THE TUBE

Published March 31, 2024

THE WEEK THAT WAS

Umm-i-Aisha | Geo TV, Daily 6.00pm

Aisha (Nimra Khan) is intelligent and hardworking with strong moral values. She often faces prejudice from outsiders and even within her family because of her conservative dress and her confident attitude. Family confusion leads to Aisha being pushed into an engagement with her cousin Ehtisham (Asim Mehmood), though he really loves her younger sister.

When Aisha finds a job at a large business, the owner’s wife turns out to be an old friend of her mother. Impressed with the young woman’s personality, her boss’s wife wants Aisha to marry her son, Aswad (Omar Shehzad). Aswad is a modern young man who is contemptuous and condescending to Aisha but, when he saves her life from a robbery, her heart softens towards him.

This is a basic show that makes no attempt at nuance and is shot like a children’s book. The fast-moving plot and lack of melodrama make it very watchable for those looking for easy entertainment. Aisha’s character is the only one the author has put work into and, despite her sometimes moralising tone, Nimra Khan makes her character relatable and accessible. Aswad’s character is the least developed, a better exposition of his feelings and thought processes would have given this show more depth.

Sakoon | ARY, Thurs-Fri 8.00pm

After 46-plus episodes, this popular serial is coming full circle. Raza (Khaqan Shahnawaz) played with the naïve Anna’s (Sana Javed) feelings and rejected her. But now he is begging Anna to forgive him and start over.

While Raza and Anna’s ex-fiancé (Adnan Samad Khan) are the obvious villains in the show, the root cause of her problems are her reactionary, conservative parents. In a fit of rage, Anna’s angry, self-centred father forces her into a shotgun marriage with Hamdan (Ahsan Khan) — who is only trying to help her by returning her home — and pushes her younger sister into an abusive marriage. Instead of abandoning her, Hamdan supports the helpless Anna, who matures into a confident, educated woman.

As is usual with such stories, logic is the first casualty. Instead of the villainous playboy Raza, his innocent sister (Sidra Niazi) pays the price of her brother’s sins. Despite Hamdan continually deceiving, ignoring and two-timing her, he is still the clean-cut “hero” and she is still begging for his love. The last episode is full of slow-motion scenes and flashbacks, diluting any impact or intensity of the character’s emotions.

Ishq Murshid | Hum TV, Sundays 8.00pm

After some soul-searching, Shibra (Durre Fishan) accepts Shahmir Sikandar (Bilal Abbas) despite his subterfuge. The course of true love is ever fraught with obstacles, and there is a line-up of angry people who had planned their futures around Shahmir that stand in the way of the lovers’ happiness.

Apart from Shibra’s father Suleiman’s (Noor-ul-Hassan) obvious misgivings, the real opposition is the unholy triumvirate of Shahmir’s father, politician Daud Ali Khan (Omair Rana), his party’s powerful financial backer Haroon (Adnan Jaffar) and his daughter Mehreen (Hira Tareen). Mehreen plays out the cliché of an obsessed lover, who is willing to destroy anything to get Shahmir. Frightened by Mehreen’s threats, Suleiman rejects Shahmir’s proposal.

Will Shahmir and Shibra find a way, and could Mehreen find some self-respect? This show continues to be one of the most entertaining and popular serials on air. Bilal Abbas is the star, but the entire cast has given us strong, captivating performances.

What To Watch Out For (or not)

Radd | ARY, Coming soon

Starring Shehryar Munawar and Hiba Bukhari, Radd is the story of the unappreciated son (Shehryar) who is always cast aside while his brother (Arsalan Naseer) is the preferred one.

Published in Dawn, ICON, March 31st, 2024

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