“Yunhi” is a show that got off on a rocky start with some strong stereotypes that were mildly offensive. However, after the initial few episodes, “Yunhi” has proved itself to be a gem of a show, a show truly worth one’s time. While outwardly, the story seems like a clash between East vs. West, there’s much more to it, such as culture vs. religion, tradition vs. progress and even judgement vs. acceptance. There’s a lesson in every episode, but it’s delivered in a smooth, relatable way. Starring Maya Ali, Bilal Ashraf, Behroze Sabzwari, Deepak Perwani, Uzma Beg, Tazeen Hussain, Tahira Imam, Manzoor Qureshi, Maha Hassan and others, “Yunhi” has been written by Samira Fazal and directed by Ehtashamuddin.
The emotional connections and exchanges made in this episode are the highlight, beginning with Iqbal’s (Tazeen Hussain) apology to Basharat (Behroze Sabzwari) and Razia (Tahira Imam). Iqbal is sorry for what she’s done, while Razia is unwilling to forgive this betrayal. Yet, while Basharat is equally upset with Iqbal, he also recognizes that she’s a human being who made a mistake, while also acknowledging that this mistake may have been for the betterment of them all, getting his daughter out of a messy situation. There’s forgiveness here and that’s what’s most important, while also showing that a strong head of family is what creates strong bonds and mends relationships.
Daniyal (Khaqan Shahnawaz) is broken after Husna sets him clear regarding her opinion on their broken engagement, stating he’s not worthy of her nor is she interested in marrying him. In retaliation, Daniyal takes his anger out on Basharat, resulting in an altercation between Dawood and Daniyal ending in a slap. Kim is immediately sorry for her words, realizing how they may have triggered Daniyal and this is the strength of the writing where characters are empathetic, able to self-reflect and recognize their flaws. Basharat continues to win hearts as he attempts to change his father’s mind, encouraging him to change with the times and improve their lives accordingly. While Haji Karamat (Manzoor Qureshi) has always led the family in a different direction, Basharat is now slowly turning into the leader this family needs – and always needed. Behroze Sabzwari has done an excellent job in this role and Basharat has shown realistic growth as a character.
With these changes, the younger generation has been given a voice, the right to express, something which they never had before. Suraiyya (Maha Hassan) winds up being the link to bring Razia and Iqbal back together, the two using words to express themselves and their emotions rather than taunts and repressed pain.
Of course, Dawood (Bilal Ashraf) and Kim (Maya Ali) finally take steps to acknowledging their relationship and the love between them. Dawood is an exceptional character that has not shied away from change, allowing Kim to bring out the positives in him and adapting to a difference in mindset from his family – as long as it adheres to his religious and cultural values. Now he shows that he’s also not shying away from expressing himself and declaring his affections for his wife, even if it puts him in a vulnerable position. Kim is hesitant to admit her feelings, not only to Dawood, but also to herself as she does not want to get hurt. The way Bilal Ashraf plays this role, complete with the visible lump in his throat, is incredibly endearing and shows just how much he has grown to care for Kim, while Maya Ali’s portrayal of Kim’s confusion has our sympathies as well. Both actors deserve a round of applause for how beautifully they’ve enacted this scene. This is how romance is done.
As the episode winds up, Kim discovers that Zulfi’s long lost love is none other than Iqbal. In the final scene, we can already see Kim’s mind at work, the wheels churning and plotting. However, with Dawood’s strict stance against Zulfi and the family’s dislike – mostly likely caused by Iqbal and Zulfi’s past -, will the family ever agree to this union? “Yunhi” is genuinely a breath of fresh air, a show that keeps audiences coming back week after week for its subtle yet meaningful messaging. It’s high praise when a show is described as being one of a kind and “Yunhi” is certainly that, a show that is set apart with its writing, direction, acting and overall presentation. This is a winner!