“Agar” is a show that has a fresh theme, a story following the lives of three sisters in vastly different situations in life. Starring Juggan Kazim, Junaid Khan, Hina Altaf, Usama Khan, Maheen Siddiqui and Hina Bayat in prominent roles, the story has been written by Madiha Shahid and directed by Ilyas Kashmiri. “Agar” has introduced us to three sisters, the first being Annie (Juggan Kazim), an older woman who worked through her “marriageable age” and is now seeking companionship in a society where older women are not expected to get married. Second is Hooriya (Hina Altaf), a young dreamer who sees marriage as her escape from life and its responsibilities. But when she does get married, she realizes it isn’t all she imagined it to be. And last, we have Chandni (Maheen Siddiqui), the youngest sister who “should have been a boy.” She has heard these taunts and reminders throughout her life and it has shaped her idea of self-worth. The concept is beautiful – and has been handled very nicely so far.
In episode 7, Annie and Shahwaiz (Junaid Khan) have a serious discussion where Shahwaiz makes it clear that his parents will never agree to their marriage – but he himself is committed. Annie is, at this point, very disheartened with the proposals she has been getting and wants to begin her married life. Shahwaiz and Annie get married secretly. In South Asian society, happiness is always linked to marriage. For an older woman, this is reaching peak happiness. But will Annie’s happily ever after be what she has always dreamed of? Juggan Kazim is doing a wonderful job in this role and “feels” every bit the part with her performance. Junaid Khan makes a nice companion for this ride.
Hooriya is now married and is making her mother-in-law’s life hell. Hooriya has never been taught responsibility and her mother-in-law, despite being a kind woman, is now fed up of Hooriya’s attitude. There’s a hilarious moment where Hooriya shuts down her mother-in-law’s taunts and makes it clear that she’s a daughter-in-law, not a servant. And while one could see many daughters-in-law cheering at this scene around the subcontinent, Hooriya herself is in the wrong in her situation. Her mother-in-law has been pretty kind and straightforward, saying the family size is only three, so if they work together, the household will run smoothly. This was a moment to compromise and create a happy family unit. Hooriya, instead, refuses to work. At present, Hooriya is now expecting a child. Farrukh (Usama Khan) plays the part of middle man very well. There’s a beautiful moment between Farrukh and his mother where Farrukh confides in his mother, explaining how he wants to keep Hooriya happy and be the husband she deserves. He genuinely wants to be a good man and a good husband (and father). He is a loving son, but as he walks away from the conversation, we can see that this is where he’s failing – he is allowing his desire to be a good husband get in the way of being a good son. Farrukh’s mother has certainly been running the household on her own, but as she’s getting older, she only wants someone to shoulder the responsibility with her. Farrukh’s marriage to Hooriya has left his mother deeply lonely….and as an audience, we can empathize.
By the end of the episode, one thing is clear – Annie’s mother is the reason for all her childrens’ problems. As Behram requests his mother to propose to his long-time girlfriend, she sees marriage as an almost dirty word. She scolds him and refuses to give in, saying she will choose his wife herself……after Chandni’s marriage…and Annie’s marriage. Of course, these weddings are not even in the cards. Who needs an enemy with a mother like this? “Agar” is telling a very interesting story about how parenting can affect children in different ways and affect views towards marriage well into adulthood. While their mother has always run away from the concept of marriage, that has driven her children in the opposite direction, wanting what she has been snatching away from them – and completely unprepared for it. Juggan Kazim, Hina Altaf and Usama Khan are the scene-stealers in this episode, though the entire cast is doing a great job. “Agar” is a winner in terms of story and content and deserves to be watched!