Everyone can relate to the story of “Aulaad,” whether it be parents or children. The story is so emotional, it gets the viewer thinking – “Am I a good son/daughter?” or “Is my relationship with my children strong enough? Have I taught them the value of relationships?” and this is why this show manages to connect with the general Pakistani viewer. While the situations may be over the top or the reactions too extreme, the message in the show comes across loud and clear – family is important and, more than that, parents spend their lives raising their children, so take care of them when they need it most. “Aulaad,” has been written by Syed Ameer Ali Shah, directed by Aabis Raza and stars Mohammad Ahmed, Marina Khan, Hassan Niazi, Sunita Marshal, Furqan Qureshi, Hina Javed, Nabeel Zuberi, Minsa Malik, Qudsia Ali and others in prominent roles.
As the show gears up towards its finale, the time for “punishment” has begun. While Bilal (Nabeel Zuberi), the ultimate “nalaayak” (useless) son, has realized his faults and tries to make amends, it’s simply too late for his family. The weight of Moni’s death rests entirely on Bilal’s shoulders and it’s unbearable for him, but Jalal (Mohammad Ahmed) and Zakiya (Marina Khan) are unwilling to forgive. Of course, at this point, Bilal isn’t even aware of Muskaan’s hand in the entire situation and how she turned his entire family against him. But can one even blame Muskaan for any of it? Bilal did not have to listen to her nor did he need to be so blind in love that he would rob his parents of their happiness, comfort, home and even their daughter, their flesh and blood. While one may look at Bilal and feel sorry for him in his present state, his crimes are quite terrible and he’s not actually in a place to be forgiven.
Meanwhile, Khurram (Hassan Niazi) is now in jail and has been sentenced. This is the first moment where the viewer feels this family isn’t really empathetic – now is this the fault of the acting, the writing or the director? The entire family has come to the courthouse to see Khurram taken away. Why? They offer him zero comfort, even as he begs for forgiveness, sobbing, tears running down his face, his nose running, his hands folded…..this entire family, barring Afreen (Sunita Marshal), stare at him with expressions of disappointment. If these expressions are supposed to be anything other than disappointment than the acting is a let-down here. And if the expressions are supposed to be disappointment, parents and sisters should not be so stone-hearted to see their eldest child suffering. This scene does not come across as a strong one, seeing Afreen cry for her husband, Zakiya clinging to Afreen, consoling her, but not even reaching out an arm to console her son who is scared. Was Khurram’s punishment given to him at the hands of his family really one he deserved?
And last, but not least, Adnan (Furqan Qureshi). Roshna’s (Minsa Malik) marriage takes place in a quiet ceremony and she lives happily ever after we assume. But the ceremony was a bit too quiet. While Khurram is in jail and Bilal has been cut off from his family, was Adnan’s crime really so terrible? Yes, it was bad as he lied to his parents – a big lie – about where he was living and his reasons for moving. But Adnan clearly needed to escape to be successful. Now yes, his not supporting Khurram or even visiting Khurram in jail is a bad moment on his part, but this was obviously written into the script to make him seem like yet another bad son – because no one does this, especially not a sensitive, otherwise supportive, loving son like Adnan. Adnan is obviously upset hearing about Roshna’s wedding and calls Bilal, who informs him that none of the sons were invited.
This is where the writing has become a bit faulty. Anyone who has grown up with multiple siblings is aware of that “group label.” “You kids always do this, you misbehave and create trouble” – when in reality, only one kid is creating trouble or two out of three kids are creating trouble and that pitiful, unlucky third child finds themselves grouped in with the others. That’s how it feels looking at the character of Adnan, a character who is nowhere near as negative as his two brothers, but has been painted out as a villain by his father – and has been written into a box unnecessarily by the writer. Overall, “Aulaad” continues to be that punch to the gut that makes one want to hug their own parents – but can we please lay off the melodrama and create believable characters with believable crimes and not brush the negative behavior of Jalal and Zakiya under the rug?