Ehd-e-Wafa: Some are hating it and others loving it
The clock struck eight and I found myself seated in front of my laptop struggling with HUM TV’s live stream. Finally a jugaar link was found and I made it just in time to see the opening credits rolling over scenes that we had already seen in the promos.
Where was the OST? Probably in one of Azaan Sami Khan’s fancy PCs at his studio. He’s keeping it safe till…well, till he feels like sharing it with the world. Anyway, the smile and excitement didn’t waver. What good is an OST anyway? It only reveals the entire story, dampens the anticipation, and I’m sure creates a million other issues.
The last credit rolled and we officially entered the first scene of the first episode of arguably the first ever male-oriented show on our television in over a decade, and I decided to grab my chai from the bedside table. I promise it took me only three seconds. I’m not as slow as babloo. But I had clearly missed a pivotal scene.
Because what I saw was four lanky bodies, of varying heights, headed to an unknown destination in a dark, dark night.
With mouth slightly agape, I asked my sister – who thankfully had her eyes glued to the screen – “Who are they? What’s happening?”
“They’re going somewhere,” she replied intelligently. Clearly, her abductive reasoning was at par with mine.
In short, Saife Hasan (the director) had directly pushed the audience into the thick of the things. Did that perturb me? Yes. Did that upset me? Not really.
I quite enjoyed the aggressive form of storytelling. Instead of systematically unfolding each character’s backstory and personality traits, we’re being introduced to bits and pieces of their lives as the story proceeds. Sometimes it unfolds in the form of a flashback – like the bully session featuring Khursheed in the mess or Saad’s tête-à-tête with Zoro – and sometimes through dialogues – like when the warden introduces Shark (AKA Shariq) as the “Metric ka topper”.
With these flashbacks and dialogues we get a sneak peek into their lives and that’s totally engaging.
If you remember, Tanhaiyaan also begins with Zara hanging a portrait of her father on the wall and the entire family getting ready to step out for a dinner. All of a sudden you were part of this seemingly perfect family of four. Then slowly and gradually we found out about their backstory. Characters such as Aapa Begum, Saad, and even Zain, who was the male lead, were introduced much later at their own pace.
Similarly, Ehd e Wafa’s characters and subplots will also unravel with time. As of now, it might seem like you’ve been shoved into four different worlds – of SSG, Dua, Zoro, and Rani – without a proper introduction. But have patience and you will be rewarded or so I hope.
FYI: I AM NOT COMPARING THE TWO. THAT WOULD BE BLASPHEMOUS.
Ehd-e-Wafa hopes to convey the woes of four friends as they step from the comfortable confines of their college life into the scarier practical world, and that too minus their support system. Why the latter? Because the writer, Mustafa Afridi, has already revealed in an interview that the Special S Gang (SSG) will separate due to a misunderstanding and that’ll be the major conflict of the show.
How Shariq (Wahaj Ali), Sheheryar (Ahmed Ali Akbar), Saad (Ahad Raza Mir), and Shahzain (Osman Khalid Butt) build their lives once they leave Lawrence College as complete strangers is what Ehd-e-Wafa is all about.
What did the first episode reveal?
- The SSG are not to be messed with. Period.
- Shahzain is the gang leader, Saad is his closest ally, Shark and Sheheryar take things way too seriously and are forever ready to hand in their resignation – in the very primitive form of lanat and talaaq respectively – to the SSG.
- The Hostel warden, Firdous, is the zaalim samaaj and his son, Khursheed, is his accomplice and SSG’s latest target.
- Saad is Brigadier Faraz’s (Faraz from Alpha Bravo Charlie) son and is hopelessly in love with Zoro. His dog. But don’t you dare call him a dog, because then Saad and his jawani, both, will lose their hosh and come after you.
- Dua (Alizeh Shah) is a pre-med student and is as annoying and shrieky as young girls these days are. Next episode’s promo suggests that while Saad might be sensitive about Zoro’s “character”, he has zero qualms about his own. He’ll not only flirt with Dua, but will also ditch Zoro and fall in love with “Firyal from Yakeen Ka Safar part two”.
- Raani (Zara Noor Abbas), on the other hand, has scored a hat-trick in failing her intermediate exams and considers cheating her human right. Her life’s motto is, “Zindgai rahi tou supple mein mulaqaat hogi.”
