There’s a statement that would be very fitting for “Aulaad” – misery on a platter. There’s no arguing that there’s a heavy shade of realism in the writing, but at times, the scenarios weigh too heavy on the heart, tethering on the line of being unbelievable. And yet, there’s something about the show that keeps its audience coming back for more. Written by Syed Ameer Ali Shah and directed by Aabis Raza, “Aulaad” stars Mohammad Ahmed, Marina Khan, Hassan Niazi, Sunita Marshal, Nabeel Zuberi, Furqan Qureshi and Humaira Bano.
In episode 14, Adnan (Furqan Qureshi) and his family bid farewell to his parents and sisters as they leave for Dubai to start their new life. This is a bittersweet moment, but viewers are hopeful that Adnan will play savior later when things get tough for the family. Muskaan and her mother tell Bilal (Nabeel Zuberi) that if his parents don’t apologize, they can no longer live in “Muskaan’s house.” It’s unbelievable that Bilal would even listen to such talk, but being the terrible son and human being that he is, he does and also passes along the message, attempting to force his parents to apologize to Muskaan. Instead, Jalal (Mohammad Ahmed) and Zakiya (Marina Khan) hold on to their dignity and choose, instead, to leave the house with Moni (Qudsia Ali) and Roshna (Minsa Malik). Initially confused as to where to go, they decide to go to Khurram’s house after speaking to Afreen.
One does have to pause at this point and wonder if Jalal is simply too sensitive – and has a slight ego? The family rightfully heads over to Khurram’s (Hassan Niazi) house after Afreen (Sunita Marshal) tells them to come over right away rather than spending time on the streets. For their part, despite all of Khurram’s bad behavior in the past, Khurram says something that’s fairly logical: Why would his parents abandon their own home and walk around homeless because of Muskaan? While Khurram has a brash way of speaking, his point is clear and comes from a good place and this is evident to viewers. It isn’t, however, evident to Jalal, who is offended at Khurram’s choice of words and not only walks out, but forces his family to leave, returning back to Bilal and Muskaan. If we take pause, what was there to be offended over? Why is it easier for him to grovel at Muskaan’s feet and apologize for her wrongdoing than to accept that Khurram is right? If we are to look at these character moments as reality and a real family, there must be a reason Jalal and Zakiya’s sons (barring Adnan) are like this. The ego displayed by Jalal and inability to soften his attitude towards his kids is what has been inherited by Khurram. Bilal is a gone case, there isn’t any excuse for his existence.
Of course, now that the family has returned, Bilal continues to be the pathetic excuse for a son that he is. Muskaan may have softened her behavior outwardly, speaking kindly to Jalal and Zakiya – but her scheming mind is still at work. Now that both Khurram and Adnan have left the house with their families, the burden of running the household now falls squarely on Bilal’s shoulders. Muskaan tells Bilal that they can’t afford to run the house alone, so Bilal should ask Jalal to get a job. This is definitely offensive and the viewer feels terrible on behalf of both Jalal and Zakiya. But then the show takes an insane turn – Roshna offers to actually use her MBA degree and get a job. Jalal acts as though it’s beneath both him and Roshna for his daughter to work for…..gasp….money. Quite honestly, throughout this episode, I found myself wondering why Roshna sits around and makes chai all day long instead of doing anything productive – and just then, we discover she’s an educated girl. So are we, as viewers, supposed to accept this concept of a woman being educated and then just sitting at home, waiting to be married off? Roshna should be working and she should be financially supporting her parents instead of making them beg her brothers for money. It’s mind-boggling that this thought hadn’t occurred to her up until now!
There are several great performances in “Aulaad,” particularly those of Mohammad Ahmed, Marina Khan and Furqan Qureshi. It’s difficult to watch shows like “Aulaad,” because they are miserable – and a reflection of society, which makes it even more difficult. Still, there are elements of this show that are simply too much to digest. While yes, sons like Khurram and Bilal exist, there’s also an Adnan and a Roshna (and even the loving Moni). In reality, Roshna would be working, along with Adnan, and they would be providing for and supporting their parents. Here, it’s as though these kids have placed the entire burden on their parents – and for what reason? The real light at the end of the tunnel in this show would be to see Roshna working and being self-sufficient, making her parents’ dreams come true and Adnan returning with his family to care for Jalal and Zakiya. Will this happen? We’ll have to wait and see.