Can someone please explain TV drama Bin Roye's timeline to me? How is it that in eight episodes only a couple years passed, but in one episode (the latest episode, episode nine), two whole years went by?
We better start with a recap.
Where we were and where we are now
Humayun Saeed's character Irtiza’s parents passed away when he was very young and he grew up with his dadi, chacha (Javed Sheikh) and chachi (Zeba Bakhtiyar).
Their daughters are Saba (Mahira Khan) and Saman (Armeena Khan). Saman was given to her mamo as her mumani could not have any kids. Saba is the youngest and is very possessive of Irtiza and thinks only she has rights over him; something Irtiza never openly denounces.
Irtiza goes to the US to do his MBA where he and Saman get quite close. After he's back, the family learns that Saman’s adoptive parents passed away in a plane crash so Irtiza flies to the US and brings her back.
Saba sees Irtiza’s interest in Saman and is clearly jealous except for some reason the entire family is oblivious of her feelings and attitude. She eventually accepts the fact that this Saman and Irtiza are happening; she's quite the trooper during their entire wedding, doing her best to be a good sister.
Irtiza and Saman get married and move back to California and after a few weeks, Saman announces that she is expecting (shocking)! Saba, unwillingly but at everyone’s behest goes to California to be with her sister, where she meets Amir (Adnan Malik). He's a cousin of their family friends and of course it's love at first sight… for him, at least.
He makes his feelings clear to his cousin. Over at Irtiza and Saman’s, Irtiza too is convinced that Amir likes Saba. Saba however, is not at all interested and has a very strong reaction to this whole scenario.
It’s an extremely difficult situation for Saba. Her conversation with the Almighty is very telling of her convoluted frame of mind. Her conversation with dadi about having two identities is also very telling.
She loves her sister, she loves Irtiza, and later she absolutely loves Maaz (Saman’s son) to death, but there is nothing she can do or say to get what she wants without hurting people. She can't explain her irrational reaction about Amir to Irtiza and Saman either.
Her equation with Irtiza is complex where both of them care deeply for each other and I think Irtiza subconsciously does love her.
It's an undefined equation that never works; especially when one person is aware of their feelings and the other isn't and by the way is also married to the former’s sister.
On the side, is the story of Safeer (Junaid Khan) and Soniya (Shazia Naz). They live in the US and are in love, but Soniya is Hindu. Safeer's mother is Irtiza's dadi's niece so he goes to Pakistan to attend Irtiza's wedding where his mother doesn’t take well to his confession that he is in love with a Hindu girl. She wants him to marry Saba as that has been her wish since forever.
When he comes back to the US, Soniya tells him she is expecting. Apparently Safeer never took health class in school and doesn’t understand how this could have happened since (and I quote): "Hum ne to aisa nahi chaha tha.”
He wants Soniya to get an abortion but later realizes that he's an adult and needs to take responsibility of what they did. They get married, but mommy dearest doesn’t know all of this… yet.
Now, I personally think Soniya let him off very easily after he wanted to abort their child. This is just one of many problems I have with the drama (more on that later).
I mean the thought that her soon-to-be husband wanted to abort their baby for any reason has got to be disheartening, especially since he never really showed any remorse for wanting to do that.
Soniya is the one who went through hell and had to leave her parents’ house too as they also wanted her to abort the baby. All of a sudden he realizes that he is an adult? And what if their child ever found out that his father never even wanted him? What possible explanation could Safeer ever give to his kid for that?
Good acting saves Bin Roye's questionable plot
Acting wise, mostly everyone is fantastic! Farhat Ishtiaq has always been clear on how her characters are sketched out. Armeena Khan is perfect for the role of a girl who grew up in the west since she actually did and has the accent to prove it. She plays the role of a kind yet extremely confident and secure Saman to a tee. She selflessly loves everyone she is related to and I love that about Saman.
Humayun Saeed is well, Humayun Saeed. No one, whether it is his peers or the younger lot, compares to him. The guy goes on screen and makes his presence known. He brings grace and maturity to Irtiza as only he can and is flawless.
Junaid Khan is very robotic as Safeer; he seems to have zero emotions when he's speaking to his mother or Soniya. I’m not quite sure what the purpose of his story line is either.
Adnan Malik as Amir is adequate but I don’t get why Amir wants to marry Saba since she is visibily annoyed by him whenever they are in the same frame. She negates everything he likes. In the year 2016, how does he not get the hint? I’m guessing he’ll be gone in the next episode or two.
The clear winner is Mahira Khan. It's only because of her that you feel for Saba and the complexities of her character and what she goes through. You feel for her every time you see her restrained composure after the wedding, you feel for her when she reacts to Amir and you feel for her when she is talking to dadi questioning her sanity.
Had anyone else played Saba, I could not have sat through nine episodes.
Things I don’t understand and neither will you, probably
So, as I mentioned earlier, Bin Roye is plagued with massive plot holes and gaps in logic.
For example, how does Irtiza and the family not realize how completely obsessed/possessive Saba is with/about Irtiza? How do they not discourage her behavior towards him? How does her dadi watch her breakdown after the nikah and still force her to go to California? How and why did Irtiza encourage such behavior?
This is completely illogical and unfathomable to me.
And here is my problem with how girls are portrayed in most Pakistani dramas. For some odd reason, they're seldom encouraged to develop their individuality. Due to her unrequited love, Saba became an extension of Irtiza and didn’t have a clue as to who she was or what she liked and didn’t like. And now, she's in a situation that could absolutely have been prevented had her family kept some form of distance between her and Irtiza while she was growing up.
I also cannot in good conscience condone dramas telling girls that it's okay for them to obsess over men because at the end, 'it will work out'.
Why Irtiza had such a big hand in raising Saba, I can’t fathom. Her mother’s entire existence was and is about Saman, forgetting about Saba. With girls already so confused in Pakistan, writers have a responsibility to write women characters who know their worth and aren’t defined by men.
And while we're at it, let’s get one thing straight; no one is anyone’s bhai, unless it's biological!
I’m not sure how well Bin Roye is doing ratings wise, but either it should have been a movie or a drama; definitely not both. The effect has worn off since there are scenes copy pasted from the movie to the drama and they are just not making sense.
The story so far could easily have been condensed into five episodes had it not been given the ‘filmy’ feel of the songs and dances. I read the novel years ago and saw the film; both were great.
But as a full-fledged drama, spanning what I can only assume would be over 30 episodes (because you know, it’s HUM TV), well that I’m not too sure about especially since it was shot two years ago and it definitely shows.
Additionally, the editing is quite choppy, as is always the case with HUM TV’s editing department!
Is this a case of milking a movie and its stars for all they're worth even if the result is below par?
Bin Roye has yet to prove otherwise.