The terrible appeal of Humsafar

Published: February 7, 2012

Ashar stares at his love interest with desire that would give school girl goose bumps. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

The appeal of Humsafar is obvious. You could cut through the weird chemistry between Khirad and Ashar, the hero authors of romance novels would be envious of. Eye candy, nakedly sexual, he stares arduously at his love interest with desire that would give the Grammarian and the Aisha Bawany schoolgirl goose bumps. He is clean cut. He smiles infrequently and when he does, it seems as if it were a gift. Physical contact is at a minimum. Sex is implied, and there is a chastity reminiscent of Zia-era dramas that drives people insane with tension.

Khirad on the other hand, played by the cherubic Mahira with bright makeup, and translucent skin, appears surprisingly asexual — the recipient of the man’s desire, derision, and disdain – not interfering too much with the screen appeal of Ashar, with nice beauty, but insipid enough to not be threatening to female viewers. She is also surprisingly silent, when all you want is for her to sit him down and feverishly explain the terrible misunderstanding the entire infuriating play is constructed on, over a cup of coffee or a glass of vodka.

If Khirad’s father taught her such great values, why was her marriage into an affluent family (mild protestations notwithstanding) and its inevitable accompaniments — an abusive mother-in-law, and a passive aggressive unpredictable husband — the only way to material security?

Her mind that works faster than a calculator could also have landed her a PhD stipend at the University of Punjab where she could have raised her daughter modestly, but well. If not, then perhaps a junior analyst position at Engro where she would have adequate medical coverage for her child. And if not that, there could be situations around inflation and lack of opportunities. Eventually, she could have met a man less verbally challenged than Ashar and they would have actual conversations instead of old words reverberating in their heads like bipolar memories. In fact, what Khirad’s father taught her was the hegemonic values – where honesty is inextricably entwined with being a good wife and a submissive, self-denying woman whose moral sexuality is her ticket to livelihood.

The house is central to the play. It is luxurious. It has a swimming pool (virginal) in the background, and tasteful art. It is sterile, hotel-like, and it’s the woman’s object of ultimate attainment. Khirad got thrown out, and in a scene that played cruelly on all women’s insecurities, we are shown that what capitalist patriarchy giveth, it taketh if you can’t abide by bourgeois society’s moral ethics. Underlining Khirad’s dramatic eviction from the house is the fact that she did abide by these ethics and is of unblemished character. It is she of moral purity who deserves the house rather than the manipulative mother-in-law.

In an earlier episode, it is the mother-in-law who is threatened with eviction if she does not agree with her husband’s decision to respect his dying sister’s wish. But the mother-in-law’s non-nuanced evil aside, isn’t it troubling that women despite age, motherhood and having maintained homes are always on the verge of losing it all — always at the whim of later apologetic, yet unapologetic men? Sadly, after this they have to rely on puppeteering their sons for personal fulfillment. Note that the mother-in-law has a possibly satisfying career in an NGO – but this worldly fulfillment fades in comparison to the infinite delights of tormenting her child.

If Khirad had not submitted happily to Ashar’s gradual advances, and had asserted sexual autonomy or indifference, then what? When she does give up on him, it is because he is weak and could not protect her. But imagine a Khirad who is coming of age and is actually exploring multiple, conflicting sexual emotions towards her cousin-husband and maybe even her classmate, and later, raising her child as a single mother and meeting a man of her choice? But this would, of course, mean complexity and a screenplay that does not rely on overly simplistic archetypes. Functioning within the confines of patriarchy, Khirad cannot lose her chance of reunion with Ashar by responding to any other man in her four and a half years as a single woman. Playing on scenes in Bollywood, where the woman’s purity is depicted through devoted, childlike prayer as the male voyeurs, here too in Episode 19, Ashar is shown after Khirad has vulnerably bared it all before her God.

Ashar, too, stays pure. But promiscuity will not cost him a home. His celibacy (and virtual impotency) is affirmation of his unattainability. No wafer (think vamp) like Sara sink her claws in him. Sara’s character, again, is monosyllabic evil. And the fact that she runs the show at corporate HQ when Ashar is in the doldrums is not commendable, but rather evidence of her manipulative abilities. That she uses yoga to keep herself grounded in her evil designs is yet again weird social commentary as is her always western attire. And since the drama is PG, we never see Ashar succumbing to Sara’s advances (though it would add a twist and a moral dilemma) despite being in hotels together and constantly in each other’s homes.

The terrible appeal of Humsafar is that it confirms characters and stories set in deeply patriarchal frameworks. It is sexist justice that soothes the hearts of patriarchal vigilantes, and keeps us on because we want to see the mother-in-law shamed, humiliated and thrust out, and moral purity rise to the top in the reunion of Khirad and Ashar. 

