There are few dramas that win you over instantly, for me, Kabli Pulao has been one such drama. As a reviewer, I have watched each one of its episodes with keen interest and observed every single scene with a critical eye. Even then, I have not been able to find any flaws in the drama. In fact with every passing episode I fall in love with Haji sahab and Barbeena’s unusual and heartwarming story, even more. The union of these two individuals who have nothing in common has been shown on-screen in such a beautiful manner that you believe these two needed each other in their lives. Even though Haji sahab is definitely not being fair to Barbeena but his limitations have been portrayed so convincingly that as a viewer I am always inclined towards understanding his situation instead of judging him for his decisions.
Mohammad Ehteshamuddin and Sabeena Farooq fit like a glove in their respective characters. It is almost as if these characters were ‘tailor-made’ for these actors. They have grasped the essence of their characters and have managed to breathe life into two of the most unusual protagonists we have seen on-screen. I must say that no one can beat Kashif Nisar when it comes to choosing the right cast. There are so many directors and producers who fail to experiment or sometimes fall short when choosing the supporting cast.
Kashif Nisar has proved multiple times that he does not compromise on this particular aspect. Green Entertainment also deserves due credit for exploring new stories and not being afraid of telling stories which do not fit the ‘box’. These dramas have proved, and that too only in a month, that there is an entire world outside the box. I just hope that the dramas airing on the channel continue to provide quality entertainment for viewers who are not interested as well as sick and tired of watching the done-to-death scenarios on-screen.
Kabli Pulao is still giving me Raqeeb Se vibes, not only because of the treatment given to the drama but also because of its characters and main plot. Although, the stories are poles apart this love story is just as unusual as that one and Kabli Pulao also has some of the most likable female characters. Barbeena also has a strong personality and presence despite of her situation just like Sakina, who always had such a profound effect on the viewers.
Barbeena – Simple & Generous
In the past 2 weeks, we watched Barbeena becoming a part of Haji Mushtaq’s family not as his wife but in a completely different capacity. Even though Barbeena’s circumstances are such that she could be easily termed as a ‘bechari’ she is anything but that! Right from the beginning she has made her decisions herself. She chose to marry Haji Mushtaq, even though he clearly showed he was not interested. If anything, this marriage was forced on him and not her. This was the first time that the viewers witnessed Barbeena’s strong decision-making power. And everything that we have been shown after that, has further established this character as a strong one. It takes real strength to take such a decision and stand by it. At the same time, the viewers have witnessed the scars her bitter experiences in Afghanistan have left on her.
Barbeena’s glorious past, before the war destroyed everything, was narrated not just by her but certain hints were dropped when Haji Mushtaq’s family was sharing their thoughts about her. It is interesting how quickly Barbeena adjusted to her new household and did not question the lie Haji sahab told his family, even for a second. You cannot help but fall in love with Barbeena’s gracious personality. Her harsh experiences did not make her bitter but in contrast, they made her realize the importance of peace and love. Barbeena is a giver, who gives without keeping a count. She also gives unconditionally, she is sure that Haji sahab has already given her everything she needed and does not need to do anything more. This aspect of her personality has been shown in such a positive manner that you do not see her as a loyal slave but as a committed and loving friend and companion.
Barbeena is the first Afghani character of its kind in a Pakistani drama. The writer who etched out this character made sure that viewers all around the globe watching Kabli Pulao get a new introduction like no other to the Afghani people. They are shown as loving, generous, and giving individuals whose positivity has not been overshadowed by the atrocities of war. Barbeena also represents the affluent section of the Afghani society that was forced to live the life of refugees after the war.
Haji Mushtaq – Caught in a Whirlwind
Haji Mushtaq’s journey has been the complete opposite of Barbeena’s character development. Even though Barbeena is a refugee, she has had things under control right from the get-go. She knew exactly what she wanted and even now she takes everything in her stride. Haji Mushtaq’s life, on the other hand, has been spiraling out of control starting from the time he met Barbeena. The nikkah was completely unexpected, even though it was a choice but not one that he was very keen on making! Ever since then, everything that he has faced is completely brand new for him. He never wanted to get married and getting married to a young girl who was old enough to be his daughter would have been completely out of the question. He also decided to dedicate his life to religion and did not want to spend all his time with his family. Yet, because of Barbeena, he is now closer to his family than he has ever been before. A man, who lived his life on his terms and conditions and was known for his reputation, had his reputation questioned because he decided to help Barbeena.
All through this, Haji Mushtaq has tried really hard not to be unfair. But he does not have the courage to tell his family the truth. The instant he entered into a nikkah with Barbeena, his first fear was that of being judged by his family members. Even someone of his stature was worried about being questioned for his actions.
