So far, Sadqay Tumhare has been a pleasant stroll down memory lane. If anyone has a yearning for a not so distant past, without mobile phones and computers, when handwritten letters were treasured and 'designer' meant the local tailor then Sadqay Tumhare is worth watching.
After a run of mediocrity, Hum TV returns to the tried and tested formula of heartfelt, simple romance to attract Friday night viewership.
Produced by Momina Duraid, Humayun Saeed and Tariq Shah, Sadqay Tumhare has all the hallmarks of a big budget serial: on location shootings, authentic, colourful wardrobes of the cast, great lighting and the beautiful people required to keep the audience interested.
Even more intriguing is the fact that this is famed writer Khalil ur Rehman Qamar's personal life story and, in a recent interview, he revealed:
“Ek scene aisa nahin hai jo drame ke khatir add kiya gaya ho (There is no scene that has been added for the sake of the drama).”
|Adnan Malik and Mahira Khan in 'Sadqay Tumhare'|
Set in Lahore and rural Punjab, one of the strongest elements of Sadqay Tumhare is its depiction of traditional family life.
The weddings, the clash of egos, the organised chaos of relationships that interconnects everyone will be familiar to any viewer. Just like any family, the one shown in Sadqay Tumhare has its share of long buried skeletons which the union of the main protagonists Shanno (Mahira Khan) and Khalil (Adnan Malik) seems to be unearthing.
Shanno is a simple girl who lives in a small village and has known of her engagement to her cousin Khalil in Lahore since she was old enough to understand. She hardly knows him, but her heart has fixed itself on his image and her greatest fear is that he may not love her back.
Like most young men in their twenties, Khalil is more interested in cricket than marriage, but when he finally meets the beautiful Shanno at a family wedding, he too falls under her spell:
"Aisa pyaar hua hai kay lagta hai agar woh na mili tho dunya ko jala kar rakh kar doonga. (I am so in love, that if I don't get her, I'll set the world on fire and burn it to ashes)."
As in most love stories there is a zalim samaaj: Shanno’s parents Rasheeda (Samiya Mumtaz) and Amin Khalu (Rehan Sheikh) who have decided against Khalil, superficially are looking for something better and barring that Shanno’s other cousin Fayaz (Mukarram Kaleem) will do.
However the plot thickens as Shanno reveals her mother’s sad, unsavoury past: Rasheeda was once engaged to Abdul Rehman, her brother-in-law Mohammed Saddaq’s nephew. Mohammed Saddaq was married to Rasheed’s elder sister Inayat with whom he had four children.
When Inayat was pregnant with her fifth child (Khalil) she asked for Rasheeda’s help. Rasheeda and Mohammad Saddaq began an affair which was soon discovered. This led to Inayat’s divorce and subsequent marriage to Abdur Rehman, who had broken off his engagement to Rasheeda by then.
After six episodes, the story is taking a serious turn as Rasheeda and Amin formally reject Khalil’s rishta to his parents face after inviting them to their house.
|Mahira Khan as Shaano in 'Sadqay Tumharay'|
Though Khalil ur Rehman Qamar’s script is usually the star of any drama he writes, this time the mantle lays firmly on Mahira Khan’s shoulders.
Mahira’s Shanno is the heart and soul of this drama; innocent and beautiful, headstrong, but caring, no one can fail to love her. Mahira’s acting gives depth and charm to a character which Khalil ur Rehman sahib has obviously written with much love and detail.
This is Adnan Malik’s first outing as an actor and he has proved to be a good match for Mahira on screen. They share some excellent chemistry and for the most part he carries Khalil’s role with all the swagger written into it.
Director Ehteshamuddin has managed to weave a beautiful atmosphere of nostalgia and family ties around this drama. The scenes are all colourful and bright and the characters, engaging. Even the side characters like Fayaz (Mukarram Kaleem) and Dr Maqsood (Shamil Khan) who plays Khalil’s distant cousin and friend, have been given good lines and hold our interest in their scenes. Dr Maqsood in particular has some fantastic dialogues and is a pleasure to watch on screen.
Maqsood advises Khalil:
“Mohabbat sey ajazi seekh, gharoor na seekh. Khuda ki taraf dekh, Khala ki taraf naa dekh. Jissey mohabbat ho jati hai na beta, woh is tarha nahi milti jaisey thujay subha ka nashta mil jata hai. Duaon se milti hai…”
|Shanno's condescending parents come in the way of her love for Khalil. - Video screenshot|
This a very captivating drama worthy of the stir it is creating, but so far it lacks the depth of Khalil sahib’s previous dramas.
For the most part the director has succeeded in making a very polished product, but in episode six at least, that veneer appeared very thin as the background to Rasheeda’s animosity is revealed in a long, detailed monologue, which (despite Mahira’s well-paced delivery) made the average viewers' head spin.
In an atmosphere where channels are asking for longer serials, it might have been wiser on the director or producer’s part to either include the details in flashbacks or make entire episode explaining such a complicated history, instead of relying on the main protagonists to repeat their interactions of the previous scenes to fill up the time.
While most of the characterisations are nuanced and believable, Rasheeda and Amin come across as almost cartoonish villains. One of the attractions of this serial is Samiya Mumtaz, but so far her role has little subtlety or meat to it. Hopefully, we will see something deeper unfold as the story continues.
Despite a few minor flaws, this is a drama that provides great entertainment and should be on everyone’s watch list.
Sadaf Haider is a writer at dramapakistani.net