It is a modern day fairy tale, better than Cinderella, worse than Shrek; the born again revival of TV drama in a tweeting world.

This blog was originally published here.

Read more by Abira here. Follow her @oil_is_opium.

Abira Ashfaq

Abira Ashfaq

A law teacher in Karachi who works with human rights organisations. She tweets @oil_is_opium. (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sabahat Zakariya

    Brilliant, Abira. Just brilliant.Recommend

  • Deen Sheikh

    I have been abroad this whole time the show aired on Hum TV, I have really missed on this TV fever that gripped Pakistani’s. Is it worth the time investment? Recommend

  • Farwa Naqvi

    Nice analysis….Recommend

  • M.Aswad Mehatb

    If I have written this blog i would go like this after the Heading
    “***The terrible appeal of Humsafar is that it is a modern day fairy tale, better than Cinderella, worse than Shrek; the born again revival of TV drama in a tweeting world. *** Period

    Every one having Brain can Understand what this DRAMA Actually is …
    or it was a recap for those who dint bother to watch this overrated Serial till yet ?Recommend

  • CB Guy

    I read half of this absolute crap analysis and my brain is already hurting. You don’t like the drama change the channel. Recommend

  • Humaid Merchant

    Really don’t know who has the time to watch this tripe let alone write a completely unnecessary essay on it. What a colossal waste of time. SheeshRecommend

  • NSK

    New line in the market :P
    … O humsafar! I have heard alot abt this drama but never seen it ;;;liarsRecommend

  • Asad Shairani

    Brilliant. Interesting (and to an extent sad) to see that such patriarchal works are adored by millions of women though.Recommend

  • Khalid Javaid

    Too lengthy article to read. Waste of time may be.Recommend

  • Haniya

    Am I the only one who is sick with all this!!???Recommend

  • Afaaq

    As always the author does well to pick up a well talked topic and write something controversial about it. I remember your last blog about Mumtaz Qadri and your lenient opinions about justice be done. Your distaste for the drama is obvious yet your knowledge beckons one of an avid viewer. I for one one dont watch Humsafer but if some people find good entertainment in it. I respect those people and their views. Recommend

  • Abbas Malik

    it looks like u have wasted all your time in writing this article, crap…Recommend

  • MM

    Haha.. Abira this was delightful and as much as i hate to admit it – the hype n then the old world charm of the DARN play had me You-tubing it after having missed the 1st 6 or so episodes! (the last tv play i watched and followed was perhaps Tanhaiyan or another “Zia Era” play :-).

    It is an infuriating play and “us” the moderate enlightened along with the rest of the jing bang keep gobbling up the BS week after week, which in itself is FUNNY! Heck i had to stall a saturday dinner at home because Girl Friends n their hubbies wud’nt turn up before 9:30pm! “-p

    While i wait to You Tube the next episode… Khirad cud do with a good smacking, Asher cud do with a serious roll in the hay, Sara’s wardrobe malfunction is more distressing then her hots for the unattainable hottie – and while mummy dearest needs a dose of mamta – the lil’ girl (don’t remember her name) JUST MUST STOP REFERRING TO HERSELF IN 2nd person!! (or is it 1st or 3rd!?… :-) Recommend

  • Fatima Ali Khan

    How could the writer waste time writing such a lengthy piece on just a drama…entirely for the heck of criticism!! Complete crap!!Recommend

  • EK

    i kinda don’t understand us (pakistani) mentality if the tv dramas were bad people used to cry all about that fact. Now among the all the other extra-ordinarily and “USELESSLY” bold dramas here is one which is subtle with a fair good script, a bit melodramatic here and there (but that is what entertainment is for my friend), great direction i must say and you my friend came here with your blog which has no point.Recommend

  • AQ Moghal

    For some reason I think its better to watch this drama to escape reality vs. Watching idiotic joker polititions taking jabs at each others. I think its a good effort talking about women issues, worthless politics within women and suffering and hurt that one inflicts on others. BTW its a wonderful analysis of a drama and I hope more people write good stuff.

    Good luck.Recommend

  • Osama

    Am0ngst the w0rst articles i ave eva read. Hats off. Take it as an entertainment and it w0uld be nyc mam…. Beter luck nxt tymRecommend

  • Baji

    I have never seen a single episode of hamsafer yet :-/ Recommend

  • Roshni

    @Deen Sheikh:

  • abid

    What a terrible review Ms Abira of a simple but delicately directed & produced family drama. I couldn’t get that If out-of-box minded people dont like it then why they are watching it regularly?. Thanks God in our country there are millions who still love simple family oriented drama. Recommend

  • Balma

    Where do they get names like Khirad, azaan, dua etc from?Recommend

  • Meem

    Geez, really? You’re going to take a piece of fiction so seriously that you ended up writing a whole blog about its repercussions on the society? It’s just a drama for crying out loud and on a channel which is one of the many. If it doesn’t suit your taste, don’t watch it and this is not coming from someone who is a die-hard fan either. With the number of suggestions of how the drama ‘could’ and ‘should’ have been handled, I think you might as well come up with a script of your own.

