’s work before, but from what I saw today, I wasn’t all too impressed. There are many places where there was  a discernible Star Plus influence, complete with the over reliance on closeups, reaction cuts, and the loud clanging background music. The college scenes were loud and over the top. That classroom sequence was all kinds of bad. Also, at a graduate level, classes are not just about parroting facts and figures.

Overall Qurban has gotten off to a decent enough start, and I’ll probably tune in next week to check in to see kis ka kiya hua. What about you all? Did any of you check this one? What did you all think? Looking forward to hearing from you guys.

Written by SZ~

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18 replies

  1. Hi SZ! It seems to me you are checking out drama’s which are not necessarily your cup of tea, but perhaps you are waiting for a surprise that maybe with the new marketing tactics perhaps stories have some new originality too. I had some hope despite seeing Bilal Abbass again as a typical loverboy in the promo’s but alas I had to fast forward this “BOGO episode” (that totally cracked me up btw). You are right BA needs to find some other roles…because this is just Qasim 2.0. Also I don’t really care about the actress or the character she’s playing. I don’t understand why they show that girls from well to do families have no substance, bas ishq aur mohabbat is their only time pass. Yes the highlight of this drama was Rehan Sheikh, I love this guy :)….I don’t know if you are still watching TDKKH but he’s awesome in that too. I agree with you that Shamim Hilali was outstanding in this episode, but I will not be tuning into this one again. It seems Shezad Sheikh sis also typecasted here and after the botched up AAAI I don’t want to see his face. 🙂

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    • @seher: hey! Yes, you are spot on! I am often told that I tend to be very picky in my choices and do not give other dramas a fair chance so I have consciously decided to give the new stuff a fair go .. and as you say, perhaps surprise myself.
      So coming to this one, I tuned in to this because I wanted to see what kind of choices Bilal was making after ORungreza and how he was stretching himself as an actor, because he has mentioned that he has become picky .. but as you also saw this was indeed Qasim redux. Iqra, I think can be a good actress, but the problem is that most of the stuff these days is so unimaginative and so mundane that one can hardly even blame this newer lot .. and yes, the stereotypes are so blah ke ab tau I’m even tired of mentioning them.
      I will give this one more shot just because I enjoyed watching Shamim H as a baddie – she was deliciously good!
      I stopped watching A3I a while ago so was thankfully spared the trauma of that one .. TDKKH was also not my cup of chai .. I am not a fan of KURQ’s brand of flowery writing which covers up all kind of nonsense so I gave that one a pass after the first couple of eps that I reviewed.

      But yaar, what do you make of these new dramas that are being churned out on an almost daily basis now .. how many dramas do the channel ppl really think audiences can follow? It’s so ridiculous and then with the same actors playing musical chairs it’s all whack! So hard to take anything seriously or to invest in stuff intellectually and emotionally..

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      • LOL….
        ” am not a fan of KURQ’s brand of flowery writing which covers up all kind of nonsense.” I agree 100% and too be honest up till now the only KURQ drama I watched was Mera Naam Yousaf and if I recall we did discuss some of the nonsense in that one. But this remake is good mainly because of the direction. Shahid Shafaat has done an amazing job in getting all actors to perform nicely (especially Sami Khan) for them to carry the heavy dialogues. Everything looks slick and the drama has a good urban feel for international viewers as well ( this show is perfect for a Netflix add in my opinion). Also this story is different from the same stuff we see over and over again. We have a woman who despite society/ parents/ izzat is completely reckless, we have another women who doesn’t want to settle for love because she knows the guy does not share the same feelings, we have a woman who has been betrayed but is still managing to stand on her own. We have characters who are trying to out beat each other. It reminds me of those CW shows I used to watch 🙂 its refreshing to see that its not dumb, even if unbelievable. And this brings me to the point that how long can drama makers still keep repeating the same stories, characters and just change the faces before people just loose interest?

        We really need drama’s on different topics and to achieve that I think pk films are very important right now too. Only once a movie of a different genre will hit it with the audience only then we might see a change in the drama’s being made. Else it’s all the same only difference I am seeing is that where three years ago the girl would perhaps hold the guy’s hand now we are seeing full on chipku stuff which really begs the question where is the line?

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        • @Seher: I am so with you on being fed up with the same old formulas, 5-7 dramas a day and same stuff being repeated on every channel and the same guys .. and with dramas dragging it seems like the five faces every single day … its so hard to tell one serial apart from the other ..
          I think more than films, we really need web streaming to start .. thats a cheaper production, and less risky in terms of financial investement, which means there can be experimentation in terms of themes and talent… India has so much content on the web, whereas in PK we are still very behind in terms of bigger producers/brands recognizing the potential of this medium and putting their weight behind these… If you remember the two short films that two short films from Teeli that i had reviewed – about tailors problems and the one abt moms looking for rishtas for their sons – these short films are only an indication of the kind of content that can be created and disseminated easily on the web .. In reviewing those films I am trying my bit for drawing attention to alternative quality content ..

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        • @Sheema: Aww! Sorry — I shoulfd be mindful that not everyone is watching all the mix plate specials being dished out on TV ..

          TDKKH: Tau Dil Ka Kiya Hua – Khalil ur Rehman’s script, airing on HUM
          A3I: Alif Allah Aur Insan, also on HUM TV ..

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  2. I watched this one on a friend’s suggestion and liked it enough to want to see agli baar as well! Though I felt the muhabbat scene came out too fast – I don’t mean they should’ve dragged on this but itni jaldi itni deep muhabbat hogai ke bus. Like of course father’s story plays a part here, she adores him and says she loves Qasim-square for his mehnat and himmat waghaira but it had that emotional fling feel for me. I am curious about Shehzad’s role though, really wanna know how they portray him as.

    As always, love reading your reviews!

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    • randomlyabstract: High five! I too felt the whole “lurve” thing happened all too fast .. ek minute she is dissing him and the next she’s ready to marry him …

      But I suspect that they want to rush through all this to get to the big TRP ensuring twist, which I have now found out is ridiculous beyond words .. :/

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  3. I tried to watch the dIraama … but failed . Nothing new or special , apart from seeing educational institutes are Masha Allah quite ADVANCE , hope that PADHAAI mai bhi we are advance , not just in dressing and khullam Khulla , hum Tum hongain badal hoga !!!
    Dissapointed at Bilal for choosing same character minus the orange Kurta and white dupatta 😂…
    shamim Hilaali scene was good but , actors can not take the serials only on their shoulder .
    Baqi the young lot might like it . As unfortunately bubble gum stuff is in these days.

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  4. I watched this only after reading your review.. yar 40 mins ke episodes dekhne mushkil lagrahe hain
    . What’s with double episodes ary is coming up.. Sawa ghanta bus bhehthe raho.. uff highly annoying

    Anyway Iqra is surprisingly good here else her acting skills are huge turn off for me.. Bilal bhai.. app kehna shuru kardete toi lagta qasim agaya.. he should have dealt it bit differently.. now the veterans… they were just brilliant.. SH n OR were such cool baddies… n i loved SHs dressing

    I might read spoiler lol.. better than sitting for more than hour

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