THE WEEK THAT WAS
Dobara | Hum TV, Wednesdays 8.00pm
This serial had a wonderful start, with a challenging story about a wealthy widow Mehru (Hadiqa Kiani) who marries a younger man Mahir (Bilal Abbas). A fresh star cast and an experienced writer-director duo should have made magic but, like a lot of dramas on air, it lost a lot of steam by stretching a good story to 30-plus episodes. Apart from the lack of chemistry between the leads, the static character development that has not allowed Mahir to mature or understand his past or present has slowed the momentum.
A recent episode had social media abuzz as Mahir turns to his pretty, younger ex-girlfriend Nermin (Zoya Nasir). Though Abbas and Nasir look good together, and this is probably a last-minute plot twist, it disappointed fans rooting for Mahir and Mehru’s relationship to evolve. Stories about young love abound, but the hope of seeing something a little different, where a couple overcome the practicalities and hurdles between them has been left as an afterthought.
Aik Sitam Aur | ARY, Mon-Fri 9.00pm
What started off as a slow drama pre-Eid has suddenly caught fire in the ratings graph by changing to the “episode-a-day” soap model. Sparks fly whenever Shehroz (Usama Khan) and Ushna (Anmol Baloch) meet but, for some reason, their parents think they are the only option for each other. While a lot of this story is based on some weak premises (Sheroz’s mother’s obsession with having Ushna as a bahu) and the unending manoeuvring of Ushna’s greedy relatives, the chemistry between the two lead actors has audiences in its thrall.
When Ushna finds out she is adopted, the sudden loss of identity makes her lash out at her mother (Maria Wasti), instead of appreciating her. Seeing his reluctant fiancée broken by this revelation, melts much of the resentment and prejudice Shehroz held against her. Whatever words they exchange, it is clear they share a quiet but strong emotional bond. Will there be a happy ever after, or will the Ushna’s newly found grandmother provide a new twist?
Mor Moharan | TV One, Tuesdays 8.00pm
Mor Moharan is aimed at raising awareness about the deepening ecological crisis in the Cholistan region. Unfortunately, grassroots voices are missing in this story, and the local population is reduced to scenery or colourful props, while the elite class of nawabs, sardars and politicians fight it out.
What the script gets right is a strong, focused heroine, with goals in life other than just marriage. The sardar’s daughter Rohi (Sonya Hussyn) is concerned about the building drought and is working on a solution when she falls in love with Nawabzada Sikandar (Mustafa Changezi). Corruption, greed and shortsighted profiteering from area politicians such as Gardezi (Zahid Ahmed) stand in the way of any progress. Sonya Hussyn and Zahid Ahmed fit their roles like a glove, with stalwarts like Samiya Mumtaz and Babar Ali backing them up.
Firdaus Jamal is another plus, in fact essential viewing, as the selfie-king, liberal-minded sardar. This is an engaging, very watchable drama with a necessary message, but it misses out on details, such as Changezi’s obviously American accent when his character spent all his life in England.
What To Watch Out For (Or Not)
Zakhm | Geo TV, Coming Soon
This looks like yet another unwanted, criminally obsessed lover-based serial. Agha Ali plays Sikander who, like every stalker before him, falls in love with a random middle-class girl (Sehar Khan), and claims he will “possess” her by every means possible. However, writer Rida Bilal is promising a different story and has stated that the teasers may be misleading.
Published in Dawn, ICON, June 12th, 2022