Saying goodbye to "Durr-e-Shahwar"
As the series draws to an end today, I would like to thank the producers for solving many marital problems.
I decided to write this post mainly in response to “Durr-e-Shahwar: Television blames working women.” I was a bit surprised at the negative tone of that post, especially when it labelled "Durr-e-Shahwar" as a “masala drama.” Currently, it is a top-rated drama serial on air, and is definitely about much more than just 'working women'.
"Durr-e-Shahwar" is a masterpiece in my opinion. It is directed by Haissam Hussain, written by Umera Ahmad, produced by Momina Duraid, Samina Humayun Saeed and Shahzad Nasib, and is backed by an excellent cast of actors.
The plot revolves around two couples - each with their own share of problems.
Shandana and Hyder (played by Nadia Jamil and Nauman Ejaz) seem to be leading a square perfect life. They live independently, and have little to no interference from other family members. Shandana works full time and has domestic help to compensate her absence. Both husband and wife, however, have enormous egos, major communication problems, and a tendency to talk over the other rather than listen and resolve their issues. They also have no qualms about putting each other down in public. Their constant bickering over petty issues is seen to be affecting their only daughter, Sophia (played by Sophia Syed).
On the other side of the coin, we see Shandana's parents,; her mother is Durr-e-Shahwar, who is the protagonist of the show and her father is Mansoor (played by Samina Peerzada and Qavi Khan respectively). They are seen leading a peaceful, retired life in Murree. Loving and caring towards each other, they seem to be the ideal couple - or so their daughter, Shandana, believes them to be.
The viewers are then taken back into time, and given a glimpse in to the early married life of Durr-e-Shahwar and Mansoor. This is full of various issues, beginning with a joint family system, their lack of privacy, failed understanding between the two partners, major adjustment issues for the young Durr-e-Shahwar and a young Mansoor who is clueless as to how to balance his responsibility as a husband and a son. Sanam Baloch and Mikaal Zulfiqar play the young Durr-e-Shahwar and Mansoor respectively.
It is strange to see how this peaceful, retired couple's marriage was once as much on the rocks as their daughter's.
The story does seem ordinary. Having said as much, credit should be given to the entire team for bringing this story alive in such a manner that the viewer is totally transported into the world the characters play. Literally, the sets, the ambiance of the scenes, the background music and the heart wrenching dialogues by Umera Ahmad are brilliantly in sync with the grand effort injected by the cast in their performances. The emotions that emanate from their acting boosts the brilliant chemistry they have with one another and brings in commendable intensity in each scene. It surely gives its viewers goosebumps, keeping them hooked from the first scene of the episode to the very last.
The serial has tried to highlight some of the common factors like in-laws, joint family, the wife's career, the husband’s expectations and so on. Ultimately, whether or not these factors affect the quality of ones marriage depends on the partners themselves. A couple has to have the right attitude in a relationship in order to bring quality to it. If the marital relationship has strength and quality, then no problem is big enough. However, if this is not the case then even the most trivial of problems will turn out to be a mountain instead of a mole hill. What we see in the serial are two couples whose problems are equally great but their attitude and perception towards their problems and relationship is quiet different.
"Durr-e-Shahwar" is definitely a drama for all couples to watch.
It is filled with excellent pre-marital as well as post-marital counselling material. It covers the typical fears and apprehensions of a young, to-be-married girl and boy. It highlights the fact - much forgotten nowadays - that relationships need time and effort in order to thrive.
Most importantly, "Durr-e-Shahwar" has tried to lead back home the very crucial, but lost, role of the parents in their children’s marriage. Durr-e-Shahwar's father, Sami (played by Muhammad Ahmed) needs an important mention here.
His conversations via letters with his daughter, advising her at every difficult turn in her life, are full of potent and heartfelt lessons. His advice enabled her to face problems patiently. Later in the serial, Durr-e-Shahwar herself decides to tell Shandana her entire story only to make her understand the ways she can save her crumbling marriage.
All in all, "Durr-e-Shahwar" has attempted to enlighten the viewers, asking them to reflect on their own relationships, and how they can better them. In a nutshell, it is the story of every couple. Many have even testified that it is akin to seeing their own life's story being played out on the screen, and therein lies its appeal.
As the series draws to an end today, I would like to give Haissam Hussain a huge round of applause for taking an age old story and depicting it so powerfully and beautifully on screen. It has, no doubt, helped the marriages of countless couples.