THE WEEK THAT WAS
Tajdeed-i-Wafa | Hum TV, Sundays 8.00pm
Fifteen episodes down, the story takes a sharp twist when Arsal (Ahmed Ali Akbar), who had gone to visit his elder brother Asher (Haroon Shahid) in Karachi, vanishes from the face of the earth. Asher and his wife Neha (Naveen Waqar) had refused to come to Islamabad to attend Arsal’s wedding. Not knowing the actual reason for their refusal, Arsal plans to coerce them in person to attend the celebrations in Islamabad. But it comes as a shock to Arsal when one of the kids blurts out that the couple he assumed to be the ideal lovey-dovey type were not living together anymore. The scenes where Asher and Neha share with Arsal the real situation between them points at deft and mature direction. Arsal’s absence from Islamabad ruins his own mehndi function and his fiancé Hareem (Ainy Jafferi) and the rest of family are distraught. Hareem’s mum Sheba (Laila Zuberi) loses her temper at Arsal’s family, declaring that the wedding will be postponed. Will Arsal’s absence teach a lesson to his family to value relationships?
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
Mohini Mansion Ki Cinderellayein | Bol, Mondays 8.00pm
Capturing the ’90s, Fasih Bari Khan creates a magical ambience around engrossing, believable characters, supported by clever imagery and unforgettable frames. With a backpack and a rabab slung across his shoulders, young man Uzair (Sardar Nabeel) arrives in the old city of Lahore looking for accommodation and enters Chacha Radio’s (Naeem Tahir) antique shop looking for Mohini Mansion where lives Jharna, a die-hard fan of filmstar Shabnam — played whimsically by the legendary actress herself who is forever reeling off dialogue from Shabnam’s films. Only an actor of Feryal Gauhar’s acumen can play the burqa-clad Daro Maasi, offering Chacha Radio a mysterious partnership. She is a bit of a James Bond, most intrigued by Uzair giving English lessons to the gentle, middle-aged Zubeda (Yasmin Tahir), who is pursuing her education privately.
After her third divorce, Jharna’s sister-in-law Azra (Saima Saleem) arrives with her brood and Uzair soon becomes eye-candy for her saucy young daughter Billi (Hina Shahid), and has a scuffle with Billa (Nirwan Nadim) Daro Masi’s son over his gawking at girls. Frustrated at their poor financial situation, Jharna’s daughter Shamama (Rubya Chaudhry), an out-of-work actress, sets on fire Jharna’s most coveted collection of records and pictures of Shabnam. Jharna faints, is hospitalised but soon recovers while the shenanigans at Mohini Mansion don’t stop.
Published in Dawn, ICON, January 6th, 2019