THE TUBE

Published March 6, 2022

THE WEEK THAT WAS

Jo Bichharr Gaye | GeoTV, Sundays 8.00pm

We are so used to seeing mediocre scripts stretched to 40-plus episodes — with ridiculous twists and Indian-style melodrama — that a show like Jo Bichharr Gaye, which has actually been fully conceptualised from start to finish, comes like a shock. This compelling story about the 1971 war takes an even darker turn after the tragic murder of Rumi’s (Wahaj Ali) innocent cousin Haroon (Fazal Hussain) by the rebels. The horrors of war have changed the elite class, lawyer and armchair revolutionary into a fanatical, hollow-eyed creature, hiding in the shadows, planning the assassination of the pro-Pakistani Governor of East Pakistan.

The women of this drama are far removed from the weeping, wilting female characters we see on our screens today. They are intelligent individuals with clearly defined personalities, rather than a problem to be resolved through the lens of honour, culture or marriage. Nadia Jamil as Shabnam is magnificent as the angry heartbroken mother cursing an already broken Rumi. Maya Ali has also been outstanding as Soniya. Through her eyes, we see the propaganda machine, the betrayals and spies, her changing perspective eloquently communicated without long, clumsy speeches.

The real power of this story is the direct way it shines a light on the atrocities visited on those who did not side with the Bengali nationalists during the 1971 war.

Roag | HumTV, Mondays 8.00pm

Held together by razor-thin coincidences, this new drama might still be worth watching for those looking for uncomplicated entertainment. Areej Mohyudin plays Muskaan, an orphan who is forced to return to her father’s feudal family to escape her greedy, grasping khala’s (aunt) family. Out of the frying pan and into the fire, Muskan soon discovers that her father’s family can be just as dysfunctional and cruel.

The young man Muskan loved (and who she thinks abandoned her) turns out to be her cousin (Arez Khan). His older, already-married brother Bhai ji (Adeel Chaudhry) also begins to take a romantic interest in the spirited new addition to their family. Will Muskaan be able to trust the man who betrayed her again? Secrets from the past and an evil, controlling phuppo (paternal aunt) are the other ingredients in this gothic romance.

Mere Humsafar | ARY, Thursdays 8.00pm

Will Hala’s (Hania Amir) misery ever end? Internalised trauma from the unrelenting abuse by her aunt has broken the girl’s spirit, and now the older woman tries to blackmail her into a forced marriage to a disabled man. Karma has a way of coming full circle, especially in the world of dramas, so it’s Hamza (Farhan Saeed), her aunt’s precious, only son, who rescues Hala from the terrible situation.

Like a lot of mass entertainers, this show has some discrepancies that belie the story. The biggest one is Hamza’s complete ignorance of Hala’s position in the family hierarchy. He is also blind to his own parents’ manipulations and terrible natures. Hamza is well on his way to “saving” Hala but, from the spoilers in the OST, even that security will not last long and he, too, will turn on her. A real hero would empower Hala rather than rescue her; at some point drama creatives must realise that the best person to save a girl like Hala, is Hala herself.

What To Watch Out For

Badshah Begum | HumTV, Coming Soon

The teasers for this upcoming serial continue to impress. The fight for power set in the fictional land of Pirpoora reminds one of historical struggles for succession from the Delhi Sultanate to the Mughal era. Every contender is ruthless and determined, but who is the favoured child of fate?

Published in Dawn, ICON, March 6th, 2021

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