Yakeen Ka Safar (YKS) ended last week and I am suffering from MAJOR withdrawal symptoms. Every Wednesday, I’d start the morning with some Bhangra moves and buy myself lots of chocolate-based junk to blissfully enjoy the latest episode of the drama after putting my kids to bed. Usually, I like my husband a lot but while the new episode of Yakeen Ka Safar played, I’d also try not to have him anywhere nearby to be able to fully concentrate on each and every dialogue and not miss ANY expression of Dr. Asfandyar. Kabhi kabhi dil chahta tha ke episode kabhi khatam na ho – if you know what I mean. And now that the last episode has aired, I consider it my moral duty to make sure I make all those who haven’t watched it, watch it.
A move (from Karachi to Switzerland), unemployment (which I hope is temporary), and a newborn (whose hobby is to cling to my lap for endless amounts of time), made me stumble upon Yakeen Ka Safar. I do like following a HUM TV play once in a while but my hectic routine back home hardly ever gave me the chance to enjoy them. But a few days after moving to a super-quiet, German-speaking Swiss town, I realized that a good way to keep my spirits high, keep some Urdu happening in the house AND to kill time while I rock my infant to sleep, would be to run HUM TV drama marathons. So, to watch Sajal Ali, I picked this play. Little did I know, that this drama will make history and Asfi will give me a bigger pyaar ka bukhaar than the one Asher gave me during the Humsafar days, 5 years ago.
If you haven’t seen Yakeen Ka Safar yet, then let me tell you that this harkat of yours is giving me a mild panic attack. It’s okay if you’re not a regular HUM TV drama watcher but to be considered a respectable member of the Pakistani society, you have got to see this one.
When you watch Yakeen Ka Safar, you will get exactly what you expect from Farhat Ishtiaq – the brilliant writer behind plays such as Humsafar and Diyar e Dil. From the very first episode, the drama is gripping, with 3 stories running in parallel; spanning Karachi, Islamabad and a village in Sindh. The play is also fast-paced and at no point did I feel like skipping to the next scene. Nowhere was a scene boring enough for me to quickly visit the kitchen and grab my baby’s milk bottle or ‘chalaofy’ a chamcha in my haandi. As the play progressed, it was interesting to watch the 3 stories connect, for which I’d like to give the director a 10 on 10.
No marks for guessing who deserves all the awards for Best Performance (Female) next year – like really! Forget her performance in Gul-e-Raana. Forget her in Mom. Sajal Ali has outdone herself with her performance as Zubia. Jis khubsurati se writer ne iss kirdaar ko takhleeq kiya hai, usi khubsurati se Sajal Ali ne is kirdaar ko nibhaya hai. I have cried with her when life was not the kindest to her; her infrequent laughs warmed my heart and when she fell in love, I did too (and so did the rest of Pakistan, LOL). After all, Ahad Raza Mir makes Dr. Asfandyar so lovable that we cannot be blamed if we want to jump right inside the TV screen, pull him out and have him to ourselves forever. The transformation of his character from the fun-loving, carefree Asfi to the serious, hardworking Dr. Asfandyar is so relatable. He shows beautifully how, experiencing loss can play a role in changing a person. When you hear him say “Kabhi kabhi dil chahta hai ke rasta khatam na ho” you will catch yourself smiling from ear to ear and REALLY wishing ke rasta waqai khatam na ho. He is a great addition to the Pakistani television industry and the fact that he has studied acting professionally, truly reflects in his performance. I cannot wait to see him in another project. Another performance I really enjoyed watching, was that of Hira Salman’s. This was the first play of hers that I watched and I am now a fan. You will become one too, when you see Gaiti cry for her loss.
The Love Story
The love story isn’t your regular love-at-first-sight where the boy chases the girl and she finally says yes. When the 2 characters first meet, it’s anything but love. The beauty of the love story lies in the slow pace with which it develops. A look here, a dialogue there and Zubia and Asfi take the audience along with them on their journey to the discovery of true love. While Asfandyar has already been unlucky in love, and Zubia’s past with Rameez still haunts her, they both have their guards high and take time to let themselves accept their feelings towards each other. They make the romance look pure, true and exactly what the two of them need, to mend their hearts. If the way Asher looked at Khirad made your heart skip a beat, the way Asfandyar looks at Zubia will definitely make your heart melt beyond repair.
The Social Issues
The play isn’t a mere love story. It successfully sheds light on a number of issues the Pakistani society deals with. A rape victim is treated as an achoot and a disgrace for the family rather than someone who needs empathy and support. A woman who chooses her own life partner is a khandaan ke naam pe dhabba. A girl who wants to study or work is not an ideal daughter. Girls are sold/married off to men double their age and they have to accept physical and mental abuse as a tohfa of their kismet. The powerful silence the powerless; the wrongdoer walks free and untarnished while the wronged begs for justice. It is commendable how so many social evils are portrayed in a single play.
The second half of the drama is shot in the breathtaking locations of the Neelam Valley – the greenery, the beauty of Neelum River, and the serenity of the surrounding sights will definitely make you plan a vacation there. When Zubia and Asfandyar walk through lush green woods – flirting, smiling and developing warm feelings for each other, you will realise that if there is a perfect place to fall in love in Pakistan, it is Pakistan’s North. Kudos to the director for choosing such scenic spots to picturise some of the most memorable Zubia – Dr. Asfandyar scenes.
All in all, Yakeen Ka Safar is packed with emotions. While it will give you butterflies in your stomach as you watch the love develop between two characters, it will also make you question some of the pillars that construct our society. When sorrow takes over the characters, you will go to sleep with an aching heart and when they smile, you will find yourself wiping happy tears off your cheeks. Thank you Farhat Ishtiaq, for feeling human emotions so deeply and penning down a story so powerfully, and thank you Shahzad Kashmiri, for breathing life into her characters so very beautifully.