“Yunhi” took off in its first week due to its novel storyline, beautiful cast and visually stunning presentation. Starring Bilal Ashraf and Maya Ali in lead roles, the show also stars Deepak Perwani, Behroze Sabzwari and Uzma Beg while the story has been written by Sarwat Nazir and directed by Ehtashamuddin. The story of a man who abandons his fiancé and moves abroad, “Yunhi” tackles the aftermath of his actions and how it has affected the families of this man and woman decades later.
Episode two continues with discussion surrounding Naveed’s (Deepak Perwani) return to Pakistan. Khursheed’s family remains in an uproar over a broken engagement that ended over twenty years ago. Is this really realistic? It was an engagement, not a marriage. Is it fair to blame a man for choosing another path for himself? It’s not particularly believable. However, what is believable is Deepak Perwani’s portrayal of Naveed. It is Naveed who is the true hero of “Yunhi.” This is a man who is carrying shame and regret, a man who feels burdened by what he did to Khursheed – and also a man who is very happy to be back home and meeting familiar faces and friends. Deepak Perwani is the life of the show at present and is delivering a really strong performance.
After episode one, I discussed in detail how the character of Kim has been written in a stereotypical way which is not true to the real nature of Pakistani Americans. Unfortunately, after episode two, the statement has only grown stronger in belief. Kim has been written to adhere to some sort of belief that Pakistani Americans are completely out of touch with their culture – but her speaking and understanding Urdu is in direct contrast to that portrayal. Any family which actively teaches their child to speak in Urdu would also actively teach them about cultural norms. Pakistani Americans tend to be very protective of their identity and are proud of a culture which they have worked hard to maintain. As a minority, culture and religion play a large part in upbringing with the diaspora. The way Kim addresses adults by their first name is a laugh-out-loud moment, as a Pakistani American would never indulge in this behavior. Americans, for that matter, address elders with Ms. Or Mr., not their first names. And while it may seem that this is harping a lot on the portrayal of Kim, it’s important to discuss this in detail. This sort of representation gives the diaspora a negative image, the image of being confused and removed from an identity – an image that’s very different from the ground reality. A little bit of research would have made the character of Kim a more likable character – which she is not, at least not at this point. She seems rude, arrogant and ill-mannered. We can do better.
Overall, “Yunhi” is still a worthwhile show. It has a story that is interesting to watch unfold, particularly due to Deepak Perwani’s arc. And while Kim’s character has not been well-developed, it’s nice to watch Maya Ali on screen regardless and she looks beautiful. Bilal Ashraf’s Dawood has only appeared in small scenes up until now, but the episode ends on a fun note with the two winding up in the same room. How will their love story begin? That is what has us hooked and waiting to see!