Dawn Logo

Mere Humsafar turned from a classic love story to a TED talk on making your parents happy

The last episode didn't live up to the sizzling Halza chemistry and beautiful writing we were treated to in the other 39 episodes.
Updated 03 Oct, 2022 09:56am

On Thursday, September 29, 2022, hot favourite show Mere Humsafar finally bade farewell, leaving fans craving a season two. Will there be any? We don’t know.

The show became the talk of the town, right from the first episode thanks to its stellar cast and plot; however, it truly started to taste success from episode eight when the heartthrob of the Pakistani TV industry, Farhan Saeed, entered the scene, as the character of Hamza. From then onwards, the show became all about the humsafari (companionship) the title claimed it to be, and Hamza became that very humsafar (soulmate), most girls would die for. Cliché alert

Written by Saira Raza, the show had a very basic storyline — a damsel in distress saved by the knight in shining armour but what made it different or “click” with the public was its unique directorial treatment by Qasim Ali Mureed and the sizzling chemistry of Hamza (Farhan Saeed) and Hala (Hania Aamir). While the director strengthened the otherwise-bland plot line by adding beautiful nuances, the Saeed-Aamir pairing ensured that the nuances were portrayed with utmost authenticity, blurring the line between reality and fantasy.

As a result, the response was overwhelming. Almost every episode after Saeed’s entry trended on YouTube, generating millions of views, countless comments and many likes. The show spanned over the course of nine months, impressing many and irking some but always had fans talking.

On one end, fans criticised the show for stealing a few scenes from the classic drama serial, Humsafar, while on the other, they praised the “Mega Drama Serial” for slamming the “men don’t cry” stereotype. While the praise helped further Mere Humsafar’s ratings, none of the criticism affected the show’s popularity. On the contrary, “bad publicity is good publicity” proved true in the case of Mere Humsafar.

However, the recently-released finale did not do justice to the captivating story. It was poorly executed, with the least focus on scenes and dialogue delivery. It faltered right from the beginning, which is not surprising given that the second-last episode had covered everything from the family showdown followed by Rumi’s confession to Halza’s reunion and the arrival of their baby. There didn’t seem to be anything left, to be honest. But apparently, the showrunners had to make it a full 40-episode serial, so they aired one more.

Lack of chemistry between Halza

If you look at the last episode, there are only four scenes of Halza, starting from the one where Hamza is holding the baby to the very last where Hamza is seen gleefully expressing his love for Hala. However, none of these scenes had a lasting impact, one thing we always expected from the duo.

Their scenes in the previous episodes are a testament to their brilliant acting chops and utmost dedication to the show. Whether you take the nikkah and post-nikkah scenes or those that were shot after, you don’t even for a second feel like it’s a drama. When Hamza says, “Kya main tumse nikkah karsakta hon, Hala? [Can I marry you, Hala?]” You’re convinced that Hala is in good hands. Similarly, during the valima scene when he is seen fixing Hala’s gharara, his eyes emote more than his lips. But in the last episode, the show wanted us to believe that the very same Hamza would want to rekindle the spark in his and Hala’s relationship only because “humare rishtay ka mazbot hona humari beti kay mustaqbil kay liye zaruri hai [It’s imperative that our relationship stays strong for our daughter’s future].” Really, Hamza?

Dialogues have no substance

The last scene was downright pathetic. It seemed like the director had asked the writer to write a few dialogues on the spot and actors to simply cram them. Perhaps the director had some time constraints in terms of shooting the episode but wanted to end the show at Halza, thus he went ahead with whatever was available.

Take this dialogue for instance: “Main tum per pura yaqeen karta hon or karta rahonga [I have and will always trust you].” C’mon Hamza, it took you 32 episodes to trust Hala, yet you have the audacity to feel good about the fact that you do. And Hala’s response — “Hamza, mujhe tumhare har lafz per yaqeen hai [Hamza, I believe every word that you said].”

Dear Hala, please go two episodes earlier, where you were wrongfully blaming Hamza for plotting with his mother against you and your baby. (Hala seems to have a short-term memory.)

Later, when Hamza says, “Main tumse pyar karta tha, karta hon or karta rahonga [I loved, love and will always love you],” the dialogue seemed too bland, lacking the magic that is typical of Halza’s on-screen dynamic.

Actors look fatigued on screen

This is another problem I found in the last episode. Take any scene from the finale, and you’ll see actors looking dull and sallow. In fact, there was one scene between Khurram (Omer Shahzad) and Sameen (Zoya Nasir) where this was most apparent, thanks to Khurram’s clumsy and lazy dialogue delivery. While Zoya looked absolutely genuine, Omer’s expressions didn’t look convincing. Due to this, the whole scene looked fake and inauthentic.

The show emanated very “last episode-esque” vibes

There was not a single scene in the episode that didn’t hammer the very fact into your head that this was the last episode. We saw empty, expansive rooms, a roti dhoti (tear-eyed, wailing) Tayi, abnormally calm Taya Jaan (Waseem Abbas) and Hamza’s few interactions with Hala, helmed by epiphanic-cum-sad background music that screamed “Mere Humsafar finale”.

Nonsensical redemption arc of Tayi Jaan’s character

Above all was the redemption arc of Tayi Jaan/Shah Jahan, played by Saba Parvez, which didn’t make sense to me. In the previous 39 episodes, we saw her as an outrageously evil character — unredeemable and beyond the point of granting leniency. But in the last episode, we saw her crying for 20 minutes, and all hail, she is Mother Mary. Compare that 20-minute crying sequence to Hala’s 40 odd hours of crying until the second-last episode.

