The pace of the story picks up with a â€˜cute meetâ€™ between Zaroon and Kashaf. He actually nudges her aside when theyâ€™re all swarmed around the notice board to see the list of selected students and he makes fun of her name when sheâ€™s standing right behind him. Knowing that he will get besotted and that they will fall in love (wishful thinking?) itâ€™ll be interesting to see how this romance unravels.
Not that itâ€™ll be simple for Kashaf to fall in love and follow her heart. Itâ€™s bad enough â€“ as we are shown in this episode â€“ that sheâ€™s been admitted to a co-ed MBA program. Her father and fatherâ€™s elder brother are furious as they are your typical MCP (male chauvinist pigs) who believe daughters should be enslaved and then married off as soon as possible. They try to object but the mother puts down and permits her, albeit with trepidation and a fairly high level of anxiety as Kashaf will be the first girl in the family to study with boys.
Zindagi Gulzar Hai is a social commentary on both sides of society. It is a bit stereotypical – middle class men are regressive whereas high society women are liberal bitchesÂ – but as Samina Peerzada said in a recent chat when I bumped into her the other day:
â€œAn artist is not a social leader. He just identifies problems and helps reflect them through his work. Thatâ€™s what my character does in ZGH. The value of Rafiaâ€™s role is to reflect the importance of women in our society, something that easily gets sidelined. Rafia is a working woman with three daughters, whose husband has remarried in hope of a son.â€
He has indeed remarried and we are told that he has a son and another two daughters from his second wife. So as the story unfolds we learn more about the central characters and we see Fawad Khan pick up his act. His elitism is inevitable if you look at his car, his clothes and his lifestyle but at heart heâ€™s a man who believes his sister shouldnâ€™t make her fiancÃ© wait needlessly for her while she dresses. At heart heâ€™s almost conservative. These grounds make his case for falling for Kashaf a little more realistic.
Even more realistic is Kashafâ€™s character, who worries about her clothes and shoes and her makeup when sheâ€™s hitching rides on public transport to get to her first day at college, Her bitterness at seeing Zaroon step out of his Mercedes is a welcome substitute to the victim syndrome. And we see her turn her frustration into aggression when he amiably approaches her in class. There is definitely more of them to look forward to..
Until next weekâ€¦
Meeting Samina Peerzadaâ€¦
I bumped into Samina Peerzada at Xanderâ€™s CafÃ© earlier this week and couldnâ€™t help ask her a couple of questions about the play. Hereâ€™s what she had to sayâ€¦
What she feels is the USP of Pakistani playsâ€¦
â€œOur serials have always had a strong identity of their own. Our plays are about human relationships and emotional conflict. They always have been, unlike Indian soaps which are all about the saas-bahu saga.â€
What she feels about getting elderly roles in TV serialsâ€¦
â€œIâ€™m happy with whatever is given to me. The roles of older women have been challenging for me; I even stepped into a grandmotherâ€™s role in my last play. But itâ€™s okay. Itâ€™s good to be able to push the boundaries. That said, my daughter has told me to stop. She says that I get so engrossed in my character that I begin behaving like nani-dadis at home!â€
Do Kashaf and Zaroonâ€™s get marriedâ€¦
â€œDo you think they should be married? Well, youâ€™ll have to wait and see but he will get engaged to someone else. Thatâ€™s all Iâ€™ll tell you right now.â€