    PS: I’m sorry if you wrote this as a piece of satire but the humor was pretty much lost on me, and as I see, on most of the other people commenting here!Recommend

  • Yousuf Shaikh

    Nicely done. I was expecting another shameless Humsafar bashing but the way you have written brings up quite a few questions that I hadn’t pondered before.Recommend

  • Hina Iftikhar

    Here is a good critical analysis of the play by Ms Ashfaq, according to her view, without actually recommending it or not, while admitting all along of its massive popularity. So ladies and lads, relax and do not take it to heart. Recommend

  • lisa

    very brilliantly construed article however, I feel there is exaggeration at some areas. Maybe, the characters are deliberately made to talk less and not nonsensical so that their words have an impact and would not be like any other romantic play aired on channels nowadays where the female characters blabber rubbish. Recommend

  • Avante

    well drama is just a form of expression in art.
    you need to understand the difference between a modern day drama and a novel adaptation.
    i believe humsafar is one of the most successful adaptations of a novel into modern drama.Recommend

  • Abira Ashfaq

    Many of you are not aware of cultural studies and media studies. People make a career in writing reams about what people watch – be it Bollywood or tv. So to that extent the criticism that I have written unnecessarily is really nonsensical. We like to watch, we like to critique what we watch, as viewers we have discretion to switch channels, and as readers we can click to something we think is worth our time. Not a single point of the shamers and the naysayers is about the actual merit of the arguments. To say that its not worth writing about is denying that our entertainment represents cultural values, and contains messaging of an insidious type. Now lets move on. Recommend

  • Humsafarissexist

    I can feel the vomit in my mouth.Recommend

  • Ali

    Cheap show!! sad to see ppl are blind because of media!!!Recommend

  • Shamy

    and the point of this article being ….?? Recommend

  • Acorn Guts

    This article just took the cake when the author started recommending real-world jobs for Khirad .. Recommend

  • bangash

    I dont think character of Sara is evil, just driven mad with love and unable to recognize dead-ends.Recommend

  • swa

    I also have a billion objections with this drama rooted in the evil conspiracy and all but SERIOUSLY? All you seem to have a problem with is the moral characters of Asher and Khirad. according to you the thing that makes this drama unrealistic is the fact that they aren’t sluts????????????? If asher had been living with a girl all this time and Khirad was illegitimately pregnant with some guy’s baby this would be more realistic?
    i am not a conservative but i so hate this desire in people to show that they are so obviously enlightened. we all have seen people with broken marriages around us living their lives in celibacy after disastrous experiences.
    It’s funny how half of us are totally into talibanization and the other half is out there talking about illegit relations as if it is just the right thing to doRecommend

  • Jay

    first of all, the writer has her own opinion like everyone else in this world. likewise people who like Humsafar have their own opinions about liking it or not! secondly if the author didnt like the drama or whatsoever, why has she expressed herself in such hard language, just say you dont like it you dont like it,,, dont make Humsafar your aid in telling people about how good vocabulary you have!!Recommend

  • Anon

    I am a graduate of an elite lawschool and I agree with you 100 hundred percent, except in real life everywhere I look, I see different shades of the same Humsafar in people around me. Worse, I often find myself adopting characteristics of either one of the two female leads, its not the drama, its the Pakistani society and it has cut out only two recognised roles of a Pakistani woman – you are either a Sara or a Khirad. Every man and prospective MIL I have come across wants a Khirad, but if you want to make it as a career woman you have to be like a Sara. I know people protest about the idolisation of Khirad and demonization of Sara but if tommorow I go to an office wearing a scarf or a shalwaar kameez, it is my fellow female colleagues who are likely to give me a more hard time and write me off as a dumb village belle. The NGO Aunty stereotype portrayed by Atiqa Odho – that is also soo easily found in these posh suburb aunty circles. It’s not just the Khirad vs Sara steretype, infact it’s the the urdu medium vs english medium stereotype. The urdu mediums are the homemakers and the English mediums are the go getters.
    So yes as much I hate these stereotypes, they are true and they exist. Ask any defence kid or Grammarian who likes to snicker about the North nazimabadis, the LUMS kids snickering at the NOP wallas, the Olevel kids looking down upon the FSC and govt school kids and you will realise Humsafar is true to homeRecommend

