Recently aired on Green Entertainment, Gumn is a limited series with 13 episodes. Directed by Sarmad Khoosat and starring Tooba Siddiqui and Feroze Qadri, Gumn is a drama with a sufficient dose of suspense. Siddiqui, who also authored the drama along with Hamza Kazi, plays the lead as top criminal lawyer Maya Malik who remains rattled by her father’s murder and is doing everything in her power to get to the bottom of things.
The drama is a story of how Maya’s life intersects with Rayyan’s (played by Qadri) and how they try to resolve their respective troubles, sometimes with help from each other.
Along with the refreshing experimentation of the series with the genre of mystery, there are several interesting elements and portrayals in this drama that one wishes were shown more often.
A thriller with a non-linear story arc
Gumn is a thriller with a non-linear story arc. The drama is adequately stacked with flashbacks to support the growth of the narrative while maintaining a sense of mystery as needed by the story. This isn’t exactly a narrative form that we see local dramas experiment with often enough, and that’s a pity, given that it is a very intelligent and useful device. Our audiences are also mature enough to work with non-linear storytelling and it would be welcome if we saw more such experimentation.
Shattering the bara bhai stereotype
A very welcome element in the story is the character of Rayyan, who is shown as an elder brother who loves his sister without conditions. He is not self-centred, nor a tantrumzilla, and he cares about his sister despite the limits set upon him by the patriarchal society he lives in. Sadly, a man being a decent human being and doing the bare minimum can be a big deal in some milieus and it’s refreshing to see Gumn not playing to the so-called ghairatmand bhai stereotype nor promoting that stereotype.
There is life after divorce
If you didn’t find out until well into the drama, you wouldn’t know that Maya is a divorcee. The drama makes divorce “not a taboo” but a practical way to address a marriage that isn’t working. The fact that Maya’s life is not all about her divorce and that those around her are not constantly bringing it up to her or to others in her absence is a welcome break from what we’re used to seeing on local television.
You can be male and interested in kitchen stuff. Heavens won’t fall!
A welcome part of the story is the character of Maya’s brother-in-law, played by Fawad Jalal, who is quite often seen working in the Malik sisters’ kitchen. The BIL is also passionate about food and is ultimately up to opening a restaurant as well. For a viewer who is used to seeing women toiling away in the kitchen without a male family member even offering to help because ‘log kya kahain ge’, the sight of a man working in a kitchen without anyone worrying about ‘how that looks’ is a novel approach.
If you see someone contemplating suicide, don’t treat them like a criminal, help them instead
There is a fleeting but key reference to attempted suicide in the story (not sharing more) and thankfully, instead of addressing it as a crime as the law was until recently wont to do, the characters involved try to address the issue differently, through helping the one who needed that help and without judgment. This is a message that needs more emphasis in a society where addressing issues related to mental health largely remain taboo.
These are just a few bits that stand out when I think about Gumn. And while this drama may not have many more surprise takes up its sleeve, what it has offered has already been quite a treat.