Zun Mureed, a derogatory term used for husbands seen as excessively devoted to their wives, is the title of a new serial which opened its account on HUM TV today. Penned by Amna Mufti, directed by Ahmad Kamran and produced by Moomal Entertainment, this drama boasts names like Shamim Hilaly, Khalid Anam, Hina Bayat, Omair Rana, Ayesha Gul, Kashif Mehmood, along with Nadia Khan, Fatima Shah and others.
Sajjad is a silver-tongued charmer but only superficially. Behind the slick facade hides a selfish man whose world revolves around me, myself and I. His sick mother keeps crying out for attention but this guy is hardly bothered. He studiously ignores everything around him and focuses his attention squarely on the TV in front of him. Looking after his mother is not his job. That’s a woman’s responsibility. He is a man and works outside the house. When he comes home it is his right to relax. So he believes.
Sajjad’s wife Tabassum, on the other hand, cannot make any such claim. Though she too works outside but because she is a woman it is her duty to take care of the house, the children, and the invalid mother-in-law. Bi jan may be an invalid who can’t speak, but is more than capable of making known her disdain for her daughter-in-law. Bottom line Tabassum has her hands full.
Like in all desi families Tabassum and Sajjad’s lives are further complicated with the intertwining extended familial bonds. Tabassum’s side of the family includes an older brother and his family and a younger unmarried sister. There is the typical tension between the bhabhi and her two nands with the brother caught squarely in between. Sajjad’s family includes a married elder sister Maryam apa who wields quite a bit of influence when it comes to family matters. Bi jan is a tough nut to crack otherwise but when it comes to Maryam she melts like butter.
This first episode served as a good introduction to the broader themes addressed by the serial, that of domestic violence and the debate surrounding the women’s protection bill. I appreciated that this issue was highlighted variously and reinforced throughout the episode. Also liked how the foundation is being laid to show that domestic violence does not happen in a vacuum nor does abusive behavior come out of nowhere, and how and why it continues unabated despite legislation. Already one can see grey clouds hovering over Sajjad and Tabassum’s relationship.
Shamim Hilaly, Khalid Anam, Hina Bayat, Omair Rana, Kashif Mehmood, Aisha Gul, all these actors together are a pleasure to watch. We have just watched Omair Rana as Wajih in O Rungreza and here he is in a totally different avatar. Hina and Shamim Hilaly together reminded me of Talkhiyan – I hope we get to see some of that magic again. The weakest link here has to be Nadia Khan, who is horribly and terribly miscast as Tabassum.
And on things that didn’t work: Why did Sajjad’s house look like a red and yellow color bomb exploded all over it? Why do all recent HUM TV dramas have these gaudy technicolored sets? Also, the background music, please lower the volume. There was a time when HUM dramas set the standard in terms of aesthetics and quality, seems like those days are gone.
Also gone are days when the HUM name stood for integrity. I don’t know how many watched the so-called “live teaser” of her character that Nadia Khan presented on the Jago Pakistan Jago morning show. For the lead actress of the serial to join hands with the morning show team and trivialize such a grave matter in so senseless manner is beyond my comprehension. All this for TRPs??
We know morning shows are silly and trite, but for a women oriented channel to stoop to such a level, particularly when this serial is dealing squarely with a women related issue is disgusting. I wonder if channel owners and upper management even know about the nonsense they churn out on a daily basis. How can they expect their audiences to take their projects and their commitment to them seriously when their own morning show makes mockery of them?
From the promos and publicity stuff I understand this story deals with important and relevant issues but whether the drama can deliver is something only time will tell. For now I am on the fence.
Written by SZ~