Noor e Zindagi – An Overview

Produced by Abdullah Kadwani and Asad Qureshi, directed by Siraj ul Haq and written by Sarwat Nazir, Noor e Zindagi airs on Geo on Fridays at 8pm PST. The writer Sarwat Nazir’s name is what drew me to this serial for at that time Besharam was on air and I had only just finished watching Socha Na Tha on ARY Zindagi which is penned by the same writer. Although Socha Na Tha dragged a bit, yet it was a decent watch so I felt Noor e Zindagi may be interesting too.

Noor e Zindagi is the story of two families, paths of which eventually cross when a marriage takes place. Noor Jahan (Ayesha Khan) is an educated woman who lives with her father (Shakeel) and younger sister Zeb. Noor is educated and respects her father and his wishes but is not afraid to stand up and speak for what she believes is right for herself and her family. She agrees to a match made by her father but breaks off the engagement when the family turns out to be greedy by exerting pressure on her father to meet their increasing and unreasonable demands with regards to jahez. In the wake of this broken engagement, her older sister is very worried and agrees to meet Saleem and his family through a rishtay walay aunty. The proposal had earlier been sent for her sister in law which they rejected partly because Saleem is uneducated and partly because her sister in law is interested in someone else.

Saleem (Jibran Syed) lives with his mother (Sajida Syed), a younger brother Waseem (Noman Habib) and younger sister Bano. He is uneducated, education being a luxury he could not afford when his father passed away when Saleem was young and he had to step up and start working at his father’s shop to support the rest of the family. He initially does not have a problem with Waseem’s education but egged on by his useless friends (Salim Mairaj) he puts a stop to his education too. Saleem has grown used to being the one in control and we see his father used to be an angry man too who did not hold any value for his wife’s opinion. Even his mother has no say once Saleem has decided upon something, not that she tries for she has grown used to cowering and accepting Saleem’s decisions as the final say.

The first few episodes, while introduced the characters, but were actually just scenes flitting between Saleem’s angry outbursts, his mothers’ endless tears, Noor’s holier than thou, perfectly composed demeanour right upto her perfectly curled hair and the ever pressing issue that supersedes all in our dramas – shaadi. Once Noor and Saleem get married, their families – and I – breathed a sigh of relief for that is when the drama began to get interesting. For those of you who have not watched this drama, I would suggest watching it from the 9th episode onwards for that is when the story kicks in.

I liked how Saleem was floored by his wife’s beauty and how he would have twinges of guilt pricking him each time he is short with her. His friend however is forever dispatching advice making sure his wife does not take ‘advantage’ of him and make him feel she is superior as she is more educated. We normally see a scheming mother in law or bhabhi/nand, but here it is the friend who is the meddling factor and leads Saleem astray. Noor believes Saleem is a good man but easily influenced by his friends but all this goes a step too far when Saleem begins suspecting there is something between Waseem and Noor.

Noor is shown to be educated, patient, responsible, understanding (you get the picture) yet she is strong and believes in standing up when pushed too far and leaves home when Saleem goes accuses her. However, I feel I have a hidden Saleem of sorts in me too for even I felt a bit prickly at times when she would forever be preaching although Saleem put it in a more apt and delightful way – ‘asaan ilfaaz mein baat kiya karo’ and ‘zaida ustaani na bano’, LOL! Let me clarify here that I only found those statements funny when he said them not in a taunting way but when he was actually perplexed by Noor’s words and those scenes were funny. However, his inferiority complex and thoughts planted by his friend make him lash out and say unforgivable things to Noor one too many times, I thought.

Things are far from smooth between these two but the drama is interesting as how Noor tries to make small changes in the household without trying to rock the whole boat and is not the whimpering wife we are all too used to seeing. Ayesha Khan used to be one of my favorite actresses but watching her in Shert, Tumharay Siwa and Mann Mayal, dramas which I abandoned halfway and cringed at her acting and characters, I was wary of this one. It took me a while to warm up to her character, rather seeing past Ayesha Khan to Noor. Jibran Syed as Saleem is perfect I have to say. The yelling was a bit overwhelming at first but the snide comments and inferiority complex are all portrayed so well by him. I am not sure anyone else would have made Saleem so convincing as Jibran Syed has been able to. The supporting actors and actresses such as Zeb, Waseem, Saleem’s mother and Noor’s older sister and brother in law have all chipped in to do their parts well too which I have begun to feel makes a huge difference in how I end up feeling about the play. I wince each time Salim Mairaj appears on the screen but that is because his character is nothing but trouble!

Noor’s personality and level headedness do not seem to be helping her much so I am not sure which way this drama is headed just yet. I do think if less episodes had been wasted before the marriage took place, the drama would have been more interesting for I am sure quite a few of us gave up on it after the first few episodes. How many of you have been following this drama – would love to hear your thoughts.

Kunwal Javid

Kunwal Javid