TV Review: Meri Zaat Zarra-e-Benishan #1.1

As part of my quest to improve the level of my Urdu, I’ve started the series ‘Meri Zaat Zarrae Benishan’ which translates to…well, I don’t actually know what it translates to. Oh well – that’s why I’m here I guess.

The first episode opens with a man named Arfeen Abbas and his adolescent son Haider living a seemingly comfortable life. He gets a knock at the door and the servant informs him that a girl called Sara is awaiting him. The mention of the girls’ name distresses him and he immediately rushes to the door. He greets her pensively and she hands him a letter. Visibly shaken after reading it, he asks her where a woman named Saba is, and she tells him that she died four days ago. Though shocked and lamented, Arfeen manages to regain his composure and after asking Sara her address the two go to her home and collect her belongings so that she can stay with him. Upon returning Arfeen introduces Sara to his son Haider and tells him of Saba’s death. Haider seems a bit indifferent to Sara but treats her nicely. There’s also an aunt or someone who’s informed of Saba’s death over the phone by Haider, who in turn tells her husband. It’s worth noting that the three elders who are informed of Saba’s death are extremely sad, naturally, but there also seems to be a hint of guilt in their mourning.

In terms of language, I found ‘Meri Zaat’ a little more difficult than the relatively easy ‘Jawani Phir Nahi Ani’ film that I watched and reviewed as the first part of my Urdu challenge. However, I think this is more to do with the fact that we are not supposed to know exactly who Saba and Sara are and what their relationship to the other characters are just yet. I kept scratching my head thinking ‘Well why is everyone seemingly so guilty and who is this Saba?’ but obviously we’ll find out later.

Now onto the episode itself. I thought the acting all round was good. The grief shown by Arfeen felt natural and authentic and kudos to the directors for not making any of the scenes sappy and melodramatic. When Arfeena and Sara go to the latter’s house, where Saba also lived, it is a very touching scene. Arfeen breaks down as he grabs Saba’s slippers as they bring back memories of her. Each and every part of her home, including the compactness if it, amplifies his grief. It is a most moving scene, and done it a mature fashion. The scenes after this too were very well done – Arfeen attempts to continue his day, having dinner with his son and making Sara feel welcome, all whilst getting teary-eyed every couple of hours or so until he retreats to his study. I think the show-makers did very well with showing how people react to a death. It all felt very real.

The actions of the son call for admiration too. He seems to be the cliché gym-going, headphone wearing young adult but at least after the news he chooses to stay at home instead of going to a function of some sort, and regularly goes to his father asking if he is OK and needs anything – even kneeling down by his father’s side. It’s not much, but it makes a difference. I doubt you’d see many children act like this where I live.

The key player is likely going to be Sara, whom we know very little about at the moment.

And that’s about it. ‘Meri Zaat’ has started off heartfelt and intriguing, and I look forward to continuing the series.

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