Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay is one such show that cannot be denied its success. It’s a show that is a discussion point every single week amongst Pakistani drama viewers (and even those who don’t watch). And yet, it wouldn’t be unfair to make the following statement: It’s a difficult watch. Starring Mahira Khan, Usman Mukhtar, Kubra Khan, Ali Tahir, Zainab Qayyum, Huma Nawab and Shamim Hilaly, the story has been written by Umera Ahmed and directed by Farooq Rind. For the past several weeks, we have seen Mehreen (Mahira Khan) essentially imprisoned in Aswad’s (Usman Mukhtar) home, treated like dirt in her marital home by her own husband. Despite Saleha (Huma Nawab) being the most loving mother-in-law, she’s unable to protect Mehreen from the emotional abuse she’s facing.
In episode 15, Mehreen’s turmoil continues as Aswad not only blames her for Mashal’s (Kubra Khan) death, but he now also believes Mehreen’s apology is what will fix relations with Shagufta (Zainab Qayyum) and Tahir (Ali Tahir). Meanwhile Tahir discovers that Mashal had always been taking sleeping pills and the pills weren’t given to her by Mehreen – rather she took them on her own. This is a big blow for Tahir, who has been blaming Mehreen for murder up until now. Still, the policeman’s word isn’t enough to clear Tahir or Shagufta’s hearts of their anger towards Mehreen. After enduring more emotional – and physical – abuse at Aswad’s hands, Mehreen apologizes to Mashal’s parents, only to be attacked, Shagufta attempting to murder her, blocked only by Aswad. This depicts the dire straits Mehreen is in, hated by her husband and her own mother’s family with only Saleha to count on – who is helpless in front of her son. Zainab Qayyum deserves a shout-out here for her portrayal of a mother driven mad not only by her daughter’s death, but also her own guilt. Shagufta knows, internally, that her own behavior is what caused Mashal’s death. Her own words and actions throughout Mashal’s life created the young lady who took her life with sleeping pills. Zainab Qayyum hits the nail on the head with Shagufta’s rage as she spots Mehreen, a woman she can project her guilt on to.
Mahira Khan’s performance is great as usual. That’s never a discussion point, as she portrays Mehreen’s misery with such sincerity that the audience grieves for this character – despite the fact that Mehreen digs her own grave with her poor choices. And this is the problem. It is becoming difficult to feel sorry for a character who won’t fight for herself, who won’t walk away from toxicity when she has options, who won’t speak up and clearly tell the truth, explaining what really happened that night instead of allowing these misunderstandings to crop up. Usman Mukhtar’s performance is excellent in this episode as Aswad remembers his childhood affection for Mehreen and feels anger not only at the situation, but at himself (particularly after almost hitting Mehreen). His actions are driving Mehreen mad little by little as she has now begun to see Mashal not only in her dreams, but in corners of the room. Aswad is a horrible human being, one who is not worthy of forgiveness. It’s not the performances that are the problem – it’s the writing. This is unfortunate, because Umera Ahmed has always been a writer Pakistani drama audiences could count on. However, this time, the frustrating, anxiety-inducing, miserable story is difficult to watch and is riddled with holes that could be filled in with simple logic from the illogical characters. At present, “Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay” is like a beautiful piece of poetry – with beautiful acting, direction and dialogues – that has spilled coffee over the page, making the overall piece illegible.