Saying goodbye to “Durr-e-Shahwar”

Published: June 16, 2012
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All in all, "Durr-e-Shahwar" has attempted to enlighten the viewers, asking them to reflect on their own relationships, and how they can better them. PHOTO: SCREENSHOT

I decided to write this post mainly in response to “Durr-e-Shahwar: Television blames working women.” I was a bit surprised at the negative tone of that post, especially when it labelled “Durr-e-Shahwar” as a “masala drama.” Currently, it is a top-rated drama serial on air, and is definitely about much more than just ‘working women’.

“Durr-e-Shahwar” is a masterpiece in my opinion. It is directed by Haissam Hussain, written by Umera Ahmad, produced by Momina Duraid, Samina Humayun Saeed and Shahzad Nasib, and is backed by an excellent cast of actors.

The plot revolves around two couples – each with their own  share of problems.

Shandana and Hyder (played by Nadia Jamil and Nauman Ejaz) seem to be leading a square perfect life. They live independently, and have little to no interference from other family members. Shandana works full time and has domestic help to compensate her absence. Both husband and wife, however, have enormous egos, major communication problems, and a tendency to talk over the other rather than listen and resolve their issues. They also have no qualms about putting each other down in public. Their constant bickering over petty issues is seen to be affecting their only daughter, Sophia (played by Sophia Syed).

On the other side of the coin, we see Shandana’s parents,; her mother is Durr-e-Shahwar, who is the protagonist of the show and her father is Mansoor (played by Samina Peerzada and Qavi Khan respectively). They are seen leading a peaceful, retired life in Murree. Loving and caring towards each other, they seem to be the ideal couple – or so their daughter, Shandana, believes them to be.

The viewers are then taken back into time, and given a glimpse in to the early married life of Durr-e-Shahwar and Mansoor. This is full of various issues, beginning with a joint family system, their lack of privacy, failed understanding between the two partners, major adjustment issues for the young Durr-e-Shahwar and a young Mansoor who is clueless as to how to balance his responsibility as a husband and a son. Sanam Baloch and Mikaal Zulfiqar play the young Durr-e-Shahwar and Mansoor respectively.

It is strange to see how this peaceful, retired couple’s marriage was once as much on the rocks as their daughter’s.

The story does seem ordinary. Having said as much, credit should be given to the entire team for bringing this story alive in such a manner that the viewer is totally transported into the world the characters play. Literally, the sets, the ambiance of the scenes, the background music and the heart wrenching dialogues by Umera Ahmad are brilliantly in sync with the grand effort injected by the cast in their performances. The emotions that emanate from their acting boosts the brilliant chemistry they have with one another and brings in commendable intensity in each scene. It surely gives its viewers goosebumps, keeping them hooked from the first scene of the episode to the very last.

The serial has tried to highlight some of the common factors like in-laws, joint family, the wife’s career, the husband’s expectations and so on. Ultimately, whether or not these factors  affect the quality of ones marriage depends on the partners themselves. A couple has to have the right attitude in a relationship in order to bring quality to it. If the marital relationship has strength and quality, then no problem is big enough. However, if this is not the case then even the most trivial of  problems will turn out to be a mountain instead of a mole hill. What we see in the serial are two couples whose problems are equally great but their attitude and perception towards their problems and relationship is quiet different.

“Durr-e-Shahwar” is definitely a drama for all couples to watch.

It is filled with excellent pre-marital as well as post-marital counselling material. It covers the typical fears and apprehensions of a young, to-be-married girl and boy. It highlights the fact – much forgotten nowadays – that relationships need time and effort in order to thrive.

Most importantly, “Durr-e-Shahwar” has tried to lead back home the very crucial, but lost, role of the parents in their children’s marriage. Durr-e-Shahwar’s father, Sami (played by Muhammad Ahmed) needs an important mention here.

His conversations via letters with his daughter, advising her at every difficult turn in her life, are full of potent and heartfelt lessons. His advice enabled her to face problems patiently. Later in the serial, Durr-e-Shahwar herself decides to tell Shandana her entire story only to make her understand the ways she can save her crumbling marriage.

All in all, “Durr-e-Shahwar” has attempted to enlighten the viewers, asking them to reflect on their own relationships, and how they can better them. In a nutshell, it is the story of every couple. Many have even testified that it is akin to seeing their own life’s story being played out on the screen, and therein lies its appeal.

As the series draws to an end today, I would like to give Haissam Hussain a huge round of applause for taking an age old story and depicting it so powerfully and beautifully on screen. It has, no doubt, helped the marriages of countless couples.

