“Pehli Si Mohabbat” is a show that has seen many highs and lows during the course of its run. Written by Faiza Iftikhar, this drama has been directed by Anjum Shehzad and stars Shehryar Munawar, Maya Ali, Uzma Hassan, Saleem Mairaj, Paras Masroor, Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, Nausheen Ali Shah, Saba Faisal, Shabir Jan, Rabia Butt and others. A story about young love facing opposition, this drama has been about the long-term effects society’s expectations of a woman can have on her as seen through the character of Zainab, played by Uzma Hassan. This week, we see Zainab’s story coming to an end and how her life plays a role in a (hopefully) better outcome for her brother.
Rakshi’s (Maya Ali) wedding moves forward with Sikandar (Saleem Mairaj) as she makes peace with her future without Aslam (Shehryar Munawar). Sikandar, however, continues to wait for Zainab’s (Uzma Hassan) reply, a positive reply, a reply that can change his many years of pain into happiness – the promise of a life together. However, has this ever been so easy? Zainab and Sikandar have changed, their circumstances have changed and Murad (Paras Masroor) has been a supportive, loving husband to Zainab throughout her illness. Zainab has promised Murad that she will now live for him – so how can she live for Murad and still manage to reunite Rakshi and Aslam? This is the question. Murad discovers Sikandar’s texts and realizes what Zainab has been dealing with over the past several weeks, struggling to save her brother while also saving her marriage. He tells Zainab to please come back to him, to stay with him, but she replies that with her death, Murad will get peace and Aslam will too as she can’t sacrifice one for the other. It’s on this note that Zainab passes away and leaves her family – and the audience – in tears.
Zainab’s death gets full attention in this episode and her character truly deserved it. Zainab has been the heart and soul of “Pehli Si Mohabbat,” despite the show being about Aslam and Rakshi. It has always been Zainab’s life and mistakes at the forefront – and while her death feels horribly unfair, it’s her death that will take the story forward as well. Paras Masroor does a brilliant job in his scenes as Murad mourns the loss of a life with Zainab, a life that still had many years to live. But Saleem Mairaj steals the show as Sikandar is informed of Zainab’s death. Zainab’s promise to Aslam had always been that she will stop this marriage – and with her death, she fulfills this promise, Sikandar and Rakshi’s marriage coming to a stop as a neighbor informs them of Zainab’s death. Sikandar storms out of the marriage hall, crazy with grief, unable to wrap his head around losing Zainab a second time. Saleem Mairaj is simply brilliant, as Sikandar has never been a character one could completely sympathize with – but in this moment, the audience cries along with him, recognizing how much grief he has had to deal with in his life, how much pain he endured in his love for Zainab….and will now continue to endure.
Hassan Sheheryar Yasin is another star performer in this episode. He has really shown growth as an actor in his role as Akram, but he really outdoes himself in this episode. Akram has been wanting to ask Zainab for forgiveness for some time now, recognizing his mistakes through Aslam’s grief. However, with Zainab’s death, it’s simply too late. He is seen touching her feet, asking for forgiveness in her death now, but unable to get it. This moment is heartbreaking, as is the majority of the episode.
While “Pehli Si Mohabbat” has been dragging for a while, Zainab’s death not only makes for a great episode, but also allows the actors scope to really perform. That being said, her death feels tragically unfair and upsetting. “Pehli Si Mohabbat” now seems set to move towards a potential union between Aslam and Rakshi, but with Faizullah’s demand for the marriage to be in 24 hours, how will this happen? Akram is busy burying his sister, so a wedding is unfathomable. Will this be another roadblock in this love story?