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Dramas Review

Aab-e-Hayat Concludes, or Does It?

Aab-e-Hayat Concludes, or Does It?

The journey of Aab-e-Hayat came to an end this Sunday. As many die-hard fans of Peer-e-Kamil (saw), I too was over the moon about its sequel. But did it satisfy us? Well, that is a tad bit complicated, so let’s break it down. I will try to be as concise as possible, without summarizing the story.

Things We Loved

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  •  Like all the other fandoms, the return of our favourite protagonists was the first thing that attracted us. We wanted to see more of Salaar and Imama’smarried life and we got what we wished for. Although, sometimes Imama got overboard with her ungratefulness, that was all part of the plan. It was Salaar’s azmaish in the form of his wife’s bad behaviour.
  • The whole sood (riba/ interest) thing was beautifully integrated within the story. The concept of unlawful earning and its consequences was explicitly presented. Someone like Salaar whose whole carrier revolved around this economic system had to go through immense internal and external struggle to stand up to it.
  • For me, the best part of the novel was the track of Ghulam Fareed and his family. Their part was perfectly relatable. The way riba was shown destroying lives seemed so painfully real. Ghulam Fareed, a man of average intelligence and meagre resources was driven mad by the devastating fruits of riba. It was touching to see that he came around and let go of his self-inflicted hatred by just seeing how well his daughter was raised by Salaar and his family.
  •  Family bonding was a main highlight of this novel. It is not necessary for a woman to make an outstanding carrier to make her family proud of her. Imama was a perfect example of this. Despite being a house-wife, she was the pride of her husband. She sacrificed a lot in order to support her husband and children which made her the nucleus of her family.
  • The last episode marked some reunions. I loved the scene between Jibreeland Aisha. Their conversation radiated a deeper understanding of each other’s psyche. The scene reminded me of the relationship between Zaini and Karam from Man-o-Salwa. The air of suffering from the past and the promise of a better tomorrow was encompassing Jibreel and Aisha, just like Zaini and Karam.

Things We Didn’t

  • For many of the readers, the plot seemed divided into chunks which they couldn’t put together. At times, it was hard to connect the tracks, especially the timeline was all jumbled up. I personally, do not complain about this. Some pieces of art challenge your mind, Aab-e-Hayat attempted the same. Those who are familiar with Umera Ahmed’s writing style will have less to complain about, she has done the same in many of her novels like Aks, La -Hasil and Man-o-Salwa.
  •  The use of superlatives was many a times overwhelming. Ok, we get the point that Salaar and his children had extraordinary brains, facing extraordinary situations, but did it need to be stressed so much? For a piece of writing in which all the other things are subtle (the message about riba, the relationship between characters, the adverse effects of religious hypocrisy) the constant use of ‘zaheen tareen’, ‘azeem tareen’, ‘behtareen’ was a little hard to digest.
  •  The inconsistent pace. Some parts of the story were elaborated in great details, like that of Salaar and Imama’s initial married life. While others seemed rushed and half-cooked. The readers couldn’t connect with Jibreel, Humain, Raeesa and others, as they did not experience their character development properly.
  • One dimensional characters. Speaking about character development, I felt most of the characters to be categorically black or white. Salaar and his whole family are white, Saad and his whole family are black, so are the US government and the CIA (may be a darker shade even). We know it is a work of fantasy but greying out the characters might have been more realistic and relatable.
  • Correct me if I missed something, but there was a point that the sniper (the one appointed to assassinate Humain) missing to shoot someone once, despite his expertise. It felt that we will get to know more about this missed chance, but we never heard of it again.
All in all, Aab-e-Hayat was thought-provoking and inspiring but we cannot say that it is the best work of Umera Ahmed. There are many others which were far better conceived and presented than Aab-e-Hayat. Had it been written by someone else, we would have been less critical about it. It is thwarted by the emotional appeal of Man-o-Salwa, the perfectly-knit story of Aks and the sheer, classic brilliance of Peer-e-Kamil (saw). Aab-e-Hayat as a novel has concluded, but in the words of the writer, the challenges of life continue and they are constantly dealt with by new faces and new names.

