By Maliha Rehman
Muhabbat Gumshuda Meri on HUM TV Network sweeps you away little by little. The story is merely two episodes old right now and we don’t quite know where it will lead to but the initial plot revolves around young love and raging emotions. There are no domestic politics and no toxic men raging about – not so far, at least.
Saim and Zoobia, enacted by Khushhal Khan and Dananeer Mobeen respectively, are next door neighbors and best friends. Their lighthearted squabbles and joking about has led to a bond that runs deeper than friendship but they are yet to confess their love for each other. Their lives seem to have been uneventful thus far but when Zoobia lies at home and attends a birthday party with Saim, matters start getting complicated. A friend of Saim’s makes snide comments about Zoobia which leads to Saim beating him up. And then, on the way back home Saim faces car trouble. Zoobia returns home late and her elder sister finds out that she had lied. She is given a stiff warning not to do so again.
Saim’s friend, angry at having gotten beaten up, decides to take revenge by flirting anonymously with Zoobia via text messages. She initially thinks that Saim is messaging her but later realizes her mistake and stops texting back. Meanwhile, Saim meets with friends and this same friend makes remarks about Zoobia yet again. Ae gets a thorough beating this time by a hot-headed, lovestruck Saim. As a result, the second episode ends at a gripping turn-point where Saim has landed into hot water.
A number of side-storylines have also slowly started to unravel: the upcoming nuptials of Zoobia’s elder sister Rushna with their cousin Daniyal, Saim’s father being against his aspirations of building a career in music and Zoobia’s mother suspecting her of having a boyfriend. There is also a questionable, Photoshopped image of Zoobia with Saim which may lead to trouble in later episodes.
All the while, the tone of the drama remains lighthearted. Saim tries to tell Zoobia that he is in love with her but has failed to do so, so far. There’s a bit of music here and there, since Saim is an aspiring musician.
A definite factor helping the narrative along is Islamabad’s scenic backdrop. The camera often pans out to give eagle-eye views of lush greenery and the Margalla Hills. The birthday party in the first episode involves a group of young people sitting around a bonfire in the cold, on a hilly area. Saim’s room is particularly exquisite, with full-length windows looking out over tall, leafy trees. It all adds to the story’s essence.
The main leads act well. Khushhal Khan is boyish, awkward and even gawky at times as Saim. There is a rawness to him and it seems that he has very deliberately set aside his glossy male model image to get into the skin of the character of a smitten boy next door.
Dananeer as Zoobia is garrulous, cute and very young. She wears headbands, letting her long hair lose, and prances about her home, always ready with a retort. Her role so far seems to be an extension of who she is in reality also. It is only as the story progresses that we will perhaps see her traverse more emotionally heavy territory.
In one particularly memorable scene from the second episode, Saim hesitantly asks Zoobia how she would know that a boy loved her. She recounts various ways; including giving her chocolates and gifts. He subsequently brings her chocolates but so far, Zoobia hasn’t quite connected the dots.
This drama has been this way so far; replete with endearing little scenes that have you smiling. I can sense director Shahid Shafaat, who is extremely talented and yet gets stuck now and again with cookie-cutter scripts, having enjoyed helming this particular story. I am sure the actors enjoyed the process too.
The rest of the ensemble consists of established actors as well new faces. Saim’s friends could have had certainly been less stilted. They are very obviously new actors who are yet to master body language and dialogue delivery.
It’s a sweet story with a newness to it which will hopefully persist as the plot thickens. In a drama-scape replete with predictable storylines and saas-bahu nonsense, Muhabbat Gumshuda Meri offers a breath of fresh air, for now.
The initial two episodes, however, only offer a glimpse of the drama. One hopes that it continues to be refreshing.
What do you think?