Woh humsafar tha...

Published: March 3, 2012

Pakistan’s popular drama comes to a close. PHOTO: FILE

Sara realises she was being
used as a pawn by Fareeda
when the older woman tries to
convince her to marry Khizar:
“Ghalti meri thee, mujhe
sochna chahiyay tha ke jo aurat
apnay betay kee nehi ho saki,
woh meri kaisey ho gee!” PHOTO: FILE Sara commits suicide
and is found by her
mother, Zarina. When
Fareeda calls wanting
to talk to Sara,
Zarina says she can’t
because Sara is gone
forever and that she
has lost everything;
“Meri beti mar gayee
hai. Mein tumharay is
khel mein har gayee,
mujhey Khirad ki bad
dua lag gayi.” PHOTO: FILE Khizar spilling water on Khirad
and taking away her dupatta to
make an affair between them
look plausible. “Mujhe mera
dupatta waspis dein!” cries a
demure Khirad. PHOTO: FILE Fareeda challenges Khirad
before throwing her out
of the house; if Khirad can
ever convince Ashar that
the baby she carries is his,
and that she had not been
unfaithful to him, then and
only then will Fareeda accept
that she has lost. PHOTO: FILE Ashar slams the phone
on Khirad when she
calls him for help during
her delivery. “Tum
meray liyay mar chooki
ho,” says a distraught
Ashar. PHOTO: FILE Ashar and Khirad’s ‘moment’ in front
of the mirror. Seeing Khirad dressed in
black for a night out, Ashar is floored
by her beauty and gulps. “Bohat achi
lag rehi ho,” he says, before leaning
over to untie her hair. PHOTO: FILE Pakistan’s popular drama comes to a close. PHOTO: FILE
KARACHI: 

A typical TV serial generates hype when it keeps viewers guessing, creating nail-biting suspense that lasts right till the last episode. By that standard, the phenomenon that is “Humsafar” is anything but typical  —tonight hundreds and thousands of eager fans will have their eyes glued to their TV screens at exactly 8 pm even though they know precisely how this modern-day tragedy will play out.

So what makes “Humsafar” special? We know it isn’t unpredictable – adaptations aren’t, since everybody knows the story anyway! It isn’t exactly groundbreaking either, since marriage, separation, intrigue and honour play a part in most Pakistani dramas.

What Humsafar does get right is this: the love story.

A good love story will get any audience going, anywhere in the world. If you add some tragedy into the mix, it gets even better.  All the way from traditional tales like “Romeo and Juliet” and “Laila Majnu” to modern-day mush like Twilight, it’s obvious that unrequited romance sells.

Sadly, romance is the one thing that Pakistani dramas don’t do too well, despite us being a generally jazbaati and lovelorn nation. On-screen couples either lack chemistry altogether or shy away from getting too cosy in an attempt to respect cultural sensitivities. But in “Humsafar”, everything clicks! In the space of a few episodes it was obvious that Fawad Afzal Khan and Mahira Khan had pulled off what few Pakistani actors manage to do on the silver screen —they have put love back on the pedestal where it belongs. With just a look and a blush, Ashar and Khirad have rescued the emotion from the tawdry depth it has been banished to, highlighting love’s transformative power. And as love turned two strangers into an unlikely but eager couple, a million Pakistanis sighed as one.

Of course, it isn’t just Ashar and Khirad’s chemistry that keeps “Humsafar” afloat. What really keeps viewers coming back for more, episode after episode, is that each main character is in equal parts abhorrent and admirable — and we just can’t wait to see which side of the character will triumph in the end.  Yes, we hated Sara when she tried to drive Ashar and Khirad apart, but our hearts also break for her when Fareeda uses her as a pawn. And no, Ashar’s unquestioning belief in mommy dearest does not endear him to us, but we feel for him because he never stops loving Khirad.  And so, by exposing its characters’ strengths and weaknesses entirely to our scrutiny, “Humsafar” manages to be a relatable, realistic drama —– if you can ignore that Hareem looks more like an eight-year-old rather than a four-year-old!

So whether you love “Humsafar” or pretend to hate it while secretly downloading episodes from YouTube, you just can’t deny that this drama has cut across all sorts of divides to become a striking symbol of the times. Khirad and Ashar’s saga has seeped into the national consciousness so deeply that every tragedy seems to have a “Humsafar” equivalent, and everybody from a middle-aged accountant to a squealing schoolgirl has his or her own take on the Hussain family’s troubles.