Dramas Review

Pukaar Last Episode Review – A Happy Ending!

Awww the last episode of Pukaar was sweet & I liked the way everything was addressed. I am glad that despite the extremely slow pace & the over dosage of flashbacks, Pukaar got a complete ending where all the things were given a proper closure without leaving a room for anything to be covered!

One of the best things of this episode was an end that Zamani met. She was made to pay for what she did – better late than never! Sultan & Tashfeen mourned the loss of their son Fahad & did realize that he never wanted to become a part of this political system that Sultan was running in his hometown. It did end up being the reason why Fahad died & both Sultan & Tashfeen knew that. It wasn’t surprising that Tashfeen showed up for a couple of seconds in this last episode because her role wasn’t important – just like her character. I also feel that Jia Ali was wasted in this drama & failed to leave a mark despite trying really hard.

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Sultan assured Samra that Qasim belonged to her. This was his way of apologizing to her for all that she went through in his house where he just couldn’t protect her from the atrocities thrown her way. Rehan Sheikh did the best he could with this one dimensional character of Sultan but then that’s expected from an actor of his calibre.

It turned out that Laali Ma was basically aik bezti ki maar but having said that, it is worth mentioning that in a very brief conversation it was nicely elaborated how young widows in feudel setting are usually treated, where their urge to get settled again is suppressed & they are expected to become the torch bearer of family’s dignity. I also liked how Laali Ma admitted that she could not tolerate a girl who questioned her every step of the way, who was basically a newly wed – something which does tend to make ladies like Laali Ma envy their newly married daughters in law. Everything that Laali did was basically a reflection of her jealousy against Samra & then a chain reaction of everything that she herself endured when she got widowed, but it was good that she admitted & apologized for everything but I wish Samra had insulted her earlier so that this drama could’ve ended earlier too!

Finally, Samra overcame the guilt that she felt right from the beginning of her relationship with Sarang. Samra continuously labelled it as a betrayal against Fahad but then, even though dramatic, the entire scene was nicely done where Fahad communicates with her & talks her out of getting divorced. Even though they made it dramatic but it still had a touch of reality to it that those departed do tend to guide their loved ones through dreams!

Finally, Samra said it. I liked that they just didn’t end the drama by showing that Samra chose not to get divorced, in fact she worded her feelings & was the first one to admit that she was in love with Sarang. Obviously, he gave her plenty of reasons to fall in love with him & I am glad she did. Their chemistry was amazing & it was nice to see how comfortable Yumna Zaidi & Zahid Ahmed looked with each other on-screen.

Even though the story of this drama was predictable right from the beginning, there was something that kept the viewers coming back to it. I honestly believe that 16-18 episodes were enough for a story like Pukaar because the content wasn’t new. The unnecessary usage of flashbacks & extremely slow pace did at times made this drama a task to tune to but I will let it slide considering all’s well when it ends well. For me, the best thing about this drama was Sarang’s character. It was nice to see a positive soul with a positive outlook on life in the middle of so much of negativity. Zahid Ahmed did the best he could but I so wish he hadn’t just sat on the makeup chair without an input allowing the so-called MUA’s do their own thing because they well & truly messed his look with unnecessary amount of makeup which did affect his character’s personality – thanks to a well-written, well-conceived character & even better acting that Zahid Ahmed was able to save himself as well as Sarang. Yumna Zaidi did really well in terms of acting but now when the drama has ended, I don’t feel any connection with Samra’s character & I am happy at the happy ending only for Sarang’s sake. Anyways, please share your thoughts!

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Dramas Review

Meri Gurya Episodes 3 & 4 Review – Highs and Lows!

