It’s very difficult to root for Abdullah in Pyar ke Sadqay. Bilal Abbas does a thorough job as Abdullah but there’s a lot of questions in the way the character has been written. He has little courage when it comes to his father (Sarwar, played by Omair Rana) yet takes many adventurous steps when it comes to forsaking his loyalty towards his wife. He is in love with Shanzay (Yashma Gill) and married to Mahjabeen (Yumna Zaidi). Abdullah appears to be mildly autistic so you can understand that he has trouble processing and expressing emotion but there are many moments when you wonder why he does the things he does.
Mahjabeen hurts her leg and Abdullah nurses her bruise. She also begs him to never leave her because she has always failed in school so she doesn’t want to fail in life. Yumna’s portrayal is heart-rending and soulful and it’s very difficult to not feel for this poor young lower-middle class girl who has grown up on set ideals of what it means to be a dutiful wife.
All her hard work in taking care of Abdullah pays off as Abdullah refuses to marry Shanzey, leading her to throw a big fit. (In the next episode’s promo, she’s in the hospital and Abdullah has agreed to marry her. Oi vey.)
Pyar Ke Sadqay started off in a strong way with characters have well-defined arcs and they did what they did because there were strong reasons for them to behave in a certain way. Abdullah’s plot arc, in this case, has been the weakest. He has no reason to marry Mahjabeen in the first place but he does it anyway. His relationship with Sarwar, although frustrating to watch, is perhaps the only plotline in Abdullah’s character that makes sense. Abdullah craves acceptance from people in power, people who he wished he could be. His love and admiration is more aspirational than a craving for affection.
One of the characters that I continue to love, even though the character is shot in one setting throughout is Gul e Rana’s character, who plays Sarwar’s mother.
The dynamic between the mother and the son is incredibly fun to watch because it’s unapologetically evil and human all at the same time. In this episode, she admonishes her son to marry another time so that he may be happy. Even the most mundane of dialogs are done brilliantly by both Gul e Rana and Omair Rana.
While it is disappointing to see the show resort to some of the typical tropes and plot arcs (second marriage, wife being obedient and overly caring thus winning a man’s affections from the entitled and rich ‘other woman’ – Humsafar deja vu, anyone?), Pyar Ke Sadqay is still an enjoyable watch. You have to love Zanjabeel Asim Shah’s writing, nonetheless and Farooq Rind’s love for shadows. Most of the performances are excellent and if the show can avoid some typical tropes, this show would continue to fly high.