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~