Hareem.Ahmed

Hareem Ahmed

A passionate reviewer and critic of dramas and soaps who blogs at dramapakistani.net./

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

  • Tayyaba Khan

    True that! Durre Shahwar is a masterpiece especially the conversation of a father with his daughter is worth listening and pondering upon.

    This drama took me back in PTV’s era and recalled Deputy Nazir Ahmed’s “Akbari and Asghari”. Congrats to the entire team of Durre Shahwar.Recommend

  • Tina

    Liked the drama, at times we really need to see what happens after marriage the early stages no one really tells you that and then you enter a relationship with great expectations as in movies, mansoor looked really good, there should have been more intimacy scenes between them,most shows show women fighting over one man, but what happens when you get the guy, he is like any other guy, media has given girls unrealistic expectations in women due to which thy make some very stupid choices just to get “the one” and also there is a great frustration in our society, the thought that everyone else is living a better life than you are, which is not the case, a woman being the legal wife still doesnt have much rights as some points.. To talk with her husband and so forth.
    Its time that society gives women the respect they deserve.cheersxxRecommend

  • Confused Single Man

    Thanks for writing this as the drama made me feel much better about the married life after seeing and talking to my married friends suffering…
    To be very honey we all look up to our parents in every phase of our life and growing up with loving and understanding parents it was very hard for me to believe in the bitter truth of married life told by my married friends ……
    So I do applaud the whole team of “Durr-e-Shahwar” for enlighten us with truth of a happy married life ….Recommend

  • Nah

    @ hareem ahmed: like “meri zaat zara-e-benishan”. it brings to the table a very important issue as i see it: women do not pass their overboarded patience DNA to their child.
    and in contemporary times divorce rates do get higher. “aurat jhi ghar bati hai aur uss ko banati hai” the promo shows. thankfully i did not see the show and if it shows she following her mom’s footsteps, its another la la land story. not reality.Recommend

  • Ordinary Villager

    Well to be honest I am not a big fan of Pakistani dramas but I think Pakistani dramas now are becoming peculiar with good storyline and now people will tend to see these dramas. I was introduced to Pakistani dramas by Hamsafar as our mother have ordered us not to change that channel during that time and now a days there is another drama known as Sirat e Mustakeem on Express entertainment and my family is a fan of it but now i can watch these dramas as they are not bad at all. I think Dure Shahwar will be a good drama as well but i missed it..:( Recommend

  • Shahwar viewer

    No doubt its super amazing brilliant drama…….each episode has a lesson in itself…..a perfect guidance for the couples to resolve their marital issues and make thier married life happier……Love Shahwar’s Father’s letter parts…..very deep very touchy….make me cry all the time….ll always miss this drama…i would like to implement the lessons gained from this drama after my marriage…..:PRecommend

  • Marium

    I loved what you’ve written up there and I couldnt agree with it more. This serial is truly an inspiration for many. Specially the parts where the daughter has connected with her father and how her father helped her get through the most crucial time of her life with such ease. This has also brought into light the importance of writing. There are so many things that you cant say to someone and specially to your parents on face. But when you write you can fully express yourself and say out things easily.Its sad that this master piece is coming to an end so soon, but the lesson that it has taught to us shall remain in our hearts and minds for a long long time. Thumbs up to everyone who has worked in this and for this. Truly amazing. Thank you for putting something like this up.Recommend

  • unsaid

    Something should also be said about the inlaws. i guess they can never learn from dramas or real life, centuries have passed but instead of trying to support the newly wed couples they do their best to create and point out absurd differences and concerns.They marry their sons with much show and pomp but later do everything against keeping the couple together. If only they can live and let live life would be so much better for everyone. and if only men would stop being mama’s boy and understand that if the girl has left her parents for them they owe her a little bit respect and understanding when it comes to the boy’s parents.Recommend

  • alicia

    You forgot to mention how upset Shandana’s father gets whenever his daughter is upset. He seems to blame his daughter’s husband for her unhappiness and yet when he was newly married to shahwar he treated her very badly.

    Goes to show that men have different expectation for their own daughters yet they sometimes can’t be bothered to respect someone else’s daughters or their wife.Recommend

  • Xayne Aly

    I love this drama. Even I can relate myself to it and get inspiration from Durr-e-Shawaar’s life, how to maintain a composure even after so many hardships in relations, to deal with the life’s capricousness and punches. I’m gonna miss you Durr-e-Shawaar!!!Recommend

  • J B

    This drama represents the original life of million and million of girls. I hope every girl will get success as dur e shehwar. This drama is really very nice.Recommend

  • Kanwal

    I think nadia jamil did overacting, and as always, umera ahmad did over-writing. Life is not so black and white as she writes. I wish more people like Ashir azaim and Mehreen Jabbar begin to come to TV. Otherwise, the current drama trend is enough to make an fun and sense-loving creature beging to resent TV serials. Just as the Indian serials talk about money unless in millions and more and over-dress their actors. This nw trend in the last 5 years is pathetic really. Recommend

  • Amna Zia

    I Love love love Dureshewar, so Im so thankful you wrote this article. This play is really about how a couple has to make sacrifices in order to make their marriage work, whether they have a love marriage or not, they live independently or with a joint family.

