What’s great about Pakistani television at the present moment is the variety of options audiences have. While there’s a “Tere Bin” for those seeking an intense yet light-hearted romance, there’s also a “Pyari Mona,” which provides a comedic take on real-life issues. “Agar” also seeks to shed light on Pakistani society and how common practices impact young women growing up in Pakistan. This is a show with strong content, great acting and a pace that leaves viewers coming back for more. While it may not necessarily be raking in high TRPs, it’s a show that’s winning the praise of viewers through word of mouth. Starring Junaid Khan Juggan Kazim, Hina Altaf, Hina Bayat, Maheen Siddiqui, Hira Soomro, Ali Abbas and others, the story has been written by Madiha Shahid and directed by Ilyas Kashmiri.
In episode 18, Annie (Juggan Kazim) and Shahwaiz (Junaid Khan) are now happily living their lives together with their daughter, Arya. However, things are not that simple. The fear that kept Annie away all these years was her fear of being defamed and losing the respect she’d earned over the years. That moment has arrived and her fears have come true as she overhears Chandni (Maheen Siddiqui) defending her to the other teachers at work. What’s tragic here is how Annie’s actions are seen as a crime despite the fact that she has been married all along and simply kept it quiet. Ironically, the same fingers that are pointing at Annie are interestingly quiet when discussing Shahwaiz and his equal part in the situation. Why is the brunt of blame placed so heavily upon women?? Unfortunately for Annie, she faces criticism at home too in the form of Hooriya (Hina Altaf).
Hooriya is having a really difficult time moving on with Meheryar (Ali Abbas). She is not only still mourning Farrukh’s (Usama Khan) death, but she also sees Meheryar as “less than.” He is not her equivalent, at least in her own mind. She treats Meheryar with extreme contempt, hurting his sense of self-respect and even disrespecting her kind, empathetic mother-in-law. Will Hooriya’s marriage last? And if it does, does she even deserve happiness with this kind of attitude? Hooriya, at present, has chosen to make Annie the target of her anger, furious that Annie chose a good-looking man like Shahwaiz for herself and “forced” Hooriya to marry a man like Meheryar. Of course, Hooriya did have the right to choose her life path – but she was given every opportunity. Her family only wanted her to show responsibility toward her child in some way. She was given the choice to continue her education, but did not show any interest in bettering herself in that way. Later, when she was asked by Zainab (Hira Soomro) to help around the house, she not only refused in that way, but also indirectly caused Zainab’s miscarriage by not caring for her own child. When an individual refuses to help themselves, their family can only do so much. And in the end, Hooriya chose to get married herself in order to escape demands to lift a finger and do housework. Hooriya is not a team player, she’s the sort of person who wants all the luxuries in life without having to lift a finger to earn them. This storyline, as some have discussed on social media, is not about the rights of a widow to choose her future, rather it’s about the importance of education and financial independence, so one does not become a burden on others.
“Agar” continues to be a great show that’s not only enjoyable to watch, but also imparts some important life lessons. Hina Altaf, in particular, is doing an excellent job driving the audience insane with Hooriya’s selfish, self-absorbed behavior. This is a sign of good acting that we feel so passionately towards a character, even if the feelings aren’t necessarily positive. Junaid Khan, Juggan Kazim, Hina Bayat and really every member of the cast is performing wonderfully. “Agar” is doing well, but it’s a show that deserves much more attention.