"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.

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