  • Raza

    Brilliant. You’re very right; the drama reinforces all our make-believe stereotypes.Recommend

  • hinza

    What’s amazing about this drama is that love it or hate it, everyone is watching it and talking about it lol! Including this particular writer, anyways I think ppl love a good old romantic story and this is a breath of fresh air amongst all other crappy dramas on air. Recommend

  • Parvez

    When a good legal brain decides to take a walk-about, this is what results – I enjoyed the read.Recommend

  • Ajmal

    FYI this is the Islamic republic of Pakistan not the US of A. If you adore profanity and promiscuity in TV shows then your living in a wrong country. seriously mocking and labeling every Islamic norm as pro-zia makes me mad.Recommend

  • Ayesha

    wow if you dont like the drama then why you have the followed the drama so religiously .. lol Recommend

  • aras

    It is a modern day fairy tale, better than Cinderella, worse than Shrek; the born again revival of TV drama in a tweeting world. Says it all ~ Well done!Recommend

  • nahaider

    well said! I agree with you 100%. my biggest objection is to the fact that both women portrayed in a negative role have successful careers whereas the so called “positive” character of Khirad is supposed to be a housewife.. I mean no thought has been given by the producers.. and writer about how this would reaffirm our society’s beliefs about working women being evil Recommend

  • A.Ahmed

    Then again… its a Drama!Recommend

  • Mehdi

    I just liked the song ‘wo humsafr tha magr us se humnawa na the hum’ but not the drama which is actually confusing and misleading the people who are already entrapped in INDIAN star-plus etc..Recommend

  • Umayr

    @Abira Ashfaq:
    I totally agree with you Abira. I’m currently abroad and studying media as part of my degree. Talking, writing, and critiquing media is extremely important and sadly it does not happen in Pakistan as much as it should…it generates a discourse which brings forward a lot of ideas and important issues, and also reflects on what we’re being shown and why.

    I’ve been following Humsafar here on youtube and I must admit, that it is refreshing to see that after ages we have something of this level being broadcast that almost unites the country on common ground! It has managed to create celebrities that are desperately needed to replace the across-the-border faces taking over our own. It has revived our own style of drama making which is original to us and much superior.

    I wish we have a more accessible media journal where experts talk about the important media content from Pakistan which in turn helps develop and shape media policy to ensure something like Maya Khan or bad Indian style soap operas are nipped in the bud. Recommend

  • Kakar

    This isn’t a soap opera it’s based on a famous novel written by Farhat Ishtiaq.Recommend

  • RKB

    HAHAHHAHAHAH. Fantastic. Recommend

  • sanaahamed

    You have a nice article there but its little lengthy though. But great effort. Recommend

  • Uzma

    I agree with what all has been written, but I would also say that I actually dont think the mother in law stereotype is that far from reality. Women in our country (not just the upper class, mind you) really do seem to enjoy tormenting their children/ controlling their lives/ interfering in marriages -of not only their sons but all and sundry- rather than developing their own brains or doing something productive with their own lives.

    Also, I think movies and tv shows in general, be it Hollywood, Indian or Pakistani portray characters that are all good or all bad. You very rarely find a portrayal of a character as simply being human, with both good and bad qualities in them. Especially whoever the hero/ main character is…if they do have any flaws at all, they’re all fixed and cured by the end of the movie, set to live their life happily ever after.Recommend

  • Raja Nowsherwan kiani

    Its a head ache… Recommend

  • Sana

    Dear Author,

    This was a very uncomfortable read – you have tried to make it too complex (both the analysis and the way its written). Perhaps you are trying to show your writing style as opposed to comment on the play itself?

    I think I need a glass of water and some fresh air to get over this rather wordy blog!Recommend

  • Akar

    this is the single most stupidiest article i have ever what i was thinking when i read itRecommend

  • Ammar

    Author definetly has large vocabulary.. But usage of heavy words, doesn’t always make for a good reading.. Tone down vocabulary..Recommend

  • Shahbaz lodhi

    Nicely written, might be an alternate of Indian soap serials to raise points or write on it different dialogues is not just a wastage of time,,,,, nice effort but less beneficial Recommend

  • x

    exactly, sick of the dramas showing extra marital affairs and illegitimate children and s mexual adventures, etc.. simple family drama which does portray a truth of our society… men and women are equal but different, and in essence, it is the man who is the protector.. showing khirad meeting the man of her dreams while raising a child would have been a fairytale in w world where intelligent, beautiful girls have hard times finding good proposals. and khirad is portrayed as lacking that polish and grooming, but she is educated and has ambitions of pursuing a mastres degree. as for job in engro, are you kidding? with the unemployment rates in this country where students of elite, ‘rich kids’ universities have hard times finding jobs then a girl, however intelligent, from a government university , moreover with a child to raise without any help would get a job so easily, without any sifarish?
    it seems as if the author is living in a fairy tale and wants to paint a rosy picture of out oh so cool, liberal society where sex is the natural thing, women empowerment triumphs, the knight in shining armour scoops up the wronged, pretty girl, also accepting her child and giving her a fathers love and care? Recommend

