THE WEEK THAT WAS

Laapata | Hum TV, Tuesdays 8.00pm

It would be a mistake to call this serial filmi despite its cinema-style shots and framing. The story is light on intensity but its breezy pace and well-etched characters make it more entertaining and believable than the forced melodrama we are often presented with. Shams (Ali Rehman) has been released from the wrongful imprisonment his attempts at getting rich quick landed him in. Surprisingly, the traumatic event has left him unchanged and he still claims to have been doing everything for Falak (Sarah Khan). Falak has been pushed to move on by her family and circumstances to marry Danyal (Gohar Rashid) and, despite her obvious pain and disappointment, she’s not taken in by Shams’ tearful declarations.

Great performances from Ali Rehman and Sarah Khan make this show eminently watchable, but Ayeza Khan stands out as Princess Geeti, the TikTok star. Geeti is at times ruthless, always opportunistic, but never as bad as she could be. Writer Khizer Idrees has allowed Geeti the kind of comeback from mistakes and bad decisions that is usually reserved for male protagonists.

Fitoor | Geo TV, Thursdays 8.00pm

Forty-four episodes down and Fitoor is going round in circles, as the three main protagonists have still not shown any maturity or considered self-reflection. A pregnant Dilnashin (Hiba Bukhari) decides to do the ‘right thing’ and settle down with her husband Haider (Faysal Quraishi), but her farewell meeting with ex-boyfriend Hamza (Wahaj Ali) leads to catastrophe, as they are hit by a car and end up injured in hospital. The audience is treated to yet another rehash of scenes of slut-shaming dialogues, Dilnashin’s family disowning her, and claims for the moral high ground that are a regular feature of this serial. Having lost her unborn baby in the accident, Dilnashin is abandoned by everyone and, from the teasers for next week, is still fighting for that elusive kirdar ki gawahi (moral character) certificate.

Both Hamza’s and Dilnashin’s characters are foolish and impulsive, but their character motivations make sense and evoke some sympathy. Both Bukhari and especially Ali have played their parts well. Haider, on the other hand, is hard to empathise with, because he still refuses to see how his actions were the main problem. While the script has certainly hooked the masses, too many episodes have stretched the plot quite thin.

Pehli Si Mohabbat | ARY, Saturdays 8.00pm

When her father Faizullah (Shabbir Jan) brings home a prostitute as his new wife, Rakshi’s (Maya Ali) life is torn apart. In a spiral of love, revenge and prejudice, the motherless girl loses her new love Aslam (Shehryar Munawar) and ultimately ends up married to an older widower. This is another script that would have been better with fewer episodes and more focus on the lead pair. After spending half the episodes on the tragic effects of a forced marriage, and the consequent misery of Aslam’s sister Zainab (Uzma Hassan), no one learns anything and we end up with yet another unhappy woman in a forced marriage. That disappointment aside, the lack of screen chemistry and reduction of the lead pairs’ screen time in favour of side-tracks has taken some of the shine off of what is still a popular romantic serial.

What To Watch Out For

Barbaroslar | TRT

Good news for fans of the Turkish serial Diriliş: Ertuğrul. A new drama, Barbaroslar, starring Engin Altan Duzyatan will be airing from September 16 on TRT. Barbarosa was the nickname given to Admiral Hayreddin Pasha (Khairuddin Pasha) whose skills allowed the Ottomans to dominate the Mediterranean seas. He became a legend for helping to rescue the persecuted Muslims of Andalusia (Islamic Spain) and France.

Published in Dawn, ICON, September 12th, 2021

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