While I admit that the Pakistani drama industry is thriving, I have to say, not many dramas are up to the mark, mainly because of their storyline. Some may disagree but for me, if a drama is about a woman or a man in a love triangle and a scheming family member who is on a mission to destroy them, then thank you, next. I don’t want to watch or support such content. But if a show has everything I want to see, such as acknowledging how valuable each family member is (especially daughters), smashing stereotypes around non-Muslims, promoting equal treatment and tackling domestic issues, I’m willing to watch it on the daily. Enter Sajal Aly and Bilal Abbas Khan’s Kuch Ankahi.
My mother and I surfed the internet to find something to watch as we enjoyed a meal. Some trailers of on-air dramas were a hard pass but Kuch Ankahi caught our attention instantly. I must admit, by the looks of the trailer and perhaps even the poster, it reminded me of Ramzan comedies. Upon watching it, the show proved to be something else, bigger than anything I’ve ever seen before and something that we have all been longing to see.
The drama stars Khan as Salman and Aly as Aaliya. Her older sister Samiya is played by Mira Sethi and younger sister Tanya by Qudsia Ali. When the drama began, Aaliya and Salman were a true depiction of Tom and Jerry, a duo that never gets along and always has a plan for the other to not succeed. They don’t realise they have a bond like no other but eventually come to learn that they will have to rely on each other. However, it’s not just these two characters that make Kuch Ankahi special.
Here are five takeaways from the drama that made me love it.
Daughters can be everything you’ll ever need
As an only child and a daughter, it has often been shoved in my face that daughters can’t do everything for their parents as they grow older. To see three sisters in the same shoes as me, trying to prove to society that they are everything that their parents will ever need resonates more than anything I’ve seen on Pakistani television.
The drama shows that Aaliya Agha, Aly’s character, is a property broker who competes with Khan’s character, Salman, in order to score a deal so everything her parents are worried about, the dispute around her father’s house, gets sorted out. Sethi’s Samiya, who agrees with whatever her mother says and goes along with her wishes, is also a depiction of the unspoken love an eldest daughter has for her parents. Tanya may be young, but it’s her support that brings joy not only for her parents but for her sisters as well, with her jokes that light up the room.
Age is just a number and marriage is not a solution
We all have gone through the stage where our age becomes the hot topic for family to discuss and decide if we’re eligible for marriage or over the hill. Unfortunately, a lot of women are pressured to settle down when they hit their mid-twenties. It could be the bags under your eyes or the single strand of white hair that is the problem but everyone seems to be hell-bent on getting your “settled” as soon as possible.
In the drama, Samiya experiences the pressure of getting married by 28, the age when one strand of white hair grows and in-laws haunt her mother. Her mother-in-law-to-be, played by Asma Abbas and fiancée Saif-ur-Rehman, played by Ali Safina, keep visiting and raising her mother, Irsa Ghazal’s, hopes for a wedding date. However, every time they come over, they push the date of Samiya and Saif-ur-Rehman’s wedding back.
Samiya’s quietness and desire to go along with everything her mother say is something we quite often as women in this society. We often tend to do this for our family’s happiness. Samiya’s journey felt personal and real and that’s what’s special about a drama that goes beyond just a man and a woman who bicker and then fall in love with each other.
A house without problems isn’t a house
Domestic issues are often ignored in dramas. Not many go beyond marriage, divorce or inheritance. Some may discuss more issues but the depth is something that’s always missing and rushed in the end.
Kuch Ankahi starts off strong with the father, Agha Jan played by Mohammad Ahmed, facing his siblings who have been sending notice after notice for their brother to sell the house. The house that he is protecting was given to him after his father passed away but due to the fact he only has daughters, his brothers are demanding their share in his inheritance.
At the same time, the story shifts to Aaliya’s client Sehrish, played by Alina Abbas, who has been given most of her father’s properties because of her caring persona. Her younger brother Asfar, played by Sheheryar Munawar, wants all of it in his name instead. He argues that their father is differentiating between the siblings, however, the father, played by designer YBQ, argues that his youngest son is too naive to take on these responsibilities.
As if the drama was made to introspect into society as a whole, Kuch Ankahi nailed the representation of families and the disputes that are commonplace in all homes.
Everyone should be treated equally
Meena works at the Agha house. While her religion wasn’t highlighted in the beginning, there are hints that she is not Muslim. Was she discriminated against because of this? Not even once, and that’s what’s special about Kuch Ankahi.
Meena is not an average domestic worker. She’s part of the Agha family, at least for Samiya, Tanya and Aaliya who treat her equally, care for her, get gifts for her and look after her kids Neha and Deepak. Not only is the story about Meena’s role in the house but also her troubling life with a husband who is an addict and doesn’t work for a living. As a result, she gets her son employed at a tailor’s shop to make extra cash to run their house. Kuch Ankahi also highlights child labour in Pakistan and the abuse these children face at their workplaces.
All phuppos are not evil
Sofia Agha, played by Vaneeza Ahmed, is a phuppo to Samiya, Aaliya and Tanya. Unlike the evil depiction of phuppos in many Pakistani dramas, Sofia is a loved aunt, one that her nieces long to meet and welcome with open arms.
It was a treat to watch a phuppo like Sofia take control of the Agha house where she protected her nieces from settling for less, such as Samiya agreeing with her mother to marry into a family that doesn’t really care for her. Sofia also has a great bond with Agha Jan — just like any real-life brother and sister do. She’s not just a great phuppo, but a great sister-in-law to Ghazal’s Shammo.
It’s a refreshing take on family dynamics — from Sofia and Agha Jan’s squabbles to the three sisters being each other’s number one supporter. The show may depict Khan washing dishes or Aly fixing her own car, but what’s even bigger and better is that it’s portrayed in such a way that none of it glorifies a certain gender above the other.
Kuch Ankahi is written by Syed Mohammad Ahmed and directed by Nadeem Baig under the Six Sigma Plus banner in collaboration with the Kashf Foudnation.
The drama is described as a “modern day and light-hearted drama that is full of messages” and discusses issues related to the rights of women to property both legally and religiously, harassment in the workplace, the pressure of marriage women are put through, body shaming and other “problems prevailing in Pakistani society”.
“The plot revolves around Agha Jan’s ancestral house where he lives with his three daughters. Agha is not willing to share the property with his sister, and his second daughter Aliya is working day in and day out to settle the claims over the house. The story also takes an amazing turn when Salman — another young real estate agent — enters their house as tenant,” reads the description provided by ARY Digital’s YouTube channel.
Kuch Ankahi started airing on January 7 and you can watch it every Saturday at 8pm on ARY Digital.