“Yunhi” is a “big” show in all regards. From high production values to in-demand stars and an old-charm kind of romance, “Yunhi” has it all on paper. Yet, up until now, it has been a show audiences have either loved or picked apart due to its cliched presentation of certain characters. However, in recent weeks, the writing has more than improved and has been an exciting, engaging watch with Kim and Dawood’s relationship set to take off. Starring Maya Ali, Bilal Ashraf, Behroze Sabzwari, Deepak Perwan, Uzma Beg and others, the story has been written by Samira Fazal and directed by Ehtashamuddin.
In episode 11, Kim (Maya Ali) and Dawood (Bilal Ashraf) are greeted with hostility upon their return from Zulfi’s house, a trip made in the middle of their mehndi event. It’s here that we visibly see Dada’s (Mazoor Qureshi) regressive thoughts in full-force. His disdain for Zulfi is no longer disdain, it’s full-fledged hatred – and honestly, it makes us wonder if it’s hatred for his way of life…..or much more? Is it possible that, in the past, he discovered Iqbal (Tazeen Hussain) and Zulfi’s budding romance and this is the reason he not only dislikes Zulfi, but also pushed Iqbal into an unhappy marriage? The Iqbal and Zulfi love story is one that adds a different dimension to this story and It seems there’s a lot more to unravel here. Honestly, this would push “Yunhi” into a great direction. Otherwise, Dada and his entire family seem like backward, regressive, uneducated, narrow-minded folk with no tolerance for personalities different from their own – which would put Kim in a very bad position.
Unfortunately for Kim, Dawood is surrounded by many with this mindset, starting with his Dada and moving on towards the neighborhood boys and cousins. These are all men who advise Dawood to “control” Kim and keep her under his thumb and while Dawood does try to shield Kim from scrutiny, he does wish for her to abide by these societal and household norms. What provides food for thought is Dawood’s failed relationship and the fact that they parted knowing their families would not agree. Was his ex-love interest also a broad-minded woman who his family would not accept? If that’s the case, there may be a lot more to Dawood than Kim or us, as an audience, realize. We still have a lot to learn about this character. However, right now, the situation is not looking too good for Kim.
Adding to her upcoming woes are Naveed’s (Deepak Perwani) plans. As Kim and Dawood get married, Naveed plans to leave that very night, something unknown to Kim. Making matters worse, he is also taking her passport with him, leaving Kim’s declarations of “when I go back” out in the cold, a statement that cannot be fulfilled – at least not now. Given, Naveed may know Kim’s lifestyle in the US and realize Pakistan may be good for her, but who created and gave birth to this lifestyle? It’s the responsibility of a parent to pass down morals and values, guiding their children along the path they wish for them to follow – and Naveed has not done a good job at this. He raised her to be kind-hearted, but also fiercely independent. Is it then fair to place that burden of religion and culture on Kim when the lack of it is his own fault? Deepak Perwani has always been an excellent designer, but here, he proves that he’s also a solid performer. This is a role that’s truly allowing him to prove his mettle and dive into a character that’s not black and white, rather a nuanced one with good and bad traits.
Maya Ali is the star of this episode, not only performing well, but also looking incredibly beautiful in both her mehndi and wedding looks. Sometimes a window into the psyche of others and how a character has been raised gives us a window into a character, something which we have not had up until now. All the cliches of American Pakistanis aside, Kim’s behavior has a new angle to it at this point. While Kim was raised with culture and religion in her mother’s life, her mother’s passing seems to have left Kim floundering on her own with a father who cared for her and loved her, but failed in regards to teaching Kim about her religion and culture. Naveed’s behavior is indicative of his guilt at how he has raised Kim – and is also an absolute betrayal to Kim as a parent. It will be interesting to see how Kim reacts to her father’s absence and her life as a newlywed in Pakistan, a life where she is now basically being held hostage. “Yunhi” has taken a very interesting turn since the wedding episodes have begun and leaves the audience excited to see how the story will unfold.