Mushk begins its interesting journey on HUM TV and takes the audience on a nostalgic and mysterious journey at the same time. It doesn’t answer many questions but makes you wonder what is happening, why it is happening and how it can be corrected. There are so many tracks going on at the same time that you feel part of a maze, one you are certain that will lead to the finish line. How and when, that is another question. Written by Imran Ashraf and directed by Aehsun Talish, one thing this Momina Duraid production confirms is that your Mondays will be beautiful from now on.
Law student Mehek (Momal Sheikh) returns to her village from England after four years but brings back two companions with her – one a baby, another a mysterious girl named Guddi (Urwa Hocane) who poses as the baby’s mother in front of the household. Mehek’s grandfather (Manzoor Qureshi) welcomes them all with open arms but Tayi (Zara Tareen) doesn’t believe Guddi’s backstory for a second. She wants her to stay at the servant quarter but Mehek convinces all to keep her in the room next to hers.
And then there is Adam (Imran Ashraf) who lives in the same vicinity and is infatuated with Mehek but doesn’t profess his love publicly. What is Adam to Mehek is not known after the first episode and the same can be said of other questions. Why is Mehek travelling with a companion who is neither a servant nor a friend? Is it Mehek’s baby or is it Guddi’s kid? Why is Mehek’s Taya (Hasan Ahmed) bedridden? Why are there two mysterious guys in jail somewhere on the property? How is Osama Tahir’s character related to Mehek, and why is he incarcerated?
Usually, the first episodes of Pakistani dramas are slow and spend time in establishing characters; writer Imran Ashraf and director Aehsun Talish must be commending from steering away from the norm and doing something more ‘international.’ By giving the central character to Momal Sheikh, they not only showed they had faith in her acting prowess, but also gave her a chance to show her talents. She is not just a wonderful actress but also an interesting one; had somebody else played Mehek, it would have either been black or white but with Momal, you don’t know what to make of the character. Urwa Hocane’s return to TV couldn’t have been better timed as she looks every bit the character she plays. Guddi considers herself as beautiful (which Urwa is), she keeps taunting Mehek (like a friend who knows your secret would) and keeps her anger in check (she might explode someday!).
Osama Tahir was the surprise package here; he spends most of the episode without uttering a dialogue but when he does, he shocks all. One moment he is incarcerated whereas the other moment he is shown trying to convince Momal Sheikh’s character in London that he is the right guy for her. It may look like a one-way romance but he was quite convincing in the scene; how he ends up as a prisoner is what will make Mushk interesting in coming weeks.
Everybody’s favourite actor Imran Ashraf may have penned the script but he was hardly onscreen, that is if you are a fan and watched the drama for him. The first episode revolved around the other actors while he stayed in the shadows, appearing in fewer scenes than Urwa and Momal. Whenever he was onscreen, he carried himself like a feudal lord would, the moustache made him look the part and even if you loved him in Ranjha Ranjha Kardi and Inkaar, you will forget for a moment that he played Bhola and Rehan Chaudhry just last year, such dominating was his persona here! Yes, he reminded the audience of the 1970s filmstar Shahid but we hope he makes this role his own and stays there till the end, unlike Tabeer.
TV actress Zara Tareen is good as the Tayi and while she might come across as the ‘vamp’ here, one hopes her character has more to offer. The flashback scene that supposedly took place in London didn’t look like taking place in the English city but on a set that was made to look like London. Also, the actors’ dressing seemed more like Pakistani than English, and besides Osama’s accent, the rest looked like Pakistanis trying to speak British English. Shooting in England might have been difficult during Covid 19 but a little effort would have gone a long way!
The Verdict – Mushk is here to stay!
After a long time Pakistani audiences are being treated to a Pakistani drama; there is no Saas Bahu to make them switch to other channels; there is no love triangle involving brother in law, servant, neighbor or even a friend; and above all, everyone is cast as per the character’s requirement. Aehsun Talish knows how to execute a well-written script and in Mushk he seems to have done his homework. Imran Ashraf continues to impress as a writer as he pens down a serial that has as many tracks as the legendary Waris; the similarity between the two should be taken as a positive thing since no TV drama in the last 40 years has even been compared to Waris let alone toppled it. Mushk is here to stay and the audience expects its fragrance to last for a long time.