As the series draws to a close, viewers may be assured of Ashar and Khirad’s future happiness, but long to have this lingering question answered for them: what will happen to Fareeda? This is where “Humsafar” may yet have a surprise in store for us, and we just can’t wait.

1. Ashar and Khirad’s ‘moment’ in front of the mirror. Seeing Khirad dressed in black for a night out, Ashar is floored by her beauty and gulps. “Bohat achi lag rehi ho,” he says, before leaning over to untie her hair.

2. Ashar slams the phone on Khirad when she calls him for help during her delivery. “Tum meray liyay mar chooki ho,” says a distraught Ashar.

3. Fareeda challenges Khirad before throwing her out of the house; if Khirad can ever convince Ashar that the baby she carries is his, and that she had not been unfaithful to him, then and only then will Fareeda accept that she has lost.

4. Baseerat Hussain

Ashar overhears Khirad discussing her unhappiness at the forced match with Baseerat, Ashar’s father and her maternal uncle. Ashar resolves to change his ways and make an effort to get to know Khirad. “Meri fakhar toot chooki hai, yeh soch kar ke meri yahan kisi ko zaroorat nehi. Mujhe apney aap ke liyay ameer aur kabeer shohar nehi chayiye tha, sirf izzat chayiyay thee.”

5. Khizar spilling water on Khirad and taking away her dupatta to make an affair between them look plausible. “Mujhe mera dupatta waspis dein!” cries a demure Khirad.

6. Sara commits suicide and is found by her mother, Zarina. When Fareeda calls wanting to talk to Sara, Zarina says she can’t because Sara is gone forever and that she has lost everything; “Meri beti mar gayee hai. Mein tumharay is khel mein har gayee, mujhey Khirad ki bad dua lag gayi.”

7. Khirad and Ashar

After a grueling day at the hospital with Hareem, Ashar realises he is still in love with Khirad; “Mera dil phir sey tumhari tarf khich raha.” However, when Khirad is unmoved Ashar becomes suspicious that there may be more to the story of their separation than he thought.

8. Sara realises she was being used as a pawn by Fareeda when the older woman tries to convince her to marry Khizar: “Ghalti meri thee, mujhe sochna chahiyay tha ke jo aurat apnay betay kee nehi ho saki, woh meri kaisey ho gee!”

9. Jamal

Ashar finds the letter Khirad wrote to him after Fareeda banished her from the Hussain household: “Yeh sara kuch mummy ka plan tha. Mein app kee thee, aap kee houn! Mein pregnant houn Ashar.”

10. Hareem

Ashar’s first glimpse of daughter Hareem, which arouses a never-felt-before feeling of paternal responsibility: “Aap woh hee picture waley Papa hain na?”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (42)

  • Silent Spectator
    Mar 3, 2012 - 2:21AM

    Humsafar is perhaps one of very dramas that have captivated the Pakistani drama fans. Back in the day, most people had no choice but to watch PTV dramas and there were no re-runs, so viewership was extremely high. What sets Humsafar apart from other current dramas is that despite people having several choices including a multitude of channels, several re-run opportunities, and endless episodes on You Tube; people desperately wait for 8 pm Saturday as soon as the current episode ends. And these people want to see it as soon as it is available. I have been to a few social gatherings and noticed the ladies scattered around the TV watching Humsafar like a group of bees around a honeycomb. Hats off to the entire team for rejuvenating Pakistani passion for Urdu dramas.

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  • BLing BLing
    Mar 3, 2012 - 3:08AM

    Humsafar was written about in Toronto Star! And then a week or two later, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy wins the Oscar! It is heartening to see Pakistan’s talent being given recognition all around the world. A nice break from all the negative stories of Pakistan, it is time to showcase the positive side of Pakistan.

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  • Mar 3, 2012 - 4:25AM

    Finally it is about high time, I can say good bye to Humsafar, I have been waiting for this finale for some time now. I think social media played a big role in the promotion and growth of this drama, making it a world wide phenomena among South Asians all over the world. Even one of my blog’s is dedicated to Humsafar. Lol

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  • THE END..
    Mar 3, 2012 - 7:32AM

    At this time QB should also be praised for singing this eternal theme song in her captivating and unique voice. The whole cast and crew should be appreciated for upholding its avid followers till the end. Hope to see more dramas of such kind soon.

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  • muhammad imran
    Mar 3, 2012 - 9:31AM

    humsafar is nothing but a sad vehicle for further perpetuating patriarchy.The themes dominant in the drama are the ones highlighting the dominance and importance of man over woman.the stereotypes promoted of all the women fighting over a man,the man being the prize while the lowly women fight to get hold of the prize.the high ratings it got only proves how backward and regressive our female population still is,it still falls for patriarchy presented as a love story.mahira’s character is especially loathsome,the non-stop tear shedding,the desperate pleas,the self humiliating attempts to prove how loyal a wife she is.All this sorry excuse for a drama did was further imbed in the minds of women all over pakistan how incomplete their lives really are without a man.

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  • Eeman Saleem
    Mar 3, 2012 - 9:41AM

    It’s a nice drama. I started watching it when I was in Saudi Arabia, and it’s ending when I’m in Australia :D

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  • Mar 3, 2012 - 11:09AM

    Nice ADVERTORIAL …

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  • Rizwan
    Mar 3, 2012 - 11:13AM

    Hamsafar is one of the best plays ever produced i would like to congratulate the team of Hum TV and the cast of Hamsafar .Great story very well made and brilliant performance .I am sure if Pakistan can produce quality plays like Humsafar they can produce movies of better quality and substance .Well done Hum Tv keep it up .I see a bright future for Pakistani plays and movies.Recommend

  • sidrah mahmood
    Mar 3, 2012 - 11:17AM

    What sort of girls would watch misogynistic propaganda like this? how much do you dislike your gender if you admire someone like the guy in the middle of the photo? only girls with low self esteem would find such a male character admirable.

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  • Tahir
    Mar 3, 2012 - 11:21AM

    I think one reason for Humsafar hit was that there is vacuum of a “Pakistani romantic hero” which can not be filled with foreign heros.

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  • Mazhar.A.Khan
    Mar 3, 2012 - 11:56AM

    Really appreciating the team of actors/Producers on their great effort in producing “Humsafar’ Hats off for the team.
    Love to watch such drama after a span of many years. No wonder they brought the viewers back to small screens.

    Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Mar 3, 2012 - 12:28PM

    After an brilliant performance Humsafar team & HUM TV should think of turning HUMSUFAR in to an Movie i am sure it will be a hit !

    Looking forward to the last episode Well Done once again .

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  • anonymous
    Mar 3, 2012 - 12:58PM

    mere qatil mere dildar is much better

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  • ayesha azeem
    Mar 3, 2012 - 1:36PM

    Really A Great Journey It was…HUMSAFAR what a Drama..what a Success…Hats off to HUMSAFAR TEAM

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  • Zeta
    Mar 3, 2012 - 2:09PM

    Humsafar is the best thing on TV in a long time

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  • Farhan
    Mar 3, 2012 - 2:44PM

    Exaggerated

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  • Farhan
    Mar 3, 2012 - 2:54PM

    Deliberate campaign of exaggeration by the dedicated bloggers….

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  • Mar 3, 2012 - 3:34PM

    humsafar is the best seriel i have ever seen ….i luv it nd i couldnt believe its ending

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  • Kaleem
    Mar 3, 2012 - 3:40PM

    @Eeman Saleem Move back to Saudia, we want to see more of Humsafar :)

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  • Mar 3, 2012 - 4:13PM

    Glamour, rape, abuse, Saas Bahu larai, extra marital relationships, why making such pathetic drama series??

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  • amna omar
    Mar 3, 2012 - 4:49PM

    it’s okay in my opinion. Maat was much better atleast it had a ‘twisted’ moral at the end.
    Are they actually going to show ashar coming back to the love of his life after four years and khirad accepting his apology for a so called misconception? what kind of love story is that?

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  • Maher
    Mar 3, 2012 - 5:33PM

    @ Pakistan politics and amna omar.

    These things are happening now a days. If media don’t highlight such issues, you guys say media is not playing its role. Now they are showing this thing, you have problem.. The fact is our society, culture, environment is changing and we have to raise things…

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  • Mrs.Zeeshan
    Mar 3, 2012 - 6:05PM

    HumTV alwaz presented a good drama serials… Humsafar is the best seriel i have ever seen i couldnt believe its ending.. i lov it….

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  • Mar 3, 2012 - 6:14PM

    The drama has been stretched very much. It should have ended in 13 episode as PTV dramas used to be. The writer is outclass and of course QB voice is very soothing.

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  • Huma
    Mar 3, 2012 - 6:18PM

    @pakistan politics…. uv definitely not seen it… no rape and no extra marital relationship and the conflict between atiqa and mahira is def not your typica saas/bahu larai. at least cheez dekh kay comment karo. dont be a hater just because!

    and @the rest of the haters…. we’re enjoying it… let us!! what is it to you!!

    also i’ve watched one play a season over the last few years or try to…. they’ve all been different, NOT an indian soap type and show a lot of class in the whole production etc. Why cant we celebrate our own, without having to constantly defend it.

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  • Zwamiq
    Mar 3, 2012 - 8:53PM

    The credit goes to the writer Farhat Ishtiaq along with director and actors. This story was a hit before it was turned into a drama and reached millions. Farhat Ishtiaq’ next story “Matae Jaan” is bound to become another hit.

    Recommend

  • hamdan
    Mar 3, 2012 - 9:41PM

    great story (hamsafar) :)

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  • Mar 3, 2012 - 9:43PM

    GREAT STORY (HAMSAFAR)
    :)

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  • mrk
    Mar 3, 2012 - 9:46PM

    Well much hype – Geo tv had a drama very similar last year called meri zaat zere-e-benishaan.

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  • Saher
    Mar 3, 2012 - 11:54PM

    By far,the one drama that I wouldnt mind re-running times and again.Hats off to the world class drama Humsafar and express tribune for making my moments of Humsafar even enjoyable by their constant blogs and constructive criticism at times for the drama.Love Pakistan for we have the Best of this world.

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  • tamsila nosheen
    Mar 4, 2012 - 8:30AM

    it was greatttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt play after so long time.very positive.khirad and ashar did a great job .every body at their place was perfect.congratulation on great sucess.such plays provides us any opportunity in our busy life to sit together and watch . very success full pray

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  • BASHARAT RASOOL
    Mar 4, 2012 - 10:38AM

    One of the best dramas produced by our Entertainment industry. I’d just start watching this drama in youtube when i come to know about this from my sister in Lahore. I also congrates Mahira Khan & Fawad Afzal Khan for their excellent Acting in this Serial along with other crew members and cast for producing this beautiful drama serial on reality. Well done & Keep it up.

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  • sangeeta
    Mar 4, 2012 - 1:48PM

    humsafar is the best play it show the reayalti i like the humsafar and hasar team

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  • amna
    Mar 5, 2012 - 11:10AM

    I am on the last episode and can’t find it on youtube. It was fun to watch until mother-in-law started her evil plans. Good acting.

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  • Ali
    Mar 5, 2012 - 12:17PM

    i could have played a better ashar :P
    i would have never let khirad down! :(
    hahahahhahaha

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  • KNB
    Mar 5, 2012 - 2:01PM

    the only other serial that enjoyed this kind of anticipation form the public was Tanhaiyan back in the 80s

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  • zulaikha amir
    Mar 11, 2012 - 4:37PM

    this was the best drama ever

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  • zara amir
    Mar 11, 2012 - 4:49PM

    *this was the best drama ever
    pakistani channels have created many dramas but this was a very tragic and different story
    it was full of emotions and it was like out of the world
    i have never seen such a drama *

    Recommend

  • zara amir
    Mar 11, 2012 - 4:53PM

    this was the best drama ever
    it was totally a different story
    i give salute to the person who the story and the theme song

    Recommend

  • Mar 19, 2012 - 5:03PM

    my favourit drama
    this drama is have very great story which inspire all peoples really and i think who all those peoples who work in this drama thery r very tallented gREAT EFort nice job and nice jodi !!!!!!!!
    :D
    jst make these types of dramae which inspieres all people

    Recommend

  • Soap Opera Hater
    Mar 20, 2012 - 11:17PM

    I haven’t seen this drama. Thanks God I haven’t. It must have the same typical nonsense one expects to see in dramas like these.

    Infact one can foretell the story line for such greasy shows.

    A world war II documentry is more fun to watch than this!!!!!!!!!!!

    Recommend

  • PRINCESS
    Apr 30, 2012 - 6:00PM

    gr8 drama nd gr8 song i miss u humsafarRecommend

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