Every so often, a Pakistani drama arrives quietly and wins over its audiences – not necessarily with strong content, but rather with a realistic story, a fast pace and back-to-back episodes that leave the viewer coming back for more. “Yeh Na Thi Hamari Qismat” is one such show. Starring Hira Mani, Muneeb Butt, Noor Hassan, Aiza Awan, Kinza Malik, Saba Faisal, Annie Zaidi, Shehryar Zaidi, Khalid Anum, Salma Hassan, Raja Haider and others, the story has been written by Seema Munaf and directed by Syed Ali Raza Usama. It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly clicked with the audience in “Yeh Na Thi Hamari Qismat,” as the story can’t be called “light-hearted” necessarily. However, what makes this show different from others is that even in heavy moments, there has always been something to laugh about – and bad behavior has been highlighted rather than excused.
The finale is action-packed, much of the episode focusing on Munteha (Hira Mani) and Ayaan’s (Muneeb Butt) reunion. What ends up being the greatest takeaway from “Yeh Na Thi Humari Qismat” is that respect is important. A woman cannot remain trapped in a marriage with love if respect and trust are not present. While Munteha did absolutely everything in her power to keep her husband and in-laws happy, ultimately while she won them over, her payment for her trouble was mistrust and accusations of being disloyal. How many times can a woman prove herself? How long can others say it’s a woman’s job to keep a home together (credit to Khalid Anam and Shehryar Zaidi’s characters for making this point loud and clear)? When can a woman take a step back, throw her hands up and say “enough is enough”? Watching Ayaan grovel and live in a state of fear that Munteha would ask for divorce is pleasing – and yet, the way the writers chose to reunite Ayaan and Munteha is not. Is it not possible for Ayaan to earn back Munteha’s trust, the couple reuniting of their own free will instead of throwing a pregnancy into the mix? This is the one part of the finale that does not sit well. Pregnancy is not a way to bind a woman to a man who she wants to leave – and Munteha was consistently declaring that she wanted to leave Ayaan. However, once they realized she was pregnant, all discussion came to a close, her own mother congratulating her as though this was exactly what she was waiting for……and not a divorce. Of course, we are happy Ayaan and Munteha are together, because this has been a great story to watch unfold and Munteha deserves her happy ending. It just shouldn’t have played out in that way. Still, it’s difficult not to melt seeing Ayaan’s changed demeanor and this reunion is long-awaited.
On the other hand, Yasir (now Haroon Shahid) and Alishba (Aiza Awan) are at their lowest within their marriage. Post Noor Hassan’s exit, Haroon Shahid is simply a space-filler and everything about Yasir has changed. One has to stop and appreciate how Noor played this character and the effort he put into it – even if Yasir has not been a likable character. Haroon plays it differently, which is alright, but with only three episodes, he is never given a chance to “become” Yasir, which makes the scenes between Yasir and Alishba seem odd. Someone give Aiza Awan a pat on the back for her performance as Alishba. Alishba has been a train-wreck of a character, a young girl forced into marriage too soon, without warning, and completely ill-prepared for it. And while Alishba’s antics have been over-the-top, brash and, at times, atrocious, she has been the voice of truth most of the time. Alishba has never said anything “wrong” (except towards Munteha), but it has all been in how she says it. This is why it’s heartbreaking to see her current state, childless and without love in her marriage, having destroyed her own reputation. As an audience, we care for Alishba and want to see her happiness – and part of that is due to Aiza’s performance.
While Munteha and Ayaan giving one of their twins to Alishba and Yasir could have been the ending, it’s a relief to see the team go a different way. Yasir and Alishba recognize how difficult this would be for Munteha and Ayaan and so, while they appreciate the gesture, they insist on caring for the child as Chacha and Khala, discussing the possibility of adopting a child who would need their love. This is a great message as well and shows a lot of growth in both Alishba and Yasir as individuals through their personal ordeals.
Honestly, it’s the relationship between Munteha and Alishba that has been the highlight of the show. These are sisters who are very different from one another. At times, Alishba has been downright nasty to Munteha. And yet, both girls care about the other and show it in their own way. Watching Alishba play cupid between Ayaan and Munteha and, later, Munteha offering her own child to Alishba for her happiness highlights the beauty of the relationship between the two sisters – and it is beautiful!
One thing that must be acknowledged about “Yeh Na Thi Hamari Qismat” is the contribution of the “older” characters. Kinza Malik has been so enjoyable as the meddlesome, apple-loving, taunt-throwing Phupo, truly vindictive and yet making the audience laugh every step of the way. Khalid Anam’s character is oh-so-lovable as Munteha’s protective father-in-law who recognizes his own family too well and values his daughter-in-law, constantly speaking up for her. Saba Faisal, Annie Zaidi, Shehryar Zaidi, Salma Hassan, Raja Haider…..each actor has done a great job with their individual roles and it has been a joy to see these actors bicker and squabble on-screen as a highly toxic household.
“Yeh Na Thi Hamari Qismat” ends as a winner – and an unusual one, as one cannot call this show television brilliance. It isn’t progressive. It is certainly saas, bahu aur saazish. There are even moments that are unpalatable (the entire wedding scenario with Sania – downright horrible). And yet, there are so many messages within the story that are important – from showing the career-oriented Munteha continue working after marriage to showing how a daughter-in-law can stand up for herself when mistreated, strong writing is present. More than anything, “Yeh Na Thi Hamari Qismat” winds up being stress-free daily viewing that does not require its audience to turn off their brain.