Will ‘Mera Naam Yusuf Hai’ be better than ‘Pyare Afzal’?

MNYH’s first episode has all the ingredients of a typical love story: a chance meeting between two strangers on a train amongst a lot of ‘mohabbat-key-dushman’ type relatives, a male protagonist with little or no career prospects except his music and a female protagonist caught in the middle of a war with her parents, who are ready to marry her off to the nearest uninteresting relative as soon as possible

If this sounds familiar, you are not wrong; superficially, at least, this story seems to pick up a lot of elements from the writer’s previous works like Pyare Afzal and Sadqay Tumhare but, hopefully, as the story will unfold, we shall see more than just old wine in new bottles

[poll id="377"] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Photo: Mera Naam Yousuf Hai Official Facebook Page[/caption] Director Mehreen Jabbar has taken a firm hand with this story, resolutely brushing off all the glitter and pixie dust and grounding it firmly in the day-to-day realities of normal people

This has given what might have been ‘a run of the mill melodrama’ a fresh, young and dynamic spin – something we have not seen since her project Daam and it certainly makes up for the disappointment of Jackson Heights

She is the ideal director to take an edge off the emotionally overcharged predicaments the writer is famous for

The cool and calm shades of everyday life, depicted by the director of photography (DOP), Qasim Mureed Ali, may make the beautiful but sometimes extravagant dialogues more relatable for us ordinary mortals

In fact, this juxtaposition gives both the script and the scenes even more depth and meaning

This entire episode was a delight to watch, avoiding the usual, narrow look of such dramas without sacrificing the intimacy required for such a story

Add to this the rise and fall of, at times wistful, at times powerful, OST sung by Rizwan Anwar and Saad Sultan, and the stage is set for all the twists and turns of fate required for star-crossed lovers

[fbvideo link="https://www




859554427420057&type=2&theater"][/fbvideo] Just like history has told us before, perhaps the writer is aiming at recreating the story of Yusuf and Zulekha

The fact that Yusuf glances up when he hears Zulekha’s name, to look at the girl he has just met, hints at that

As Yusuf, Imran Abbas does not disappoint on any level

Burdened with good looks, charm and intelligence, we don’t often want to credit actors like him with actual acting abilities as well

In MNYH, we see the talented actor of Mera Naseeb, Dil-e-Muzter and Khuda aur Mohabbat making wonders again

By downplaying Abbas’s undoubtedly amazing looks and presenting him as a scruffy, lower-middle income group, boy-next-door type character, this drama has allowed his performance to take centre-stage while he lends this simple story some of his undeniable (film) star presence

Abbas makes for a very enigmatic Yusuf, very unlike Afzal (Rahman’s recent super hit creation)

He is a quiet, sensitive, an almost reticent sort who forces his friend to ask a lot of questions before he can tease out the details of the meeting with Zulekha

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Photo: Mera Naam Yousuf Hai Official Facebook Page[/caption] I have always been a great fan of Rahman’s female characters; they are always very strong-willed and independent, very different from the weeping victims we are told constitute Pakistani womanhood in many television dramas

Zulekha’s mother, the fabulous Afia, is played to perfection by the no less fabulous Hina Bayat

Afia is so magnificently fearless that she refuses to visit her sister-in-law because she lied and tricked Afia into marrying Zulekha’s dry, domineering, maulvi of a father and is not afraid of challenging her husband at any point

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Photo: Mera Naam Yousuf Hai Official Facebook Page[/caption] With a mother like that, how can her daughter be any less fascinating? Zulekha is played with authenticity and charm by Maya Ali

Maya has become the go-to actress for many premium projects after her memorable roles in Aunn Zara and Aik Nayee Cinderella

She is a competent actress who can deliver a great performance with a strong director

My only worry is that she may mangle some of the dialogues – as was evident from the promos

Having said that, she is pretty and manages to look good with Abbas, which is not an easy feat as his strong screen presence usually requires an equal opposite him, someone like Sanam Saeed or Humaima Malik

[poll id="378"] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] Photo: Mera Naam Yousuf Hai Official Facebook Page[/caption] The essential charm of this story is its utter simplicity combined with aspiration for something more in life than just the expected

The hope that even when we live lives that are less than ordinary, perhaps we too can have a chance at something as wonderful and genuine as true love

From the first episode, at least, MNYH has raised great expectations as an entertaining and well-crafted serial that should be on everyone’s watch list

Hopefully, it will manage to avoid the two pitfalls of many highly anticipated serials: stretching episodes beyond the story’s limits and a director afraid of doing their job by effectively translating the writer’s work on screen instead of just filming the story that is written

Jabbar is, by reputation, a fearless director and I hope that A Plus can balance commercial concerns with aesthetic ones, making this a product viable in both ways

Date:14-Mar-2015 Reference:View Original Link