13 Oct 2012 16 Comments
By- Altaf Hussain
I have to admit. I had always found Umera Ahmed as an over-rated writer until Durr-e-Shehwar happened. The way she presented that simple story bowled me over. And now that she is back with Shehr-e-Zaat, I was understandably excited.
Additionally, this being a coproduction between two of the biggest production houses of our country sky rocketed my expectations. So, did Shehr e Zaat live up to all the mammoth expectations I had from it? Well, yes, it did…
Shehr-e-Zaat is the story of a rich, gorgeous, not-so-simple girl, Falak, who falls in love for a man of her dreams, Salman, who does not value her. She goes against her best friend, Hamza, who is madly in love with her, to marry Salman, who betrays her for a girl who is much lower in looks and everything else that matters. This breaks Falak who turns to religion and realizes that the true happiness is in being close to Allah.
Fair enough! We have seen countless stories based on the same concept before. It is always about the person failing to find his or her love and eventually finding Allah. Everyone, including me, knew the story of Shehr e Zaat even before it hit our screens, thanks to it being based on a novel. However, despite the face, the first promo gave me goose bump. Mahira going crazy in the mud scene is among the most talked about scenes ever. The curiosity was high and with the first episode, it went a notch higher.
My two most favorite things about Umera Ahmed are that she wraps up her serials quickly, and does not involve numerous characters. This time too, the story revolves around a selected few characters and ends in 19 episodes. Bravo! And thanks to it being short, there is never a dull moment. (Edit: originally a 16 episode serial, it was stretched beyond limit.)
The serial picks up from the first episode and never lets you lose interest. Some scenes, post break-up, are kind of dragged, but they can be neglected given how well the screenplay is. The dialogues by Umera Ahmed reach your heard and stay with you for a little longer. However, some dialogues that Mahira utters (such as in the scene where she throws everything away) could’ve been a little better. They gave an uncertain message in my opinion. Nonetheless, Umera Ahmed shines once again thanks to a captivating screenplay.
And brownie points to Sarmad Khoosat for doing full justice to the screenplay. He once again cements his position as the number one direction with this one. His direction of every scene is perfect. The man extracts amazing performances out of everyone. Some scenes, such as Mahira’s interaction with random people on the beach, leave an everlasting impact. Kuddos to the man for this!
It can’t be finished until I mention the cinematography which adds richness to every scene. But I saw too many people complaining about the camera zooming too much into Mahira’s face at times. Production values were top notch. The wardrobe was amazing, like always. Editing was perfect; you never see anything going hazy. The OST goes so well with the song, salutes to whoever chose it for the serial. Beautiful!
Now to the acting…I have seen too many people complain about Mahira’s acting, but I gotta admit that there couldn’t have been another Falak. Mahira isn’t a good actress, well she has improved, but the uniqueness she brings to this character makes it stand out. If Mahira was awkward in Humsafar, she is likeable in Shehr e Zaat. If she continues to act this way, I am sure she would be in the numero uno position soon. And did I forget to mention… she looks breath taking in those gorgeous outfits!
I have always mentioned that Mekaal is a terrific performer. He just needs someone to extract it out of him. And finally, Sarmad does it. This has to be among Mekaal’s career best performance. He plays the snob to perfection. His mannerism and dialogue delivery make you take notice of this powerful actor. Way to go Mekaal. I hope we’ll continue to see you in such powerful roles.
Mohib Mirza is a decent actor but I just can’t make myself like him for one reason or another. Here his dull dialogue delivery and weird make up made me scowl. His overall acting was passable, but I still think the man could’ve done a better job. But, then, he got a devdasish character.
Nadia Afghan is terrific as tabinda. However, I genuinely think they should’ve casted someone else. I know they wanted us to show how love is blind and sees nothing. However, Tabinda pales in comparison to Falak in everything. How could someone like Salman (Mekal) fall for her? She is comparatively not good looking, uses foul language, is old, divorced and seems to have a criminal background. Seriously? I personally do not approve of this casting!
Hina Bayat is gorgeous and suits the role to T. Whenever she is on screen, it is magic. Samina Pirzada’s role is an extension of what she did in Durre-e-Shehwar, and she does it well again. Sarmad Khoosat, in a cameo, shows that he can act. However, I still think he shouldn’t.
Overall, Shehr e Zaat is one of the best serials to have come out in 2012. In terms of story it doesn’t have anything new to offer. But thanks to a great screenplay, impressive acting and perfect direction the serial fully entertains you. Watch one episode, and I am sure you’d like to watch another one. Recommended!
May be I have given an extra half star, but it is only because the serial didn’t have 20+ ‘useless’ episodes like most serials today!