“Agar” replaces “Badshah Begum” and brings Juggan Kazim back to television as an actress after a long gap. “Agar” is not a glamorous drama, rather it focuses predominantly on the middle class and how they struggle to make ends meet, specifically in a family of all girls. In some ways, “Agar” strikes a similarity to “Habs,” currently airing on ARY, though taking a different route story-wise. 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.
In episodes one and two, we are introduced to Annie (Juggan Kazim), a woman who has been working to support her two sisters and mother. The breadwinner of her family, Annie is educated and has used that education to progress from teacher to now the principal of a school. And while she is now earning a good income for her family, it has come at the cost of her youth – and marriage. Her mother, played by Hina Bayat, has relied on Annie’s earnings and, as a result, has rejected proposal after proposal for Annie. Now falling under the middle-aged bracket, Annie is lonely and while she is kind-hearted, her life feels incomplete and unfulfilled. She takes notice of Shahwaiz (Junaid Khan), a young teacher who takes an active interest in her. But the age-gap between the two will become a problem – and has already become a source of gossip for their co-workers. Juggan Kazim is great casting for this role as she is a good actress, attractive and is also just the right age for the character. However, while Junaid Khan is a great actor and is always a joy to watch on screen, the casting highlights the fact that actresses have a shelf life. If the story is supposed to be with a younger man and an older woman, why hasn’t the male lead been cast accordingly? Juggan and Junaid are the same age.
The technical “lead” character of the show is Hooriya, played by Hina Altaf. Hooriya is Annie’s younger sister and has seen her sister struggle through life – and wants entirely the opposite for herself. Hooriya is not educationally driven and dreams of marrying a rich man, having children and living a good life in the lap of luxury. When a young man enters her life, played by Usama Khan, she begins to see those dreams taking form. But will she wind up living the life she imagined or will she also learn lessons from her own experiences along with those of her family? Hina Altaf is great casting here as well, truly “fitting” the role of Hooriya with her silly, frivolous character and youthful energy. Usama Khan is also doing well in his role of a potential prince charming – or is he?
Last, but not least, Maheen Siddiqui plays Chandni. Chandni’s life and experiences are shaped and deeply affected by how her life began – unwanted. Chandni was “supposed to be a boy.” How many young girls have heard this all their lives? Her mother’s hopes and dreams were pinned on the birth of a son and instead, she wound up with a third daughter. This burden sits heavily on Chandni’s shoulders and she feels ill at ease with her own existence. This is an interesting story to show as there are many girls who can relate to this kind of character in South Asian society. It will be interesting to see how her role moves forward.
Overall, “Agar” is a nice story, showing three sisters with different struggles, hopes and dreams. Some of the dialogues try too hard to be poetic and are unnecessarily heavy, but the treatment and acting is managing to make a connection with the audience. This is definitely a show to look out for and if it fleshes out these stories in a realistic, convincing way without any unnecessarily witchy, vamp-like characters, this could be a great one!