Zindagi Gulzar Hai (2012) by director Sultana Siddiqui is a Pakistani drama which delves into the unexpected romance of Kashaf Murtaza (Sanam Saeed) and Zaroon Junaid (Fawad Khan). The pair won awards for their performance, scoring best actress and actor at the 2014 Lux Style Awards.
Worlds collide as polar opposites are brought together, resulting in an unlikely romance that tackles issues of class difference, and gender roles in society. Zindagi Gulzar Hai revolves around two individuals who are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to outlook on life, and financial status.
Kashaf lives with her mother and sisters, who struggle to make ends meet. Their mother (Murtaza) works very hard to provide for them, foregoing necessities for herself. Her husband left her because she could not bear a son, and remarried another woman who gave birth to his son, Hamad. This creates a disdain towards men within Kashad, who spends most of her time cynically criticising the universe, and pessimistically analysing the hardships in her life.
Zaroon comes from a rich family. The women in his family have liberated views about the freedoms which women should be afforded (i.e. They should not be under the control of a man). Zaroon feels constantly nagged by women and expresses much frustrations towards them.
Kashaf attends university, where she meets Zarron. Because of their differences, they do not get along. But, eventually things start to change and a rocky romance blossoms.
Admittedly, I didn’t have a strong emotional reaction to this series. However, I felt sorry for Kashaf’s mother because she does all she can to provide for her daughters, yet Kashaf does nothing but complain. But, this does provide an excellent insight into the pessimistic outlook of millennials and younger generations as they face a world wrought with conflict and injustice. Also, Zaroon angered me with his views about women, but it was refreshing to see the women in his family feel so free of gender roles within their society.
Based on the novel of the same name by Umera Ahmad, the series was created to portray a love story that had depth and complications, and to portray a close-to-life depiction of Indian life. Being a TV series, the plot was slower moving but this allowed immense detail to creep through the plot and character interactions, and contrast the two families as scenes switch back and forth.
Zindagi Gulzar Hai is definitely worth a watch, and it has English subtitles for those who don’t speak Urdu. Albeit, there is room for improvement in the production value of the program, but this may be a reflection of the smaller TV industry it comes from.
Featured image source.