  • Giest4life

    No matter how terrible the appeal of “Humsafar” is, it can’t possible surpass this blog article in awfulness. Right from in the first paragraph, the author decided to throw grammar under the bus, which, incidentally, she was driving herself. She then proceeded to make several passes on the already unmoving corpus of grammar. Here I was, trying to concentrate on how terrible the show was, when I was totally blindsided by Abira, armed with her keyboard, and her persistence to not pay attention to any of the conventions of the language.

    Well done, lass, well done. Recommend

  • CB Guy

    Well Well Said Anon!Recommend

  • alicia

    The article is quite bad sorry to say. Too many big words, sentences and metaphors.
    However I agree with the author I personally don’t like hamsafar because its a play about 4 women constantly running around in circles to get a guy. I mean do women have nothing better to do. Recommend

  • nad

    I dont agree with u.People need entertainment.These r the true faces of our society.At the end i feel relax to watch these dramas instead of breaking news.I think we need to be in a fantasy world to relax up.Recommend

  • Sultan Mirza

    I don’t think that you have been into the scene much to write down a correct analysis to the play nor have understood the focal chapter. You need to be reminded of half glass empty example. The drama is centered around protecting the poor girl who is under pressure from a mother in law who hates people with low income, poor background no matter how much of good values they incorporate but likes to share with people of equal categories rich, famous, modern and it adds to the list of things that most girls and in some strong cases guys suffer from not having one or all of those and getting rejected. The drama is based on getting rejected over matters that should not hinder a person from being recognized as a person and not a donkey just becasue someone is poor; equality regardless of how they reach the top and values regardless of whether they know english or converse in urdu. If you have read law; then you also understand to look at both sides before concluding on a judgement otherwise the unfair gets written all over you and with casual analysis like this then good luck with trying to convince people that Humsafar failed to create the right appeal. We as a nation are situated right inside the vortex of domestic violence at all stages and Humsafar in a dramatic format is pointing out correction to only one of the long established flaws and if you want to cater to all and want to show everything then I think you have the platform of express entertainment; pick up the pen and start writing maybe I change my opinion after looking at your play but you need to be the change you want to see others doing and I’m sure you will end up writing the same thing, again. Second thing is that it will become a long debate if I start telling you that there is also something called a “commercial aspect” attached to these tv shows and you can google that aspect since I don’t want to go towards that side right now. There are 146 dramas running right now on different channels available to you on your cable; if Humsafar pulled you to write this crtic, then you are saved from googling the commercial aspect’s definition.

  • Kaancha the writter can play with words..but surely lags the ability to write down a correct analysis of a play that is not that hard to analysis is much more than using big words and metaphors..but then i guess you’ve lived in a fairytale world so far and are unable to comprehend these problems of the not so rich. Plus ill agree with “Sultan Mirza” critizing just for the sake of it aint no talent, ill if you think you can do a better job then pick up and write something better if you can!!Recommend

  • Kanza Butt

    *Such A foolish act! *Recommend

  • Syeda

    Oh, man, Abira, much as I am a fan of Humsafar, I loved this. Spot on! And guilty as charged am I! Thanks for this incisive and well-written piece. Recommend

  • ayesha

    its a good watch. the author likes it too.Recommend

  • Hafsa Z

    The article is very well-written, but honestly it’s just a drama, it makes no claims at overturning gender stereotypes or introducing multi-layered characters. Sure, the characters are simplistic, but it’s just a show and never claims to be more than one. Reading into the nuances of the screenplay and the “message within” just seems to be over over analysing what is for all purposes a popcorn time pass show. This is not to detract from the message you convey which is a valid one, but just to say that there aren’t devious subliminal messages hidden within everything.Recommend

  • Fatima Saboor

    Brilliant article!!! I love your take on the characters and the plot. The bit bout Khirad gettting a job in Engro is so true. And it is kind of hard to believe that Ashar has not had another fling in these four and half years after he’s proclaimed that Khirad is dead for him, hence ending that chapter, and with Sara constantly being emotionally available. I didn’t get the bit bout Naveen Waqar being botoxed though. Is she? Anyway, giving credit where it’s due, the soundtrack is brilliant and no actor in the play is an extra (i esp like naveen waqar’s mom and am glad they didn’t try to cut costs by casting some random individual). What’s amazing is the response of the entertainment starved masses. We need to produce more believable storylines with similar production value and start making films too. Sharmeen Obaid has gone to the Oscars but even our local plays should start dreaming bigger and think outside the box. Dont underestimate the Pakistani viewer, we wouldnt freak out if Khirad was a little bad, it wud make it easier for us to relate with her if anything. anyway, brilliant article keep it up!!!Recommend

