Sun Yaara Episodes 1-22 Overview – One word: Wah!

Sigh. Dair aaye par durust aye. Sums up my sentiments in a nutshell about having delayed watching this drama earlier. A Six Sigma Plus production, directed by Danish Nawaz and written by Asiya Mirza, Sun Yaara has been on air weekly on ARY Digital for a while now. Twenty two weeks (episodes) to be precise. Having seen Junaid Khan last act in Unsunni (shudder) and not being a fan of Hira Mani because, well just because, I was not tempted to watch the drama until I came across the OST and the whole OST video was such a treat to watch and listen to that curiosity got the better of me and I tuned in.

Sun Yaara is the story of a family, wait two families, three, four, haye okay let me backtrack. One at a time. We are introduced first to Lalarukh (Zernish Khan) and her family. Nida Mumtaz plays the role of a mother who has three adult children, Talal (Junaid Khan), Lalarukh aka Laali and Khurram (Asim Mahmood). She apparently also had another daughter who died and whose daughter Hina (Minaal Khan) she has raised.

Lalarukh is engaged to be married to Saif (Faris Shafi) and it is near her wedding that we are introduced to Nida’s sister (Samina Ahmed) and her family which comprises her son (Kaiser Khan Nizamani) and granddaughter Roshanay aka Roshni (Hira Mani). Roshni and her grandmother fly in from Islamabad to attend the wedding and that is when Roshni and Talal interact. Since we’re discussing families, a little on Saif’s also – he lives with his mother (Ismat Iqbal) and two sisters Saima (Laila Wasti) and Tania (Ghana Ali).

Okay so now that kaun kis ka bhai, biwi, devar, bhabhi is out of the way, the story covers various tracks and the best part about all this is that no one track bored me. There’s Laali and Saif, Roshni and Talal, Khurram and his jokes, Tania and Talal, etc. Laali marries Saif and due to a huge blowup created by Tania, Saif divorces her. Talal feels guilty and feels that to make Laali’s life full of happiness again is his responsibility. Enter Mustafa (Hasan Niazi) who is an old friend of Talal’s and who has harbored feelings for Laali for a long time. Laali’s son Ayaan takes a liking to ‘Uncle’ too and realising that Mustafa’s intentions are good, Talal gives him his blessing and bullies a very reluctant Laali into marrying Mustafa.

Talal’s own love life is a bit more colorful than his own brisk self. Although his heart is seemingly in the right place, his curt and stony faced persona does not help him much. I felt it was quite obvious that he and Roshni had developed feelings for each other, yet he agrees to marry Roshni only if the rest of the family agrees to any of the decisions he makes in the near future. When pressurizing Laali to marry Mustafa, Roshni overhears the conversation and feels used.

I know. No earth shattering, gasp worthy (is that a word?) scenarios painted here. Which brings to me why this drama is such a treat to watch despite no extraordinary storyline. Well firstly because I seem to take a liking for such dramas. Some dramas just seem to click with me and I enjoy watching them for reasons I can not really pinpoint but Sun Yaara has more going for it than just that feeling.

The direction. The opening scene of the episode when Roshni is dancing/jumping/playing (?) in the rain and the coordination of Talal and Roshni’s steps in that scene at Laali’s wedding just leave such a nice feeling with you. Dramatic yes, but this is a drama and I also loved the wedding function scenes, the music playing in the background, the decoration and lights and also little touches here and there which really lend a very realistic feel to the whole drama such as when Laali stops and bends down to meet Bee Jaan (Mustafa’s mother played by Durdana Butt) at her wedding. I know I often write reviews and normally for me it is the story and the acting that stand out but I can not help being impressed by the direction in this drama too and hats off to Danish Nawaz for doing it so well.

