THE WEEK THAT WAS

Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay | Hum TV, Sundays 8.00pm

Director Farooq Rind rises to the challenge of this intense story with beautifully picturised, emotionally evocative scenes that connect and hold us throughout the episode. Mehreen (Mahira Khan) used to be a little princess before her father’s suicide and her mother’s remarriage. However, she is no lonely Cinderella, her college life is full of friendships and achievements.

In contrast, all the wealth, privilege and love have not been able to stop her cousin Mishal (Kubra Khan) from being both morally and emotionally stunted by her mother’s poisonous jealousies and petty politicking. Mahira Khan slips perfectly into Mehreen, a girl traumatised by her past but able to sustain herself with quiet pride and self-reliance. Kubra Khan matches her with a negative energy that, despite her maliciousness, hides a sliver of wistful envy. It is obvious that despite her privilege, Mishal is unhappy, while Mehreen seeks and finds joy wherever she can.

Usman Mukhtar plays their cousin Aswad, who has become close to Mishal. His blandly pleasant persona shows little of the abusive side we see in the teasers. None of the cast looks age appropriate, but that’s all too common in an industry where few stories, if any, are written about anyone over 25. The story follows a familiar dichotomy that author Umera Ahmed has popularised, but her sharp observations of human nature and strong characters have the potential to captivate audiences again.

Dunk | ARY, Saturdays 9.00pm

Dunk careens towards an ill-conceived finale, with the creators scraping the bottom of the barrel to make up for the lack of content. Fighting off a false accusation of rape, Haider (Bilal Abbas) decides to teach the accuser Amal (Sana Javed) a lesson by kidnapping and threatening her with rape. This irrational and ugly plot twist has done little to boost this serial but has undermined any claim to social responsibility they could have made. Haider’s brother Safeer (Fahad Shaikh) suffers a strange case of gratitude amnesia, switching to his brother’s side but never asking Haider why he never bothered to reveal Amal’s deceit before. Social issue-based serials cannot be used like pulp fiction entertainers to amuse the masses, unless the hard work of research and analysis is also done. Big Bang has become a big production house but it needs to keep an eye on quality control rather than sensationalism to make good dramas.

What To Watch Out For

Kissa Meher Bano Ka | Hum TV, Coming Soon

The thrilling first teaser for Qissa Meher Bano Ka is out, showing us Ahsan Khan in a dangerous new avatar as the chameleon-like Murad Ali. Glimpses of Mawra Hocane and the debut of Zaviyar Nauman Ejaz add to the anticipation.

Published in Dawn, ICON, August 8th, 2021

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