A friend and I recently saw Tanhaiyan after a long time. Per my request, he has offered to share some of his emotions and thoughts about the play with you guys as well. Please see below for this brilliant contribution to ‘Chasing Thoughts’.
I recently saw the Pakistani drama series called Tanhaiyan again and have been unable to get it out of my mind. The series has the best of Pakistan’s talent including Marina Khan (Sanya), Shahnaz Sheikh (Zara), Baddar Khalil (Aanie), Asif Raza Mir (Zain), Qazi Wajid (Farhan), Azra Sherwani (Apa Begum), Durdana Butt (Bibi), Behroze Sabzwari (Qutbudeen aka Qabacha), Jamshed Ansari (Buqrat), Yasmeen Ismail (Veeda) and several other great artists. This beautiful play, first aired in the early 1980’s, was written by the extremely talented Haseena Moin and directed by Shahzad Khalil.
The story starts out with Sanya and Zara losing their parents in a car crash and moves through the next phase of their life as they go to live with their Aunt Aanie. Having lost not only their parents but also their house and financial stability, the sisters struggle to adjust to their new, vastly different life in their own unique ways. Sanya, the out-going, vivacious sister, never loses her optimistic, cheery stance on life and keeps all those around her entertained through her hilarious antics. Meanwhile, Zara becomes increasingly withdrawn and bitter, focusing solely on building a successful career and earning enough money to buy back her parents’ house which symbolized their dreams and aspirations as a family. Zara and Sanya are joined in their journey by a cast of colorful and unforgettable characters such as Bibi and Qabacha who make their story a memorable one.
Tanhaiyan is not just the tale of two sisters or the story of ambition and its trappings. It is the story of love, loss, relationships, friendships and surviving against all odds. Through their ups and downs Bibi, Baba, Sanya, Zara, Buqrat, Qabacha, Aapa Begum, Farhan and Aanie teach us about life and the various lessons we learn along the way.
The magical thing about Tanhaiyan is that every viewing leaves you with a different emotion. What remained me with me after I saw it (repeatedly) as a child was the humor and the insanity of some characters. Watching it several years later I was struck by the grief and struggles of the family as well as the subtlety and purity of the love story between Zain and Zara.
In addition, while I’m a self proclaimed Bollywood addict (and not ashamed to admit it either) I now appreciate how Tanhaiyan represents Pakistan at its best. There is nothing borrowed and no imitation of the art from across the border. The language, culture and values portrayed in Tanhaiyan represent our own unique identity and remind me of the things I love about home even when I’m away.
After finishing the final scene, I went on somewhat of a research frenzy on Google to find out more about each and every actor that was a part of this production. I was deeply saddened to find out that we have lost some of these gems. The artists playing the roles of Apa Begum, Bibi, Veeda and Buqrat have all passed away. The loss of these talented actors is undoubtedly a tragic one to the Pakistani entertainment world and to all of us who will always remember and cherish their characters as part of our childhood.
Tanhaiyan is filled with powerful and sentimental moments from start to finish, but here are some of the scenes I found most memorable:
- Zara’s initial scenes with her father and the special bond she shared with him. Their conversation in the opening scene of the play illustrates the depth and strength of the relationship Zara had with her parents.
– Sanya and Zara arriving at Aanie’s house for a vacation only to find out that their parents have been killed in a car crash.
– Zara coming home when the entire household is in tears only to find out that the ruckus is because Aanie has agreed to Farhan’s proposal.
– Qabacha’s nonstop antics and attempts at impressing his beloved Miss Sanya.
– The continuous bickering between Buqrat (kehnay main kya harj hai) and Apa Begum (mujhse burra koi nahin hoga).
– Zain’s (aka King Kong) reunion with Zara, his childhood sweetheart.
– Zara going back to her family home only to realize the difference between a house and a home.
– Zara regaining consciousness in the hospital and Qabacha’s poetry recital which makes her laugh for the first time.
– Veeda’s confrontation with Zain and her acknowledgment of his love for Zara.
– Zara, with encouragement from Zain, learning to walk again after months of being confined to a wheelchair.
– Lastly, Zara’s return home from her near death experience and the inner conversation she has with Zain.
This drama has brought back a lot of memories for me and I hope it’s done the same for the readers that visit this site. Tanhaiyan has been uploaded on youtube and I hope everyone enjoys it (for the first or hundredth time) just as much as I did. For now, I’m moving on to Dhoop Kinaray, Pakistan’s (much earlier) version of ER & Gray’s Anatomy.