Nayyer Aapa Ki Silai Machine ~ Telefilm Review

Nayyer Apa Ki Silai Machine is as if a short story come to life – the kind you’ve read before, are familiar with the beats, but each new reading brings to light yet another layer of nuance and understanding.

Woh purana sa makan aur uski deewaron ka udhara hua plastar… wohi sehan mein rakha deewanaur purani kursiyan… wahan baithi muhalley ki woh shokh larki jo Bollywood ki filmein dekh dekh kar khud ko bhi kisi ghatiya si  film ki heroine samajh baithi hai… aur paas waley ghar ka larka jo ab tak apni pehli muhabbat ki yaad ko seenay se lagae batha hai … wahan khari woh pyar karne wali ammi jin ki san saaTh ki silai machine ki ghaR ghaR abhi tak aap ki kanon mein goonjti ho…. auryahan laiTe khud se khafa abba … aur aaney wali  jawan bacchi jis ki narazgi aur ghussa bohot kuch yaad dilata ho ….  

Written by Sameena Nazir and directed by Tariq Siddiqui Nayyer Apa Ki Silai Machine is not a new story but it is precisely this reason that it keeps you hooked. There is an intense feeling of familiarity, a sense of déjà vu, as the story begins to unfold. The setting is very real and the characters, Hashim, Nayyer, Maheen, Sajid, Ali, even the filmy Sumbul, are all plucked right from around us, we’ve run into at least one of them at some point in our lives.

Nayyer lives with a cantankerous husband, her children live abroad and she is financially responsible for running the household, but there is nary a complaint from this woman. No complaints not because she doesn’t have any but because she’s too busy dealing with life. A broken down water cooler, a sickly husband, orders to deliver for the boutique – and these are only the mundane, more obvious problems in her life.

Included among the more internal stresses, those which she hides even from herself: the emotional abuse she’s dealt with over the years, pain of being estranged from her children, loneliness, among others.

But Nayyer is not the kind to dwell on the half empty glass . She keeps her eyes resolutely trained on the half full part. Hence she has Sumbul’s chirpiness to keep her smiling through the day, Sajid’s unquestioning support to help her with day to day problems, orders from the boutique to keep her financially afloat, a house that is their own, and infrequent may be but at least the children communicate every so often. Just like with her old sewing machine a bit of faith, hope and prayer are all that she needed to keep things moving along in her household.

But even the strongest of people have their resolve shaken and then it as if it all is about to fall apart. Maheen’s sudden arrival shakes things up in Nayyer’s carefully cultivated calm. With Maheen dredging up old memories and re-scratching barely healed wounds the façade starts to crumble, Nayyer is no longer the same woman we met at the beginning of the story.

In its stead is a woman caught in between her husband and her daughter, two very strong-minded people both very angry and both  blind to fact to the harm they are causing the woman caught in their crossfire.

Relationship are messy but messier yet is to negotiate a path in between, and this what Nayyer’s entire life has been – a balancing act. And this where Sameena’s writing and observation skills shine. There are no easy answers, no one-size-fits-all solutions to life’s big questions. There are tons of compromises to be made and many a bitter pills to be swallowed, the question is about priorities and choices, and those differ from person to person, situation to situation. Either discard the old silai machine or work with it, problems ‘n all. Nayyer made her own choices as did her daughter. Two women two lives two choices.

While the story had me hooked and I loved the premise, I will say I was disappointed by the soft, and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after ending. That said, this telefilm is a keeper, yet another winner from What If Productions. Tariq Siddiqui’s direction was on-point and I loved the ease with which the narrative flowed. The color and grading was excellent. Also enjoyed the selection of the locations, the old world charm of the set design was lovely and unlike the typical static drawing room/bedroom scenes I really liked the movement in the scenes. DOP Majid Mumtaz’s camera work speaks for itself and added so much more to the onscreen narrative. Oh, and those outdoor city shots and the food shoots – I haven’t missed Karachi this much in a while!

Among the actors – if for nothing else, watch this one just for Khalid sahab and Bakhtawar Mazhar. Brilliant! I so wish so many of our younger popular “social media stars” would watch these actors and pick up a thing or two about acting. I am so glad to see Bakhtawar in a full-fledged role on TV. This is not to say other actors are slackers. Usman Mazhar was very good as Sajid, Iqra Shahid was so fun to watch as Sumbul, and Jinan Hussain was great as Maheen.

Bottom line – this is a must-watch telefilm for those who enjoy quality television and are willing to invest their time in good writing, directing, acting and production. Warna tau aur channels pe chal hi raha hai same old … 

Written by SZ~

5 replies

  1. I watched this over the weekend and really enjoyed it. The acting, the simplicity of the storytelling, the natural and perfectly credible setting, all that really worked so well. I thought the ending was a bit rushed and there was too much of wrapping things up with neatly tied bows, but that’s a minor complaint.

    It’s fascinating how you a well-knit and complete story can be told in such a short time span. Food for thought in an environment where dramas keep getting longer and longer!


    • @RK: Hey! So glad you watched and enjoyed this one – makes me feel happy that I am not alone in enjoying these lovely offbeat telefilms that come our way every once in while.

      Seems like we – you me and @Sadia are all on the same page re: the ending but as you said it was such a minor issue in the overall context … I loved how so much complexity was woven into the narrative without it ever feeling like they were hitting us on the head with a check list of issues .. the effortless ease of story telling was really remarkable. Indeed, so much said in so little time … clearly duration has nothing to do with effective story telling and neither does glamor or the big name stars. How fab was Khalid sb with hos hanging lower lip .. and not once did he lose this affectation … wah!


  2. SZ,

    This was really beautiful…

    It was so real and beautiful but as you said was a bit disappointed with the ending!

    Apart from that, I did enjoy acting, direction and setting, etc. – all were placed perfectly.

    Is Maheen a new girl or she has done other dramas before, thought a familiar face.

    Thank you for reviewing it.

    Best regards


    • @Saadia: So happy to know that you tried this one and enjoyed it – wasnt it such a gem and didnt it remind you so much of the olden days of TV when the focus was on stories rather than stars and glamor.

      Yes, Jinaan, she’s changed her name recently, was previously known as Sundas Tariq, has been in quite a few dramas, included among them Bashar Momin, Gul-e Rana, Ghairat and others.


  3. When i flip on the remote and by chance this drama was on air and fortunately it was just started, where the plumber was repairing some cooler or something, i could not resist myself to watch this till end. Even during the commercial breaks, i did not change the channel. What a masterpiece, same old story but how beautifully dealt with. Next day i brwose the internet to see any review site, but unfortunately no one did any review. Today just i remember the word silai and my mind goes for this drama and i found this site. I could not resist myself to comment. The drama or telefilm was so on top, in writing, executing and performances. Not only the main lead but support cast has done so well job that our senior popular actors can’t. Too good.


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