    A huge round of applause for Haissam Hussain, Umera Ahmed & the entire cast.Recommend

  • t2

    Hareem thanks for putting up this post here.Well i have become a big fan of this drama,and the realistic appeal of this story baffles me.I have met many women from different walks of life who have suffered the same kind of circumstances.As the play wraps up i am filled with sorrow and gratitude at the same time.Down the lane i guess i will look back at it and think of it as a play who which gave a new sort of direction to my life. Recommend

  • r.sheikh

    Indeed technically the drama was good. However, I’m sick and tired of dramas that keep on preaching to women the so called Mashriqi values. If anything, the drama has clearly spelled out to those who’d dare not to take the plunge as marriage is nothing but hypocrisy. Surfeit of such dramas is just showing the latest trend which is slowly grooming young and impressionable minds to take all the crap that is handed out to them in any relationship. Is there no difference between ‘sabr’ and ‘jabr’. The bottom line of the drama is “aurat hi qurbani deti hai” that is why exploit her. What happened to the good old fashioned value of standing up for oneself?Recommend

  • Shehzad

    It was biased, little too negative towards the role of the husband. Made everyone women look innocent. Shandana’s mess was created by Shandana and there are many more Shandanas than Dur-e-Shahwar. samina perzada looked way more saddened and negative after all these years of marriage and frankly seemed like didn’t even accept her marriage till now. Mansoor’s situation has to be understood and his role was not as negative that his daughter had to lose his respect. A husband is left to choose between the two sides… not easy.

    And what happened to Mateen?Recommend

  • Rehmat

    You said it all… excellent post!Recommend

  • Saadia Y

    Excellent Drama & an excellent analysis. This play is very close to my heart so I dont want it to end but I know that all good things must come to an end. The way all the chracters were shown I felt a close connection with all of them. They were real people, with real problems. It was a very mellow drama with no over-the-top dramatic scenes & dialogues.
    Hats off to madam Umera Ahmed for her simple script, Haissam Hussain for his brillant direction & the whole cast for a brilliant performance.Recommend

  • http://alliswell.express-forum.net Tinni

    I started watching Humsafar after getting fedup with Hindi Serials. What I like about Pakistani soaps it has a definite ending. While Humsafar had all the material to be a sure shot hit, Durr E Shahwar was some story with marital problems, no dhak dhak moments, a weak hero but if you ask me today which serial I will pick for re-watch, it will be DeS. A story many of us have seen unfolding in our own household, in our own lives. The narration is just too good and mesmerising if I may add too. The trauma of a girl getting married to an unknown family, her family’s guilt maybe they have made the wrong choice, her father resolution to help his daughter to save her marriage and at the end when Mansoor decides to take his wife and son with him to his next posting, the way DeS reacts and her mother-in-law too is natural. I have seen it with my own life so I know with time, with some adjustments and compromise how relations change just as Sami said, how your worth grows heavy on the weighing scale. Well done everybody for giving us just a realistically beautiful drama :)., Tinni from IndiaRecommend

  • Hina

    It is really tough saying ‘good-bye’ to Durr-e-Shahwar on tv screen …. but I believe she – Durr-e-shahwar – has left the serial and entered into our lives… and I am sure she is there to stay for long … for most of us !

    A superb story …. told in a beautiful way !Recommend

  • http://SayinggoodbyetoDurreShahwar Tahira Khalid

    I second you HinaRecommend

  • Sadaf Khalid

    Well written article. For the past 15 weeks I could not get over the fact how beautiful this drama is. It had a mesmerizing dream-like or film-like quality to it.
    @ DB… agree.. the story may seem ordinary but the manner in which it was presented made it a treat to watch.
    @ Tinni…. It really was a realistic drama. Ive seen so many Shewars fortunately & Safias Unfortunately around me.
    @ Hina…. I also feel that DES has left the screen & entered my life.
    @ Madam Umera, Haissam Hussain & the rest of the cast & crew….Your hard work did not go unnoticed.Recommend

