“Prem Gali” is one of the lighter-hearted shows on television. Starring Farhan Saeed, Sohai Ali Abro, Saba Hameed, Uzma Hassan, Shamim Hilaly, Qavi Khan Waseem Abbas and others, “Prem Gali” has been written by Faiza Iftikhar and directed by Qasim Ali Mureed. With episode 29, “Prem Gali” finally slows down and begins to feel “stretched.” There’s a lot of story left to tell and there’s no rush to tell it. Viewers will happily continue watching this show as long as it continues to deliver strong, well-written episodes that focus on the plot. But with episode 29, despite there being two major plotlines waiting to play out in the form of Luqman (Abdullah Farhatullah) and Mussarat (Uzma Hassan) and Joya’s relationship with Manzoor (Javed Sheikh), the episode chooses to focus largely on an unnecessary plotline of a misunderstanding between Hamza (Farhan Saeed) and Joya (Sohai Ali Abro).
While Hamza and Joya have arrived back home thanks to Dada Ji’s (Qavi Khan) “heart attack,” the tension between them continues as Hamza believes Joya intentionally hid the news of Dada Ji’s heart attack from him. Despite this misunderstanding, there are several beautiful moments that take place in this episode. Wasim Abbas shines as Haatim, being the voice of reason as he realizes that it’s better to have their children in their lives and happy rather than have them under the same roof and be angry with one another. His attitude is wonderful to see while also sad to see a father treat his own children like guests in their house – and with so much love. Wasim Abbas’s scenes with Qavi Khan are always brilliant as these two actors play off one another to create powerful scenes even in simplicity. There’s also a great moment between Joya and Shireen (Saba Hameed) where the two hug and clear their misunderstandings over the letter. Daughters are the greatest support for a mother and Joya does not take it for granted that her mother has been her greatest support. Of course, Rahat’s (Shamim Hilaly) reaction to seeing the two reconcile also brings tears as Hilaly subtly emotes through her eyes the weight that Rahat has held on her shoulders over years. Rahat is a lovable character, but due to her comical scenes, the genuine pain and grief she has endured with both her daughters under her roof hasn’t really been explored until now.
The misunderstandings between Hamza and Joya spill over to a boiling point when the two finally return home – though neither wants to – and Joya confronts Hamza for his behavior. She’s horrified that he could think so ill of her to hide his grandfather’s illness from him – but when Hamza calms down and realizes Joya’s secret is something else entirely, it’s too late. Joya is unable to stomach the thought that Hamza could believe her to be so cruel. After a scuffle and while Hamza tries to pacify Joya, Joya leaves the house. However, when she arrives home and slowly begins to walk towards the gate, she realizes the implications of her return. Being from a family of divorcees and Hamza being from a family of widower men, the stigma of separation is a heavy one to bear.
While the episode has a number of great scenes in it and dialogues, the problem isn’t with the writing – it’s simply with the importance given to the wrong topics. While this is wonderful, Mussarat and Luqman’s story is given a total of ten minutes in a 40 minute episode. This should be a major storyline at this point. Luqman is seen thinking about his childhood and how he has disappointed his father with his attitude – and decides to change it. He approaches Mussarat and tells her he wants to marry her, but her reaction is unnecessarily over the top. While it may be funny, this is a point where it would’ve been great to see some sensitivity instead of reducing these characters to another comical moment. Both Mussarat and Luqman have endured a lot of emotional trauma from their previous marriages and happiness is something they deserve. This happiness, this growing relationship and their ultimate marriage is something that would have been great to see in a natural way, but the way the show is going, it will end up being a rushed angle – which is unfortunate. Of course, Joya’s relationship with Manzoor is another one that deserves a lot of attention and explanation. This is a story we, as viewers, can only hope is given the time and attention it requires to tell such a story. So while Joya and Hamza’s marriage being on the rocks isn’t a bad story and doesn’t make this a bad episode, it’s more the fear that these other stories will be neglected in the process that makes it less enjoyable. Overall, “Prem Gali” continues to be a show thriving on emotional content and realistic scenarios with some great performances.