Some shows come and go in a flash, their presence becoming such a part of our day-to-day lives that the void left behind after they end becomes difficult to fill. “Chupke Chupke” is one such show. For a full month, “Chupke Chupke” not only became a rage with Pakistani viewers, but also international viewers all over the globe, breaking viewership records on YouTube. Directed by Danish Nawaz and written by Saima Akram Chaudhry, “Chupke Chupke” stars Osman Khalid Butt, Ayeza Khan, Arsalan Naseer, Aymen Saleem, Asma Abbas, Uzma Beg, Mira Sethi, Ali Safina, Farhan Ali Agha, Tara Mehmood, Hira Samroo, Mani, Qavi Khan and many others in a practically ideal ensemble cast.
The finale wraps up all loose ends perfectly. While Meenu (Ayeza Khan) and Faazi (Osman Khalid Butt) continue to have issues with Meenu filing for divorce and Faazi pleading with her, their marriage is saved (and the hearts of viewers) when Faazi realizes their divorce was a farce to make him see sense. Meanwhile, Gul (Mira Sethi) and Miskeen (Ali Safina) celebrate Gul’s pregnancy, giving Gul a new perspective on her life. And of course, Hadi (Arsalan Naseer) and Mishi (Aymen Saleem) unite in marriage in the craziest family prank imaginable. There are many highlights in the finale, but what is really commendable is how everything feels natural and not too rushed, culminating in a happy, satisfying ending.
“Chupke Chupke” has served as a stress-buster for many, providing much-needed humor during dark times. For a show to become the phenomenon that this drama has become is rare and while there have been many comparisons to “Suno Chanda,” which was the first Ramadan-centric special of its kind, one can safely say that the craze surrounding “Chupke Chupke” has surpassed even the popularity of that show. There is little left to say about “Chupke Chupke” as there’s little to critique. Sure, there have been stereotypes, ranging from the “ghar damaad” to Faazi’s misplaced alpha-male, controlling behavior, but ultimately, even these characters sketches served a purpose. Faazi has never been portrayed as being the ideal man, rather he’s been a henpecked man, dominated by his sisters at every turn, a man unable to recognize what he wanted not only in a wife, but from his own life as a whole. The growth Faazi goes through by the end of the show is wonderful. Likewise, coming to Miskeen, he may be a “ghar damaad,” but ultimately, his support and words of wisdom with Gul are what propel her change in behavior – and he is, more than anything, a great, supportive partner for Gul.
The relationship dynamics are what’s wonderful about this show. Who can discuss “Chupke Chupke” without raving about Asma Abbas and Uzma Beg as Naik Parwar and Bakhtoo? These two women are such brilliant actresses, they have left viewers in splits throughout their rivalry – but at the end, Naik Parwar and Bakhtoo, realizing what their hostility has done to their family and, more than anything, realizing that they’ve been blaming each other for the mistakes of their husband, the two join forces and not only bring their families together, but become the best of friends. Who could resist giggling while watching Naik Parwar and Bakhtoo taking selfies together and calling each other “friend”? It was bone-tickling funny while also making the viewer tear up a little thinking about how much time these women spent hating each other when they both had such great hearts. Let’s give Asma Abbas and Uzma Beg a round of applause.
We can’t talk about “Chupke Chupke” without discussing our power couples – “Feenu” and HaShi.” Both couples have had their own solid fanbases throughout the course of the show. Osman Khalid Butt and Ayeza Khan not only share wonderful chemistry, but their characters have also been so well-written, they are hard not to love. Referring back to what has already been said about Faazi, he’s always been a “solid,” intelligent, practical man, but he has never had the “upper hand” in any relationship and so, he uses it on Meenu, who does her best to adjust, but finally gives up. Osman Khalid Butt has done such a great job in this role, being potentially the most defining role of his career (despite having a solid body of work behind him). And Ayeza Khan has been great as Meenu, playing this character in a way that no one could have foreseen. Ayeza Khan has always been a personal favorite and an actress who has excelled in every role, but comedy shows have never been a genre associated with her – and she has proved, yet again, that she has the talent to pull off any role. Again, what’s great about Meenu is her character arc. Meenu has been a bratty, carefree, klutzy, boundless character with no interest in education, wanting to get married to escape her exams. And yet, by the end of the show, we meet a woman who knows her rights in a marriage, who now understands the importance of education and the importance of maintaining relationships – and yet, what’s the most refreshing thing of all is that, at the end, Meenu and Faazi are true to their characters. Despite it all, Meenu is still the silly girl she has always been and Faazi still the “Ustaad” type and one applauds Saima Akram Chaudhry for this wonderful ending scene that shows that despite all their personal growth, human nature doesn’t change and “Feenu” remains unchanged, their true personalities intact. One hopes Osman Khalid Butt and Ayeza Khan’s natural chemistry is utilized once again in the near future!
Arsalan Naseer has been a revelation as an actor. Many of us have been following him as a YouTube content creator since 2015 and despite winning hearts on his online platforms, even his fans couldn’t have imagined he would be this talented as an actor. His character Hadi has been perfect comedic relief in his role, which has not only been humorous, but also one of the more logical pillars of the show. Everything from his body language, his voice and simply his on-screen presence screams “a star is born.” His chemistry with Aymen Saleem has been so natural and heartwarming, it pulled viewers in immediately. Aymen Saleem is equally a natural, playing the introverted, glasses-wearing Mishi – a character many can relate to – with sincerity. Both Arsalan and Aymen are a part of the new-age, educated, refreshing stream of talent making their way into the industry and they are being welcomed with open arms. We can’t wait to see more of them.
Mira Sethi and Ali Safina deserve a round of applause for their portrayal as Miskeen and Gul. Gul has been the perfect “villain” of the show with many believing her to be without redemption. But Saima Akram Chaudhry has written Gul in such a way that even this heartless woman has her share of experiences behind her that have made her this way. Whether it’s been her inability to conceive or the mistreatment she suffered at the hands of her in-laws, she has channeled that aggression into her relationships with her family members by becoming overbearing. Her redemption begins with her pregnancy and culminates in her hand in supporting Mishi and Hadi’s marriage. Of course, one could go on and on praising each and every actor on the show. Whether it’s Farhan Ali Agha’s Kifayat, the perfect depiction of a “kanjoos,” cheap head of family, the cricket-obsessed Waleed and trouble-making Mirchi, the forever-hungry Rumi and Mani or even the late-entry patriarch played by Qavi Khan, each and every character has won the hearts of viewers.
Overall, “Chupke Chupke” is a brilliant show that came at just the right time, the moment when the Pakistani (and South Asian) audience needed light-hearted humor like this the most. This is a show that will forever remain in our hearts, leaving viewers sad after its ending with many hoping for a season 2. But what should be said after this, most of all, is simply this: Does it need to be Ramadan for the Pakistani industry to give its audiences light-hearted, well-written shows? Is it necessary for viewers to sludge through misery and turmoil year-round before being given the gift of humor once a year? Regardless, on behalf of the entire Pakistani drama fandom – Thank you to the entire team of “Chupke Chupke” for uplifting our spirits and giving us the gift of this show