Despite the fact that the love triangle between Aaliya, Jamil and Chammi was hyped as its biggest draw, drama serial Aangan began, yesterday evening, giving us many other strengths that will serve as its pillars.
The drama serial — directed by Ehtashamuddin and an adaptation of Khadijah Mastoor’s novel — opened with an introduction to the central characters at large, gently spinning this pre-partition saga of a Muslim household into a story that at first glance was both intriguing and riveting.
We are introduced to the matriarch of the grand household, the indomitable Amma who runs the business of her haveli and those who live in it, with an iron grip. Zaib Rehman, with her steely gaze and no nonsense attitude delivers the perfect performance, making her an object of sympathy as well as fear. You are sympathetic towards her because she deals with her husband’s shameless womanizing and his consequent mistresses, who benefit from the family business, but she refuses to allow ‘begum’ status. She incites fear as she is unforgiving – a byproduct of her survival instinct – and intolerant of anyone who gets on her wrong side. A complex and intriguing character.
Abba Mian, played by Abid Ali, is a stately man of few words. He is also a man so caught up in his own personal pleasures – be they his love for music, poetry or women – that he is least bothered by what happens around him. Brilliant as Abid Ali is, it is evident by a simple raise of an eyebrow that there is more to his character than meets the eye.
There are other cogs in this wheel – Madiha Rizvi and Omair Rana are a complex couple – but it is the forbidden romance between Salma (Sonya Hussyn) and Subhan (Ahsan Khan) that leads this episode to the next. She is brazen as the daughter of this entitled family, he is meek and hesitant as its humble servant. Yet they are in love and it is evident that they shall suffer for it. I must say they both Sonya and Ahsan deliver concrete performances, easily transporting us to the perfect frames of this ‘aangan’ where stolen glances and secret rendezvous lead to tragedies.
Other than the cast, there is so much more that this drama serial derives its strength from. The way it has been picturized is both glamorous and yet real, making it very different from the average drama serial. Some of the frames, for instance Subhan weighing barley in the courtyard, pigeons in the foreground, was picture perfect. Angan’s historical perspective gives it layers and nuances that amplify its value from being a mere family saga to one that can be told in epic proportions. One episode in, Aangan seems flawless.