Aun Zara: The perfect family show for Ramazan!

Published: July 11, 2013
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Aun Zara is a next generation romance suitable for family viewing in Ramazan. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Aun Zara is a fresh, new comedy from the same team that made Aik Nayee Cinderella earlier this year. Based on Faiza Iftikhar’s novel Hissar e Mohabbat and directed by Haissem Hussain, the story revolves around two spoilt, only children who are desperately trying to escape their controlling families.

Aun is tired of his family’s obsessive attention towards his personal life. Exhausted by their constant interference he complains bitterly to his friend Manzar:

“Yeh ghar nahin, ICU ward hai!”

(This is not a house it’s an ICU Ward!)

Zara too wants an escape – anywhere or anything but the Navy career her military father has planned out for her. She asks her father:

“Tou, aam hona ghalat hai daddy?”

(Is it wrong to be ordinary, daddy?)

These two meet, end up marrying each other and then go through all the foolish mistakes of courtship before they find the answers to their problems.

Although it is a laugh out loud comedy with countless one-liners, there is a serious thread woven into the fabric of the story. Aun is basically the product of a woman only household- he may not realise it but his father’s absence has left a gaping hole in his life. Similarly, Zara has been raised single-handedly by her military officer father and doting grandfather, played so well by Irfan Khoosat. She has not learned the small feminine tricks most females take for granted.

The most splendid thing about this entire serial is the complete lack of moral fiber or introspection in either hero or heroine. Both are busy trying to manipulate every situation to satisfy their own ends.

Osman Khalid Butt is simply brilliant as Aun. He has come a long way from his internet parodies of Humsafar and the slightly stiff looking Mayer in Aik Nayee Cinderella. Such a busy young man – writing scripts for films like Siyah, acting in dramas and taking part in literary festivals – he might just be our own desi version of James Franco, only much better looking.

Zara is a wonderful mixture of sweet and tart that Maya Ali plays with great charm.

This is truly a next generation romance where the problems are more about a lack of maturity than any plotting mother-in-laws or aunts with agendas. My favourite scene so far had to be their wedding night. An unimpressed Zara chews gum to kill the boredom while her by now utterly disgusted looking groom Aun cannot be bothered to think of anything to say to make her like him.

One of the great strengths of Faiza Iftikhar’s writing is her ability to create nuanced characters that we can all recognise from our daily lives. Aun’s loud but wise Punjabi grandmother, his sweet but sad Urdu speaking mother and his combative Phupo are all played perfectly by Nasreen Qureshi, Hina Bayat and Sabreen Hasbani respectively. Haissem Hussain has brought out the best from his entire team and moves the narrative along at a rapid pace giving it his signature ‘it should have been a movie’ look.

As in all great comedies, it’s all about the chemistry, that intangible spark that is so obvious when it’s lacking but hard to define when it’s there. Aun and his intellectually challenged friend Manzar (well played by Mukarram Kaleem) seem to have it by the bucketful. Their scenes are a treat to watch. No matter how dire a situation Aun is in, Manzar can be relied on to make it even worse with one hare-brained suggestion after another. Yet despite all the turmoil and confusion there is a strong vein of real affection between all the friends and family members, just as in real family, which binds them all together.

After a spate of social message oriented and overtly ‘preachy’ serials, Aun Zara comes as a welcome relief. This is truly relaxing viewing for families especially around Ramazan. It does not patronise the viewer and if there is a theme, according to the writer it is:

“To value the relationships in our lives – otherwise life will teach us to value them.”

Note: This serial will be played on the Indian Channel Zee TV after it finishes its run on Pakistan’s APlus channel.

PHOTOS: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aun-Zara/106882602835570

Read more by Sadaf here or follow her on @Tomtomatoe

Sadaf Haider

Sadaf Haider

The author is a free lance writer, an unserious fan of dramas and films but most of all an observer . She is always looking for an amusing diversion and luckily other people are always willing to provide one. She tweets as @Tomtomatoe (twitter.com/tomtomatoe) She blogs at SadafSays.com

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

  • Fatima Awan

    Very well written Sadaf. I agree with you on all accounts. Aunn Zara really is a treat to watch.Recommend

  • Stranger

    Hey how are non Pakistanis ( I mean people not living in Pak ) supposed to watch this. Sounds fun and exciting. Pretty faces too . wow the heroine looks really pretty and chubby ( in a cute sort of way ).Recommend

  • Anwar.suhail

    Splendid review Sadaf. I agree with you on all accounts. Comprehensive review.

