“Shehnai” is a show that started with much buzz due to its light-hearted story revolving around a big Pakistani wedding with a couple coming together through an arranged marriage. This show had the makings of being a huge hit and winning the hearts of the audience who had been particularly starved of light-hearted content at that point (this began before Ramadan shows hit the air). While the show kept its audience laughing and in high spirits for the first half of the show, the second half hit a more-than-rough spot when logic jumped off a mountain. Starring Affan Waheed, Ramsha Khan, Saleem Mairaj, Javed Sheikh, Salma Hassan, Nida Mumtaz, Javeria Abbasi, Behroze Sabzwari, Zainab Qayyum and many others, the story has been written by Radian Shah and directed by Ahmed Bhatti. So how did the finale fare? Let’s discuss.
There were high expectations riding on the finale as the show had deteriorated enough over the past few weeks where it would take a brilliantly written finale to bring the show back from it. Sad to say, the finale was not brilliant – but it was decent and entertaining enough. In the finale, Meerab (Affan Waheed) and Bakht’s (Ramsha Khan) mehndi is in full swing with Hunain (Hammad Shoaib) and his father ready to launch their plan into action with Bakht running away with Hunain. However, Bakht has begun to see the writing on the wall, her gut feeling telling her something is wrong. Tooba (Salma Hassan) finally pulls Bakht aside and both she and Kafayat (Saleem Mairaj) talk sense into Bakht and, shocked, she finally agrees to marry Meerab. However, Hunain, catching on, kidnaps Bakht and attempts to marry her by force. Meerab comes to the rescue, brings Bakht back home, an emotional showdown takes place with everyone confessing their mistakes and the wedding takes place, Bakht and Meerab getting their happy ending.
Essentially, the finale has everything required of an entertaining one – love, action, family drama….and yet, it doesn’t leave the audience satisfied. The problem with “Shehnai” has been, since around episode 10, the lack of emphasis on the bond between Meerab and Bakht. That bond should have been so strong that viewers, despite Samreen and Hunain, would have been rooting for Meerab and Bakht’s union. Instead, viewers were given 2-3 foundational romantic scenes and then…..nothing. Bakht’s attitude took a turn for the ultimate worst, making Bakht one of the most unlikable female characters on-screen in a long time. In staunch contrast, Meerab is one of the best male characters on-screen in a long time and it’s Meerab who held the show together. In the end, we see Meerab and Bakht bickering “as usual,” except the audience sympathy has long since evaporated for Bakht – so one is simply left wondering when Bakht will stop showing so much attitude?
The ensemble cast is fantastic – from the elder characters to the cousins, everyone did their best with their performances and truly made this feel like a family unit. Special mention to Saleem Mairaj and Salma Hassan who really make their presence felt. At the end of it all, it’s Affan Waheed who walks away as the star of the show with the best-written, most consistent role. Meerab is not only a genuine guy, but he’s the kind of guy who anyone would want as a husband or a son-in-law. It has been a while since Affan Waheed has had a role truly worthy of him and this one is it – hopefully he gets more strong lead roles because of it. While “Shehnai” started off strong, it ended up being a show that was simply “just okay” due to the constant character confusion, track changes and lack of logic. This goes down as a show that wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t great either. Again, it will be remembered for Affan Waheed’s role as Meerab.