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14 Nov

All you need to know about Khadija Mastoor’s novel Aangan before the drama goes on air

*SPOILER ALERT: STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HUM TV’S UPCOMING PLAY AANGAN*

Many acclaimed writers, novelists and poets have contributed to Urdu literature but for each writer, one or a couple of writings have stood out and become immortal. Such is the case with Khadija Mastoor’s novel Aangan.

The popular novel has been turned into a TV serial with a star cast that couldn’t have been bigger or better. Ahsan Khan, Mawra Hocane, Sajal Aly, Ahad Raza Mir, Sonya Hussyn, Abid Ali and Hira Salman will be seen playing the central characters while the play has been directed by Mohammed Ehteshamuddin, who has blockbuster projects such as Sadqay Tumhare and Udaari to his credit.

I had read Aangan for the first time around three years ago and due to my weak memory had forgotten most of the story line, just remembering that the feeling was not very pleasant. Promos of Hum TV’s upcoming drama Aangan, however, stirred this inquisitiveness to revisit the story before the play starts; especially also because the promos gave a very different feel to what I remembered of the story.

Khadija Mastoor — in a span of 54 years — wrote three collections of short stories and two novels. Out of the two, Aangan is the one that got lots of admiration in the literary circle. I picked up the novel and put it down only after I had finished reading it. I am not going to lie, I still had an inexplicable heavy feeling when I finished but, after a gap of three years, I was able to appreciate the novel far better.

 

 

Aangan is the story of a family’s saga from riches to rags in the backdrop of the political upheaval in the subcontinent. It can be easily termed as a historic narrative elucidating various political ideologies and changing cultural values with the help of the characters of the novel.

The protagonist of the story is Aaliya — which is being played by Mawra Hocane in the drama — a strong and focused girl who keeps her dignity intact even in the most unfortunate of circumstances. She is sensitive and intelligent yet very humble and a caring soul. She keeps others before herself but in over-analysing people and relationships, she herself remains at loss. The way Aaliya’s character is built, especially vis-a-vis the male lead, gives confusing signals; at times she is averse to him whereas simultaneously she longs for his attention.

Khadija Mastoor has beautifully woven the various characters of Aangan, bringing out their political narratives be it Barey Chacha supporting Congress, Aaliya’s mother’s undying loyalty with the British Raj or Chimmy (played by Sajal Aly in the drama) & Jamil (played by Ahad Raza Mir in the drama) propagating Muslim League. The cultural and moral fabric is enriched by a constant commentary by Kareeman Bua (maid servant). Another gripping aspect of the novel is the movement of the characters; they develop, flow and move towards their goals without acting out of character, other than Aaliya’s emotional connection with Jamil, which keeps one wondering what to make of it.

 

 

Khadija Mastoor develops her characters and their surroundings like a painting, keeping in mind each and every detail using similes and metaphors beautifully. But the overall tone of the novel is of melancholy and despair. There are hardly any moments of dramatic relief. If you want to read a light-hearted book, Aangan is not for you but anyone who is able to appreciate the art and style of beautiful writing must not miss reading the novel.

I must say though that the promos are giving away an entirely different vibe so I am really eager to watch how different is Hum TV’s Aangan from Khadija Mastoor’s book.

Meanwhile, here’s the teaser:

 

Mahwish Zaidi

The author lives in Singapore, is an obsessive reader of Urdu literature and is an avid follower of Urdu serials.