Aun Zara: The perfect family show for Ramazan!
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.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.