“Sinf E Aahan” is probably the greatest female casting coupe in a while on our telelvison screens with some of Pakistan’s finest talent in one show. Starring Sajal Aly, Kubra Khan, Yumna Zaidi, Ramsha Khan, Syra Yousef, Yehali Tashiya Kalidisa, Dananeer Mobeen, Sheheryar Munawar, Sonia Mishal, Shamim Hilaly, Usman Peerzada, Saba Hamid and many others, the story has been written by Umera Ahmed and directed by Nadeem Baig. These are some of the finest talents in our country – and yet, “Sinf E Aahan” has been a disappointment overall. Where has the show gone wrong? Let’s take a moment to discuss.
The most important reveal in episode 18 is that we are now aware of the circumstances surrounding Mahjabeen (Kubra Khan) and Rabia’s (Sajal Aly) fight…..and as always, things are not what they initially seemed to be. While Mahjabeen has been winning hearts over the past weeks with many feeling the cold-hearted, competitive Rabia shortchanged her friend by not discussing a potential engagement with Daniyal (Usman Mukhtar), the truth has changed opinions. Mahjabeen and Rabia did not speak for months after this “betrayal” and finally, Rabia chose to be the bigger person and apologize – while also telling Mahjabeen about her own engagement. Mahjabeen, realizing her ex-friend’s fiancé is her cousin, told her cousin (Asim Azhar) that Rabia is bipolar in order to have the engagement called off simply to hurt Rabia. Honestly speaking, at this point, is there any forgiveness for Mahjabeen? Surely Rabia will forgive her, as will her cousin, but in the grand scheme of things, who was the real culprit of their friendship falling apart? Rabia genuinely believed Mahjabeen loved Kumail and did what she thought was best for her brother. Mahjabeen was actually out for revenge – and got it. She intentionally sought out to hurt Rabia deeply. After seeing this, despite all the changes Mahjabeen has made to herself, it’s difficult to sympathize with her at the present moment with all sympathies now with Rabia.
It also must be said that both Sajal Aly and Kubra Khan have performed extremely well in this episode. Sajal Aly’s expressions as Rabia when Mahjabeen apologizes are perfect as she struggles with the anger over what she has gone through along with disbelief that her roommate believes a simple apology will take away that grief. Likewise, Kubra Khan’s performance depicting Mahjabeen’s helplessness at her serious lapse in judgement while not knowing how to correct it is also spot on. If there are any two characters on the show that have gotten a decent amount of attention and character building, it is Mahjabeen and Rabia…though it is still not enough.
As “side moments,” we see that Shaista’s (Yumna Zaidi) engagement has been called off and there’s a sweet moment between Shaista and Sidra (Dananeer Mobeen) as Sidra tries to console her – but for what? Shaista herself is unable to recognize her reasons for being upset. Does she love Kamil (Junaid Jamshed) after all? Yumna Zaidi is playing this role well…..she simply isn’t getting much screen time except for occasional comedic relief – a spot already filled by Dananeer Mobeen. Aarzoo (Syra Yousef) also has an interesting storyline with Nofle (Asad Siddiqui) now blackmailing her with pictures they’ve taken in the past. What’s most interesting about this story is how Major Samia will step in to help Aarzoo. It’s always wonderful to see women supporting women and this is one such instance that will be great to watch.
Major Usama (Sheheryar Munawar) and Kiran (Sonia Mishal) are also given a bit of screen time in this episode as Kiran confides in her mother-in-law (Shameem Hilaly) about her fear to open up to Usama. After having already lost a husband, she is scared to allow Usama into her heart, worried about losing him too. This is a very real situation wives of those in the army have to deal with, but as her mother in law tells her, is this the reason she remarried, to continue living with grief? Sheheryar Munawar is very likable in this role as Major Usama, but like the other characters….he also does not get enough screen time – and is ironically one of the characters receiving the most amount of it.
The greatest problem with “Sinf E Aahan” is the lack of focus on any one character. It is not lack of story – “Sinf E Aahan” has several strong stories worth telling. However, the narrative does not want to move away from heavy training scenes to actually focus on telling these stories in a worthy way. With ten minutes of training sequences at the beginning and ten minutes towards the end, we are only being given twenty minutes of content each week. That content is being split up amongst 8 main characters – Mahjabeen, Rabia, Pariwesh, Shaista, Arzoo, Nathmy, Sidra, Usama and even Major Samia would make 9. With 18 episodes down, we have not even touched upon Nathmy’s storyline and the mystery surrounding her father’s friend. Pariwesh and Shaista receive only five minutes of attention in each episode – if even. The way the story has been mapped out is not executed well. If the show would have paused and chosen to focus on each girl for 3-4 episodes each, that would have been a better way of moving the story forward instead of five minutes per character, never really allowing the audience to connect to their story. This is the greatest weakness of “Sinf E Aahan” – again, it’s not a lack of story, rather a lack of focus on those stories. How many episodes does “Sinf E Aahan” have? Assuming it’s even going to hit the 30 episode mark, more than half the show is over and only Rabia and Mahjabeen plus Kiran and Usama’s story has been given any real attention, even that half-heartedly. Hopefully things pick up soon…..but is it already too late with audiences losing interest?