Written by: Mustafa Afridi
Directed by: Mohammed Ehteshamuddin
Produced by: Momina Duraid Productions
Mustafa Afridi’s recent adaption of Khadjia Mastoor’s award-winning novel had been hyped up for many weeks and today’s first episode of the pre-partition era drama showed us why this drama is going to be a game changer. The star-studded cast, the breathtaking visuals of the set and the cinematography made the first episode as good as it could get. The first episode unveiled only a part of the story for now, focusing merely on Abid Ali and Zeb Rehman’s home life and branched out into other characters through them. Sonya Hussain plays their daughter Salma who is obsessively in love with their childhood servant, played by Ahsan Khan. Zeb Rehman potrays a strong-willed, just and strict head of the house, whose biggest trouble is her husband’s two other illegitimate affairs. The triggering events of the story begin when Salma gets caught by her mother trifling with the house servant.
Simply put, the entire atmosphere of Aangan is stunning. The sets are reminiscent of the 1940s aesthetic and it is so engrossing to notice the amount of detail that has been put into each scene. From small trinkets like the old record player or the horse-drawn carriage to the lavish clothing of the actors….the audience are transported into the time the drama is set in. The cinematography further enhances this positive factor. In one particular scene where Sonya Hussain and Ahsan Khan steal away to have a secret conversation, we only see their silhouettes standing back to back while talking. The air of that scene is romantic and beautiful, much like watching an actual play in front of you. For those with a sharp eye for such stage tricks, they really matter in a drama’s overall worth. In this case, Aangan definitely has us excited!
While these aspects hold their worth in their own right, the storyline is equally engrossing. With complex dialogue of older dialectics, the glamorous cast live up to their name by giving a magnificent performance in merely the first episode. The story arch is quite dense and difficult to follow for an average viewer, but the playwright of the drama, Mustafa Afridi, has a stunning way with words. And in a time of overtly simplified television force-fed to the masses, such complexity and depth is not just wanted but required. Period dramas have always been held very close to the hearts of Pakistanis, and it is touching to see the drama industry return to its roots.
For now, most of the plot is kept in shadows. But with such an accomplished team acting and directing it, Aangan has a lot of high expectations attached to it for the future and for good reason. It is expected to break many records and from what we have seen in merely the first episode, it certainly will have achieved something instrumental in the drama industry. Whether it be for the atmospheric 1940s era or the stirring depiction of love in bygone times, Aangan has much to offer for everyone.
Umaima Munir is a film and theatre nerd who is extremely passionate about well-written scripts. Her love for television stems from days of watching old PTV dramas such as Andhera Ujala.