"Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!" ~*~Jane Austen

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Humsafar Review

Since September Pakistan has been gripped with Humsafar mania. Not Pakistan alone, but women everywhere with access to the internet. 100% guilty but I feel most women (and a lot of men too) are just suckers for a good old fashioned love story. So, what’s so special about this love story? Not much is what I thought when I read the novel. Yes, I read the novel. Hadn’t read any books in Urdu in all my life and the promos for the dramatization got me to read one. Go figure. I guess that’s the power of good advertising. As I was saying, I didn’t think the story was all that special when I read it. I thought there wasn’t any depth to the characters and that the only redeeming factor was the way the author made the story unfold. Since the novel is written partially in flashback mode, the reader doesn’t find out till the very last chapter what really transpired between Ashar and Khirad. As I read the novel, I did not question whether they would be together in the end or not, I was just curious to find out why they separated. Had the author given that away one chapter sooner, I would have stopped reading then.

If I didn’t think the novel was all that special, then why am I watching the dramatization and why in the world are you reading a review I wrote? Confession - I’m a bit of a Fawad Khan fan. I’ve been watching his plays since Jutt & Bond and really became a fan after watching Satrangi. At that time nobody appreciated him when I said he was gonna go places. But then, that’s what happened when I declared that I loved Saif Ali Khan after watching him in Yeh Dillagi –the one that was a copy of Sabrina. Anyhow, so that’s the reason why I really started looking forward to the dramatization of Humsafar – the director picked one helluva good looking Ashar. And then the soundtrack to the show was released and Quratulain Balouch floored an entire nation with her rendition of Naseer Turabi’s ghazal “Woh Humsafar Tha”. I had also recently seen “Pani Jaisa Pyar” which was directed by Sarmad Khoosat and when I found out that he was directing Humsafar as well, I knew it would be good and that he’d make the necessary adjustments to give the characters the depth they were lacking in the novel.

So, that Saturday in late September came and the first episode aired and people were hooked. A few more episodes and I came to the realization that the story and characters had been greatly improved and expanded upon for the dramatization. Sarah’s character which was barely mentioned in the novel had more substance. She didn’t seem like a complete psycho for being obsessed with just another guy. It made more sense for her to have such strong feelings for someone who had always been her bestfriend. Even Khizar’s character got a little more dimension and depth added to it. All these things make the dramatization much better than the actual novel. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that when the child’s character is introduced she’s not half as annoying as she was in the novel. I’ve seen internet forums where people go on and on about how much they love Hareem (Khirad’s daughter). Without giving away the story, I thought the child’s character was extremely annoying. The whole time I remember thinking that if my child was ever this ziddi and whiny I would slap them. Yes, I understand that the child was facing some special circumstances but still. Here’s to hoping that the child’s character has been improved upon for the dramatization as all the other characters have been.

The only thing about the dramatization which I dislike thus far is that several times scenes appear very choppy because they don’t flow or don’t add to the progression of the story in any way. I understand that this is owing primarily to the fact that the writer is trying to turn what in the book were snippets of memories into a sequence of events for the dramatization. A lot of these scenes are trying to build Khirad’s character (since her’s will be the one on trial starting next week) so that the viewer sees her and understands her for who she is. A bunch of the other scenes and dialogues will become important to the story in the coming weeks although thus far they appear to not have any value. So, I guess one can’t really blame the director. It is what it is. Hopefully this will be remedied in the coming episodes.

So, overall what’s my take on this latest venture from Hum Tv? I think its popularity is owing very much to the right mix of people. Had any one of them been missing from the scene, the drama would not have reached the heights of popularity it currently enjoys. After Dastaan, I believe it is safe to say that Fawad Khan now enjoys a very loyal fan base that will watch anything that he’s in. The producers haven’t forgotten the guys. While the girls enjoy their share of eye candy the guys get their share.

