By Maliha Rehman
There are certain tropes that are now part of every Ramzan drama. The story has to extend in a series of 30 or 31 back to back episodes all through the month which is why it is necessary to have a huge ensemble cast. There are always one or two joint families in the spotlight, complete with doting eccentric grandparents, cute younger siblings, parents who have storylines of their own and one or two lead pairs who tend to hate each other at first, only to fall in love later.
But it isn’t enough to merely whisk together all these familiar ingredients. They have to be mixed in certain proportions, blended, simmered and finally, served out just right. Not every Ramzan drama manages to get the formula right – but Hum Tum, airing on the HUM TV Network, certainly does.
The race to gain views during Ramzan drama primetime is a competitive one. The dramas are the latest fads to take over local TV viewing and a range of options are available to the audience. Hum Tum may have initially gained eyeballs because of its star cast – Ramsha Khan, Junaid Khan, Sara Khan and Ahad Raza Mir, making a long overdue comeback to TV – but now, a week into Ramzan, it’s hauling in accolades based on merit.
More than anything else, the credit goes to the drama’s writer and the director. Saima Akram Chaudhry is a pro at writing laugh-a-minute Ramzan romantic comedies and she knits together her story well, adding in hilarious situations with a dash of slapstick here and there. Director Danish Nawaz, on the other hand, proved his mettle with last year’s Chupke Chupke, handling an extensive cast and multiple plots within the folds of a single drama. He has now brought the same expertise to Hum Tum.
Hum Tum is similar to Chupke Chupke on the premise that it is an all-out family drama. The story, though, is different in many ways. In between the witty repartee between our protagonists, Adam and Neha, aka Ahad and Ramsha, and some wildly funny situations, there are nuances within the plot. The boys are good at housekeeping, the girls are not. The girls, meanwhile, excel in studies while the boys do not. Both Sarmad, played by Junaid Khan, and Adam are doting brothers who don’t mind straightening their younger sister’s hair and applying nail polish on her hands. They can whip up a delicious cup of coffee or Spanish omelet. The girls, meanwhile, are constantly told be more domestic by their father, something which doesn’t seem to come naturally to them. They also endure constant taunts from their father, who dislikes having gotten burdened by three daughters when he had wanted a son.
There are multiple very serious messages layered within the story which nevertheless, stays upbeat and often has you laughing out loud.
There’s also a grandfather who is a popular Tiktok-er, a grandmother who runs an online marriage bureau, a father prone towards gambling and the mothers, one enduring a gambling husband while the other dealing with her cantankerous professor husband who is never satisfied with his home life. The leads are constantly fighting in the initial spate of episodes that have aired so far, but it will be fun to see both couples finally fall in love. Right now, though, a certain joke about a ‘silver chamach’ – Hum Tum audiences know what I am talking about – is hilarious!
The cast acts very well. Both Ramsha Khan and Sara Khan, who plays the eldest sister Maha, are extremely popular TV leads but it is refreshing to see them in lighthearted roles as opposed to the heavy duty tragedies that are local TV drama fare. Junaid Khan is extremely likeable as the older brother who is a pro at cooking. He is smitten with Maha who is till now, oblivious to his affections. Ahad Raza Mir’s comic timing is great and he chose well when he decided to act in a Ramzan comedy. The actor had so far only been seen in a slew of very serious roles and this role showcases him in a completely different light. There are definite shades of Asif Raza Mir’s acting in Ahad’s performances – a lilt of the voice, a tilt of the face. Like father, like son and to be compared to Asif Raza Mir is of course, not a bad comparison at all.
The drama makes for great entertainment. Having said this, certain parts of the story could have had been balanced out with greater sensitivity. The girls are extremely belligerent towards their father. He is grumpy and constantly nags at them and yet, Pakistani dramas of yore often maintained a certain respect between parents and their children. In earlier stories, even when children didn’t get along with their parents, they didn’t say so to their face. In Hum Tum, Neha talks back to her father quite openly. There’s plenty of complaining about both fathers by their respective offsprings with their mothers agreeing. These tensions within both families could perhaps have had been shown in a less overt way.
The comparison to Chupke Chupke, last Ramzan’s hit HUM TV drama, is inevitable. The previous drama was brilliant, with never a dull moment. Hum Tum is up to par till now – it remains to be seen whether it will continue delivering on entertainment without dragging. Can it match the precedent set by Chupke Chupke?
Then again, these are early days. Perhaps there is some sense to the way the father-daughter and father-son relationships have been portrayed. There are probably many more comical situations up ahead.
Regardless, Hum Tum does promise to be memorable – the sort of drama that you’d binge out on even later, long after Ramzan is over.
This one’s a hit.
What do you think?