“Habs” stars Feroze Khan, Ushna Shah, Saba Faisal, Irsa Ghazal, Dania Anwer, Imran Aslam, Hina Rizvi, Janice Tessa and others in a story written by Aliya Makhdoom and directed by Musaddiq Malek. In episode 16, one major event takes place. While Basit (Feroze Khan) continues to avoid his mother (Irsa Ghazal), unable to see her disappointment while also unable to give her the love she wants from him, Aisha (Ushna Shah) steps in to care for her. The writing is on the wall for Basit’s mother though, who understands that Basit is too deeply hurt and their relationship is beyond repair. It’s this realization that forces her to decide to return home – but manages to stumble across Basit’s childhood letters. It’s while reading these letters that she passes away, leaving Basit’s world turned upside down once again.
Feroze Khan is credited as being a superstar of Pakistani television, an actor who always brings in viewership and almost always guarantees a hit. However, despite being a very talented, natural actor, he is rarely credited for his strong acting skills. As Basit this week, he delivers a performance that makes viewers sit up and take notice. Basit is a very complicated character, a young man who is internally kind and a good person, but also a man who has never been taught to love – and is wary of women. His childhood trauma of losing his mother is something he has never been able to shake off. His anger is justified, without a doubt, as his mother’s disappearance left a profound impact on him emotionally, psychologically and even physically. He was left craving a mother’s love and always wondered why his mother abandoned him. Though while the audience can sympathize with him, it’s also this attitude of his that causes him to lose the person most important to him – his mother. Now with reconciliation entirely out of the question, Basit is left with a lifetime of regret….and sever guilt. The way Feroze Khan has enacted these sequences, bouncing between anger, hurt, regret and the desire to be understood, is effortless and deserves a round of applause.
Ushna Shah is wonderful as Aisha, a girl equally emotionally troubled as Basit. While her wounds may not be as clear as Basit’s – even to her -, she has had a complicated upbringing. Raised by a money-minded mother who has always put emphasis on hard work and earning, she has always been lacking for love…..and, unfortunately, her marriage to Basit has also been loveless (at least in the visible way). Aisha is a strong woman, but she has her own weaknesses. Her reaction to Basit after her mother-in-law’s death is downright callous, blaming him for her passing and pushing him out of the room. Aisha wished for a mother like Basit’s and found that woman in her and blames Basit for taking that away from her. She also sees Basit as being ungrateful for not appreciating her, completely neglecting to understand how much pain and grief Basit went through because of his mother not only as a child, but also as an adult. It’s in these moments that Aisha comes across as judgmental and insensitive. However, can anyone blame Aisha? She always had more of a connection with her mother in law than she did with Basit.
Irsa Ghazal has been so graceful as Basit’s mother and we continue to wonder about the circumstances taking her away. Life is not easy and while the answer may not be an abusive marriage or anything of the sort, isn’t a woman free to make choices about her own life without being seen as a monster? It’s complicated, because both Basit and his mother have a point of view and while Basit is right, his mother may have deserved some more compassion.
“Habs” continues to be a classy show, one that tells a realistic story that allows us, as viewers, to relate to its lead characters. The love story between Basit and Aisha continues to be the highlight. With this week’s episode, is there an oh-so-slight indication of a relationship between Fahad (Mussadiq Malek) and Bano (Dania Anwer)? This is an exciting thought as Bano truly deserves happiness with a nice guy like Fahad. And while Zoya’s (Janice Tessa) relationship initially looked like a trap for her, her significant other does appear to be serious and committed. Will all three girls find happiness moving forward or is there more heartache in store for Aisha….and Basit?