  • zubia omar motiwalla

    Loved it!!!! Very true to the feelings of all the people hooked on the drama. Although I find the story to be the age old, but the characters bring the boring old concept to life. Loved how you have defined the characters. Very correct!!Recommend

  • JK

    Like you said,its a patriarchal society.Women are brainwashed into serving and complying with their husbands’ orders.They’re expected to remain modest and tight lipped before the “Lords” aka their husbands.And because of all of this, they don’t mind watching dramas which portray the stereotypical image of women.All in all,romantic tidbits,emotional scenes and misunderstandings(may it be trivial) account for a good time pass.And that’s Humsafar for you.
    After all,its a DRAMA.If they don’t add all of that then who’s going to watch it?
    And fortunately,its WAY better than third rate Indian romantic soaps that have our ladies glued to the TV sets.
    Humsafar may be a typical story on husband-wife relationship but you have to give credit to the director for setting it in a classy,original way.At least,it has tremendously increased viewership and value of Pakistani dramas.Recommend

  • Abira Ashfaq

    The following post is not meant to disrespect the feelings of Humsafar fans, nor to disparage their love for the show and its character. All references to people, real or fictional, are entirely incidental.

  • http:[email protected] Waseem S.

    Well done Abira. i’ll admit being addicted to this lately, when I saw many of my geek folks sharing comments about this viral. I was luck, only started following it from 16th ep. :-)

    You did justice, I agree with each & every bit.Recommend


    bravoooo!!!!!!!! fine analysis n i vl go with all ur valid points thumbs to u!! BRAVOOOOO!!!!!ABIRARecommend

  • random12

    Really good. Very well writtenRecommend

  • Sanya

    I love this. LOL at all the girls who’re pissed. I’m so enjoying this. Excellent post!Recommend

  • sj

    @Anon: best comments so far!Recommend

  • Monazza

    I understand you’re a critique and i love reading criticism before or during watching a movie or drama. But you have used very strong vocabulary for common viewers/readers and long sentences :) and only for that reason it seems a bit too lengthy as I look at it. People lose interest after second paragraph because there is too much pressure on brain, lol. I felt like that too and didn’t read through this article but one thing that I noticed is that you have the talent. Just try to keep it a little simple, thats it :) Good Luck!Recommend

  • Sabeen

    I’ve grown up in London and i’m a student of psychology and literature. I stumbled upon Humsafar through a cousin who is a fan of VJs Naveen and Mahira. I decided to give it a look and here’s what i saw: visual, sensible and artistic growth. All i’ve seen in the recent times are the undying scandles about Veena Malik and Maya Khan marching into parks and humilitating Pakistani world wide. I’ve had indian friends come to me and appreciate Humsafar, wishing their plays were more like it. Yes the story could have been a bit better and technically it could’ve been more sound. All this rant about how its told a thousand times over–wake up and grab the first play you can find anywhere in the world and pay attention while watching it–its going to be something you’ve seen before. There is criticism and then there is verbal diarrhea. Unfortunately, your article is the latter.

    I’m SICK of people like you who trash a Pakistani product till it is picked up by the international market and then you backpaddle like an idiot. I find myself supporting Pakistani dramas/talent more than you lot, all the way out here in Ldn. I’m proud of Humsafar and that appreciate the fact that the actors, directors and the producers managed to pull back the audience not just in Pakistan to OUR dramas but it has happened world over. In a country where NEWS is now considered entertainment and politicians alone strip our country of dignity, this is a breath of fresh air–a clean, sober play one can sit and watch with their families. WE need to learn to be proud of our product. You have over a million people loving it, appreciating it and being proud of it…and then we have you. I think you’re the problem here sister. You wrote this to get on the Humsafar fame wagon and fell flat on your face. Please do us all a favor (and trust me when i say us because i shared this article with my collegues and they really feel sorry for you) and stop slamming products that are finally making us hold our heads high.

