While “Yunhi” can certainly be called a success or hit in regards to views and audience, Pakistani drama fans who tend to view shows with a more critical eye have been abandoning this show in recent weeks. This is saying something for a show only 6 episodes down. The way the female lead, Kim, has been written has alienated most overseas Pakistanis with its undigestible, unrealistic portrayal of an American Pakistani. However, with episode 7, the show has taken an interesting turn – but is it enough to bring back angry viewers just yet? Starring Maya Ali, Bilal Ashraf, Behroze Sabzwari, Deepak Perwani, Uzma Beg and others, the story has been written by Samira Fazal and directed by Ehtashamuddin.
In episode 7, we see Kim (Maya Ali) bonding with her father’s childhood friend, Zulfi. Quite honestly, with how rude Kim has been towards everyone in her family, barring Suraiya (Maha Hasan), it’s nice to see her bonding with someone on a normal level. This is also the first time we see Kim confiding in someone regarding her mother, who we now at least know is Pakistani and the one who taught Kim to read and write in Urdu. Kim admires Zulfi and respects him, the same way she respects her father, but she has a different way of forming bonds and calls Zulfi her friend rather than her Uncle. She also openly makes jokes about marrying Zulfi were she not already taken – something which deeply perplexes Dawood (Bilal Ashraf). Maya Ali’s performance in this episode is good and Kim, somehow, winds up being somewhat likable this time around.
We now realize Iqbal (Tazeen Hussain) is the woman Zulfi has always been in love with – and the reason he remained unmarried. This angle is incredibly sweet, not only because of the purity of it, but also because it’s not one-sided love. Iqbal has also always been in love with Zulfi and, with his return to the environment courtesy Naveed’s return, we can see that she is visibly affected. Unrequited romance is something that is a crowd-pleaser and Iqbal and Zulfi’s romance is one that leaves us all wanting more, their sweet minute-long flashbacks having an old-world charm. The actors are doing a good job between the young and old flashbacks.
What we can see, more than anything through this episode, is how narrow-minded and old-school Dawood’s family is. Sure, Kim is over-the-top and not necessarily a character audiences can connect with. However, the judgmental nature in both Dawood, his parents, his grandfather and the way they openly judge Zulfi for no real crime but being a poet is unnerving…..and, to be honest, unlikable. It shows why Khursheed wound up the way she did, pining over a man who never loved her and passing away due to heartbreak – because her family probably fueled her unhappiness rather than encouraging her to move forward.
Coming to editing, there’s a lot to be desired. For example, Kim and Zulfi have the exact same conversation about poetry and Kim’s mother being a poet twice, first at Zulfi’s house and again on the streets…..and behave as though it’s the first time. Still, overall, episode 7 has elevated the quality of “Yunhi” an exceptional amount. This time last week, it was possible that “Yunhi” would be abandoned, but with episode 7, interest has been piqued once again. Here’s hoping the narrative picks up from this point forward.