Sanam Saeed’s Ek Kasak Rah Gayee her weakest acting job so far

Directed by Dilawar Malik, Sanam Saeed is Paras, daughter of a maulvi who died when she was very young. After completing her education she joins an NGO, headed by Bia (Hina Bayat) who is quite fond of her. Paras lives with her sister and her mother (Naila Jaffrey) along with her religious minded taya, Javed Sheikh and his family.

Needless to say her uncle’s family objects to Paras working and keeping late hours. She does not pay attention to these objections and continues working and speaking where she feels her taya and his family are being unjust towards her family.

Meanwhile Bia’s brother, Shehryar played by Mikaal Zulfikar (he looks more like Hina Bayat’s son, anyway…) runs his own business and has a girlfriend Rania. Rania’s father is not happy with their relationship due to some inexplicable reason.

after a couple of episodes it is discovered that Shehryar has a kidney problem and unsurprisingly Paras is the perfect match to donate a kidney to him. Shehryar marries Paras leaving Rania devastated who attempts suicide and Shehryar then secretly marries her.

Frankly, the serial is badly directed, the roles are poorly sketched and is marred by half-hearted acting. Sanam as Paras is particularly unconvincing, from an outspoken, independent, clear-headed woman she becomes a passive, tolerant, dependent spouse which was quite off-putting. There is no chemistry between her and Mikaal, making her choice of working in Ek Kasak Rah Gayee as her weakest role so far.

Sanam Saeed in Kadurat

kadoorat-111

Sanam essays a dark role in Kudurat (malice, resentment) and showcases her diverse talent with great relish. As Mina, daughter of a businessman Mahmood (Deepak Perwani), she particularly enjoys tormenting her step-family whom her father acquires after he remarried when Mina’s mother dies. Never reconciling to the fact that there are others who will be sharing her father’s affections, she enlists the help of her friend Shaheen, whom she met when she was studying at a hostel, to torture her step-family that includes step-mother Attiqa (an unconvincing Angeline Malik), step-sister Alina and step-brother Asad. In the beginning they are quite childish when Mina ruins Alina’s birthday celebration initially when she disappears from the house with Shaheen and walks late into the party and then goes on to fake-faint thus diverting everyone’s attention towards her.

Their plans become further sinister when Mina sabotages the relationship of Alina with her fiancé and then contrives a situation in which her father has no choice but to marry her friend Shaheen. After this things go out of control when Mina becomes the victim of Shaheen’s evil designs. But by then nobody is ready to believe Mina and she gets herself into big trouble. Penned by Zoha Hassan, who had earlier written my all time favourite serial Harjaee on Indus TV and starring Atiqa Odho and Faisal Qureshi, has written Mina as a mostly dark role. Sanam Saeed holds her own against the star cast and is convincing when she is at a vulnerable point in her life. As such she does not have a romantic interest but her main love interest is her father who cannot give her full attention so she diverts her attention to various men that surround her but is unable to commit any of them.

Sanam Saeed had earlier played a negative role in Daam, the possessive sister Aamina Sheikh drama and that also was the debut of the Pakistani John Abraham Adeel Hussain in 2010. Sanam played the role of Aamina’s sister in law who manages to marry Adeel Hussain after she breaks up with her fiancé for a flimsy reason. Her marriage to Adeel Hussain is miserable because of her complexes and insecurities. She was fairly subdued here but in Kudurat she fully and successfully channels her dark side.

Mira Sethi was the best part in Silvatein

Channel: ARY Digital

First broadcast on: February 7, 2013

Cast: Aamina Sheikh as Zeb, Adeel Hussain as Rayyan, Mira Sethi as Natasha, Daniyal Raheel as Bilal or Chotu, Rabia Noreen as Ammi, Mohammed Ahmed as Abbu, Vasay Chaudhry as Meekal, Maheen Rizvi as Muneeze

Writer: Samira Fazal

Director: Shehrezad Sheikh

Silvatein1

Sameera Fazal’s last offering Bari Aapa was about the tense relationship between two sisters Zubaida (Savera Nadeem) and Firdous (Arjumand Raheem). Both sisters are married and have grown children yet they never outgrow their sibling rivalry of childhood and it turns into full-blown adult rivalry leading to serious consequences for their families.

