Dilemma of a woman torn between love and fate.
A gripping family saga that spreads over two generations torn apart by deceit, lies and prejudice in the guise of righteousness and in the name of humility.
By Zamard, The Tube, Dawn Images
How many lies does it take to destroy a life and how many truths to save one? If there was ever an answer to this question, then Saba, the protagonist of the TV drama Meri Zaat Zara-e-Benishaan could have been helped.
On every Saturday night, millions across the country are glued to watching Meri Zaat Zara-e-Benishaan (MZZB) a TV drama that is a cross between a Jane Austen / Thomas Hardy novel and Teen Aurteein Teen Kahaniya. However, no one can deny the fact that each episode leaves you wanting for more.
After Lahasil and Doraha, novelist Umera Ahmed’s MZZB is no less than stellar. Directed by Baber Javed and produced by 7th Sky Productions, MZZB is about the clash of traditionalists and modernists. The larger than life egos of the elders topped with misogyny, twisted thinking and misunderstanding that end up ruining many lives. The misuse of Quran Ki Qasam is also highlighted in the serial and shows how fallible beings use the holy text to their advantage without realizing the implications and repercussions that come out of it.
The story opens when a young girl, Sara (Sarwat Gillani) shows up unannounced at Arfeen Abbass’s house, informing him of her mother Saba’s death. In flashbacks, we are told as to how Saba is pursued by her cousins Arfeen (Faisal Qureshi) and Adil (Adnan Siddiqi) and it’s the former who she also adores. However, Saba faces strong opposition from Tai Amma, played by Samina Pirzada and her astute husband, played by a seething Khayam Sarahadi. What follows next is a web of intrigue spun by Tai Amma and her daughters that ultimately results in tarnishing Saba’s character and her divorce from Arfeen. The story moves on and focuses on the present where the characters that were pivotal in Saba’s downfall are repentant and willing to make amends.
With Sara and Haider’s (Imran Abbass) romance blossoming, a twist in the tale comes when the former disappears after her Nikkah and as a result, some old secrets come into light but not in a pleasant manner. There is a scene in which Saba is beaten mercilessly by her uncle that could have been done more subtly. While the director maybe trying to portray reality, the whole shout fest solidifies the notion that it is okay for a man to beat a woman to show his dominance.
Over all, there are two stars of the play, Samiya, with her strong theatrical background, has garnered a fan following in an earlier outing when she appeared in PTV’s Zard Dopahar. She comes from a family of illustrious stage artistes, namely Uzra Butt and Zohra Sehgal, who rule on both sides of the border. Samiya is a powerhouse of a performer and does not disappoint as the long-suffering Saba.
On the other hand, it is Sarwat Gillani who is a revelation. While the curls are gone for sure, the actress has a new found confidence and in each frame she shines. From portraying the bewildered look of someone fighting with circumstances to portraying the feelings of a budding romance, Sarwat carries herself with panache, proving that she has come a long way from her non-quintessential role in Jo Baat Ghar Mein Hay and the serials and TV host stints that followed.
Production wise, the play is almost perfect except for the fact that the director could have done better in terms of depicting the time periods. In the flashback scenes that are set 20 years earlier, the clothes do not confirm to the fashions of the 80s while yet another glaring glitch is the vehicles used. Not a good idea showing a late 1990s model in mid 1980s. Keeping these minor follies aside, Baber Javed has done a good job. Having a huge star cast which includes Khayam Sarahadi, Samina Pirzada, Adnan Siddiqi, Faisal Qureshi, Imran Abbass along with Samiya and Sarwat, it would not be wrong to say that each actor is well suited to the character he or she portrays.
Last but not the least is the haunting score of MZZB that has been superbly sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The title song pulls at your heart strings and is getting plenty of airtime on radio and music channels. The video had quite a large number of hits on YouTube before it was removed due to a copyright claim.
MZZB is one of the most watched dramas at the moment and given the way it is discussed at social occasions and on web forums (something worth checking out) it seems that MZZB mania is going to stay for a long while. Watch this saga of human emotions of you are in a mood for some quality performances over the weekend but do keep a tissue box handy.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan