We are in the age of streaming! Viewers today are spoilt for options and have a ton of content to pick from. In a space like this there is absolutely no room for serving less than spectacular content.
‘Yunhi’ stars Maya Ali and Bilal Ashraf recently sat down with Something Haute and talked about how TV shows are judged based on just one episode rather than the entire serial. Asking viewers to hold their judgement until they sit through the whole thing.
Even after acknowledging streaming behemoths like Netflix, the ‘Superstar’ actor failed to realize the value of time. Viewers have no other choice but to make a decision based on one episode; a metric that Yunhi doesn’t seem to capitalize on.
So yes, ‘Yunhi,’ HUM TV’s big new Sunday show just debuted its first episode last night. Did it deliver? Let’s discuss.
Many HUM TV serials are guilty of serving a convoluted mess of a family tree in their shows. This issue seems to persist with ‘Yunhi’ as well.
‘Yunhi’ sees Bilal Ashraf making his TV serial debut. He is of course best known for his work in blockbuster films ‘Janaan’ and ‘Superstar’ the latter being his first collaboration with director Mohammed Ehteshamuddin and ‘Yunhi’ being the second. Ehteshamuddin is best known for his work on critically acclaimed hits like ‘Sadqay Tumhare’ and ‘Udaari.’
Opposite Bilal we have Maya Ali best known for her work in TV hits like ‘Mann Mayal’ and blockbusters ‘Teefa in Trouble’ and ‘Parey Hut Love.’ Rest of the supporting cast is an ensemble of a bunch of industry stalwarts and newbies. The only ones to really make an impression are Tazeen Hussain, Behroz Sabzwari and Deepak Perwani.
Kaneez, played by Maya Ali, is returning from abroad with her father Naveed, played by Deepak Perwani. Old wounds are still sour since Naveed broke his engagement with his fiancé who ended up dying from heartbreak. The entire first episode is spent and, to a degree, wasted on setting up the entire family’s feelings on this.
Tazeen Hussain plays the grieving sister who also ended up single for the rest of her life after the incident. Daniyal, played by Khaqan Shahnawaz is at this point the cliché and typical comic relief younger brother in which he fails to do anything new with the role.
Both Maya Ali and Bilal Ashraf, for some reason, are not given much to do at all this first episode. Besides a rather insensitive joke where Kaneez calls Bilal’s character Dawood ‘terrorist’ based solely on his attire, there’s not much we get to see from both characters. The joke has already ruffled some feathers online.
Bilal is relegated to being silent and brooding. Maya however does get to play the endearing naivety of a girl who doesn’t know or understand the mess her father left back home.
It also feels odd seeing the characters praise life in Pakistan compared to life abroad. This of course coming on the heels of over 800,000 Pakistanis leaving the country to settle abroad.
One thing that is to appreciate is the entire feel and vibe of the show. It hearkened back to the classic PTV dramas that we all grew up watching. That gave it a very wholesome and warm feel despite the story itself not being as gripping as one would hope.
Yunhi Future Outlook
Maya and Bilal also do look great together and just by the promos, it’s safe to say their chemistry will be off the charts once the show gets going and the walls come off. To conclude, ‘Yunhi’ doesn’t have much originality to it and demanding people to sit through 25 episodes to find some is certainly not the way to go. Hopefully as the show progresses and the characters get to develop, we might have something special on our hands. But for now, viewers will have to watch the show on mere optimism than actual belief.