Teri Raza, like 98% of all dramas on television in Pakistan, appears to have marriage at its epicenter. The first episode was telecast yesterday and while two names – Sanam Baloch and Sarmad Khoosat – are what pulled the audience (at least me) in, the story so far suggested nothing new in the pipeline. The young and reckless boy in love with the young and boisterous girl, who ends up marrying the older and mature man, is a bit of a tried and tested formula and yes, if executed properly, can be both heart warming and entertaining. Classics like Woh Saat Din and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam are validation enough and if, over the course of the entire serial, Teri Raza manages to have the same impact then we will be impressed. But that’s a big IF.
The unique twist, however, is the importance of the istikhara, which is a special prayer conducted before an important decision is to be made, seeking guidance from Allah. The fact that the istakhara is given a lot of airtime in episode one also indicates that the daadi will insist on an istakhara for Suhana’s marriage and it probably will turn in favour of her marrying her older cousin Imtiaz (Sarmad) and not Rameez (Shehroz Subzwari).
This drama will be as engrossing (or not) as the performances of the artistes on board. So far Suhana, played by Sanam Baloch, and Rameez (Shehroz Subzwari) are quite stereotypical. Sanam is a natural though, while it often looks like Sheroz is trying too hard. I do hope that Suhana’s character, at least, is developed with some originality though; it would be a shame to waste that talent. Sarmad Khoosat, who delivered a magnum opus in and as Manto, is well cast as the “Shakespearean” older man; he has a sense of humour and appears gracious as well as chivalrous but he’ll only go as far as his script and character development allows him to. That is the Achille’s Heel of most drama serials these days.
It’s difficult to pass a verdict after watching one episode; the first three episodes should help decide whether Teri Raza is worth its hype or not. So far there was nothing that left one anticipating the next episode but then again, perhaps there are worse ways to mull through a dull, mid-week Tuesday evening.