Undisputedly this year’s hit Ramadan show, “Hum Tum” has been luring in viewers with its progressive female characters and cute flip on gender roles. “Hum Tum” has been written by Saima Akram Chaudhry and directed by Danish Nawaz. The show took off to a promising start with a great cast, including Ahad Raza Mir, Ramsha Khan, Junaid Khan and Sarah Khan in lead roles, supported by actors like Adnan Jaffar, Farhan Ali Agha, Uzma Beg, Mohammad Ahmed and others. While the show has been entertaining viewers, the overall theme has been refreshingly modern, following three intelligent, well-educated girls who are not great homemakers on one side and two homely, tidy boys who are good at cooking on the other, “Hum Tum” has been working hard to shatter gender roles while also depicting how society looks at girls and boys if they do not conform to these ideals.
In the finale, we witness Qutub (Adnan Jaffar) open his eyes to Adam (Ahad Raza Mir) and Neha’s (Ramsha Khan) feelings for one another. While Sarim’s (Omer Shahzad) aggressive behavior is the gear to get things moving, we have to take a moment to acknowledge this character. First, while he has been made out to be the “villain” in all this for being “abusive,” let’s just clarify that Sarim grabbed Neha’s wrist to pull her away from Adam……a move that he literally just saw Adam do to Neha as well, the woman he is engaged to. Logically, what man would appreciate his fiancée behaving that way? While Sarim’s behaviors may be very much in line with Qutub’s behaviors, that does not make him a bad person – albeit, that would make it clear that Sarim is NOT the ideal match for Neha, considering everything she has experience with her own father. Does this make Sarim a bad person? Absolutely not and in the end, he calls off the relationship with Neha with incredible grace and dignity, realizing the Adam-Neha relationship needs to be explored. Sarim may have been the “kabaab Mein haddi,” but he has been an adult about it.
There are a lot of “happy” moments in the finale which serve as an ideal wrap-up scenario. We see that Qutub has finally acknowledged his misbehavior towards his wife and has reformed as a husband and father. This is great in terms of entertainment, but realistically, a bad husband doesn’t transform overnight into a good husband simply because his wife made one visit to the parlor. We also witness Sultan’s (Farhan Ali Agha) change from a gambler to a working man and, again, a gambling addiction is not so easily cured. This is a man who has destroyed his eldest son’s future, forcing him to leave his education and begin working in order to support their family, a family which Sultan has continuously robbed from. It also must be said that Daddu handsome is presented as the funny, sweet grandfather character, but his acknowledgement of his bad behaviors never truly arrives, the acknowledgement that not only is he spoiling his granddaughters horribly, but is also the cause for Qutub’s unhappiness. “Hum Tum” has been highlighting these issues through comedy, which is wonderful, but realistically, these problems don’t go away.
While “Hum Tum” has been enjoyable overall, what could have made the show a much better product would have been more effort put into pacing. Over 2/3 of the story focused on silly gags between Neha and Adam, leaving the audience wondering if a love angle would even be explored between these two. Their romance did not even materialize until the final 5-6 episodes and it must be said that these 5-6 episodes are the strongest of the series. Ahad Raza Mir’s strength has always been with the intense and emotional and with his acknowledgement of his feelings towards Neha, Ahad is given the scope to do what he does best. The chemistry between Neha and Adam is absolutely nonexistent until this point, but when it’s finally present, we’re left wondering why it was so horribly neglected and underutilized? The bickering should have stopped at the 1/3 point and utilized the remaining 2/3 of the show to develop the bond between Neha and Adam (rather than Neha randomly declaring Adam her “best friend” after discovering he’s in love with her). We are told that Adam and Neha were best friends as kids before they became competitors, but this is contradictory, as Maha is heard saying that Neha and Adam have always hated each other since childhood, because of how Qutub favored Adam (essentially seeing a son in him). Rather than presenting this confused narrative, it would have been wonderful to see Neha and Adam’s relationship grow organically through the marriage of their siblings (which also should have happened earlier).
The greatest positives of “Hum Tum” are the strong, independent characters. The young girls are confident, educated young women and they do not “need” a man in their lives – rather, they agree to marriage only to please the one man they do need….their father. It’s also wonderful to see that Qutub, despite all his flaws, has emphasized education for his daughters and expected from them what he would have expected from a son education-wise. These are progressive values that our audience needs to see on-screen. The aspect of men working within their households and cooking for their families is also a great message to see on-screen. The relationship between Sarmad (Junaid Khan) and Maha (Sarah Khan) is a great plus point, showing how these vastly different, but kind, individuals come together in marriage and prove to be the perfect partners for each other. Maha helps Sarmad with his education and manages to “alter” his father, while Sarmad helps Maha with cooking/cleaning and even helps his in-laws with their problems. They are true “couple goals” and wind up being the best-etched characters on the show.
At the end, “Hum Tum” has a progressive story and highlights, through comedy, toxic behaviors within South Asian families. This has been a fun, but not perfect, ride. “Hum Tum” has suffered from poor pacing and an unnecessarily rushed ending, leaving viewers thinning “If only…..” Still, “Hum Tum” has been enjoyable nonetheless!