“Kabli Pulao” is a love story that has taken many by surprise, not only with its unusual choice of hero (Mohammed Ehtashamuddin), but also with its unusual lead pair and a blatantly obvious age gap. Fortunately, the story has been written so beautifully that it’s difficult to not root for this duo’s relationship to develop into one of love. Not only has “Kabli Pulao” won over viewers, it’s also topping the TRP charts and earning praise from all corners. Starring Mohammed Ehtashamuddin and Sabeena Farooq in lead roles, the show also stars Nadia Afgan, Munazzah Arif, Adnan Shah Tipu, Haseeb Khan, Saqib Sameer and others in a story written by Zafar Mairaj and directed by Kashif Nisar.
In episode 3, Haji Mushtaq (Mohammed Ehtashamuddin) is livid after discovering his family wants to rid themselves of Barbeena (Sabeena Farooq). Putting them in their place, he prepares to storm out of the house with Barbeena in tow when the police turns up at the door. While the ASI is a neighborhood boy who Haji Mushtaq helped along the way, he pays no heed, proving the bad deeds he was caught doing were a part of his nature. Fortunately, Haji Mushtaq quietly places a call which sets him – and Barbeena – free, his past good deeds protecting him once again. Haji Mushtaq’s scolding and the fear of being sent to jail forces the family to accept Barbeena and in doing so, they begin to notice all of her good qualities. She becomes particularly friendly with the girls and, in a cute scene, she goes for an outing with the girls, Haji Mushtaq admiring her appearance. It’s the innocence with which Haji Mushtaq and Barbeena’s relationship develops which makes it so endearing. Neither look at one another with anything but kindness, compassion and respect, confidants in their secret (their marriage).
While the family accepts Barbeena into the household, Haji Mushtaq and Barbeena deal with different battles due to the secret nature of their marriage. Barbeena is a beautiful young girl who attracts attention and Haji Mushtaq is forced to scold his nephew, slapping him, but later kindly discusses the importance of respecting women. Haji Mushtaq loves his family deeply, but is not yet ready to confess the truth. Meanwhile, Barbeena has caught the eye of others as well and a proposal turns up for her, leading to an argument between the girls and Barbeena, as they believe she’s still hung up on Baraan.
Based on a relationship of circumstance, “Kabli Pulao” is magic. Barbeena and Haji Mushtaq are truly pure of soul and that’s what makes this romance work. Sabeena Farooq wins with her performance, portraying Barbeena with a sincerity, humility and sadness that forces us, as viewers, to fall for her and want to protect her. Of course, she gains extra points for her authentic Pashto accent. After years of putting up with stereotypical “Pathan” accents, this is a breath of fresh air for Pukhtun representation. The scenes with the family displaying their ignorance and how they mock Barbeena’s culture in jest make a solid statement on the cultural divide within Pakistan. Mohammed Ehtashamuddin is brilliant as the strong, down-to-earth, kind Haji Mushtaq, a man who has never had the opportunity to live for himself. The moments where he speaks in Pashto with Barbeena are incredibly sweet and another show of respect towards his young bride. We’re wholeheartedly rooting for this romance – but what will happen if Baraan returns?