I also loved how each character was given enough screen time that kept my interest alive but also helped create a description of sorts of each character’s personality. You know how when you read a book and if you were to describe in a few sentences each character’s personality and traits – that is how I feel after watching Sun Yaara. And I suppose what really stayed with me was the absence of the completely black or white characters. Talal is gruff, brisk and seemingly almost cold, yet he cares deeply about the people who are close to him but words do not seem to be his best friend when he opens his mouth. Roshni is the almost meek, graceful cousin who has caught Talal’s attention. Saif is your spineless, weak man who fell in love but was not able to take a stand for the woman he thought he loved. Tania, who in her desperation wreaked havoc in Saif and Laali’s life, who I should hate more than Saif, yet I do not for although she went overboard, yet her sense of regret and wanting to make things right for Saif and Laali before it all blew up in their face made me hate her a bit less. Khurram is the carefree ‘joker’ of the clan yet can be expected to be sensible and serious when the situation demands it. Hina, the well loved niece and grandchild who has been raised with so much love and knows it well. Mustafa, sigh, the man who loved Laali all these years and now wants nothing more to make her happy. And Laali, the woman who was wronged yet thankfully has not resigned herself to a life of tears and self pity.

I wondered what it was about Talal and Roshni’s story that seemed to strike a chord. Their personalities to be exact. Typical movie stuff? Nah. I even stopped and likened it to myself and my husband haha, except I am not as meek and graceful as Roshni and my poor husband, although not very vocal emotionally is definitely not as brisk as Talal and then it hit me. All those novels I used to read and devour in a single night (before marriage, kids and cooking took over my life) came back to me. The hero who falls for the heroine gradually, catching her doing adorable things (when Roshni was picking flowers for Laali, dancing in the rain, standing near the door looking out apparently lost in thought), yet unable to express how much she means to him. Haye. LOL.

And then the acting. What can I say. I saw Zarnish in a play on ARY earlier. The name slips my mind but it was a story of two sisters, the other sister played by Sonia Hussain and I liked her acting then and even though I ditched Sehra Main Safar halfway I liked her in that drama too. She has a particular way of talking which is typical in each drama but it goes with her character here so no complaints. Junaid Khan has not impressed me much and especially after Unsunni I did not watch any of his dramas but I have to say as Talal he has done a very decent job. I keep hearing how Hira Mani is an amazing actress and after watching her in this drama, I can not disagree. Asim Mahmood is another pleasant surprise and lends humor in just about the right dose. Each actor and actress fits well into his or her own character.

And then obviously the OST. I was on the verge of writing an article recently about how various OSTs have made me tune into dramas that I was not planning to watch in the first place such as Be Inteha, Khaali Haath and now Sun Yaara. Sung by Junaid Khan himself and Damiya Farooq, it is definitely a treat to listen to. Not one to focus on words, rather on the sound of the music itself (I know, I lack zauq) I found myself listening to it more than a few times and welcomed the use of it in the drama aplenty too.

So, yes. I definitely recommend Sun Yaara for a decent watch which is not so heavy that one is wiping away tears, yet enough emotion to pull at your heartstrings (mine are quite elastic anyway). A few laughs, romance which does not border on inappropriate, cringe worthy or typical lines and scenes. Ah, except the new favorite of when the lady in question walks away and the man in her life always manages to grasp her hand just as she is walking away. I wonder how that works. If I did that, I would probably either look like I am on a one man tag team or be handed an empty coffee cup by my husband to take to the kitchen, sigh. Yes, a few, well not glitches really but annoying things such as how Tania was unconvincingly unable to get to her brother and tell him the truth before the divorce, Laali’s a bit too angry (why?) response when Mustafa proposed to her, Roshni conveniently overhearing the conversation between Laali and Talal, etc do stand out but then I guess without these situations the story could not move forward so I suppose, let it be.

So despite Roshni’s anger and sudden tantrums, it appears that she will have to go ahead with her rukhsati and it seems like Saif is on a mission to turn Laali’s life upside down once again. I am assuming a predictable end but still enjoying waiting for it to unfold. How many of you have been watching Sun Yaara and what do you think of it? Would love to hear your thoughts. And for anyone reading this, Ramadan Mubarak :)

Kunwal Javid

P.S. Not looking for a religious viewpoint on this, but asking out of sheer curiosity. I haven’t been to Pakistan in a decade now and attended limited nikkahs here (which were mostly segregated) – so a bit curious about the nikkah scene between Talal and Roshni. The way they sat facing each other with a thin transparent screen in between. I saw the same thing in Be Inteha. I thought it was a very interesting concept and actually quite beautiful but humor me please – is this a drama/filmy thing or has anyone seen this at an actual wedding too? Thanks :)

Kunwal Javid