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Zindagi Gulzaar Hai (ZGH) is a Pakistani show which aired its last episode on this Friday, 24th May 2013. Based on a novel with the same it was directed by Sultana Siddiqui, written by Umera Ahemd & was aired on HUM TV. The lead actors were Fawad Khan & Sanam Saeed.

Credit of the picture to the maker

ZGH is the story of Kashaf Murtaza (Sanam Saeed) & Zaroon Junaid (Fawad Khan) who find love where & when they had least expected it. While the main story revolves around these two it would be wrong to call this show a love story. It offers much more than romance. It gives out many social messages without tending to get too preachy about it.

I am an Indian & this is the first Pakistani show which I have ever seen. Not being a fan of Indian shows, I had no great expectations from this too. However I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

Points which I loved about the drama were:

  • I loved Kashaf’s mother, Rafia (Sameena Peerzada).She raises her 3 girls with love & care. She is shown as a strong woman who doesn’t break down completely after her husband Murtaza leaves her & marries a second time so that he can have a son to carry on his name. She is a well balanced woman who puts a great deal of trust in her eldest daughter. The bond which Kashaf – Rafia share is enviable.
  • Kashaf (Sanam Saeed) is her eldest daughter who becomes the first girl in her family to attend university. She wins a scholarship to the university. She is first in the scholarship list & maintains that rank throughout her university. For a change she doesn’t fall for the rich, Casanova of her university Zaroon Junaid. Her intelligence doesn’t abandon her when faced with a rich, handsome guy. In fact the protective walls she has built around herself since her childhood go up many inches higher. A completely logical & understandable reaction! She doesn’t melt into a puddle when he singles her out for his attention. No matter how hard he tries to win her over she doesn’t relent. Her reaction when she finds out he had been playing with her throughout is quite real. She is a brave girl who faces her tormentors head on & moves ahead in her life without bothering about them.
  • The slow transformation of Zaroon Junaid(Fawad Khan) from a rich Casanova with double standards to a loving husband was the most amazing thing of this show. Getting engaged to an extremely modern girl like Asmara (Mehreen Raheel) & seeing his sisters failing marriage he realizes that the principles & values he looks out for in his ideal life partner are not those which he would find in girls of his class & in his society. Without realizing it, he has been measuring up every girl in his life against Kashaf, the conservative girl from his university days. 🙂 Without turning him into a love sick puppy the director managed to convince me that Zaroon was besotted with Kashaf. The chai ka cup scene in Sir Abrars room was the best one in the whole show. Every woman dreams of that one man who would shield her from all harm, who would stand firmly between her & danger. So Kashaf agreeing to marry Zaroon; though quick & fast; it did make sense than her agreeing to any romantic proposition from his side would have done.
  • Zaroon & Kashaf were never even shown hugging onscreen. She wore no low cut punjabi dresses, wore little make up, he never removed his shirt to show off his six packs, her dupatta never landed on his head, she never slipped while walking, her hair never got caught in his shirt button, belt, watch accidently. Yet theirs was a romance which  was in a class of its own. They got only as close as holding hands but there was something extremely true & pure about their relationship which convinced everyone who was watching of their love. I have no idea if hugging & stuff is banned in Pakistan & hence was not shown. But the actors have emoted so well that they could have been on different planets & yet their love would have reached out to the audience. Full points to both Fawad & Sanam for some excellent acting.
  • A special mention must be made of the cupid who got Zaroon & Kashaf together. Actually there were 2. 🙂 One was Sir Abrar (Behroze Sabzwari). The man is just classy. No other word will describe him better. The other one was Sidhra (Mansha Pasha), Kashaf’s sister. The girl was a doll from start to finish. 🙂 If not for these two Kashaf & Zaroon would never have been together!

Now a few complaints:

  • They wound up this beauty in just 26 episodes! 😦 They wasted almost 2-3 episodes where Kashaf & Zaroon weren’t even together. A lot of unnecessary time was wasted on a bitching step mother, a bitchy Asmara & an ever complaining Kashaf. In retrospect many of these scenes felt unnecessary & an utter waste of time. We get it, the step mother hates the first wife & her daughters, Kashaf has suffered a lot & Asmara doesn’t like anyone other than herself.  We don’t need a reminder in every episode.
  • The end seemed a bit rushed. In the 25th episode Zaroon & Kashaf quarreled & Kashaf left her home & went to stay with her mother. And in the 26th episode she is back? IMHO they should have spent at least a whole episode where these 2 realized the importance their partner has in their lives. Main events in the lives of both Zaroon & Kashaf were always shown without any preamble; Zaroon decides to pursue Kashaf in University, Zaroon gets engaged to Asmara, Zaroon breaks off with Asmara, Zaroon thinks Kashaf would make an ideal life partner, Kashaf agrees to marry Zaroon, Kashaf suspects Zaroon of having an affair, etc
  • Many questions were left unanswered after the last episode. What happened to Murtaza & his son? Did Rafia go to live with Murtaza as he had suggested? Did Ghazala become a better wife? Why was Zaroon meeting Asmara? What about the loan which Kashaf took & never told Zaroon about? Isn’t he ever going to mention it? A nice family get together, or a birthday party for Zaroon – Kashaf’s kids or a 10th anniversary celebration of Zaroon – Kashaf in the last episode would have been a nice way of getting together both the families & sharing with the audience what happened to them all. The end felt a bit abrupt & sudden.
  • In terms of execution of scenes one scene struck me as odd. Kashaf is sitting on the couch crying. She has just learnt that she is pregnant & she is afraid. When Zaroon comes home & sees her crying he starts looking all concerned. This part is nicely done by Fawad. However when he gets to know the reason he is all smiles. Kashaf continues crying. The most natural reaction of Zaroon’s part here would have been enveloping her in a tight hug. She is your wife dammit! But what did Zaroon actually do?? He sat there beside her as you would sit beside a neighbor or stranger on the road who is crying her heart out. Though this was intended to be an emotional scene, this not – hugging – your – wife – when – she – absolutely – needed – it had me laughing even after the scene ended. Zaroon looked ridiculous sitting there with his hands in his lap. 😛

In spite of all these complaints I am in love with this drama. The story is beautiful & has substance. The direction is wonderfully done as well. Other than the leads I loved Zaroon’s sister & Kashaf’s mother. Sara is very classy, Rafia is a wise, practical, hard working & loving mother. Both the actresses were perfect in their respective roles. The only actor I did not like in the whole show was Sheheryaar Munawar Siddiqui who plays Osama. IMO he smiles too much & unnecessarily. 😛 Other than him the casting is just perfect!

A 5/5 from my side.

P.S.: Anymore similar drama suggestions? Please leave a comment. I am dying to watch some more quality work!

You can find the episode links here with the English subtitles: