As a show, “Yunhi” inspires conflicted emotions. This is a drama with an old-world charm, a “vibe” that resonates with the viewer and takes one back to the quality PTV era of television viewing where focus was more focused on storytelling and less on glamour. And yet, the main lead love story in “Yunhi” is so oddly written, it’s difficult to even want to see these characters wind up together. This sets the stage for a complicated viewing experience. Starring Maya Ali and Bilal Ashraf in lead roles, they are supported by Behroze Sabzwari, Deepak Perwani, Mansoor Qureshi, Uzma Beg, Tazeen Hussain and others. The story has been written by Sarwat Nazir and directed by Mohammed Ehtashamuddin.
In episode 9, Naveed (Deepak Perwani) and Haji Karamat (Manzoor Qureshi) come to an agreement – Dawood (Bilal Ashraf) will marry Kim (Maya Ali); but in exchange, Naveed will also marry Iqbal (Tazeen Hussain). While the rest of the family is not aware of the second part of the deal, Dawood’s marriage to Kim sets the family into a whirlwind of chaos. Razia (Tahira Imam) is unwilling to accept Kim as Dawood’s wife while Daniyal (Khaqan Shahnawaz) is left in shock at his dreams slipping through his hands. The character we feel most sorry for is Husna (Laiba Khurram) in this situation. She has, essentially, been used as a pawn. And while her words towards Daniyal have been those of a strong woman unwilling to let a man destroy her future, the pain and anguish is visible in her demeanor. This is a man she thought she would be spending the rest of her life with – and he has abandoned her in hopes of a future with another, simply for American citizenship. We can only hope that Husna stands by her words, focuses on her education and makes something of her future, leaving Daniyal in the dust.
Of course, it’s Kim’s reaction which is most perplexing – and, well, irritating. Dawood is clear on his thoughts towards Kim. He confronts Kim over her bewildering demand to marry him and questions her reasons. He makes it clear that not only does he not wish to marry her, but also does not like her – and recognizes that she feels the same way. Why then does she wish to marry him? Kim’s answer is so stereotypically “Kim.” Much like all of Kim’s past behaviors, her answer is selfish, unpredictable, dim and illogical. Kim wishes to conduct an “experiment” on marriage – and if she is experimenting by getting married, she figures she should go to extremes and marry a person she least wants to be married to. It all makes perfect sense, right? Except that it does not make any sense at all. There are a lot of viewers who will make excuses for this character by saying she is consistently written and this fits her personality – but will anyone pause to acknowledge that Kim is not, as Naveed describes her, an “achchi ladki” (a good girl)? Kim is, quite honestly, an abhorrent character, one who has begun to bring out unintentional laughs at just how foolishly she has been written. And yet, the chemistry between Bilal Ashraf and Maya Ali leaves us wanting Kim’s character graph to change so badly – and quickly! We want to root for this couple, but please, give us the material to do so!
It is, once again, the Naveed and Iqbal story that’s the one we’re genuinely rooting for. Yet, it’s Naveed and Iqbal’s story which is moving at a snail’s pace. With Naveed planning on leaving for America right after Kim and Dawood’s Nikkah, how slowly will this story actually move? Overall, “Yunhi” has picked up greatly in the past weeks in terms of interest and an engaging storyline. However, the weakest link continues to be the way Kim’s character has been written. “Yunhi” has it all – old world charm, beautiful cinematography, sweet dialogues, beautiful actors, an engaging plot, etc. The only thing it does not have is a likable female lead character.