By all accounts, “Yunhi” is a “big” drama, a drama with big names and high production values. It’s also Bilal Ashraf’s first stint as a drama actor and has the choosy Maya Ali as his co-star. Along with these two, the show also stars Deepak Perwani, Behroze Sabzwari, Uzma Beg and others in prominent roles. The story has been written by Sarwat Nazir and directed by Ehtashamuddin, a very talented writer-director duo. And so there’s no surprise that “Yunhi” has been highly awaited by Pakistani drama viewers. Unfortunately, the first two episodes left a lot to be desired in regards to characterization. Do things improve with episode 3?
The answer is no. The scenes between Maya Ali and Bilal Ashraf were highly anticipated and we wind up with this insane scene with Kim and Dawood winding up in the same bedroom. Throughout the scene, no one thinks to turn on the light, Kim is screaming about Dawood being a terrorist (for what reason?) and wanting to kill her while Dawood is scared that Kim will put some sort of accusation on him. The simple solution would have been to turn on the light with Kim leaving the bedroom to find her father. All of this aside, Kim’s bad attitude continues when the elders are talking and refuses to apologize to Dawood. What reason does she have to believe he entered her room on purpose?
The character of Kim is very grating. It’s not Maya Ali’s performance that’s the problem, it’s the character and the way she has been written itself. Maya’s performance is rather cute, but the character is not. She is not a likable person. Being American-raised, independent-minded and confident are entirely different from being rude, ill-mannered and unreasonable…..and Kim is the latter. The comments on Dawood being a terrorist continue to agitate and Kim saying she “did her research” and people like this are terrorists (like what?)…..it’s a shame to see a Pakistani American portrayed as dim and brainless. She continues to call people by their names despite being told it’s disrespectful while also refusing to call Dawood by his real name. Honestly, it’s frustrating to watch.
However, this show is still very much an enjoyable one. It’s a show that one wants to continue watching, because everything else in the show is really kind of great. It’s not a new, novel concept, but it’s one that reminds us of family togetherness and the longing we experience when separated from our homeland and loved ones after long periods of time. There’s an earthy, homely feel to this show and the narrative. Deepak Perwani is particularly lovable as Naveed and it’s now revealed that Naveed has ulterior motives for bringing Kim to Pakistan, hoping to separate her from her non-Muslim boyfriend.
Bilal Ashraf deserves a mention after this episode, because he’s doing a great job as Dawood. Dawood is a character who has become immediately endearing for viewers with this decent demeanor without being a pushover. He is taught to be kind and respectful, but he does not put up with Kim’s nonsense and gives her the shut-up call she deserves at every turn. Bilal Ashraf is playing this role convincingly and it’s the Dawood character that’s keeping us hooked now. It will be interesting to see how the story progresses from this point out. One thing is for sure – we can only hope the Kim character calms down and begins to act like a normal human being in the next few episodes or this will be a very difficult love story to root for. “Yunhi” is, as a whole, a very endearing show.