Faltu Larki Overview – Not A Faltu Drama!

So you know how you introduce solids to a baby. Baby rice, the most favorable first food – almost always an instant hit. Add in apple, pear -all good. Repeat – all good. Then introduce a few new flavors -sweet potato, butternut squash and gag! Baby wants nothing to do with all this food business. I am that baby. I tuned into the first few episodes of Faltu Larki when it first went on air and few episodes down, I was pleasantly surprised. Interested. A drama with actual humor, scenarios and characters that felt so real. A different treatment yes, but I took it in stride and liked it. Until the haveli characters were introduced and I wrinkled my nose and backed off. Never tuned in again until a few days ago and then could not stop watching.

On air every Thursday at 8pm on A Plus, Faltu Larki has been written by Faseeh Bari Khan and directed by Mazhar Moin. Apparently a show that aired a few years ago, Quddusi Sahab Ki Bewa was also written by Faseeh Bari Khan and directed by Mazhar Moin and that is something which caught my attention only recently otherwise I may not have bothered with Faltu Larki either. For some reason I was never able to bring myself to watch Quddusi Sahab Ki Bewa and so I can not compare the two shows. Anyway, back to Faltu Larki – I am aware a review of the first couple of episodes was posted on this website and it was actually that review that made me curious enough to watch the drama in the first place. What the reviewer wrote (in not these very words but still) – and stayed with me is very true – the dialogues of this drama are so witty and different. That and the characters, well most of them at least, are so interesting, real, outrageous all rolled into one that you can not help be drawn into watching the drama.

The drama keeps your interest alive for there are quite a few tracks running parallel to each other and some intertwined with others. Probably best to start with Anwar Sb (Salman Shahid) who has two wives and families all living in the same house. He has three children with his first wife (played by Hina Dilpazir) – Bhaijaan (Tipu Shareef), Faiza (Sundus Tariq) and Erum (Anam Fayyaz). Yes, Bhaijaan is called just that – Bhaijaan – by all and sundry. His parents, sisters, relatives all call him that although some fifteen plus episodes later we are enlightened. His actual name is Arsalan. Anyway, Anwar Sb’s second wife, Paro (Samiya Mumtaz) is much younger than the first and has a daughter, Palwasha aka Paashi. Anwar Sb’s younger brother Siraj (Behroze Sabzwari) also lives in the same house with his wife and son Yasir (Farhan Malhi). Apparently the two brothers have a distant relative who lived in India and upon her death, Siraj travels to India and brings back the relative’s daughter Jahan Ara (Dania Anwar) and announces she is to now live with them. At the same time we are also introduced to Erum’s fiancé Tabish (Imran Ashraf) and his family, who are very religious, amongst other things.

Fast forward a few episodes and the next lot of characters are introduced. These all reside in the ‘haveli’ and honestly, each character outdoes the other in terms of boggling my mind. Quite literally. Be it the mum (Seemi Raheel), her son Moazzam Ja, her daughter –never-quite-grasped-her-name- Bi (Yasra Rizvi), the female -always- clad- in -male- clothes driver Anwar or Mishtiri the newly hired maid who is the link between the family in the haveli and Anwar Sb’s household. Ek say barh kar ek hain!

