“Pehli Si Muhabbat” is a show that started off with much anticipation and excitement. Starring Maya Ali and Sheheryar Munawar on television after a long gap, the show also starred Hassan Shehryar Yasin, Nausheen Shah, Saba Faisal, Shabbir Jan, Uzma Beg, Paras Masroor, Saleem Mairaj, Rabia Butt and a number of other talented actors. Written by Faiza Iftikhar and directed by Anjum Shahzad, this is a drama that had much going for it. And if we look at the overall product, it did not falter. “Pehli Si Mohabbat” lost major points in a couple of arenas, the first being that it was simply too drawn out. This is a show that would have felt well-woven had it been cut short by easily four episodes. Second, the show was simply too sad. There was not an iota of happiness in this show, our “intense love story” just too intense. Each actor delivered their best, but after a point, their actions began to seem like “too much,” grief sprinkled heavily over the entire story.
Fortunately, with the finale, the story manages to wrap up not only in an effective manner, but also in a way that uplifts the show out of its misery and doom, giving the audience a bittersweet, yet realistic ending. In the finale, we see that Aslam (Sheheryar Munawar) and Rakshi (Maya Ali), on Bushra’s encouragement and approval, meet to spend time together. This is the first time Aslam and Rakshi have ever sat face to face and spent time with one another since their romance was discovered by their families years ago. The two are quite aware of their love for one another, a love that had always been immediate, powerful and ever-lasting. And yet, Aslam and Rakshi are no longer two young kids chasing notions of romance. Their lives have changed drastically, Rakshi stepmother to a young woman with family obligations and a stature of her own, while Aslam is a husband and father to a little girl. And so, with that in mind, the two share an ideal evening out, allowing themselves the luxury of living out an ideal day together, a day they were never allowed in the past. And then, after it’s over, the two are content in saying goodbye to one another, seeing each other only as in-laws, finally being able to close the book on their love which was never meant to be.
The performances in “Pehli Si Muhabbat” have been wonderful throughout and this episode is no less. While Maya Ali’s performance has been lacking overall, she finally gets it right and makes up for it with this closing episode as Rakshi finally grows past her moping and sulking. One has to wonder why Rakshi was written this way, even post the leap? The confidence with which Rakshi conducts herself in this finale was much needed, as Rakshi is no longer a little girl at the mercy of others – and it’s this acknowledgement that she’s a grown woman free to make her own decisions that finally sets her free. Sheheryar Munawar is wonderful and has really proven himself as an actor through the course of the show. Aslam has been a character with a lot of scope and Sheheryar has given it his all. It’s heart-warming to see Aslam and Bushra finally get the happily ever after they deserved – and one that viewers didn’t even realize they wanted so badly.
Life changes, individuals change and the greatest strength of Faiza Iftikhar’s writing here is that she acknowledges this within the story and with this torn-apart couple. Rather than forcing the two to hurt others on the path to their “happiness,” this ending chooses to acknowledge that life moves on. We, as human beings, can look back on our first love, the sort of love that’s truly unforgettable, and simply let it remain that – our first love, not our last love. In all of this, one can only wish that the story of “Pehli Si Muhabbat” hadn’t been so dragged out. The story started off so strong and the conclusion was equally as strong. It’s just that something got lost in the middle there with all the tears. Still, it’s this finale that manages to lift “Pehli Si Muhabbat” out of its slow descent into doom as the show winds up on a high note – the bittersweet, happy ending of closure.