“Sinfe Aahan” is a show that has amassed a massive fan following for itself after the first episode alone. With many beloved female stars in the cast, the story tells a tale of women empowerment and follows its female leads through their life struggles and challenges, strength and determination. These women come from different backgrounds and have one goal – to join the army. While the show, like most ISPR sponsored programs, has faced its share of criticism for propaganda, the overall feedback has been positive with its stars garnering praise for their portrayals. The show stars Sajal Aly, Yumna Zaidi, Ramsha Khan, Kubra Khan, Syra Yousef, Dananeer Mobeen, Ali Rehman Khan, Asad Siddiqui, Usman Mukhtar, Mohammad Ahmed, Saba Hameed and Usman Peerzada while Asim Azhar, Yehali Tashiya Kalidasa and Sheheryar Munawar have yet to make their entrance. The story has been written by Umera Ahmed and directed by Nadeem Baig.
The girls come together in episode 3 as they all arrive at the academy. Shaista (Yumna Zaidi) travels with Kamil (Junaid Jamshed Niazi), the two awkward traveling companions as Shaista doesn’t quite trust Kamil. Junaid Jamshed Niazi makes an impression as Kamil in his short, 5 minute scene. There’s a lot of chemistry here, promising for a sweet upcoming romance. Meanwhile at Shaista’s home, her sister expertly tries to conceal Shaista’s disappearance -but for how long will she be able to pull it off? The girls all arrive at the academy one by one, forming bonds as they arrive. It’s sweet watching Aarzoo (Syra Yousef) and Pariwesh (Ramsha Khan) boarding the bus, their encouraging, supportive fathers smiling on with pride. These are the moments that are small and fleeting, but leave the greatest impression. These are what Pakistani fathers are, what they should be and seeing their pride in the success of their daughters is heartwarming.
Upon arrival, Mehjabeen (Kubra Khan) and Shaista (Yumna Zaidi) become friends while Rabia (Sajal Aly) and Pariwesh form a bond, as do Aarzoo and Sidra (Dananeer Mobeen). It’s entertaining watching these fast friendships, because they are realistically common amongst females – though often the result is the realization that they don’t particularly like each other. But for the sake of the show, we hope these sweet bonds remain! It’s rib-tickling funny watching Pariwesh and Shaista dig for gossip as Mehjabeen and Sajal Aly, former friends and now rivals, glare at one another. While it’s not clear what the exact problem is, from Rabia’s flashbacks, it does have something to do with Rabia’s desire to marry her brother, Daniyal (Usman Mukhtar), to Mehjabeen.
As these young women begin their training, their competitive spirit comes out amidst psychological exams and tests of strength. Honestly, it’s refreshing to see a story like this on our screens, a story where love is not the central focus (though, as would realistically be expected of young girls, they all do have their love interests), rather the emphasis appears to be on the hopes and dreams of these girls and their drive to succeed. Adding to this are the bonds of friendship (and animosity) between these girls. Yumna Zaidi is winning hearts as Shaista, shining bright with her cute portrayal while also grasping on to the Pukhtun vocabulary with ease. She has made her present felt. Sajal Aly is a natural as always and it’s interesting to see her play a character like Rabia, a girl who is clear-cut on the outside, but has a go-getting attitude…which may have pushed her into a negative space in the past. We will have to see that story unfold. Ramsha Khan is adorable as Pariwesh and what’s great about the narrative is that, despite being “good girls,” these characters have their own traits. While Pariwesh is kind, she is also “adding oil to the fire” between Rabia and Mehjabeen, prodding along their war. Syra Yousef is incredibly sweet as Aarzoo and her friendship with Sidra is the perfect picture of “harmonious living.” While Aarzoo is a Christian, Sidra is a very religious Muslim and the two have become fast friends, lovingly accepting each other while being respectful of one another’s faiths. And, of course, Kubra Khan is great as Mehjabeen. Mehjabeen is spoiled, she is high maintenance, but as we can see in her behavior with Shaista – she has a heart of gold. This is a girl who will come through for her friends and has a generous nature. It’s easy to love each of these characters.
“Sinf E Aahan” is a clear-cut winner. There is little to criticize. Everything from direction to dialogues are wonderful. If there’s anything that needs to be criticized, it’s some small flaws in editing. There is a sequence between Pariwesh and Rabia that takes place twice, as if the scene were shot in two ways and both versions somehow made it into the episode (when Pariwesh asks about Rabia’s army background). This moment stood out like an eye-sore in an otherwise perfect episode. Still, these are small critiquing points in a show that’s getting everything else right. Hopefully this pace will continue!