It does sound like a whole pot full of characters in one drama and yes, while it is that, each character has a story to tell, some still shrouded in mystery twenty two episodes down. It is what Paro says to Jahan Ara about how in real life people are not as they are portrayed in movies and dramas. Nobody is black or white. A person in reality may be sensible one day, unreasonable the next, love something with a passion for a while and begin to detest it later. And that is exactly what most of the characters in this drama are. Paro, seemingly outraged by having been passed over by Bhaijaan has made exacting revenge and ensuring he never gets married to be her mission in life. She stops at nothing, even resorting to black magic. But then her heart softens when she sees Jahan Ara ill – until she becomes a prospective bride for Bhaijaan at which she makes her hatred well known, haha! Siraj may come across as the mild natured uncle who brings home an orphaned niece but his half baked business plans and emotional blackmailing towards his wife to the extent of selling her jewellery somehow does not make him seem so innocent and gullible anymore. Anwar Sb’s first wife seems to have a thick skin (no pun intended) and calls it as it is, not indulging in pretense whether it be for her daughters’ in laws sake or family. Yet she has her moments of despair which she can not hide at times when she reflects at the sad state of her marriage. Taabish and his mother are hypocrites whose references to religion are brought up at their own convenience and twisted for their own benefit. Jahan Ara who has wept most episodes away yet manages to find her tongue when dealing with Paashi or putting Yasir down. I have a feeling she is not all that she portrays herself to be but am waiting to find out. And Paashi! For all the times, I have been frustrated and shook my head at ‘twists’ in dramas when the female lead is unable to reach out to the male lead and ‘inform’ him of the zabardasti ka rishta being enforced upon her – in this day and age of internet,telephones,whatsapp etc – Paashi wipes away all my frustration for she manages to use all those and then even resort to good old pen and paper to get her point across!

The dialogues are definitely the strongest selling point in this drama, followed by amazing acting. I have found myself chuckling over so many dialogues. The scenes between Paro and Yasir where she constantly puts him down for being a useless film ka hero, her references to ‘faasbook’ (facebook), the first wife’s ‘bilood mein pressure’, ‘taich na karna’ – it just made me laugh. I can not figure out whose acting I enjoy the most – Samiya Mumtaz, Tipu’s, Anam Fayaz, Hina Dipazir, Taabish’s mum in law or even the young actress who plays Paashi. I am not being critical for the sake of being critical and this may only be my own perception but somehow even though Taabish’ character seems realistic, the acting by Imran Ashraf seems off point sometimes for he sounds like he is acting out a part rather than being the part, if that makes any sense. If it does not then let it go for it is probably just me who feels like that.

Another aspect that appealed to me is the dark humour which is downright insulting at times but strangely refreshing from the point of view of television dramas. For this is very real. References to weight, ‘hont latka kar baat karna’ (Taabish to Erum), ‘bring me chai with sugar because I don’t have sugar ki bemari’. I know, they sound outrageous but it worked for me in the sense that I gasped out loud at the rudeness of it all – but was not put off. Then again, the comedy factor brought about by the haveli characters with Seemi Raheel’s constant references to not being touched by Anwar the driver because she seems like a male and Moazzam Ji’s bachao acts did not make me laugh. Taabish’s mother’s constant ‘aap jayen yahaan se’ to her husband while initially seemed pointless but after a while I began to wait and expect her to say that to him each time he passed. What is all that about I wonder?!

Which brings me to a lot of little things which made me think – what is all that about, I wonder?! Anwar and Moazzam Ji’s sister – the jealousy and possessiveness. I do not know what to make of that? Paro’s weirdness about Bhaijaan seems to be half explained later on in the episodes and is not a very well hidden secret with Bhaijaan’s mother also knowing the truth so then how did the marriage with his father come about? Only to ensure Bhaijaan does not marry anyone else? Jahan Ara seemed drawn to Yasir but seems to be more than content with her upcoming marriage to Bhaijaan. What is running through her mind?

I could go on but seems like I have done enough of that already. For those of you who have been watching this from the beginning, you would have tons more scenarios or dialogues to add and please feel free to do so. My only concern is that the previous play presented by the combination of Faseeh Bari Khan and Mazhar Moin dragged on for 150 episodes or so if I am not mistaken and I sure hope this does not have a similar treatment. For as I sat down to pen this review I happened to check A Plus facebook, rather ‘faasbook’ page and saw that this drama will now air twice a week. I do not know whether that is to wrap it up or what. Anyway, I enjoyed these episodes so much, bar a few silly scenes which can be skipped that I could not resist penning down my thoughts and hearing yours. And for those of you who have not been watching this drama so far – Faltu Larki is not everyone’s cup of tea but do give it a go. How do you all feel about Faltu Larki so far? Who is your favourite character? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Kunwal Javid

Kunwal Javid