I like how this character has a religious and upright strong side but at the same time he is quite capable of lying to cover up for something that might get him into ‘trouble’. It is interesting how this mature character has this child-like innocence as well. Since he was not ready for this nikkah himself and everything happened so fast, his abrupt decisions made perfect sense. However, gradually his family members and especially Shamim have already started questioning Barbeena and Haji Mushtaq’s relationship.
Haji Mushtaq has, so far, protected Barbeena as much as he could have in his capacity. Even though he does not acknowledge her actual status in front of his family members, he has made it clear multiple times that Barbeena will be treated with respect.
Haji Mushtaq and Barbeena – What a Companionship
Haji Mushtaq and Barbeena have come a long way in the past 3 weeks. The way Haji looked at his new bride the first time suggested that he was instantly amazed by that face and particularly those innocent eyes. As he got to know more about Barbeena, he felt he needed to protect her but gradually his feelings for her are changing as he finds himself being attracted to her innocence and beauty. While Haji Mushtaq finds it difficult to accept Barbeena as his wife because of the age difference as well as the fact that he had vowed never to get married, Barbeena has accepted this relationship wholeheartedly. She feels safe around this man and understands that as his wife she is not only there to look after him but also to be a companion. We don’t know yet if Barbeena has anything more than respect for Haji Mushtaq in her heart but it is quite clear that her husband is falling for her more with every passing episode.
It is interesting how a girl who seemingly had nothing to offer to Haji Mushtaq has actually rescued him in more ways than one. He was a man who had never learned to live for himself. When he was a child, he looked after his mother and has been looking after his family all his life. He has never even thought about his own pleasure or happiness. In this manner, Haji and Barbeena have so much in common. Both of them find it easier to sacrifice their happiness for the sake of their loved ones. Also, their family comes before everything else. While Barbeena married Haji to save her brother, Haji took the risk of turning his family against him when he married Barbeena. It is difficult to tell who actually made the bigger sacrifice but the dynamics are pretty fascinating.
Barbeena and Haji sahab’s conversation in this episode regarding what he was going to wear on the wedding was one of my favorites. It depicted Haji sahab’s frame of mind so well and showed how Barbeena wanted him to live a little for himself as well. Both these individuals have a good heart and they want to see each other happy more than anything else. There is so much about this union which is amazing.
Kabli Pulao has some of the most well-written supporting characters that have a solid presence. They add to the complexity of the main track since each one of these characters in Haji sahab’s household in particular has a profound connection with him. Shamim stands out because of her history with Haji Mushtaq and also because of the way this powerful character has been written and translated on screen. Haji sahab’s relationship with Barbeena will affect her most in the long run. Her presence also makes for an interesting love triangle in a story that is already complicated enough as it is. Nadia Afgan’s performance makes Shamim an unforgettable supporting character.
My second favorite character has to be Ayesha for obvious reasons! Not only does she have a beautiful relationship with her abba ji but she is also a loving individual who welcomed Barbeena with open arms and is sensitive to her feelings. Unlike many other dramas in which daughters or nieces would feel jealous, Ayesha held Barbeena’s hand a little bit tighter and kept her closer when she found out the truth. Such little but refreshing nuances of these characters make them stand out.
Similarly, the personalities of all the other family members have been presented on-screen in such a way that the family dynamics are easy to understand. Also, most importantly, these dynamics are the reason why there is a conflict in the story. Had these dynamics not been so complicated, it would have been easier for Haji Mushtaq to share the truth with his family members.
Kabli Pulao is a complete package; it offers everything which a viewer wants to see in a drama. Zafar Mairaj and Kashif Nisar have once again proven that they are the perfect team. I am really happy that Sabeena Farooq got the opportunity to use her command over Pashtu in this drama in such an apt manner. Most importantly, I am genuinely pleased that she was chosen to play such a beautiful character and she made the most of it. Otherwise, she would have been typecast as Haya in all the projects. Also, I truly appreciate the dedication with which she has breathed life into Barbeena. Not only is her performance commendable but she has been extremely comfortable in her own skin without any fancy makeovers. This was such an essential part of Barbeena’s character. Of course, Kashif Nisar deserves credit here too because he has always understood the importance of looks while bringing a character to life on screen.
Mohammad Ehteshamuddin has given many memorable performances in the past as well but Haji Mushtaq is definitely one in a million. He has proved that the term ‘hero’ can be as vast as a writer’s and actor’s imagination. All the actors in supporting roles are equally amazing in their respective roles.
Have you fallen in love with Kabli Pulao yet? Share your views.