  • http://dramapakistani.net Hareem

    Thanks for all the comments guys! Recommend

  • erum

    i really like Des and hope that this trend of good and versatile drama production at our private channels continues.. Hats off to all the DeS Team Recommend

  • sanam durrani

    i connected with shahwar’s n towards the end with shandana’s character a lot…pearls of wisdom i say. And Sanam Baloch was flawless in the drama.Recommend

  • my husband is my durreshahwar

    While I loved the script and admit crying at scenes and dialogues, but I still feel this drama is going to reinforce the stereotypical role of woman as the compromiser. Funnily enough while I was watching this drama, I could see my loving hubby as durreshahwar. Not that I am a horrible wife, but because he is not the typical male potrayed in this drama. He always comes forward to apologise if it is his mistake. He loves to discuss his issues with me and take advise. He loves to show intimacy everyday without fear of spoiling me. He loves to appreciate all what I do for him. I always fear losing such a gem, when I see dramas like these because I then feel my husband must be an angel not fit for this stupid world as he does not resemble mansoor or hyder at all! It is time for Pakistani dramas to show loving husbands so men learn to value their wives as friends and life partners.Recommend

  • MF

    One quick question, the child shown is named Mateen in the flashback..but later we learn that they have a girl named Shandana only!!
    somebody please clarify!Recommend

  • http://dramapakistani.net Hareem

    @ MF

    Mateen was the first child and Shandana was the second and only daughter. Please see first episode where DeS and Mansoor are talking about Mateen at breakfast.Recommend

  • http://dramapakistani.net Hareem

    @ my husband is my durreshahwar

    Unfortunately, a majority of girls are the “Durre-Shehwar” in our society – the ultimate message of the drama serial was to compromise for a while and then see the tide turn in your favour. In the beginning, no one hears you in a joint family and after a few years, you become the decision maker. But for others to listen to you, you have to listen first. This is the reality of our joint family system – I agree it’s harsh and all joint families are NOT the same. You are definitely one of the luckier ones :)Recommend

  • http://dramapakistani.net Hareem

    @ Nah

    Shandana said: Mard na ghar basatay hein na uss ko tootnay say bachatay hein. Yeh dono kaam sirf aurat karti hai.

    I may not totally agree with this, BUT I am glad the end message was not Shadana’s job resignation – it was a change in her attitude towards her husband and her marriage!Recommend

  • random1

    even though the story is age-old but the drama had depth to it and definitely struck some chords. when you are done with one episode, it leaves you thinking about one thing or the other that could be corrected. its more like ‘ you cant control what happens to you but you can for sure control how you respond to it’. It is not always the other person who is wrong, sometimes nobody is wrong .. only the perspectives are different or the ‘tones’ you are using make it seemingly offensive. If people start empathizing each others’ feelings.. relationships( husband-wife, mother in law-daughter in law etc) would be healthier.
    Moreover,the blame was put on working women, somehow. i guess, it was more of a reality-teacher for a woman than a man. he has to understand things, she has to compromise on things, as it depicted ‘aurat hi ghar banati hai’. no doubt a woman has the capability to make or break a home, but wouldnt life be much more beautiful if efforts are put from both sides?.. wow la-la lands are amazing:p

    @Marium: totally agree with you.
    @unsaid: true that !Recommend

  • r.sheikh

    @my husband is my durreshahwar:
    Thank you so much for your post. I’m afraid in their bid for realism these tv-walas are reinforcing the stereotypes. In good ol’ days we had dramas like Neelay Haath, Hawa ki Beti which mirrored reality yet without these regressive philosophies. Recommend

  • farzana

    It was a very beautiful play from all the aspects. Best writer, amazing Cast and supurb direction..Hats off to the team… Very well done..It was based on so many’s true life story
    Thank you Umera for writing on behalf of us.Recommend

  • http://ExpressTribune Farzana

    No doubt, it is superb, amazing, brilliant drama…….Wonderful script, marvelious actors and super superb direction… It was part of everyones life. Hats off to the team for such a brilliant work.. Thank you and congratulations once again Umara for such a masterpiece.Recommend

  • sana imam

    beautiful drama infact every women is durr shahwar not exactly facing same prob but some how facing strangs prob but we should incourage all fathers to see this drama and guide there daughtersRecommend

  • Nara

    While I do love the acting in DES, and I do agree that there were some absolute gems of wisdom that must be acknowledged, my problem with Dure-Shahwar and Humsafar remains that they both place the absolute onus for the success of a marriage on a woman. They keep reiterating that it is the woman’s role to accept, to compromise, to adapt and only in that is the key to true happiness.

