Some finales require more time to think and process the chain of events and the finale of “Yunhi” required a few hours to gauge an overall opinion. This is one of those bittersweet finales, a story that has played out and is ready to come to a close – but also a show that will be sorely missed due to its wonderful cast, beautiful camera work and heartwarming story. “Yunhi” stars Maya Ali, Bilal Ashraf, Behroze Sabzwari, Deepak Perwani, Uzma Beg, Tazeen Hussain, Tahira Imam, Khaqan Shahnawaz, Laiba Khurram, Manzoor Qureshi, Maha Hassan and others. “Yunhi” has been written by Sarwat Nazir and directed by Ehtashamuddin.
In the finale, there are many positives. We see how Dadaji (Manzoor Qureshi) has changed, adapting Kim’s ideas about living an active, productive lifestyle and is helping Basharat in his business. Quite honestly, everyone from Iqbal (Tazeen Hussain) to Razia (Tahira Imam) has gone through such a beautiful arc of change, accepting their role in life and the blessings their family has been given that they were overlooking before. When Kim first arrived in Pakistan, this was a bickering, rigidly conservative family which has now been transformed into a picture of support and togetherness. The natural, organic way in which these changes have been is the strength of the show, this family finding a place in our hearts over the past few months. In the end, even Dadaji is supportive of Kim’s decision to leave, realizing forced relationships have never benefited anyone.
Of course, Dawood (Bilal Ashraf) and Kim’s (Maya Ali) misunderstandings have been cleared up regarding George and Fiza, but have left Kim with the realization that they’re simply too different to stay together. Kim does not want to change herself for David, rather for herself. She does not want to mold herself for another person, believing she should be accepted for who she is by someone who loves her and if she desires to change, it should be for herself. This point of hers is acceptable and Dawood does not stop her, recognizing that. What has made Dawood such a stellar hero is that he has always accepted Kim for who she is and tried to lead by example, hoping that whatever change he did desire in her in regards to religion, she would learn through his example. And here, once again, he does not force his ideas upon her and allows her to leave. Kim does ask Dawood to send her the divorce papers once things calm down. Kim’s farewell to the family is such a stellar scene with strong performances all along. As an audience, we can actually feel her pain at losing a family she has bonded with so strongly, particularly Razia, who she now considers a mother. Maya Ali’s performance is exceptional here and she has really managed to win our hearts as the confused, straightforward Kim.
While Dawood does rush to the airport to find Kim, he misses her – and after this, the couple goes no-contact for an entire year. During this time, Dawood does not send divorce papers nor does Kim ask for them…..they, quite literally, do not have any contact. Dawood, after completing his hospital contract, decides it’s time to bring Kim back to Pakistan and plans to visit her in America – but she arrives in Pakistan before he can do so, that too now wearing hijab. It’s wonderful that Kim makes the first move here and comes to Pakistan to reunite with Dawood instead of the other way around. Throughout the entire show, Dawood has pursued Kim and Kim making the first move this time around was much needed. Dawood and Kim reunite and are finally on the same page – and this final scene is really rather sweet.
Now let’s talk about the negatives – and there are negatives. Quite honestly, “Yunhi” never seemed to be Kim’s journey to Islam or a journey of self-discovery, rather it felt as though it was the story of two individuals finding love and rounding out one another’s rough edges. This was a combining of East vs. West with the best parts coming together. And while we saw Dawood’s mindset change with Kim as his companion, Kim felt she needed to move away for a year, learn Islam and then make her return. But why was this necessary? On one end, it made sense that she did not want to feel she changed for Dawood and wanted time to learn on her own, for herself. However, once two people are bound in marriage, is this really a logical solution? If anything, we would’ve loved to see Kim change organically through example, led by Dawood, as we saw her changing and learning how to pray. Dawood has never enforced his beliefs on Kim to begin with. Does learning about religion through one’s spouse take away spirituality and its meaning? The messaging here needed some work, because it’s neither a negative or a positive. It simply feels disjointed.
Second, Kim’s cutting off from Dawood for a year and then returning is another unnecessary detail. Why couldn’t Kim have clued Dawood in to her intentions? Why couldn’t she have continued to strengthen their relationship from afar if that’s how she chose to go about it? “Surprise, I now wear Hijab!” does not feel like the strong moment it was meant to be. It’s always a plus to see a strong message about religion, but “Yunhi” falters a bit with the execution here.
Last, but not least, “Yunhi” has been, at the very heart of it, a romance. We have all been waiting for more romance between Dawood and Kim and with this final confession, we should’ve been given much more. This final episode should have given us much more. And yet, while these complaints are certainly there, “Yunhi” has been such a strong show from start to finish with a great journey for Dawood and Kim, both individually and as a couple. The show has not only been a great romance, but also a story of family, unity and the great divide between culture and religion – and how we tend to confuse the two. There isn’t any doubt that “Yunhi” is a quality show which will be sorely missed.