With its strong female leads and bleak depiction of marriages, Tajdeed-e-Wafa has delivered exceptionally well with each episode. In episode 8, the story line focuses on Arsal (Ahmed Ali) and his engagement and Ashar (Haroon Shahid) dealing with a crumbling marriage.

 

With Arsal finally getting what he had been struggling for since the beginning of the series as he gets engaged to Hareem (Ainy Jafree), there is a light at the end of the tunnel for these two characters. Especially with Arsal, we get a sigh of relief since everything around him has always been grim and stagnated. On the other hand, Ashar’s situation is something that had been imminent throughout the previous episodes. The very obvious divide between Neha (Naveen Waqar) and Ashar reaches its final chapter as Neha demands a divorce. Ashar’s denial of the cracks in their marriage was particularly absorbing as he constantly chose to pretend that not talking about their problems would make them go away.

 

Most of what happens in the episode was predictable and fell short of any excitement. Each character had a premature box in which they fit in, and none of them veered out of it. Arsal and Hareem are still very much in love, Arsal still resents his father who continues being a strict father, Ashar and Neha continue to bicker and the surrounding characters fail to make an impression that lasts. Even the one stirring event of the cousin’s arrival falls short since the character is so bland and lacking of material that she ends up becoming a part of the background.

 

The only meaningful exchange is between Arsal and his mother, as we get a deeper look into the bitterness between Arsal’s parents. The hostile jabs of Arsal’s father towards his mother, his blatant antagonism at anything she does…when looked at on a deeper level, it becomes obvious that this is what the future looks like for Ashar and Neha if they choose to stay together. Right before the scene where Neha demands a divorce, Arsal’s mother tells him how “Mohabbat kay baghair zindagi guzar jati hai, izzat kay baghair nahi.” The placement of these two scenes was indeed commendable. And perhaps that is why Neha’s character becomes all the more sympathetic.

Naveen Waqar’s portrayal is laudable, to say the least. Her monologue on how she does not want her children to grow up in a home of abuse and how divorce is better than emotionally damaged children wrenches heartstrings and really puts into perspective the way women deal with abusive marriages. While it goes on in his very own home, Ashar is ignorant that he is turning out like his father, despite his mother’s wish for the opposite.

This use of dramatic irony is very rare in today’s dramas, especially how well integrated it is in the plot. Tajdeed-e-Wafa foreshadows the tragedy of failed marriages beautifully, and thus stands out in that regard.

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