Safe to say, a lot happened in the first episode.
Now, opinion on Ehd-e-Wafa is extremely divided. The slightly older generation isn’t too impressed. Some have even gone so far to call it “a disappointment”. The millennials are on the fence – according to them “the first episode wasn’t the best, but they’re willing to give it a chance”. The Gen Z found it absolutely gripping and hilarious.
Why did Ehd-e-Wafa garner such a varied response from the audience?
From what I’ve noticed, the older generation was highly upset because:
a) They were comparing it to a classic like Alpha Bravo Charlie
b) They were expecting jokes which they used to make in their own college days. We need to understand that this story is current. If the Gen Z is able to relate with the jokes, then it’s a job well done by Afridi.
Also, expecting the dry humour of ABC is, again, unfair because these boys aren’t at PMA Kakul. They are civilians and only one of the characters, Saad, will go on to join the army while rest will join different fields such as politics, media, and government service. In short, this show may be produced in partnership with ISPR, it is not entirely based on the armed forces.
So please, let’s cut some slack for boys not having fauji haircuts and shiny clean shaven chins. Poor Osman Khalid Butt is often spotted explaining this very point to commenters, who seem to be highly obsessed with his curly mass of hair and not-so-secret age.
Then there are those who feel Saad is getting undue attention. Yes, that seems to be true till now and that might be because he is the army guy, or maybe it’s the order in which the story is written and shot. Shehryar, Shahzain, and Shark’s back story will definitely unravel in coming episodes.
In one of the interviews, the director admitted that the shoot is still underway, which suggests that they might not have footage for Ahmed Ali Akbar and Wahaj Ali’s characters yet to make a promo or include in the episode.
Nonetheless, let’s keep our sympathy for both Akbar and Ali at bay, because whatever the case, both the actors have read the script and know what they signed up for. Ahmed’s hilarious dialogues are a proof. Till now, remaining in the sidelines has only done wonders for the supposed underdogs. Girls are more than ready to “stan” them as compared to the other two male leads who have the misfortune of being popular already.
We also see a huge hue and cry about the actors not being of the “right age”. Well, these same boys will be shown as grown men in professional settings, fighting for their country, in their own way. If they would’ve taken teenagers then the latter part would’ve become a tad more challenging. So let’s quit harassing Osman Khalid Butt with “But you don’t look like a college student” comments. Also, he has a reason to look older than the rest, because his character is a fourth time repeater!
There’s also a “bring Shoaib Mansoor back brigade” in full force on Twitter. “They could’ve begged him to do this project and make it as brilliant as Alpha Bravo Charlie,” one person threw a tweet out with passion. Well, Mansoor made Verna which didn’t really float Pakistani audience’s boat. What do you have to say about that?
Classics like Dhoop Kinarey, Tanhaiyyan, Dhuaan, and Alpha Bravo Charlie happen once in a blue moon. Also, we are extremely forgiving for these classics. There was bucket loads of yelling and so called “over acting” in Tanhaiyyan and Dhoop Kinarey if you look at it critically. Dr. Irfan was an overtly expressive person, but he’s my go-to stress reliever till this day. Zara’s singing is nothing compared to Aapa Begum’s cry of pain when Buqraat breaks a vase, but I consider Aapa Begum an epic performer. Qabacha’s accent was more made up than Warden Firdous’s, but he’s my man!
Why do we so dearly hold onto what is gone instead of opening our minds to what is being given to us now?
We shouldn’t settle for mediocrity. Not at all. But is Ehd-e-Wafa really as mediocre and disappointing as some are claiming it to be?
I’ve used Ahmed Ali Akbar’s “Talaaq, Talaaq, Talaaq Thoo” at least thrice since last night and laughed every single time. Maybe my sense of humour isn’t as sophisticated as yours, but I found Ehd-e-Wafa a decent show which I will surely follow. The only thing they need to be mindful of, is some of the actors’ tendency to go overboard with expressions and acting.
And to all those men – because I mostly saw this complaint coming from men – saying, “But this is nothing close to Alpha Bravo Charlie!” my question to you is, “But you are nothing close to Fawad Khan. Now where do we go from here?”