Positioned as the next Humsafar, Hum TV’s latest drama serial – Zindagi Gulzar Hai – premiered to a fairly strong start tonight. ‘Will it be the next Humsafar?’ was the question on everyone’s mind and it was inevitable to not draw comparisons between the stories and the characters of both serials. Though some basic elements may have appeared similar on the surface, there were enough hints that they would surely diverge as the story evolved. Irrespectively, ZGH has the makings of a riveting show.
As an adaptation of Umera Ahmed’s popular novel of the same title, Zindagi Gulzar Hai (just like Humsafar) has a fairy tale factor to it. Kashaf Murtaza (Sanam Saeed) is one of three sisters who live with their mother in Nazimabad while the father (Wasim Abbas, who lives with his second wife and three other children) has apparently deserted them and offers no economic support at all. The mother (Samina Peerzada) works as a teacher and pulls her worth and weight to make ends meet. They barely do and while the rest of the ladies in the poor house seem to have compromised with their dire situation, Kashaf is as bitter, angry and pessimistic as contemporary characters get.
Sanam Saeed, who one remembers for her risqué role in Nida Butt’s theatrical musical Chicago, has come a long way to be able to portray an Urdu speaking, lower middle class girl so naturally. She is convincing in the role she has been given, which could also be credited to the direction of Sultana Siddiqui.
Back to the story, at the other end of the city is Zaroon Junaid (Fawad Khan) who is the chocolate-hero personified. If Asher Husain was sobre and serious then Zaroon is carefree and spoilt. He whiles his time away (cafes, guitars and girls keep him busy) and admits that “life is so good that he’s become lazy for lack of trying”. He’s effortlessly an A-grade student who is sailing through life in a bubble. And he shares this life with his sister (Ayesha Omar) and his very liberal parents (Javaid Sheikh and Hina Bayat).
Episode 1 set the premise for 24 episodes (approximately) that will unravel over the next five to six months and as a potential love story it leaves us waiting for Zaroon’s happy bubble to burst as his life cycle coincides with Kashaf’s bitter one. It surely will, as they are destined to end up in the same college. The fairy tale will have a happy ending if Prince Charming manages to save the Damsel in Distress from her dark and miserable life. But I have a feeling that things will not be as simple as they may be seem to be. This girl may not want to be saved!
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