It takes an intelligent balance of story-telling, dialogue and characterization to ensure an effective play and that’s precisely what Zindagi Gulzar Hai is achieving more and more of as it gains momentum. There are enough sob-stories going around; stories that play up oppression and depression but here we have one that is pleasant despite being just as real as the tragedies we are fed on a regular basis. This is a love story between two hot-headed, intensely proud and intelligent people and the way Sultana Siddiqui is spinning it (with fabulous casting), every episode is turning more and more addictive.
Will Zaroon slap Kashaf in the next episode? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Till then, the plot of their relationship thickens this week as Zaroon consistently tries to win Kashaf over, by agreeing with her in class, attempting small talk here and there, bringing her presents back from Dubai and finally, in offering to drop her home when no-one else is ready to drive half way across the city after the university concert. It all backfires, naturally. She is too strong-headed and suspicious of anything good coming her way to trust it (and she is correct not to). He is too vain to accept that any girl who he is attempting to flirt with could resist his charms.
This was an immensely enjoyable episode, focusing on nothing much but the leading couple. From the classroom scene to the blow-up in the library (between Asmara and Kashaf), from the various arguments Kashaf has with Zaroon to the final show-down that she has in his car.
“You should know that this was the worst journey of my life!” he grinds at her when she gets out of the back seat to go home (she refuses to sit in the front with him).
“Mine too!” she retorts, with dignified fury.
Both characters are right and wrong to behave the way they do. They are right because coming from different worlds they cannot understand the limitations or allowances the other has. It’s no big deal for Zaroon to drop her home in the middle of the night but it’s almost sacrilegious for Kashaf to be seen coming home with a man. In their portrayal, it’s evident that the writer and director are empathizing with Kashaf more than Zaroon. Not only is she the under-privileged and thus worthy of more appreciation for upholding her values but she also means no harm whereas Zaroon is simply playing self-serving games to his ego. He’s a good guy, we know that, but his ego is getting the better of him.
I have to say that Fawad Khan is settling into his character perfectly. He has a natural villainy to his good looks, which play up very nicely when he’s furious. And he has a killer smile, which makes his irresistibility to women very convincing. Charming yet dangerous, he is the ideal Mills & Boon hero.
Sanam Saeed is just as good though one has to say that her elocution is too refined for someone with as little exposure as she is shown to have. Her English is confidant, her pronunciation perfect and it takes a while to be convinced of her life in the “conservative” lower-middle class. That said, steady direction does give her strength and once you see her in entirety you do realize how good she is. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Looking forward to next week!