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.
Weekend with Raju Jamil
Saturday and Sunday
3 pm to 4 pm
A nostalgia based show helmed by the occasionally annoying host Raju Jamil but an eidetic person recalling dates and scenes of old Pakistani films. This Sunday his guest was the theatre and TV veteran actor Talat Hussain who emerged after a long undisclosed illness. Raju showed clips from the 2001 miniseries Traffik in which Talat Hussain plays the role of a drug dealer, a song picturised on a very youthful and handsome Talat Hussain in the 1970 classic movie Insan aur Aadmi and a clip from the same movie between Talat and Mohammad Ali. The two hour show was mostly fun to watch because Raju is well versed with the history of radio, TV and films and during his conversation was able to recall names of the greats who made institutions out of these three media. He even played a memorable clip from a PTV show celebrating 20 years of the channel in which the fantastic mimic, actor and host Moin Akhtar bantered with Talat and poked fun at his long pauses. Wish footage was of better quality but then it is not in Raju’s hands it is the responsibility of the cultural ministries at provincial and federal levels to restore these gems.
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.
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- the sweetest and kindest grandmother ever
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.
Manahil’s character was the fourth reason why we watched Manahil Aur Khalil
Through Manahil’s character in Manahil aur Khalil/Menekse Ile Halil one got to see that behind the beautiful and modern façade of Turkey there are some significant socio-cultural issues that the country is undergoing. One of them is honour-related crime. And it is not necessarily happening within its geographical boundaries but its people having immigrated to other countries for better economic opportunities have transplanted this cruel practice to keep a tight control over their women especially if they dishonor them by falling in love with a man outside of their community. In 2002 Fadime Sahindal a Swedish Turkish woman became a victim of such a crime. According to Guardian Weekly: “During a computer course in 1996 Fadime met and fell in love with a Swedish boy called Patrik Lindesjö. Sahindal was under no illusion about her father’s reaction. They kept their relationship secret for a year. When her father eventually found out, his first reaction was to beat them both up. Her father disowned her, but the couple refused to be intimidated. Lindesjö parents went to Fadime’s family to propose on his behalf, but were turned down. Sahindal moved to another town, only to be pursued and threatened by her brother. She turned to the press, giving interviews about the conditions faced by Kurdish girls in Sweden. On a visit to Uppsala her father spotted her with Lindesjö. He attacked her, spat in her face and screamed: “Bloody whore. I will beat you to pieces.” Then, in June 1998, as the couple prepared to move into a flat together, Lindesjö was killed when his car crashed into a concrete pillar.
For four years Fadime Sahindal’s father had threatened to kill her. But last week [Jan 2002] she took a risk and went to say goodbye to her mother and her sisters before leaving to study in Africa. Just before 10pm, as they sat in her sister’s flat in the Swedish city of Uppsala, the doorbell rang. Her father burst in and shot Fadime in the head. She died in her mother’s arms. Sahindal, 26, paid the ultimate price for falling in love with the wrong man and defying the patriarchal values of her culture. Her father was an illiterate Kurdish farmer who moved to Sweden in 1980. His family arrived four years later, when Fadime was seven.
Khalil’s character was the third reason why we watched Manahil Aur Khalil
Light azure eyes, rosy complexion, blondish… No, this is not a matrimonial ad desiring a chand si dulhan having the above attributes. These desirable characteristics belong to dare I say the Turkish Muslim Brad Pitt, Khalil Tuglu/Halil Tuglu the leading character of Manahil aur Khalil/Menekse Ile Halil played superbly by one of Turkish top soap stars Kivanc Tatlitug.
In the initial episodes Khalil is shown to be working in a café in Berlin along side Manahil with whom he has gradually fallen in love. However, before he can propose to his sweetheart she is forcibly married off to Mustafa, her brother Kadir’s friend since he is ready to pay a hefty bride price. She runs away immediately after her wedding and lands in Khalil’s house. They both then escape to Istanbul where during the course of the drama we discover that Khalil is actually the scion of a tycoon Bosnian Turkish businessman who had died when Khalil was very young. His mother then takes over her husband’s business and marries her ex-boyfriend Mehmet Atish. He and his mother are in an accident in which Khalil survives and Khalil thinks his mother has died in the accident. He cannot remain in Istanbul because he thinks his step-father Mehmet Atish is out to get him. We are also introduced to his fiancée Zainab, a sexy lawyer who is either decked in a hot red number or silk dresses with hemlines just above her bronzed legs. She too has an axe to grind against Mehmet Atish as she feels her father, an accountant in Khalil’s mother’s company, has been murdered by Mehmet. As the drama unfolds the viewers not only get to see the complicated life of Manahil but also Khalil who is caught in a complex tangle between his fiancée and his sweetheart. Despite their problems both stand by each other and this is what makes Manahil aur Halil a hardcore passionate drama where we are rooting for both of them especially during their difficult times.
I have to mention Kivanc Tatlitug’s effortlessness in doing the romantic scenes, whether it is gently grazing Manahil with his fingertips in their patisserie in Berlin, or him softly pecking her wounded hand or winking at her when she is down. And how can I forget to mention his playing the mouth organ especially when he is trying to soothe Manahil when she is strained out or depressed. One didn’t realize until watching Manahil aur Khalil that the mouth organ could be so sensual.
These romantic scenes are quite unlike the cringe-worthy ones done in most of our plays where often I have noticed that even the simple act of holding hands is as if they are holding a diseased hand and they can’t wait to fling it away! Our actors are unconvincing and look uncomfortable doing such scenes.
But Khalil is not always sweet-natured and romantic. No sirree he also gets in a rage whether it is Zainab digging into his past, Mustafa attacking Manahil, Mehmet Atish attempting to be too close to him it is then he erupts like a volcano and goes on such a rage-fest that it would put Alec Baldwin to shame.