“Prem Gali” is by the writer-director team of “Aangan” and is already making an impression on viewers in the same way. Written by Faiza Iftikhar and directed by Qasim Ali Mureed, “Prem Gali” stars Sohai Ali Abro, Farhan Ali Saeed, Saba Hameed and many others in an ensemble cast. While the first episode introduced us to the main characters and their backgrounds, episode 2 sheds light on the issues surrounding Joya’s family and their emotional state.
Episode 2 reveals Shireen (Saba Hameed) as an almost dictator-like mother towards Joya (Sohai Ali Abro). And though this may seem harsh, it’s clear that her behavior comes from a place of love, of not wanting her daughter to repeat Shireen’s past mistakes. That includes keeping Joya away from boys and sheltering her from the rest of the world. There are some really sweet scenes between Joya and Hamza (Farhan Ali Saeed) and while it’s clear that both are very much interested in each other, Joya’s family situation and her insecurities are holding her back from allowing herself to go there. Fari (Anoushey Abbasi) teases Joya when she hears her wishfully say she wants to choose her own husband, laughing at the idea of this “controlled” girl having a relationship when she can’t even step out of her house without her mother’s permission. The friendship between Fari and Joya is a sweet one, as it’s rare these days to see friends truly loyal to one another – but here, despite Haseena’s (Farah Shah) disdain towards the family, Fari does not allow the petty issues to get in the way of their friendship.
While initially the show seemed to present Joya’s family as serial divorcers, it’s now revealed that both Shireen and Mussarat (Uzma Hassan) desperately tried to save their own marriages out of fear of this very stigma due to their mother, Rahat, being a divorcee. The situation takes a turn for the bleak when a proposal comes for Joya and she is rejected when the family realizes the entire family is filled with divorcees. In the aftermath, all three ladies are seen reminiscing about their past. It was great to see Shehzad Sheikh and Jinaan Hussain playing a young Shireen and her husband and the two effectively portrayed the issues in Shireen’s marriage. It was particularly interesting to see how Shireen has always been this headstrong – and her husband did not appreciate it. One hopes more about this will be revealed as the show progresses.
While it can’t be said the story for “Prem Gali” is the strongest at this juncture, there’s something refreshingly different about it. While it has a comedic element to it, it’s not a comedy, rather a story that interweaves lighthearted moments with reality. Part of that reality is the stigma of being a divorcee in South Asian society. The way Shireen has taken up the role of the “man” in the household and has made herself tough on the exterior, but breaks down at the thought of letting her daughter down is a scene that leaves an impact. It’s also a treat to see the banter between Hamza and his Chacha, as well as Shireen and Waseem Abbas’s characters.
Despite being a slightly “heavy” episode, the show still manages to keep a smile on the viewer’s face with the sweet, simple scenes that are interwoven with the more upsetting ones. “Prem Gali” may not be a gripping show with an exciting storyline, but it is one that has a natural pace and has characters that one can not only sympathize with, but can also associate with individuals they know in the real world.