Shah Jahan’s repentance doesn’t and can’t hold a candle to Hala’s suffering, especially because it didn’t look genuine. “Hala, mujhe maaf kardo takay Hamza bhi mujhe maaf kardey or wo mujhe chor kar na jaye [Hala, please forgive me so Hamza can also forgive me and not leave me].”

It seemed that Shah Jahan realised her mistakes — not out of guilt but to simply stop her son from going abroad. Her apology to Hala didn’t seem genuine either. Till the second-last episode, she wanted Hamza to divorce Hala because “woh ek budkirdar larki hai [She is a woman of loose character]” and just one episode after being confronted by Raees, her behaviour changed 360 degrees. Character evolutions don’t happen overnight.

It would have looked more plausible had she continued to hate Hala or hatch out more plans to ruin her life because her past fears of “woh zamnay bhar ki awara or bud-kirdar larki mera nikhra, suthra beta le urregi [That characterless and immoral woman would take my pure, righteous son away from me]” were coming true and Hamza was going away from his mother because of Hala — for reasons known to the audience. Yet, she didn’t hate her, in fact, she apologised to her which didn’t seem believable, given that she was THE Shah Jahan, for whom her son was her “sarma-e-hayat“or wealth of life, and knowing that he would no longer be with her, she reacted in a manner alien to her character.

Hala’s strange justifications against Hamza’s decision to move to Australia

Hamza clearly stated, “Main is mahaul se bohat dor jana chahta hon, Hala. Tumhein or apni buchi ko waqt dena chahta hon. Humara rishta mazbot karna chahta hon [I want an escape, Hala. I want to spend time with you and our daughter and want to strengthen our relationship].” But Haala is adamant to stay because “Dad mujhe chor kar chale gaye they. Peechay reh jane walon ki aziyat se waqif hon main tou main kisi or kay sath ye zulm hotay hue kaise dekh sakti hon [My dad left me so I know how it feels to be left alone or abandoned. I can’t see anybody else suffering the same way]”?

There is no comparison between the two situations. Nafees left Hala because he had commitments with his new family and simply wanted to offload Hala’s responsibility onto others, whereas Hamza wanted to go far from this household, as a result of the betrayal he faced at the hands of his mother. It was Shah Jahan’s own behaviour that provoked Hamza to take this decision, whereas in the case of Hala, she hadn’t done anything to Nafees that would have forced him to abandon her.

Hala must have understood that Hamza wanted a life away from the toxicity of his mother. It would have made a great difference to their relationship. They could have gone to Australia and come back a few months later. By then, a large amount of time would have passed and things would have gotten slightly better, if not fully returned to normalcy.

But after 40 episodes in the reel and over 200 days in the real, Hania Aamir’s character is still as imbecilic as she was on day one — she decided to forgive Tayi. And that too after remembering the scene where Shah Jahan was throwing her out of Riffat Manzil. Slow claps.

Jaise apko Dadi awazein lagati thin na, wese hi ap mujhe awazein lagaein. Jaise Dadi kehti thin na, ay Shah Jahan, ye la dey, wo la dey, wese hi ap mujhe awazein lagaein. Ay Hala, ye la de (Treat me the way Dadi used to treat you. Call me the way she used to call you. Hey Hala, bring me that].”

It seems like Hala isn’t done with Tayi’s toxicity yet and needs a few more doses. Why else would a sane person, in a good frame of mind, give their tormenter more reasons to hurt them? Unless they are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, which seemed to be true in Hala’s case.

Hala’s behaviour wasn’t surprising, given that we have been taught to expect such quirks from Hala throughout the show. However, what surprised me the most was Tayi Jan’s response: “Nahi, main Phuppo nahi bunna chahti. Mujhe wo bunna hai jo Phuppo ko mere liye bunna chahye tha” [I don’t want to be like Phuppo. I want to become for you what Phuppo should have become for me].“

Hello Tayi, let me give you a reality check — you’re way worse than Dadi. Not justifying Dadi’s behaviour here, but she was never unkind to you for the sake of hurting you. She was just a typical saas (mother-in-law) who was taught to keep a check on a bahu (daughter-in-law), and you bore the brunt of it more than the other daughter-in-law Sofia (Tara Mahmood) because you would stand up for your or your children’s rights — the only quality of yours that I admired— unlike your lily-livered sister-in-law.

But in your case, you were evil to Hala purely out of spite and jealousy. There is a major difference between Dadi’s and your approaches to treating a bahu so let’s not compare apples with oranges here.

Now that Mere Humsafar has ended, I’m thinking about all those questions that the show left unanswered. Will Hala live a normal life with Hamza? Or will their life be spent under the impenetrable umbra of Shah Jahan’s negativity? We all know that Shah Jahan is a great chameleon. The show has also taught us to never trust Shah Jahan, so I’m still sceptical of her goody-goody behaviour in the last episode.

But I wish Halza the best of luck and hope they live happily wherever they go. Also, I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Saira Raza, Qasim Ali Mureed, Farhan Saeed and Hania Aamir for teaching me “Ye ishq tum na karna, ye rog hi lagae [Don’t fall in love, or you will be left in the dust].”