    I’m not saying that women shouldn’t compromise or adapt or adjust. Marriage, more so than any other relationship, requires hard work and effort but it is something that should be by both parties, not one-sided. Why are always the women shown to change almost who they are only to keep their families together? And is this sacrifice always worth it, giving up who you are/can be only to keep the family and social fabric together? Drama’s always seem to portray that the woman is always satisfied with this choice, whereas in reality we would probably come across many more wives who have a mere formality of a relationship with their husband and I honestly wonder whether sometimes if it isn’t just smarter to get out early and at least make a bid for happiness rather than be condemned for life in a loveless union where the only consolation is your children who as you get older will move on with their own lives in any case. Recommend

  • Hira

    AWESOME drama indeed! Loved every episode!
    and thnx to the comments, my confusion regarding Mateen and Shandana are also cleared now!
    I’m glad you wrote this blog defending the drama :)Recommend

  • http://sumaiyahasan.blogspot.com/ Dr Sumaiya Hasan

    I think it was an awesome drama..very practical..after a long time we had some drama which had more story and less glamour and thats very good otherwise nowadays most of our serials are more towards the makeup and grooming of the actors and no one pays attention to acting itself and the story..sanam baloch as usual was brilliant..plus the story touched us because 90% of our moms have a similar story as Durre Shehwaar’s life..the background music was just so much linking to the ongoing drama..the direction was awesome..i loved the dialogues specially the letters which Shehwaar wrote to her father and all the replies she got from him..I loved the letters so much that I am finding them if i get them somewhere on net so that i can put them on my blog..i will miss Durre Shehwaar..It was a really good entertainment for saturday and not just entertainment..it was something which reminded us of our morals and culture..otherwise everyone today is so much involved in the glamour and foolishness of Indian channelsRecommend

  • Maria

    I loved the drama and am sorely going to miss it. The central theme of the drama was to portray how marriages work and it couldn’t have been depicted better. I guess every relationship has problems but time and patience are needed to make it better and stronger. The acting, ambience, direction was all brilliantly done. My congratulations to the entire production team! Recommend

  • Hareem

    Dr. Sumaiya Hasan

    Some Facebook pages are already posting the letters written by Durre-Shehwar’s father; you can access them from there…just type Durre-Shehwar (Official) in your search box on Facebook or Umera Ahmed (Official).

    To the rest:

    Thank you for all the comments.Recommend

  • Jr

    Wat an amazing Drama! this is ma 2nd pakistani drama after Dastaan and i wasn’t disappointed with anything from acting to the BM to the story line! Huge thanks to each and every person who was associated with this drama! the cast member was absolutely amazing the way they portrait their role and Espcially Sanam Baloch! she is absolutely amazing!

    Just a Question tho! What happened to Mateen?? Durr-e-shahwar and mansoor’s 1st childRecommend

  • Hasan Umar

    Dr. Sumaiya Hasan

    The writer is planning to write Durre Shehwar as a novel too very soon then you can grab the book and read the letters…:)

    Jr
    In the 1st Episode it was mentioned there that Mateen was settled abroad with his family.

    Hareem

    A Wonderful blog thanks a lot once again for reviewing every single episode of Durre Shahwaar..Recommend

  • eek

    I believe it says in the first episode that mateen lives abroad and shandana is the second child @MF: Recommend

  • nisar

    Hi guys!
    im nisar and i am from Afghanistan. i lived in Pakistan from 1992 till 31 aprit 2012. and i am saddend to say that i missed the last 7 or 8 episodes of DES.
    this drama was the best drama i ever saw on a pakistani tv. i tought DAAM was the best, but i guess DES beat DAAM by half a point.
    this drama made me realize that running from marriage is not the answer to a happy life. marriages do have problems and if put some efforts into it, it can be the best thing.
    what a supperb dram and that background music was best ever. loved the writing and the direction and the ambiance created by all the people behind the camera. but the real hero of the drama was the dialogues. simple yet touching. and those letters…..Ahh!
    i found out only yesterday that DES ended on june 16th. i hope i get it on DVD.this drama will be with me same as i always remember DAAM.
    lastly i would like to talk about the acting. Sanam Baloch proved once again that she is the best actress of her age and era. effortless and beautiful. Samina is Meryl streep of Pakistan and Nadia is so amazing in potraying every single emotion. Zulfikar, M.Ahmad, the mother in law played by SABA FAISAL and Noman Ejaz (all) need special mention.
    the only negative thing about this drama was the song sung by komal rezvi, that they thankfully removed after the first episode.
    Amazing job!!!Recommend

  • nisar

    AMAZING Drama in all aspects.
    Love fromAfghanistan.Recommend