These two episodes gave further insight into the personalities of all the central characters and their relationships with each other. It was just as disturbing as the first two episodes because it was shown in detail how a paedophile’s mind works. Dabeer’s scenes were the most frightening element of these two episodes. Mohsin Abbas Haider has once again nailed a character which isn’t easy to translate on screen. However, I must say that because lately we have seen a few really good dramas which highlighted the mindset of such sick people you can’t help but compare this drama with Udaari in particular and Dabeer’s character with that of Imtiaz. While Imtiaz was a more clever person who knew how to manipulate others and his personality characteristics definitely fit in more with the general profile of such criminals, there are certain aspects of Dabeer’s personality which are difficult to understand. It was shown that Dabeer always liked playing with dolls and still owned dolls, I am wondering how does this aspect of his personality fit in the whole picture and why is it considered “not normal” for a little boy to play with dolls. I feel that it would have made more sense if he kept these dolls to allure little girls as opposed to showing that because he played with girls as a child there was something wrong with him since he was little. I could be wrong but that is the impression I got from this scene.

Overall however the writer has intelligently conveyed how such people get all the details they need and the fact that this is someone who is really close to the family also hits home. In these two episodes, Dabeer made up his mind that Abida was going to be his next victim and he did whatever he could to get all the information he needed to execute his evil plan. All his interactions with Abida were terribly frightening and when Abida went missing I found myself hoping that she was still alive. I am glad that the writer didn’t rush things and I also hope that Abida is somehow saved in the upcoming episodes too. In these four episodes, Abida has been introduced as a sweet girl who unlike her sisters goes to a madrassah because the education there is for free. Although, she is the third girl her grandmother never wanted and wished she was a boy but she is also the one who is relatively closer to her since she doesn’t go to school and isn’t “liberal” like her sisters. The child actress playing Abida’s role has played her part really well. Sania Saeed’s acting as usual has been effortless and effective. She is convincing and likeable as a mother who does whatever she can for her daughters under the given circumstances. Safeena’s character is likeable but Sonya Hussyn’s hairdo and overall outlook isn’t up to the mark. This character could have been far more impressive had it been translated on screen differently. Having said that, it isn’t difficult connecting to the kind of relationship Safeena and Abida share and the genuine concern Safeena has not just for Abida but for everyone else too. Big Bang should give up this hairstyle for good, it didn’t look good on Saboor in Meeras and it doesn’t suit Sonya either. The production house is coming up with better stories but the supporting actors and the overall feel of their plays needs a makeover.

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Although Safeena wanted Dabeer to divorce her whenever he could but now she has realized that she can fulfill her dream while being married to him therefore she has decided to make this relationship work. Dabeer’s withdrawn attitude around her made perfect sense. He was constantly planning his next step and thinking about all the information he had gathered so far. Safeena could tell that there was something wrong with him but she could never even imagine that the person who she thinks needs help, actually needs to be put behind bars. Dabeer mentioned that Jahan Ara’s father used to teach him Quran and he said so in a meaningful manner. I am wondering if he went through a traumatic experience in the past!

In this episode the viewers saw that Abida’s phupo Jahan Ara will ultimately end up “assisting” Dabeer without knowing it. Shehnaz’s close relationship with her daughters has been well established in these four episodes therefore it will be heart-wrenching watching her suffer in the upcoming episodes. The preview of the next two episodes was confusing and it was difficult to tell whether or not Dabeer will be able to execute his evil plan, which is definitely better than knowing exactly what will happen next! So far, Meri Gurya has been a decent watch and I am waiting to see how the story moves forward in the upcoming episodes. The way this drama shows that a murderer and rapist could be a seemingly harmless neighbor is yet another reminder that parents should not trust anyone with their children. Although, Udaari and Muqabil both gave the same message but I do feel that these things should be shown on television repeatedly since there are times when parents tend to overlook such aspects.

How many of you watched these latest episodes of Meri Gurya? Do share your thoughts about it.

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Dramas Review

Ishq Tamasha Episode 18 Review-Revenge Begins!

This episode has started Mehrab’s revenge spree against Rushna and one more thing it has established is YES! RUSHNA IS SUPER EVIL. Rushna got to know about Arham’s death in the very start and has no reaction to it. She was still indulged in her chocolate covered dreams. Mehrab has also become a constant confusion now. Not letting Rushna’s mother bring breakfast is his idea of taking revenge for his brother’ death? He didn’t even confide in his Phupho who has also suffered an immense loss. Her decision to leave Mehrab was the sanest scene in the whole episode.

Mirha bechari kya kare? Thanda paani pi maray! Yes, Mirha’s situation just reminded me of this nursery rhyme. She just started dreaming about her saviour (kidnapper) Mehrab and all her dreams were shattered in a second. Mehrab’s scheme of sending her back is also non-sensical. Pressurizing your wife to send Mirha back is not going to get Mirha her reputation. And Mirha was s settled in Mehrab’s house. Parr ye bhi Rushna le gayi!

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Rushna is a mature girl who knows how to scheme, trap boys and insult anyone. So, she must behave like that too. Her whole behaviour after reaching Mehrab’s house was like that of a child. She had no interest left in Mehrab who was her dream prince. All she wanted was to redecorate and wander around the house. Most annoyingly, she did not even ask Mehrab that why his family does not know about their marriage? And why there are no preparations for a Walima. Rushna is still not miserable. She is still scheming and being a jerk. Hopefully, in the next few episodes, we could see her regretting her attitude.

The whole Palwasha episode is super-weird. The girl is a very good actress indeed but she is too young to get scoldings for Gajras and have affairs with her cousin who is too grown up for her I must add. Aqeela really needs to take a hold of her daughters. They are literally messing up the balance everywhere. And it is high time that Wahaj starts taking practical decisions instead of lounging around and throwing unnecessary sarcasm!

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Dramas Review

Main Khayal Hoon Kisi Aur Ka Episode 3 Review-Whateven!

This drama started like a high-speed roller coaster and deteriorated at the speed of the lightning. In just three episodes, the makers have forgotten what they were trying to go for. It started as a love triangle where two brothers fell for a single girl. Then we saw the scenario of adoption come into play. The adopted boy sacrificed his love for the sake of his mother’s satisfaction.

Dania is the worst I would say. First, you went blaming only Zaryab for the whole ordeal. She didn’t even try to take matters into her own hand. Then she is seen blaming Armaan. Armaan at least stuck with what he was going for. He divorced the girl and doesn’t want anything to do with her. But now the bechari Dania wants to keep living with a man who has divorced her. What kind of culture or mentality is being promoted here? Even if they wanted to show Dania as a bechari, they could have shown her ordeals after the divorce. But she is living with her ex-husband, making parathas for him. Like WHAT EVEN???

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Zaryab and Armaan’s encounters are too childish to bear too. When you have already openly said woh tumhari biwi hai, then at least complete the conversation. And Armaan, a guy who divorced a girl in a second and has no regards for the society is waiting to talk openly about it with his brother. Why is he not cleaning up the mess? He didn’t ask Dania when he was divorcing her. So, why is he waiting for her approval to announce it?

The mother’s character is also so poorly etched out. She is trying to make Dania behave as Armaan’s mother or nanny rather than a life partner. At the same time, she is concerned about Zaryab’s marriage. If you loved Armaan so much and you knew he is such a sensitive soul, why you married him off to his brother’s girlfriend in the first place?

Moreover, the performances are so bad throughout this episode. Alamdaar needs serious work on his dialogue delivery as well as his expressions. Even Hareem seemed lost in all her scenes. The lack of depth has literally destroyed this drama in only the third episode.

Yes, many would say I have come harsher on it but they are showing a girl who wants to live with her ex-husband which is ridiculous!

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