“Shehnai” is a show that airs twice a week, on Thursdays and Fridays, and manages to put a smile on the viewer’s face with its quirky, fun family-oriented love story. The show has been written by Radain Shah and directed by Ahmed Bhatti. Starring Affan Waheed, Ramsha Khan, Javed Sheikh, Nida Mumtaz, Behroze Sabzwari, Zainab Qayyum, Saleem Mairaj, Arsalan Faisal, Maryam Noor, Salma Hassan and many others, this is a star-studded, talented cast.
The episode is a Meerab (Affan Waheed) and Bakht (Ramsha Khan) centric episode, focusing on the emotional bond the two share. While the two are getting engaged, Samreen (Maham Amir) hoards control over the two by playing with Bakht, threatening to reveal the truth. Fortunately, before Samreen makes her “announcement,” the light goes out, giving opportunity to many – particularly Rafay (Arsalan Faisal) and Beenish, who have grown to like each other. Unfortunately for the two, they are caught by Beenish’s mother, Tooba (Salma Hassan), who verbally thrashes the two before carting her daughter off. Of course, this becomes the drama of the moment in the household, but is interrupted by tragedy. Bakht is fed up of concealing the truth from her parents and is frustrated at the way Samreen is able to threaten her, so she comes clean to her mother, Ambreen (Nida Mumtaz), supported by her Khala, Saiqa (Naima Khan). While Ambreen tells her to keep quiet and not reveal this truth, Bakht no longer wants to hide anything from her father, Absar (Javed Sheikh) and, so, she tells him the truth as well – after which, he suffers a massive heart attack and is rushed to the hospital.
It’s here that Bakht and Meerab’s bond is demonstrated in its true form. When Meerab arrives at the hospital, Bakht doesn’t waste a moment before hugging him, showing that he’s someone she trusts wholeheartedly. Meerab, on his end, is giving his 100% to this relationship as well, protecting and caring for Bakht as any partner would do. But the problem is, they aren’t partners, at least not as long as Samreen continues to stand between them. And Samreen does continue to stand between them – though one doesn’t really understand why. In this episode, it’s revealed that Samreen is already engaged and she appears to share a good relationship with her fiancé, a relationship which she doesn’t seem to have any desire of breaking off. So why is she harassing Meerab and Bakht then? In the beginning of the show, Samreen is shown as being suicidal in her love for Meerab – which is clearly not true. Such characters do exist, individuals who stay in toxic relationships, relationships which are mutually unhealthy, but continue to thrive. This is what Sameera and Meerab’s relationship appeared to be – but it’s not. If Sameera is simply a manipulative character then it’s here that the writing has failed, because she hasn’t been given enough debt. In fact, this character is the weakest link, made weaker by the lack of chemistry between Samreen and Meerab, the two not looking like an in-love couple at all.
It’s at times of need when one realizes who they can count on and it’s during this time that Ambreen realizes how much animosity is within Tooba, Kifayat (Saleem Mairaj) and Munni (Javeria Abbasi) for her, the trio lashing out at her in the hospital at a time when she needs support. Is this something Ambreen will forget in upcoming episodes or will this come back to haunt this trouble-making trio? It must be said that Javeria Abbasi’s Munni seems to have a clean heart and doesn’t have a “side,” simply wanting to be given importance – unlike the others, who are after their inheritance. Kifayat and Maleeha’s scheming will never end and they continue to plot to put an end to Bakht and Meerab’s wedding. It’s enjoyable to watch Saleem Mairaj in such a show, as he usually plays more serious characters, but it genuinely feels like he’s having fun this time around and Zainab Qayyum is his perfect partner in crime. Absar recovers and feels better – but with one catch. He has no memory of Bakht’s confession. This leaves Bakht in a tight spot again as the episode ends with her preparing to tell Meerab about this latest problem.
The greatest strength of “Shehnai” is the chemistry between Affan Waheed and Ramsha Khan. Both are not only great actors, but they play off one another well and make the audience feel for the Bakht-Meerab relationship. Of course, they also look great together. One can’t neglect the supporting cast – everyone is doing a great job, from Saleem Mairaj and Javed Sheikh to the actors playing the cousins like Arsalan Faisal and Maryam Noor. Overall, “Shehnai” is a fun, light-hearted show that’s serving its viewers a great love story in the making.