While I don’t completely agree, there’s definitely some truth to this statement that I read somewhere: “Humsafar is no more than a bunch of pretty people”. Humsafar would not have the fan base without the pretty faces, without Sarmad Khoosat’s excellent direction, and without QB’s beautiful vocals promoting the show better than any billboard could. The story is ordinary but the rendition is beautiful and that’s what makes Humsafar special.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I know I haven't posted anything new in AGES but I'm on it and I promise I will have some new stuff up in the very near future...CHECK BACK SOON!!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


This story from the BBC talks about how a school text book used in the Indian state of Rajasthan compares donkeys to politicians and WIVES!!! The fact that politicians are being portrayed in a ridiculing light is prompting the book to be taken off the curriculum. There is no big "hoopla" about how women are portrayed. And why should it be? If there had been more upheaval over the fact that it demeans women South Asian society would have a little more respect for its women. How are men going to respect women in a society where a book that compares wives to donkeys is being criticized not because it makes this comparison but because it makes an ever more offending comparison--that between donkeys and politicians (that's sarcasm..in case you couldn't detect it).

It is often said that a child learns respect for a woman from what he sees in his own home and that respect for women needs to be ingrained at every step of the child's growth. If this is the kind of "satire" being used in institutions then I would have to conclude that disrespct for women is being consciously institutionalized.

Read the story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4875430.stm


A friend of mine did a presentation in her international marketing class about AT&T in Pakistan and used this video as a part of her presentation. Check out the LINK. I think its a really well-made video except for the fact that it portrays only one facet of Pakistan -- the facet that is visible to the rich and fortunate. How the poor and unfortunate see their world is not portrayed at all. The rich continue to live in their fortresses blind to the plight of the less fortunate.

An extremely good video otherwise. Definitely something worthy of the Pakistan Tourism Board's attention. Enjoy!

Friday, February 24, 2006


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Food for Thought

I came across this quote while surfing the net and thought it was really interesting. Let me know what you think:

"No government admits any more that it keeps an army to satisfy occasionally the desire for conquest. Rather, the army is supposed to serve for defense, and one invokes the morality that approves of self-defense. But this implies one’s own morality and the neighbor’s immorality; for the neighbor must be thought of as eager to attack and conquer if our state must think of means of self-defense. Moreover, the reasons we give for requiring an army imply that our neighbor, who denies the desire for conquest just as much as our own state, and who, for his part, also keeps an army only for reasons of self-defense, is a hypocrite and a cunning criminal who would like nothing better than to overpower a harmless and awkward victim without any fight. Thus all states are now ranged against each other: they presuppose their neighbor’s bad disposition and their own good disposition. This presupposition, however, is inhumane, as bad as war and worse. At bottom, indeed, it is itself the challenge and the cause of wars, because as I have said, it attributes immorality to the neighbor and thus provokes a hostile disposition and act. We must abjure the doctrine of the army as a means of self-defense just as completely as the desire for conquests."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Land of the Pure

Ok, so I understand that this has been a long time coming but considering that I had to deal with non-functional PC's and tons of schoolwork I've finally managed to type up what I had written soon after coming back from Pakistan. Hope you find it interesting.

Ok, so I’m back. Back from the “land of the pure”. That’s literally what the word PAKISTAN So, how was it like? Considering it had only been 4 years since the last time I had been there I was surprised at just how surprised I personally was with things there. I suppose 3 years of university (and a few more years on the board for me) led to a whole new world of observation. I got there and one of the first few things I noticed was the number of billboards. I promise you that Karachi can put Time Square to shame. Well, except that while Time Square has billboards that light up Karachi doesn’t. No point having billboards that light up when there is no guarantee that you’ll have electrical power at all times of the day. Power outages are a part of life and yet people have come to deal with them. Gasoline-powered power generators, UPS, and good ol’ candles for those that can’t afford the above two options. It is truly a nation that makes things happen with what it has. A lack of sufficient traffic signs has led to a highly specialized driving code. To an outsider the traffic may seem chaotic but to a resident there’s nothing chaotic about it. Traffic in Karachi is anarchic – i.e. it is an organized chaos. People who function within this anarchic system know exactly what to do and when to do it. Everyone knows that you save your ass and your car and let everyone else on the road worry about saving theirs and so everyone drives defensively. There are no STOP signs at street intersections so people have deviced an elaborate system of flashing their headlights and honking their horns to signal that they are approaching the intersection. The person who honks first gets the right of way. Traffic lights are plenty and most are functional. However, when one breaks down for whatever reason it may not get fixed for a few days. The traffic police may not even know about it for a long time. What do people do? They manage. I agree that it usually leads to MASSIVE traffic jams that take hours to sort out but somehow they manage. It is a country of people that may tell you to “relax” if you’re cursing away while sitting in your car during one of Karachi’s infamous traffic jams. means for those of you who are unaware.

