When I watched the first episode(s) of the dramas I have reviewed so far – Mera Yaar Miladay, Pakeeza and Tum Yaad Aye – I watched the episode first and then when I was writing the review I looked up the producer, director and writer. A few names seemed familiar and a few I learnt about through comments readers made on my reviews. So, this time I did my homework before tuning into the first episode of this drama. Producer – check! Director – check! Writer – check! No alarm bells triggered – Play!
An iDream Entertainment production, directed by Roomi Insha and written by Parisa Siddiqui, Judai airs on ARY Digital every Wednesday at 9pm. The cover picture of the drama seems very ‘hum saath saath hain’ but the title of the play suggests otherwise. Oh well. With a cast comprising of ‘big’ names such as Usman Peerzada, Samina Peerzada and Firdous Jamal amongst others and a beautiful OST sung by no other than Qurat ul Ain Baloch (I sound like the host at an awards ceremony!) – I found myself interested enough to watch the first episode.
There are quite a few characters in this drama and I like how the scenes in the drama unfold so that we are introduced to each character and learn their relationship with each other along with a brief insight into their personalities.
Firstly, we are introduced to Hassan (Usman Peerzada) and Mehr/Humaira (Samina Peerzada), a happily married couple whose older son Haider (Khalid Malik) is about to get married. It is lovely to see Samina Peerzada as her true, graceful self after having seen her in older, head -on -dupatta roles in one too many dramas such as Durr e Shewar, Zindagi Gulzar Hai and Be Qasoor to name a few. Although one cannot find fault in her performances in those dramas, but it is refreshing to see her in a different role again. We see Hassan presenting Mehru with a gift on the occasion of their older son’s wedding. Even though I wince at buddhay peoples’ romance (I know, evil me) but I found this to be such a sweet gesture.
Anyhow, Haider is getting married to Alia (Sana Askari) who belongs to a rich family and we learn it is Haider and Alia’s pasand ki shadi. Then there is the whole dupatta incident which dragged into quite a few scenes and it being there in the first place seemed to be serving the purpose of giving us an insight into the characters’ personalities. Alia’s mother (Amber Wajid) emerged as a stubborn snob, Mehr and Hassan as the couple believing in keeping up with tradition but Mehr is understanding and does not create a fuss, whereas Hassan is less understanding but keeps his peace so as to not upset his wife. Alia seems torn between her mother and mother in law but in the end seems to be influenced by her mother. Alia seems to be a harmless character so far but it is clear that she has Haider wrapped round her little finger.
Hassan and Mehr’s younger son Hamza (Affan Waheed) attends a university in another city. We see he is interested in another student, Zaina (Neelum Munir). He finds excuses to spend time with her and although Zaina does not openly express any interest in him, she is not aloof either. Hamza is shown to be a popular guy on campus, full of life and all that whereas Zaina is the serious, studious sort.
Saima Noor plays the character of Zaina’s mentally disturbed mother who has been unable to deal with her husband’s death. Zaina also has an older brother, Bhai (Imran Aslam) – not sure if his name was mentioned- if so, I missed it. Zaina’s family is not very well off and Bhai seems to be the sensible one holding them all together.
Last but not least, Junaid (Firdous Jamal) and Saman (Huma Nawab) are family friends of the Hassans. Junaid is also their family lawyer. They have a daughter Minahil (Faryal Ahmed) who Saman seems very desperate to get married off to either Haider or Hamza. No surprises at Saman’s character – Huma Nawab seems to be playing the negative/desperate/conniving mother quite a bit lately.
Phew! Now that the introductions are over, shaadi functions begin in full swing. Hassan signs off a cheque to Junaid who asks yeh kab tak chalay ga? The OST and Hassan’s scenes later in the play also suggest he is harbouring a secret which probably only Junaid is privy to.
So Alia is not as sweet as I had initially thought. She tells Haider on their wedding night that from now on it is to be all about pleasing her and she does not like to be dragged into these traditional rites such as the after shaadi dawats in the family. Alia and her mother are shown to be very anti riwayaat – the dupatta and then now the dawats. When Haider presents her with her muu dikhayi I felt like saying behn idher bhi chor do riwayat ko but the sparkling bracelet seemed to obviously generate different sentiments in Alia!
The same night, Hassan has a nightmare and suffers a heart attack, but he survives. The episode ends with Hassan saying to Junaid that he feels he must tell Mehr everything now. I am guessing there is a link between Hassan and Saima Noor but not sure what exactly.
Overall, I like the drama so far. Usman Peerzada, Samina Peerzada and Firdous Jamal are professionals. Samina Peerzada always seems to portray her roles on screen effortlessly. It was nice to see Firdous Jamal suited booted. He fits that role much better than the wronged, pareshan father of daughters. Neelum Munir and Affan Wahid are convincing as university students and look good together. Neelum Munir’s acting has improved considerably. I remember there was a time when she would be delivering an emotional scene and her expressions and tone made it appear as if she were narrating a horror story instead! Imran Aslam is perfect as the sensible, older brother. He was the older brother in another drama too, Choti Choti Khushiyan and I like how he portrays that character. I found the scene between Neelum and Imran sweet but also raised a few questions when he says this house is a naimat (maybe their father owned it so no debt there) but the education being an ehsaan was a bit confusing. Bhai and Zaina both seem to be studying yet and I do not think Bhai (wish I had caught on to what his name was in the play) has any sort of part time job so who is supporting them. I have a feeling this is where Hassan’s link comes in. Saima Noor has not had much screen time in the two episodes except as a distressed, confused mother. Amber Wajid has nothing new to offer – I have still not fully recovered from the trauma of that TVC she appeared in years ago as a smirking mother which was shown a thousand times a day about this chocolate/biscuit – I have forgotten the name (or maybe I have blocked it from my memory)!
Next week’s episode preview shows Hassan’s demise. The storyline does seem to have ‘been there, done that’ written all over it where Hassan probably had two wives/relationships but then are Zaina and Hamza related? Surely hope not! But with such a star studded cast I am hoping there is more than that meets the eye and there are some twists and turns as the story develops in order to keep my interest. A few of the dialogues and scenes seemed clichéd and made me wince rather than find them cute or natural such as the ‘my sons are my bazoo’ line and the guessing game between Minahil and Hamza (waqt aanay par sub bataoon ga and Minahil dreamingly smiling) but thankfully there were not too many of them.
Phew! That was a long review but I was trying to cover two episodes and those too the introductory ones and hey, there are quite a lot of characters here! So far, I am interested and since there is nothing else I watch on a Wednesday I will be tuning into next week’s episode. Please do share your thoughts on this episode!