Silvatein, is Sameera Fazal’s latest drama serial touching upon the same theme about two sisters whose childhood sibling rivalry turns into adult rivalry except the only difference here is they both end up marrying two brothers and now as bhabhi devrani they both have to negotiate their identity and space in their new household with the younger one Natasha being the more insecure and paranoid for she is married to the less financially off brother Bilal. The older sister Zeb is married to Rayan, a divorcee with a son, who has a flourishing business in the US and as the older brother is regarded highly by his family. Inadvertently Zeb’s position is relatively stronger.

In Bari Aapa Firdous’s son is interested in marrying her older sister Zubaida’s daughter but Firdous will have none of it and this leads to confrontation between the two sisters. The narrative also delved into the roles of their husbands and their part in the rivalries which made the viewing of the drama gripping along with outstanding acting by Savera, Arjumand Raheem, Nouman Ejaz.

In Silvatein the conflict between the two sisters draw their husbands with each having to back their wives to maintain peace in their household.

Even though the theme was familiar, the treatment of the drama serial was fresh in terms of subtlety, complexity of characters and natural performances. More importantly, it steered clear from stereotypes, The couples had good chemistry especially Zeb and Rayan but that is also because Adeel and Aamina Sheikh have previously worked together in Daam as brother-sister duo and in Mora Piya as a couple. Mira Sethi, daughter of journalist and Aapas Ki Baat host Najam Sethi and Jugnu Mohsin, editor of Friday times and GT, as Natasha is a revelation. As a neurotic, insecure, reckless sister she completely owned her character and for a debut this was one hell of a confident performance.

Silavatein raised interesting questions. For instance should a person change completely after marriage. This torments Rayan who feels that his wife Zeb has changed way beyond recognition that he wants the old Zeb, the one he met before marriage who according to him was lively, loud and talkative. He feels that this new person is doing things for him that is not genuine and hence feels cheated. Zeb counteracts by saying that it is normal for people to change after marriage and one couldn’t help but agree with this myth or notion or whatever you may call it as one has been conditioned especially a woman has been conditioned to believe that after marriage she has to change.

Even Bilal changes into a quiet, unquestioning husband to Natasha in order to maintain harmony in their relationship. However, this does not bother Natasha as she wants Bilal to be an unquestioning spouse.

Another point raised in the serial was not having children in order to save or prolong a marriage. This again is brought up between Rayan and Zeb who have a complicated relationship. This 24-episode which dragged out a little bit in the end, and had some interesting characters disappear suddenly (Muneeze, the phuppo and Mikaal), was otherwise a better offering.

The kahani behind Geo Kahani

Geo Kahani

The story is actually quit simple. Aag, Geo’s youth channel had been in the doldrums for sometime although the producers did try to bring in innovative youth based shows and dramas. However, smart businessmen that the Mirs are they converted it into another drama channel a la Hum 2 and have started to air a Turkish drama revolving around Sultans and Kanizes called Mera Sultan. Currently they are also airing other Pakistani dramas.

Moin Akhtar for beginners-Part 1

The following tweet ‏@aikuzair I wish our kids never ask us “Moin Akhtar kaun?” #remembering #MoinAkhtar on his second death anniversary got me thinking that not only the next generation but even eventually our own generation may barely remember the actor par excellence as time passes by, fickle are our memories. The actor who was more known more for his comedic skills dabbled in radio, stage, TV and films and explored a variety of genres be it drama, romance or humour. A gifted person he was also famous for his hosting skills be it at the grand Indian film variety shows or special television shows and transmissions.

So if you want to introduce your kids, friends, or just want to refresh your memories here are some moin akhtar performances to get you started. Here is the first part of Moin Akhtar for beginners.

1. Aangan Tehra

Moin Akhtar portrayed the role of a disheveled journalist looking for cheap accommodation since that was all he could afford on his meager salary. As a potential tenant he comes to meet Jehanara, the ill-tempered wife of a retired honest government servant Mehboob Ahmed, who is not at all welcoming of this potential journo-tenant since she reckons he will not be able to pay their rent.

Moin is superb in this brief performance as he is suitably frustrated yet dignified, disheveled with an unshaven beard and a cigarette on his lips but there is elegance to it. Moreover, he is a great complement to Jehanara’s loud and frustrated character played wonderfully by Bushra Ansari. Moin’s character of a desolate journalist in Aangan Tehra was reminiscent of the time when the press was heavily censored during Ziaul Haq’s regime in the 1980s. Many had been imprisoned or had gone into exile. One only opted for journalism if one was really committed to it because it paid so low and one had to work under severe restrictions.

