🙂 Yes! I’m starting with a smile. The much awaited moment for Indian fans of Pakistani Dramas is finally here – to be able to watch the shows that touched our hearts despite the distance, on our own Indian television screens. Zee’s brand new offering, Zindagi Channel with an apt tagline ‘Jodey dilon ko’ started its journey with Hum TV’s popular drama and Fawad Khan starrer, Zindagi Gulzar Hai, tonight at 8.
A solid foundation is as important to build a house on as it is for a good story to take shape. The first episode of “Zindagi Gulzar Hai” does this with finesse. Establishing characters is central for story-telling and without much ado ZGH introduces all of them and goes a step further by revealing the relationship dynamics between the central characters. Parental equations, bond between the siblings, friendships, economic status, trial and tribulations of the primary families – all neatly packed into one smooth flow of an episode – a noteworthy job indeed.
You get an inkling of the lead character Kashaf Murtaza (Sanam Saeed) and Zaroon Junaid’s (Fawad Khan) outlook towards life in the first few minutes of the opening sequence:
Kashaf laments “Zindagi ek bahut bada masla hai…..pata nahi allah ne kya sochkar duniya banayi hai” and wonders aloud if she would have been better off being a man though it becomes clear during the rest of the episode that she has low regard for the entire male clan.
On the contrary, Zaroon is thankful, “Zindagi kya khubsurat cheez hai…har din naya….kya shaandaar package banaya allah ne….” But Zaroon quickly adds that women are the only source of tension in this God given beautiful life. “Woman thy name is frailty, stupidity, stubbornness, selfishness, hypocrisy….”
While Kashaf’s family comprising of her mother and her two younger sisters is shown to be struggling to make both ends meet, Zaroon’s close knit family of four including his younger sister is a well to do, influential family. Their diverse economic backgrounds notwithstanding, both Kashaf and Zaroon have strong sense of self and are highly opinionated.
Kashaf is a person who is burdened with bitterness and is endlessly angry at what life has thrown at her and her family. Lot of her angst is due to her mother having to single-handedly shoulder the responsibilities of three daughters while her father leads a fulfilling life with a second family. Sanam Saeed as Kashaf is tailor made for the role of an angst-ridden daughter full of cynicism and negativity. In the very first episode she has managed to quell any doubt regarding her casting as Kashaf.
In total contrast to Kashaf’s character, it is sheer wonder that her siblings’ attitude towards life seem untouched and mirrors their mother’s hope and positivity. Kashaf’s mother, played by eminent actress Samina Pirzada, is full of soul, a mother you want to wrap your arms around and never let go. Despite dealing with harshest blows of life, she stands tall and symbolizes hard work, dedication, faith, and above all hope. You cannot help but adore this strong woman and Samina Pirzada effortlessly touches our hearts with her performance. On second thoughts, I understand Kashaf’s naraazgi with life for being unfair to a gentle soul.
Zaroon, carefree and in love with life, is on the verge of getting bored of a cushioned life. His life revolves around his friends and family and his focus is music. Fawad Khan with a guitar is a sight to behold and he breezes through the first episode seamlessly as the charming Zaroon. His equation with his sister is well brought out through a series of sibling banter where he teases, and she nags bade haq se.
Even though there was a good mix of Zaroon Kashaf in this episode, the highlight was Kashaf’s tiff with life and her equation with her family. Right at the moment when I was about to scream, “okay, I get it..she is totally khafa with zindagi,” the episode ended, making it a perfect introductory episode for the show. I now know Kashaf and her family’s struggles to meet the three basic necessities – water, electricity, and shelter. I now know, Kashaf’s acceptance of defeat at the hands of fate but I could also glimpse her grit to make it despite the hardships. And that determination is what will make this drama worth watching.
I cannot pinpoint one scene and say this scene stands out. How can I when all the scenes with Kashaf and her mother (Yes the chappal scene included), her conversations with her sister are all worth mentioning. The scene where she refuses to eat meat because it reminded her of her mother’s hard work and sacrifice wrung my heart. Every scene was well thought out and fit into the bigger picture except for one which I did not get – Zaroon’s interaction with his friends. If someone can please enlighten me as to the significance, I shall be grateful.
Promo for Episode 2
“Is khandaan mein tum pehli ladki ho jo ladkon ke saath padne apne ghar se bahar ja rahi ho. Bas beta mera sar jhukne na dena.” Kashaf going to the University to study will come under the scanner by staunch believers that a woman should not step out to study alongside men. Her mother’s resolve is about to get tested, and I leave you with a whopper of a comeback from a strong woman to a spineless man, “Unhe maloom hai ki mushkil ke waqt unka baap unke kaam nahi aane wala hai.”
Talk Soap wishes Zee Zindagi a successful innings as a sole channel to host television shows from across the border.
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