Bored on a Saturday night? No friends available to hang out with? Or just want to slouch on the couch and watch something? Then you need not look any further. Written by Edison Masih and directed by Sarmad Khoosat, "Noor Ul Ain" is a relatively recent outing produced by iDream Productions and airs on ARY on Saturdays at 8 pm. Although, it’s the same old story of a boy meeting a girl with disapproving parents due to socio-economic differences, it’s the treatment given to the play that makes it different and an interesting watch.
Noor Ul Ain (Sajal Ali) belongs to a middle-class family, and lives in a joint family system with her parents, sister, chacha, chachi and cousin Kashi. She is a simple girl who is educated and confident as well and has started working too. She encounters Khizar (played by Imran Abbas) and falls in love with him after many meetings. Khizar, on the other hand, felt the cliched “love at first sight” which makes me laugh since I don’t believe in such a thing. Yes, I do believe in being attracted to someone but the only love at first sight that happens in life is between a mother and child.
Khizar’s mother (played by the ever gorgeous and talented Marina Khan) is a strong woman managing the family business herself, prejudiced and has bias against people who are not as rich as her. An adamant Khizar finally convinced her to go to Noor’s house for proposal; however, her bias naturally overflowed, and she made rather unpleasant and derogatory remarks to Noor’s family, who then obviously refused the proposal. An upset Khizar tried calling a hurt Noor to get to the bottom of the issue but she had turned off his phone. Khizar, then desperately approached his mother to inquire about the events that had happened at Noor’s house. This is the gist of the story so far.
There’s a parallel track of Noor’s chacha namely Sajjad who is paralyzed from a stroke and chachi (being played by Iffat Umar). Noor and her chachi are close to each other, yet for some unknown reasons, she is despised by Noor’s mother and the feelings seem mutual. Chachi has a few issues of her own, for instance, she has a son who is not interested in studying and a sick husband who is suffering from stroke. The most significant part of this track, for me, is the plight of family members of such patients, which is being highlighted with subtlety. Stroke patients are not easy to take care of; they require 24/7 care which can be draining for family members who also need a break from it, and chachi’s curt and agitated reactions to Sajjad’s simple demands are understandable and totally in character. Although, appearing reasonable from the periphery, chachi is also blunt and I can sense that the writer might give her slight grey character, a slight twist. That being said, I do not doubt her affection towards Noor despite her negative attitude towards the rest of the family.
Marina Khan’s character is intriguing as well. She is not your typical mother being shown who is happy with her son’s happiness. She’s pragmatic, impudent and not to mention rude, and has pre-conceived notions about those not as fortunate as her monetarily and does not believe in love at all. I am interested in learning about her background story, which I am hoping to be shown in the upcoming episodes. Marina Khan is amazingly talented and it’s always a delight to see her on-screen.
Imran Abbas’s acting is not much to write home about but the two actors that outshined everyone else, in my opinion, are Sajal Ali and Iffat Umar. They got into the skin of their characters and portrayed it with perfection.
Overall, it is a cliched love story but it’s presentation and direction is what sets it apart. The earthy sets at historic locations in Lahore are a breath of fresh air for the audience.
Have you been following the drama? Do you think Noor and Khizar will unite and will their love prevail against all prejudices? To find out, don’t forget to watch Noor Ul Ain every Saturday on ARY Digital!