“Pehli Si Muhabbat” started off on a rough note with its initial two episodes, but the show is gaining momentum, presenting an engaging story and is shaping up to be a highly-awaited drama each week. Directed by Anjum Shehzad, this drama stars Shehryar Munawar, Maya Ali, Hassan Shehryar Yasin, Uzma Shah, Paras Masroor, Nausheen Shah and Shabbir Jan in prominent roles. Faiza Iftikhar’s shows generally promise solid emotional content and “Pehli Si Muhabbat” is proving to be no less.
In episode 8, Faizullah (Shabbir Jan) finds himself pleased with his friend and his son’s proposal for Rakshi. However, Nargis (Rabia Butt) feels something is “off” with this proposal and expresses that much to Faizullah – though she also feels the need to do this to buy Rakshi more time to get her “mystery man” to send his own proposal. However, Faizullah misunderstands her intentions for a moment, leading to a tiff between the two. Nargis is an amazing character, one that viewers find themselves rooting for, not only because she’s a woman who has seen her share of difficulties in life, but also because she has the potential to be a great ally for Rakshi. Rabia Butt is simply perfect casting in this role.
“Niggi Aapa” has turned into the official villain of the story, giving Akram (Hassan Shehryar Yasin) a run for his money. Aslam (Shehryar Munawar) and Rakshi (Maya Ali) are innocent characters, naïve in their young, new love, and in this naivety, Aslam makes the grave mistake of trusting Niggi Aapa. While this woman seems sweet initially, a helpful ally, it doesn’t take long for Niggi Aapa to begin using the situation to her benefit – something she probably planned all along. Living in a small neighborhood where the slightest bit of gossip turns into a scandal, Aslam and Rakshi’s romance must remain hidden and Niggi Aapa is well-aware of the drama that would ensue if the two were discovered. Therefore, she has now turned into a perfect blackmailer, sweetly making her demands known, jumping between Aslam and Rakshi, asking for little things like ice cream and money initially. However, things have taken a drastic turn now with Niggi Aapa asking Rakshi for her mother’s gold jewelry. Rakshi, along with viewers, is shocked by this demand and she feels helpless with Aslam not answering his phone, stuck in a terrible situation with no one to confide in.
Aslam has his own reasons for not answering Rakshi’s calls – Zainab (Uzma Hassan). Zainab’s marital troubles were revealed in episode 7, a woman trapped in a verbally abusive marriage. But how long does it take for a verbally abusive marriage to turn physically abusive? That’s what we find out in episode 8. Zainab’s husband, Murad, played by the brilliant Paras Masroor, immediately sensed Zainab’s family’s desire to be “rid” of her and always felt unwanted by Zainab. This is the reality of forced marriage. Women do not simply forget about their past and move on with a new man – the heartbreak of losing a loved one is difficult enough, but forgetting the abuse inflicted on one by their own family is something difficult to move past. Zainab has never been able to move past the feeling of being treated like property/trash and this is visible in her demeanor. Hearing the usual taunts from her husband, she ignores them (as usual) until, in his anger, Murad smashes an object over her head, badly injuring her. Like many abusive men unable to control his anger, Murad immediately realizes his error and runs to the door, hearing Aslam’s arrival. The two men take Zainab to the hospital. Later, Murad overhears Aslam and Zainab’s conversation as Zainab discusses her unhappy marriage. Murad is seen crying, but ultimately, the acceptance of this character will depend on how this track is written. Murad has clearly been abusive for (assumedly) a decade of marriage, so is it really possible to whitewash this character? The lesson taken from this track is what will make or break it. Still, the Paras Masroor – Uzma Hassan duo is always one that creates magic as the two are stellar performers and share incredible chemistry. Saleem Mairaj’s character will only add more appeal – when he makes his appearance.
Overall, “Pehli Si Muhabbat” is shaping up to be a good show with a lot of appeal. It’s not a perfect show, by any means, but the story being told is one that’s interesting and it’s certainly something different. With Rakshi potentially getting engaged, it will be interesting to see how Aslam reacts to this news – and will Nargis step in and save Rakshi from the manipulative Niggi Aapa?