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.

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Glad that Mora Piya highlights the death threats to investigative journalists



Cast: Adeel Hussain, Aamina Sheikh, Manzoor Qureshi, Firdous Jamal and 
Parveen Malik

Writer: Mohsin Ali 

Director: Anjum Shehzad

Broadcasting channel: Geo TV

Telecast times: Every Friday at 8 p.m.

First telecast: December 2, 2011

 

The ‘brother-sister’duo of Daam, Aamina Sheikh as Maleeha and Adeel Hussain as Junaid in drama serial Daam re-emerge as a romantic lead in Mora Piya directed by Anjum Shehzad of Khuda aur Mohabbat and Dil-e-Nadaan fame. While some may appreciate the romance of the couple and some may tear their hair out for so much touchy-feely between the passionate pair (relax people! this is what couples do when they are in love and btw do much more in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, if only we were not such big hypocrites!), to me it is Faisal’s character essayed by the talented new find Adeel Hussain that caught my eyeballs. Am glad that the writer and director of Mora Piya have weaved in a contemporary character of a journalist although the bit about the girl’s father being hesitant in accepting the proposal is far-fetched since in real life most such journalists whether in print or electronic are happily married, regardless of the risks.

 

Playing the role of an investigative broadcast journalist who is threatened by land mafia Faisal is dismissive of these threats and thinks he is invincible. However if one has followed the story of Saleem Shehzad of Asia Times, who was allegedly killed by the ISI for exposing the links of the intelligence agency with the militants and Wali Khan Babar, Geo reporter, who was allegedly killed by the drug mafia or the MQM while covering the operation against them in Pehalwan Goth in Karachi, and the bizarre murder of a young journalist by the name of Faisal Qureshi who was political editor of news website The London Post. His body was found by his brother at 2 am at his home in Lahore, will know that Faisal in Mora Piya is being juvenile and irresponsible.

In fact according to the Blog on Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) nine journalists have received death threats via smses (http://www.cpj.org/blog/2011/08/quantifying-the-threat-to-journalists-in-pakistan.php). “Pakistan was the deadliest country in the world in 2010, according to CPJ data. The country also ranked 10th on CPJ’s Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are regularly slain and authorities fail to solve the crimes.”

 

Journalists when not receiving threats from all kinds of mafias than while covering crime and terrorism, especially TV reporters and camerapersons risk their precious lives, to get us live footage. If they are lucky to survive then their organizations abandon them and if they die then there is nobody to look after them. You can read all about this by clicking on the following link: http://herald.dawn.com/2011/08/16/work-at-your-own-risk.html

 

Journalism/Journalists in Movies

  • Absence of Malice
  • Shattered Glass
  • The Insider
  • Meet John Doe
  • Frost vs Nixon
  • The Paper
  • A Mighty Heart
  • Citizen Kane
  • All the President’s Men
  • Good night and Good Luck
  • State of Play
  • Thank you for Smoking
  • Broadcast News
  • His Girl Friday

 

Journalism/Journalists in Television

  • The Hour-BBC
  • Murphy Brown
  • Lowdown-ABC
  • Drop the Dead Donkey
  • Frontline
  • Just Shoot Me

 

Journalists in Pakistani Dramas

  • Karwaan
  • Loose Talk-Moin Akhtar as sahafi
  • Aangan Tedha
  • Band Khirkiyon Kay Peechay
  • Pehchaan
  • Kaash Tu Mera Baap Na Hota

Maat’s inherent message is inaccurate – Money does buy you happiness

Aamina Sheikh, Rabia Noreen and Saba Qamar in Maat

 
Maat

Cast: Aamina Sheikh, Saba Qamar, Adnan Siddiqui, Shamim Hilali and Rabia Noreen

Writer: Umera Ahmed
Director: Amna Nawaz Khan

Broadcasting channel: Hum TV

Telecast times: Every Friday at 8 p.m.

First telecast: September 9, 2011

Umera Ahmed's latest serial Maat pits her usual good vs bad formula. 
This time it is through two sisters who represent two sides of the coin.
Aiman (Aamina Sheikh) is the goody two shoes sister who is content with 
whatever life has offered, which is the lower-middle class existence. 
She is the one who runs the kitchen by teaching in a school and giving tuitions. 
Needless to say Aiman is the clichéd model of sacrifice, chastity and obedience

The other side of the coin is represented by the sister Saman who is beautiful 
but is a discontented Lil' bitch. She wants to move out of her confined neighbourhood 
and dreams of the good life which can only happen with pots of money. 
Needless to say Saman is materialistic, selfish and a flirt. 

