THE WEEK THAT WAS
Mere Apne | ARY, Mondays 8.00pm
Of the three dramas in ARY Digital’s new line-up, Mere Apne has become an immediate hit. Despite the cliched storyline and, at times, basic characterisations, this story of watta-satta (exchange marriage) hits home for women across economic and even international divides. The network of relatives, their competing demands and the way women gain or lose status through their influence on husbands, fathers and brothers are familiar cultural markers.
Neha (Hajra Yamin) loves her wealthy cousin Omer (Ali Abbas) but their relationship becomes difficult when her conniving, greedy father insists the marriage can only take place if Omer’s sister Ramsha (Zainab Shabbir) marries his son Hamza (Usama Khan).
While Neha moves up to a life of luxury, Ramsha is thrown into poverty. Curiously, no one in Omer’s family minds that their much-coddled youngest daughter is forced into a life where air conditioning is a luxury and her husband is a spineless, uneducated man with no prospects. While Ramsha struggles, the pressures on both relationships build to breaking point. What will happen when Omer realises how his sister is suffering?
Khuda aur Mohabbat 3 | Geo TV, Fridays 8.00pm
Mahi (Iqra Aziz) continues to pay the price for not immediately reciprocating the advances of Feedi (Feroze Khan), a man she interacted with for a few days at a wedding. For the cynical at heart, this love story looks forced, following an unfortunately common trend in serials, where mutual attraction and a woman’s consent have little or no value. The more romantically inclined are however fascinated with this story and it has garnered huge ratings, while racking up millions of YouTube hits from fans across the border.
Iqra’s skilled performance, Feroze’s charismatic screen presence, combined with strong showings from Junaid Khan, Tooba Siddiqui and Hina Khawaja Bayat have given this serial depth and credibility beyond the actual script. Will Mahi finally be heard, as her mother and mother-in-law finally understand how she has been forced to sacrifice her own hopes and dreams for the sake of family honour?
Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay | HumTV, Sundays 8.00pm
This already intense story ratchets up the tension one more notch as the rivalry between cousins Mehreen (Mahira Khan) and Mishal (Kubra Khan) takes a tragic turn. Writer Umera Ahmed excels at building emotional trauma scene by scene and then exploring the fallout from betrayal and years of neglect; and in this story both women are, in some sense, victims of this.
Thwarted in her relationship with Aswad (Usman Mukhtar), Mishal is found dead and the blame is laid on Mehreen. Blinded by his own petty, judgmental and generally selfish nature, Aswad finds it easy to believe the worst of the now defenseless Mehreen as she sits accused in jail. Farooq Rind’s outstanding direction, combined with superlative performances from Mahira Khan, Usman Mukhtar, Kaif Ghaznavi and, especially, Kubra Khan, makes this emotion-driven series unmissable.
What To Watch Out For
Dobara | Hum TV, Coming Soon
Writer Sarwat Nazir gives us a fresh take on love as Hadiqa Kiyani plays a single woman with grown children who falls in love with a younger man, played by Bilal Abbas. Hadiqa’s character is a confident, active sportswoman who knows her own mind and is willing to take a risk. The teasers show us this relationship will face a lot of opposition from her adult son, but perhaps the real obstacle may be the shades in Abbas’s character. Apart from the talented cast and scriptwriter, this serial’s best recommendation is director Danish Nawaz, whose recent plays Chupke Chupke, Kashf and Khaas were all such fantastic viewing.
Published in Dawn, ICON, October 3rd, 2021