    AunnZara is truly like fresh breeze. Along with everything in this show, I really appreciate the chemistry and affection among ladies of this turbulent house hold.Recommend

  • Mona

    Very well written article Sadaf.
    I’m hopelessly in love with this play.
    The story maybe simple, but it is so sweet with witty one liners & no one does it better than Faiza Iftikhar. Her dialogues are simple but so funny. What I love about Faiza’s writing is that her female characters are always Independent strong women. Be it the ladies of ‘Aik Naye Cinderella’, ‘Bilquis Kaur’ or now the ongoing Aunn Zara.
    Haissam hussain’s Direction is perfect. No other director can create chemistries between actors the way he does. Whether its ‘Noorpur ki Rani’, ‘Dastaan’, ‘Dureshewar’ , ANC or now AZ.
    Osman K.B. is PERFECT as Aunn, typical mummy daddy type. The ladies of his household, Dadi, Ami, Phupho & Chachi are all good actresses & they share an amazing chemistry as well. The men of the play are also doing a great job.
    As I watch this play every week, I often think that this should’ve been a movie. Throw in a couple of songs & an item number & you have an excellent movie that the whole family can watch & enjoy.Recommend

  • Anwar.suhail

    Just watched the 4th episode of AunnZara, better than previous three.Recommend

  • http://www.DramaPakistani.net Sadaf

    I am glad you liked it Fatima . One of the good things about it is the positive male characters rather than the usual Drama hero jerks who cannot act like Men . By the way I I tried to watch Ghalti se Mistake ho Gaee on HUmTV which is supposed to be another family style Comedy but it gave me a headache ,It was awfulRecommend

  • kanwal

    I stopped reading afer you said he is better looking than James Fraco.BlimmeRecommend

  • maliha

    Awesome play
    all characters are performing brilliantly Recommend

  • Salma

    Awesome awesome awesome serial. I am loving every bit of it.Recommend

  • Madhia

    I so love this drama.. its refreshing, hillarious and entertaining at the same time.. Different from the same old plots…Recommend

  • Farah Khalid

    I just saw a part of the drama,when they both are getting married.But I was in a shock when I saw zara in ruksati,She was throwing rice like they do in indian weddings. Is this right or is this really our tradition?Recommend

  • Huma

    @farah khalid… its an old local tradition, happens here too, nothing to do with indians or pakistanis, just a tradition… pls dont make a big deal out of it… agay hi bauaht maslay hain!Recommend

  • Saadia

    @Farah, it’s a tradition, some people do it. I did it on my wedding & trust me I’m a Muslim.

    Great drama btw. Me & my family are enjoying it alot. It’s refreshing, light, sweet & everyones acting is superb.Recommend

  • http://www.DramaPakistani.net Sadaf

    @Stranger I think you can catch these episodes on line at dramas on line or the actual Aun Zara face book page will upload them regularlyRecommend

  • Priya

    I am a South Indian, I hardly understand Hindi. But reading this, and seeing all those beautiful faces I so want to watch this series. Last time I watch Humsafar loved it. One of my Pakistani friend was talking about it the other day. Please tell me where can I find it online? Does it have English sub titles? Recommend

  • Sheema

    The name of the play is ‘Aunn Zara’, not Aun Zara… please fix.
    Also, you can watch all the episodes online on Aunn Zara’s official page:
    https://www.facebook.com/Aunn.ZaraRecommend

  • Mona

    @Priya:
    If you’re on facebook, join the Aunn Zara facebook page. They’ve uploaded all the episodes on it & they have the best print as well.
    You can watch Aunn Zara on Youtube as well, but the picture quality is not that good on it.Recommend

  • Curious

    please give the reference about the broadcast of this show on ZEE TvRecommend

  • saraa

    @kanwal:
    Come on Kawal what is so special about James Franco , OKB is waaaay better looking .Recommend

  • http://www.DramaPakistani.net Sadaf

    @Sheema: Thanks for pointing that out Sheema , but you didn’t say anything about the actual drama . You usually give such great comments …Recommend

  • http://www.DramaPakistani.net Sadaf

    @Priya:
    You can watch the face book videos or go to Dramas on line Recommend

  • Aisha

    @Sadaf: Yes it is a bit of a drag so far ,but Osman is still good Recommend

  • Sobia

    I watched the 4th epi accidentally with my husband & we both throughly enjoyed it. Then we searched facebook to find the previous epis & finally landed on the AZ fb pg. it was really a treat to watch all epis in 1 day. We’ve fallen totally in love with this show. Such a treat.Recommend