This premise-that money cannot buy happiness-is flawed and simplistic. 
For the writer does not acknowledge the fact that money does 
indeed buy happiness, more specifically material goods does give immense pleasure. 
Bo Derek the infamous american actress uttered these prescient words 
once upon a time: "Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't
know where to go shopping". You would be lying if you denied the fact 
that when you bought an expensive lawn suit or a pricey cellphone or a
gorgeous looking laptop that it didn't bring you happiness. 

In fact most of us daydream about buying that coveted item and when it 
is in our hands or possession, that feeling is indescribable 
and we go through a range of emotions and none of it is negative.

In fact according to the study, published in the Journal of Psychology and Marketing (U.S),
 "Retail therapy purchases were overwhelmingly beneficial, leading to 
mood boosts and no regrets or guilt." Researchers interviewed hundreds
of people at shopping centres and found out that 62 per cent had bought something to cheer themselves up while 28 per cent said they 
had indulged as a form of celebration. 

This reminds me of the pertinent movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, in which 
the central character Rebecca Bloomwood says, "A man will never love you or 
treat you as well as a store. If a man doesn't fit, you can't exchange him 
seven days later for a gorgeous cashmere sweater. And a store always smells good. 
A store can awaken a lust for things you never even knew you needed. 
And when your fingers first grasp those shiny, new bags... oh yes... oh yes."

Hottest new dramas for Sept- Maat and Maiee nee

Maaye Ni

Cast: Samiya Mumtaz, Fahad Mustafa, Abid Ali, Aiza Khan, Sami Khan, Faisal Qureshi and Ismat Zaidi

Writer: Maha Malik

Director: Babar Javed

Broadcasting channel: ARY Digital

Telecast times: Every Saturday at 8 p.m.

First episode telecast: September 10, 2011

From the house of A and B productions, comes a tear-jerker drama with their new favourite crying queen Samiya Mumtaz as Sahiba. Married to Faisal Qureshi who is a loving and caring husband, they are both parents of a son named Huzaifa whom they adore. For reasons not so far revealed to the viewers, Sahiba loses her first husband and marries a heartless man by the name of Sohail (Abid Ali) who also has two kids from a previous marriage. Huzaifa was sent away by his step father to a boarding school and so Sahiba has not been able to have a normal relationship with her real son. Huzaifa enacted by Fahad Mustafa, is now all grown up, with a job and his own apartment is about to get married when the serial begins. His mother Sahiba is overjoyed with the new beginning of her son’s journey and subsequently decides to spend the rest of her life with Huzaifa and his wife.

Not happy with this changing scenario are her husband and Huzaifa’s wife who is not too keen on having a mum in law standing on her head. Also the step kids are not keen that their mum abandons them for her real son as they are quite close to her. With shades of the hugely successful melodramatic Meri Zaat Zarra e Benishan in which Samiya cried buckets of tears, this one too looks like an ode to the self-sacrificing patient mother and promises lots of emotions with many a twist and turn.

So far two episodes have been telecast, missed episodes can either be seen on you tube or on the drama’s Facebook page.

Maat

Cast: Aamina Sheikh, Saba Qamar, Adnan Siddiqui, Shamim Hilali and Rabia Noreen

Writer: Umera Ahmed

Director: Amna Nawaz Khan

Broadcasting channel: Hum TV

Telecast times: Every Friday at 8 p.m.

First telecast: September 9, 2011

The prolific novelist and drama writer Umera Ahmed has written a new serial Maat with her typical style of social message centered around middle class households. This time the message is conveyed through two sisters who are diametrically opposite to each other in every respect. Aiman, essayed by Aamina Sheikh whose face on TV is now becoming as common as Humayun Saeed, is plain-looking, hard-working, compromising, responsible, contented individual whereas Saman, enacted by Saba Qamar, a confident beautiful woman but who looks old to play a college girl, is the pretty, easy-going, selfish, materialistic person.

The male protagonist Faisal played by Adnan Siddiqui, is the girls’ first cousin and their mothers have decided that Aiman and Faisal will get married to each other once Aiman is done with her college but Faisal throws a bombshell at his mother played by Shamim Hilali when he reveals to her that he actually wants to marry Saman. Episode 2 which has so far been telecast centered around the dilemma faced by Faisal’s mother who is put in a very difficult position when she has to tell her sister that her son does not want to marry the eldest but the youngest sister.

