The “Pyari Mona” team can give themselves a pat on the back for creating something genuinely different from everything else on Pakistani television. Sure, many shows aspire to do something unique and different from the rest – and do succeed in parts -, but “Pyari Mona” is refreshing in its storytelling, direction, acting and overall presentation. This is a show highlighting important personal and societal issues without weighing heavy on audience emotions. Starring Sanam Jung as Mona, the show also stars Sabeeka Imam, Adeel Hussain, Uzma Beg, Adnan Jaffar, Muhammad Hanbal, Shaheen Khan and, later, Mashal Khan. The story has been written by Haseeb Ahmed and directed by Ali Hassan.
In episode 3, Yawar makes a reappearance as Babar (Adeel Hussain) and Mona’s mother, Shaista (Uzma Beg), conspire to set him up with Mona. As with their first meeting, Mona is yet again caught off guard, not realizing a small family dinner was, in fact, yet another opportunity to throw Yawar and Mona together. While Mona does not harbor ill feelings for Yawar and the two even seem to get along well with one another, Mona able to talk more freely with Yawar than with her own brother-in-law and mother, Mona is unimpressed by her family’s tactics – as well as their low opinion of her, believing her to be worthy of a divorcee with a child as her first real proposal. Mona, to put an end to this discussion, tells Yawar that she’s in love with someone else – which he gracefully accepts. The way this scenario has been presented is great, because we can connect to Mona and what she’s feeling. Ironically, Yawar and Mona seem to share great chemistry and give off positive vibes as a duo. Could Yawar potentially be a good match? And is it jumping the gun to potentially want them together? Meanwhile, Mona has created a new monster with her declaration, her family now believing Irfan (Muhammad Hunbal) to be the man of interest. As a viewer, it’s confusing to see exactly where the show is headed in this arena. Is Irfan potentially Mona’s “true” love interest? Regardless, whether it’s Yawar or Irfan or her father, Mona is surrounded by some good guys (barring Babar).
However, even Babar has some nice moments in this episode as we see him interacting with Samia (Sabeeka Imam) and Ayaan. He generally seems to be in a happier mood with his family, even praising Samia. Babar is a fascinating character, because he’s not an outwardly “evil” guy. He’s just a man who has been trained in a certain way and believes women should fit into a certain mold. How many men like this exist in society? The nuances Adeel has added to his performance make Babar feel like a person we may know in real life. Meanwhile, Samia’s mental health has hit a low. She is visibly depressed, Mona taking note of it and attempting to direct her to a good doctor. This idea is, of course, met with disgust by Shaista. Talk of mental health issues is considered taboo in south Asian society and the reactions of Shaista, Babar and even Samia herself is a clear depiction of that. It’s also handled nicely in that Samia isn’t a walking corpse, rather it’s just in those quiet moments that we can see what’s going on with her. Fortunately, while Samia’s mother and husband may not be supportive, she has a supportive sister in Mona and a supportive, loving father in Khalid (Adnan Jaffar). Khalid is the father every girl deserves, someone who does not want to force his choices up on his children, but also wants them to understand that he’s there for them whenever they need him. His worry for Samia, however, is visible as he is troubled seeing her condition. Will her family be able to get Samia the help she needs and pull her out of denial?
“Pyari Mona” is nothing but praise-worthy. There is little to critique, because the way the story is presenting itself and unraveling is an intelligent enjoyable experience, rather than being only educational or created simply for entertainment. From Sanam Jung as Mona to Adeel Hussain as the controlling Babar to Adnan Jaffar as the supportive father, these characters feel real, like people we know in real life, and that’s where “Pyari Mona” is a winner. With three episodes down, it has been three weeks of exclaiming “it’s over already?” at the end of the episode – and that’s high praise!