THE WEEK THAT WAS

Hum Kahan Kay Sachchay Thay | HumTV, Sundays 8.00pm

There was much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth but, as expected, Mehreen (Mahira Khan) forgave Aswad (Usman Mukhtar). Mahira Khan was outstanding and carried this episode from start to finish, cementing her ability to capture the hearts of audiences everywhere. Usman Mukhtar succeeded at the near-impossible task of working out this incredibly unlikeable character and making his character’s regret seem very real.

Ultimately, the ending left a bitter taste in the mouth for many who were hoping that, for once, a woman could forgive but move on from her abuser. If a reconciliation was that essential, then why not show Aswad getting the psychological help he needed and earning redemption, instead of once again putting the burden on the victim to forgive? Regressive ideas about women having to prove their worth are deeply embedded in the psyche of our dramas and we need to shake them off. Being worthy of love and kindness is an intrinsic right, given to us by the Creator, but every story reinforces the disturbing belief that women have to earn it through 10 episodes of torture porn.

The more significant resolution was between Mehreen and her mumani, Shagufta, played so wonderfully by Zainab Qayyum, whose insecurities and petty jealousy were at the root of her own daughter Mashal’s (Kubra Khan) demise. Confronting this angry, vengeful woman, and then bonding over Mashal’s loss was an act of courageous love from Mehreen, even greater than her forgiveness of Aswad. Putting aside the prime directive of shaadi at all costs, the most important message this drama can leave us with is to value children for who they are and not damage their spirit with comparisons.

Mere Humsafar | ARY, Thursdays 8.00pm

This is a standard Cinderella story. A wicked mother-in-law and an abusive father-in-law somehow manage to produce a kind, intelligent son and husband who is inexplicably blind to his parents’ obvious dysfunctions. Star power from Farhan Saeed and Hania Amir and their screen chemistry from the teasers looks like it will bring in the crowds.

The heavy lifting of emotional depth and the easy, predictable dark edge of villainy that makes the heroine’s halo shine is provided by good actors such as Saba Hamid and Wasim Abbas. What does set this serial apart from a lot of other pulp fiction is that, despite all the stereotypes, the writer has actually worked out the motivations and backstories that define each character.

What To Watch Out For

Sang-i-Mah | HumTV, Coming Soon

The upcoming sequel to the hit thriller Sang-i-Mar Mar uses the same context of rural Swat and a lot of the previous cast, while author Mustafa Afridi spins a new tale with new characters. Like the original, this is a serious story but with a touch of black comedy as foil to the gun and honour culture. Superstar Atif Aslam as a manipulative villain and Omair Rana as a rare Sikh character add to the mystery.

Published in Dawn, ICON, January 9th, 2022

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