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Primetime: All pepped up

April 04, 2010

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Sick and tired of watching a 'paanch sau crore ki deal' being handled by an illiterate but sati sawitri bahu decked in a kanchipuram sari? If the larger-than-life characters and mansions are hard to digest, change the TV channel and look no further than Tujh Pe Qurban (TPQ) on ARY Digital that is sure to strike a chord with you with its simple characters and witty dialogues.

Set in a middle-class neighbourhood, TPQ is the story of a thriving household which includes Dadi (Zaheen Tahira), her dominating bahu Razia Sultana (Uzma Gilani) who does justice to her name with her dominating nature. Razia's sons Siddiq (Noman Masood) and Nafees (Kamran Jilani) are also living in the house along with their wives Maria (Maria Wasti) and Nazish (Madiha Ifitikhar), respectively.

Also, there is Nazish's mother Naseeban (Parveen Akbar), who is an apt rival to Razia and makes sure that she has a sound reply to every jibe that is hurled her way.

With their different natures, both the sons are nonetheless dutiful to their mother and wives. However, Siddiq with his simple nature often takes things on face value and ends up hurting himself. On the contrary, Nafees is more street smart and despite being the younger brother, tries to protect his elder brother from the negative influences, including the neighbourhood woman with alternate plans.

Then there are the two bahus. With Maria seeming slightly haughty, she makes sure that she gets the message across loud and clear but is also considerate of her husband. On the other hand, Nazish is the proverbial ditzy blonde and its fun to see how her mother tries to put sense into her while she, due to her naivety, falls flat on her face.

Written by Faiza Iftikhar and directed by Mohsin Talat, the serial initially seemed like a toned-down version of Khala Kulsoom Ka Kunba but is much different. While Khala Kulsoom.. relied heavily on mohalla culture and boorish displays of affections and affectations, TPQ focuses on the happenings within the four walls of a home as people with different temperaments try to live with each other.

Masood as the dimwit, good-hearted Siddiq might seem contrived at first but slowly grows on you. Though there are comparsions drawn with Farhan Ali Agha's geeky character in the currently on-air serial Manchalay, Masood seems more real and acts well. Also, it's good to see him in a soft role as opposed to the feudal lord or the brooding lovesick man.

On the other hand, Kamran Jilani is doing a decent job. With his character trying to hold the family together, it's amusing to see him put up a show once in a while when things don't go his way.

Maria Wasti, meanwhile, needs to take a break. She is almost on every channel and while it may be good for her financially, I feel she is unable to do justice to her many characters, especially in TPQ. With a little more emotion, she could have taken Maria's character to another level as no one plays a haughty woman better than her. Also, her make-up and wardrobe need to be worked on.

Madiha Iftikhar's good looking but with-an-appetite-for-all-things-Bollywood Nazish is someone to watch out for as her comic timing is perfect.

However, the real stars of the serial are Uzma Gilani and Parveen Akbar who happen to have some plum lines in the serial. Both actresses act well as samdhans and it's a laugh riot as they try to outdo each other. From winning the affections of those around them to being doting moms, both Gilani and Akbar are powerhouses who show that age is just a number and youth is just a phase; what matters most is talent.Watch the fun and peppy Tujh Pe Qurban which is so much better than counting the zeroes in the 'paanch sau crore ki deal'.