The acting in Maat is top-notch with the senior and junior actors bringing their best to the screen and this drama promises to be a riveting watch. Missed episodes can be seen on you tube or on the drama’s facebook page

 

Gurmukh Singh ki Wasiyat – Manto’s depiction of the terror of Partition

Script and Director: Sharjil Baloch

Based on a short story by: Saadat Hasan Manto

Gurmukh Singh Ki Wasiyat was a part of the series of Partition Stories that was shown in 2007 on PTV by Beyond Borders, an independent production house in the month of August commemorating Partition. Perhaps it was an acknowledgement by the state television that we can revisit our gory past with objective eyes.

The play centers around Mian Sahib, an old muslim man in turkish cap and always impeccably dressed in a black sherwani, who refuses to move out of his pre-dominantly Sikh neighbourhood due to the Partition riots. Mian Sahib’s confidence to be untouched by the riots stems from the faith he has in his friendship of many years with Gurmukh Singh. Mian Sahib believes that nothing will happen to him as long as Gurmukh Singh is around. But Mian Sahib’s kids especially his teenage daughter Sughra is petrified and wants to leave the neighbourhood as quickly as possible. Mian agrees finally but by then it is too late.

I don’t want to give away the ending for that is where the crux of the story lies. All I can say is that the last scene is heartfelt and sweet yet at the same time it is shocking and heart-breaking. Once the play ends you understand that the plaudits Manto as a master storyteller earned during his lifetime and continues to do so are truly well-deserved.

In the acting department Qazi Wajid as Mian Sahib, Munawwar Saeed as the yellow-turbaned with flowing white bearded Gurmukh Singh and Aamina Sheikh as Sughra all justify their casting and bring out the nuances of this well-directed story.
Yaadgaar/Memorable Dialogues:

hindu hindu ka, musalman musalman ka
har ek shaks nay machis aur ghanslet pakdi huwi hai

Where to watch:

The following link has very good video quality with english sub-titles
http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/799/Gurmukh-Singh-ki-Wasiyat

Bhag Amina Bhag – An uplifting tale of a sportswoman

First aired: January 3 2011, Beamed at: Geo

Cast: Aamina Sheikh, Shehroze Sabzwari, Paras Masroor, Rashid Farooqui and Lubna Aslam

Writer: Farah Usman, Director: Yasir Nawaz

When I had first watched Iqbal (2005) and Chak De (2007), Indian films that had sports people as their protagonists, I really wanted us to come up with such inspirational stories, for I knew that we have a treasure trove of such tales its just that we need the writers and directors to come together and bring it to the screen. Thus Bhag Amina Bhag filled the gap albeit not on the silver screen but in the telefilm format on the small screen. The story is inspired by the true story of Naseem Hameed, when she became the fastest woman in South Asia by winning the gold medal for the 100 metre event in South Asian Federation Games in Dhaka, Bangladesh on February 9, 2010.

Amina (Aamina Sheikh) is the only daughter of her lower-middle class parents along with three brothers. She goes to a government school but is often late as she is literally running around to finish her errands or running after a bus to give her absent-minded brother Majid his admit card for entrance at the examination centre. Keen on sports, her family discourages her as they want her to be like a regular girl: get married, have kids and basically destroy her life at the altar of sacrifice and servitude. However she has a confidante, a limping orphan kid Haris (an uncharismatic Shehzore Sabzwari, son of the charismatic and highly competent actor Behroze Sabzwari) who encourages her to achieve her goals.

Soon she becomes a national champion but her brother ( Napa-trained actor Paras Masroor) throws a shit-fit, resulting in her mother Amma (Lubna Aslam, an actress who is finally getting out of the ‘educated’ and sophisticated roles that she was doomed to play) and Aamina walking out. Predictably she goes on to win international accolades and even her brother and father Abba (Rashid Farooqi, well-acted as usual) who were against her initially come round and celebrate her victory.

The success of any actor in any role, however minor it is, is that they connect with the viewers and Aamina Sheikh does that quite well in Bhag Amina Bhag. She is convincing and endearing as a government-going school girl, who has ambitions higher than she is allowed to.

Memorable dialogues: “ladki hai yah rocket” , “kuch din guzar jaa nay day ab toh hawa par bhi tax lajayayga”