    PS: This nonsense about Sara’s wardrobe malfunction and botox–seriously, you must be watching a totally different show! Anyone with the common sense the size of a pea can see its weightloss. The girl has done a great job (I am told its her debut) and so has Mahira. Both of them were dressed decently (no nanga-pan as “pakistanis” put it) and carried themselves better than most of the actresses we see on TV. But you would rather promote the likes of Veena and Mathira.Recommend

  • Sumaiya Hasan

    humsafar is a total waste of time..I am sorry to all its fans but really it has no story..same old love story witha “ZALIM SAMAAJ” and then probably we will have a happy ending..there are better dramas being telecasted nowadays..all the attraction in humsafar is actually the mercedes and the apple laptop of Asher and Asher himself..and not to forget his luxurious house..Mahira’s acting does not deserve appreciation..Sanam Baloch or Sarwat Gillani could have done a better job..probably OST by QB andd facebook has given more publicity to Humsafar than this drama deserves..there is no story..only glamour which attracts the viewersRecommend

  • Kakar

    I agree 100% with Sabeen and X. The article stinks.Recommend

  • Rita

    Hello everyone, I am an Aussie of Indian origin, was recommended this serial by a friend when I was bemoaning the lack of sensible, well developed serials in Hindi. Love Humsafar. I don’t watch any Indian serials except Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon (IPKKND) my first after 20 years (which by the way has similar problems as those mentioned by you Abira -stereotypical sweet, naive bordering on silly heroine, everyone living breathing rituals, the vamp in western clothes who is disrespectful, rude and plain stupid, yet has many elements which make it watchable for me – no apologies just perspective.. there is a certain amount of sweetness in watching tradition, the lead pair is amazing in both chemistry and in enacting their roles etc.)
    Ok to come back to Humsafar – i get you, yes, it probably does reinforce steretypes but for someone who has never visited Pakistan but has a few friends from there, I was thunder struck at how I could just transplant the whole serial scene by scene and it would not jar wtih our audience. In fact, despite the stereotypes and its limitations, its beautifully enacted, layered, has an incredibly strong heroine (this is embarrasing but I simply cannot imagine an Indian mainstream serial or even a movie showing a heroine with so much self respect – I wonder why that is because trust me there are as many intelligent, strong minded women in our country as in yours).

    I really commend the team in making such fine sketched serial. yes, I agree that I dont like linear equations of western clothes = bad women etc. but despite those limitations it is still a v well told tale. In fact it reminded me of Bengali literature, which is rich in the kind of nuance I saw here, where the emotions were conveyed by rich dialogue and meaningful acting.. kudos!

    on an aside, i would be v curious to know about the difference in why Indian serials are so OTT and ridiculous (though i cannot claim to really know as I have never been able to sit through any except IPKKND) and Pakistani serials are so beautiful. There are after all equally talented writers in both countries. is it the economics of the industries? do you get funded by Govt and is Indian media driven by different parameters? Would love to know….

    And hope no one on this thread will be offended by my comments or frankness… and will welcome thoughts from across the border and the ocean: ) Recommend

  • Sanzar

    Sarwat Gillani is so over-rated. Has anyone seen the episode of Don’t tell my mom if not check it out on YouTube. The episode was shot in Pakistan and Sarwat was shown drunk dancing in a night club. She’s a bad influence and a worst actress ever. I wonder what they see in her.Recommend

  • Zaibi

    the best part is, it finally ended and we can all finally watch or atleast look forward to something better and for God’s sake put some nice actors there.Recommend

  • flora

    I agree the drama is very typical and the only catch is the good looking characters,,,even the mothers are are pretty,cars are pretty..dresses are pretty.everyone is pretty.
    Yup and people like it because it does not challenge them..This show does not deserve all the hype. its pathetic seriously and yes its a modern day fairy tale..especially agree to the point where they both remain completely asexual…even sarah never tries to seduce him…andthen khirad didnt find anyone in 4 yrs..why?becoz then she woulnt be able to go back to! its a lot of time…and whenever they want parents to meet they cause either heart defect .or blood cancer in children…like wtf…im tired of watching stories based on co incidences…dastaan,daam were fasr better dramas.Recommend

  • haseeb zahid

    mahira khan the Cinderella of pakistan :)Recommend

  • Sumaiya Hasan

    maybe people who criticize sarwat gillani should go and watch malaal (if they have not)..ithink her acting is natural and way better as compared to mahira. Mahira might be the cinderella according to a few commentators here or maybe a beauty queen but her acting is not at all natural..Seriously I dont even think she is even that good looking..I mean she is just average..there are prettier actresses than mahira an example is Nadia Jamil and sana askariRecommend

  • Sanzar

    @flora this is the Islamic republic of Pakistan. People here don’t support or involve in extra marital sex it’s a tabboo. Why are you people so obsessed with obscenity and promiscuity?Recommend

  • flora

    Hey im not for obscenity or promiscuity but lets be real you can seduce without being overtly pbscene.she never even flirts a bit.In this islamic republic of pakistan i know waht happens and what is being shown on tv cause you know what cause i live in islamic republic of pakistan where brides dance on their weddings and what not…seduction is simple as you see with iman lai in the cookign oil commercial …is that bad? no but its pure seduction,seduction can be classy and not obscene ..just try to think what happens normally and you will know what i mean.Recommend