Enough about the traffic situation. The only thing I can say about it is that you have to experience it to know it. Just so it’s clear, I can’t drive there. I’m not afraid. Just don’t know how to drive a stick shift car and because I’m too used to rules and regulations. I’m going to go back to the point I made in the beginning about billboards and talk about how much more competitive the Pakistani market is than the Canadian market and perhaps to some degree, the U.S. market. I find that the Pakistani market for most items has quite a few characteristics of a perfectly competitive market. Especially if one looks at the textile sector (which is the single largest sector of the economy) one can see that there are 1000s of textile mills producing almost the same kind of cloth and it is being sold at the same rates almost all over the city – whether its at the Sunday Bazaar or at the local fabric stores – and everyone knows what price the fabric is being sold for and where. There are a few textile mills that have differentiated themselves and they charge a premium for their product but on the whole I find the market for textiles in Pakistan to be perfectly competitive. The next thing I want to talk about is the wireless communications sector…in simple terms, the cell phone companies. I realized just how uncompetitive the Canadian market is when I realized that there are more cell phone companies in Pakistan than there are in all of Canada…enuf said. I am far too appalled by this situation to continue. So, on this note I shall end my ramblings about my fourth month trip to the “mother land”. Do let me know if you find flaws in my economical analysis…

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Ride the Rocket

I think I've finally figured out my favourite mode of transportation. You might be quite surprised to hear that its the subway but wait for my reasoning and then maybe you'll understand why. I'm one of those people who, despite knowing how to drive, take the bus more often. It's not a personal choice (like it would be for a lot of environmentalists) but it's more a matter of there not being enough car to go around and me not (yet) having enough money to both buy myself a car and pay for its upkeep.

So, given the circumstances I end up taking the bus to most places. I remember when I first moved here in 1998 (not so long ago) the bus used to be noisy but because people were talking to each other. Now, however, although it may not be so noisy to me it is far much "louder". The culprit: CELLPHONES.

If owning one of these contraptions makes me NOT anti-cellphone then I guess I'm not anti-cellphone but what I AM against is the way people abuse these things. I understand that to a lot of people cellphones have become almost a necessity but really, do I HAVE to listen to ALL your private conversations on the bus/train?? Call me old-fashioned but where's the sense of decorum? I really do not want to hear stories about how awful your (ex)boyfriend is at kissing or how many times you did it last night or what a bitch your mom/sister/bestfriend is.

Why not discuss these things with whoever you want to discuss them with when an entire bus-full of people can't hear you? Is that too much to ask?

The subway, then, is my favourite mode of transportation because cellphones don't work on 'em :D.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject of cell-phone bashing I might as well tell you the cell-phone incident that ticked me off the most. This happened last summer. I decided to take a walk around my neighbourhood and ended up behind these two girls. They initially started off walking and talking but before I knew what was happening they were both on their respective cellphones chatting away with some other people :S. Now, why would you go out on a walk with a friend if you don't want to talk to her?

Maybe I just need to accept the changes in social relations but I just don't want to.

Oh, and by the way. My legs did NOT, I repeat did NOT, hurt from the walking mentioned in the previous post...guess all those hours at the gym paid off :D