Deconstructing Kashaf in Zindagi Gulzar Hai

Sanam Saeed as the scowling Kashaf and Fawad Khan as the arrogant moralistic Zaroon

Sanam Saeed as the scowling Kashaf and Fawad Khan as the arrogant moralistic Zaroon

 

Channel: HUM

 

Timings: Every Friday at 8 pm

 

First broadcast on: October 19, 2012

 

Cast: Sanam Saeed as Kashaf and Fawad Khan as Zaroon

 

Writer: Umera Ahmed

 

Director: Sultana Siddiqui

 

I am one of those fortunate beings who occasionally get a chance to indulge in a healthy intellectual discussion at my workplace. So last week I got a chance to do so in which we discussed Kashaf in Zindagi Gulzar Hai, the latest Umera Ahmed’s offering, that centers around the struggles of a lower middle-class brainy girl neglected by her father overcoming life’s obstacles to make it to a business school on scholarship and ends up marrying her batchmate, Zaroon whom she has detested while they were studying together.

 

One of the most illogical things in Kashaf’s narrative according to a colleague was that throughout the serial Kashaf is shown to hate Zaroon for reasons ranging from his arrogance to his Casanova-like behavior but suddenly in an episode that shows Zaroon formally proposing to Kashaf in their teacher-mentor’s library, a servant while serving tea is about to accidentally drop the hot liquid on Kashaf when Zaroon flashes his hand in the midst scalding his ‘pretty’ hand. Lo and behold Kashaf in just that trivial moment does a 360-degree turnaround in her feeling towards him! As my colleague put it how can you change your feelings towards someone so quickly when if such things do occur then it happens over a gradual period of time. Episode upon episode were shown developing the hatred but in just one scene the feelings were overturned!

 

However my other colleague had a more profound insight. She quoted Pride and Prejudice in which Mr Collins who intends to marry Elizabeth Bennett is turned down by Elizabeth, to which Mr Collins says that when a woman says no she actually means yes and all she needs is little more convincing. In other words a woman’s No indicates that a woman is unsure and not meant to be taken seriously. The novel which came out in early 19th century was prescient as this mistaken belief is propagated even today and when the likes of Umera Ahmed does it then it is even more disturbing. This is a very dangerous idea that should not be propagated especially in a culture where men’s advances or proposals are rejected and they don’t get the message that the woman is really not interested in them. But will then go on to torment her or in worst case scenario even rape her. A Bangladeshi woman in 2011 experienced something similar and had to take drastic measures. Here is the link to the story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13594762

 

Another objection that I raised about the tea proposal scene was that Kashaf infers that Zaroon will ‘protect’ her from life’s dangers. Here is a girl who has been brought up by her hardworking government school-teacher mother virtually single handedly, her father a bare presence in her life, and when she has achieved academic and professional success, she says needs protection! This country is replete with examples of strong successful women who have made it without men. Look closely and you will find several examples of women, single, divorced, widowed, living with their families who run their households, take sound financial decisions, financially support their families even if there are men in their households, who have a sizable presence in the professional fields, making marital decisions etc. The list is endless in how women are coming up/come up in every sphere of life. Such women for sure do NOT need protection they can take care not of themselves but also others.

 

If only Umera Ahmed could portray such realistic female characters….

 

 

 

 

Dadi was the fifth reason why we watched Manahil Aur Khalil

 Dadi- the sweetest and kindest grandmother ever

 Habiba Shafik dadi

This sweet and kind granny stole the show from the main protagonists of Manahil aur Khalil/Mirna wa Khalil/Menekse ile Halil. She is the one who encourages Manahil to run away from her husband Mustafa especially after she discovers Manahil/Mirna/Menekse attempting to commit suicide after a brutal wedding night. Even though her son Hasan regularly beats up his wife Sohaila, Dadi is always at hand to shower kind words to her daughter in law and never favours her son unnecessarily. Like the time when she gets hold of Manahil’s virginity test and shoves the paper to her son. She is in rage that he had the audacity to imply his daughter is indulging in extra-marital behaviour. Dadi/granny is also super supportive of her other grandkids. Like when Manahil’s brother Yusuf decides to give refuge to an escort Laila and then decides to marry her, despite Suhaila’s serious reservations, Dadi supports Yusuf and counsels her daughter-in-law. Give me such a grandmother any day.