  • sultan mirza

    There’s an old english saying “done to a turn” so this discussion has reached the burning point now let’s critic something else.Recommend

  • sultan mirza

    Also people have been assuming a lot to the extent that they have left the drama itself and have gone to personal traits of of the actors. Make up your mind what you see on TV. It’s bunch of actors paid to do what they say and nothing else. Khirad and Asher is a one hour entertainment; and reality is not clubbed with this package, for those who are trying hard to find. Just remember that assumption is the mother of all f***.Recommend

  • saira

    the MOST Sensible and true-to-life comment, I must accept !
    I have friends from all backgrounds, and I’ve been usually taunted by the English Mediums, foreign graduates with top jobs in Multinationals about me ‘wasting’ my time with Urdu Medium ‘Loyals’ … trust me the english medium are mostly Frienemies and Urdu mediums are usually less mean..again not stereo typing byt truth remains truth ….Recommend

  • bilal

    nice article but i still dont consider hamsafar bad ……its awesome the way it is !Recommend

  • Don

    For the writer whining about ‘lack of critique’ here:
    Didn’t know University of the Punjab was offering PhD stipends to BSc (2 years study) degree holders. However what I do know is you CANNOT pay for open heart surgery with that stipend – even if you got one ;)
    Enough said?Recommend

  • Tight Chuddi

    Is Humsafar an adult serial? Can under 18 see it? Sorry I have never seen it but plan to see it now after reading this piece.Recommend

  • flora

    Hi its me again…..well for a heart defect there are places where you can get it done for free….my friend’s brother had a very serious heart defect and he got treated for free.its either tabba or NICVD…but poor khirad only wanted AKU becoz only then could she meet ashar again.Recommend

  • Zufash

    @Asad Shairani:
    Exactly! I think that’s an important point of this analysis (or any gender-focus analysis) that most seem to miss. Tragic. And then they dare to say it’s a waste of time to analyze such a serial and that anyone who doesn’t like it should just change the channel. Amazing how shallow — rather, empty! — we can be at times.Recommend

  • hira

    I seriously beg to differ.
    Secondly are we still obsessing about Humsafar. It was a serial, entertainment, over and done with. Surely there are better, more serious and important topics out there to write about. Let go.Recommend

  • Ayla

    Hahaha! So another one of our ‘lets destroy our own self’ stunts? Now we really know why we don’t deserve democracy-sadly we can’t take care of it or know how to use it..A nation that cant stop nagging and of course appreciating absolutely anything, pinpointing every damn little thing–freedom of speech doesn’t appeal to our people,were so used to negativity that it’s with in us and we grow it even MORE!.. Please,there more issues to ‘debate’ about than this petty illogical essay that has been put up there..

    Lets lift and LET lift our spirits!:)Recommend

  • donation

    u made a hell of heaven, dear writer……..Recommend

  • Sania

    So right! I agree 100% with the writer. The drama was so gender-biased and sexist and I don’t understand why females loved it. It showed the worst that could happen to a woman. Pathetic!Recommend

  • maha

    Abeera, i don’t agree with you simply because its a ‘drama’ and not reality. True that art imitates life and you think it would have been much more convincing if khirad decided to do anything but return to asher. But it was aimed at an audience who believes in fairy tail romance and ‘happily-ever after’ endings. Almost every girl in pakistan secretely desires for a husband to love her the way he does which sadly in reality is rare to find. If this drama had any other fate where we could have seen khirad struggling to earn money for hareem’s operation,it would have lost its TRP which would have disappointed the producer as well as the audience. Why? audience does not want to see the reality and the same goes for watching a film. Most Films/dramas that are close to reality get critical appraisal but fail to attract audiences attention. I personally think there were loopholes in the drama and asher’s behaviour is unacceptable as he does not give her the chance to explain herself. But it was simple and pure in the good bits and is dramatic. Rather than appreciating that this drama has managed to create history and bringing back the glory days of ‘tanhaiyaan’ ‘dhoop-kinare’ which obviously are par-excellence and in no way comparable to humsafar, it still managed to create history in terms of attracting audiences attention. and that my dear is the whole point of the drama Why cant we as pakistanis appreciate good things when they happen. We are always being critical. Simple rule=if you don’t like it, dont watch it.Recommend

  • Aurangzaib Nasar from Loralai Balochistan

    it was such a stunning effort made by the writer of this serial. i appreciate the stance presented and it is important now a days to show such theme based serials in order to ditch the social problems. i watch this drama in one and half day consecutively also having tears in eyes at several scenes……Recommend