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Sanam- A few thoughts


The moment I saw the promos and teasers for Sanam I thought it had “Dusri Bivi “written all over it. By “Dusri Bivi” I meant a certain plot that is used by HUM TV every season in some form as a ratings generator. It’s not as if the other channels don’t use this plot line, it’s just that Hum TV is a master at churning it out with sickening regularity.  For the naïve I will explain the stock ingredients:

  1. ONE angelic, neglected, long-suffering husband who yearns for a simpler life involving Parathas and eggs (fried or omelet). He would never dream of marrying again but is forced into this dilemma by circumstance and his cold , demanding first wife
  2. First wife : demanding, arrogant, outspoken and domineering woman. A BAD, bad Lady who  doesn’t know how to cook.
  3. Wife number two : Sweet, innocent, young girl ( knows how to cook )

This was heartbreaking on so many levels because I have been suffering Dayar e Dil withdrawals nonstop, and to see my favourite  WaFa again albeit in different avatars would have been fabulous .

After two episodes Sanam hasn’t done much to cheer me up or allay my fears except for one thing, the first wife Ayla has a mental illness instead of the usual character defects. Having seen this kind of illness first hand,  I can say Ayla’s character is a fairly accurate depiction of the kind of paranoia that people with this illness can suffer. I was very impressed with Mona Haseeb’s previous work Nanhi , an amazing serial, with the kind of stark authenticity that is rare for our dramas. However there were drawbacks, such as the way Nanhi’s rape and the after effects were depicted. The rape was luridly depicted and Nanhi didn’t seem effected by the brutal assault as she should have been.

My one hope for this drama is that it can maintain the accuracy of the portrayal without demonizing those who suffer from mental illness even more than they already are. Those with loved ones that suffer from such disorders are under pressure from all sides. Firstly, it is incredibly painful to watch someone they love go through this and then they have to deal with all the minutiae of daily life, while coping with and limiting the harm caused by such illnesses. Then there is the pressure put on them by society and the stigma attached to mental illness. I hope that the writer shows that  Ayla is also a victim and that when someone we love falls prey to such a disorder,  no matter how inconvenient they are they are not something to “throw away” or get rid of.

I am not particularly optimistic about this  because according to the story Ayla has not known Harib long,so, despite their courtship they don’t have a history of love and faith to counteract the changes in personality such diseases cause as they progress. Osman Khalid Butt seems to be holding back in his scenes with Hareem Farooq  and quelle surprise really comfortable in his scenes with everyone else.  There isn’t any screen chemistry  that  I can find between these two …  . Hareem Farooq has Ayla down well, under playing a lot of the hysteria. Perhaps the most authentic scene of the two episodes was the Harib and Ayla’s car ride to book their honeymoon. Ayla’s slowly rising suspicions and paranoia were completely accurate. This isn’t a review but as I have mentioned the other actors, let me just add Maya Ali who is again playing the stock good girl role. At least Aan actually has some kind of personality compared to Mannu who was like a cardboard cutout and Maya seems to a good handle on it so far.

Darn but I can’t help myself even though it’s not a review, (which it isn’t) …HOW absolutely annoying and inappropriate is that Emmad Irfani’s character? It almost felt like he was hitting on Ayla and here is where I get the Mann Mayal vibes all over again … unless this is a consistent character trait in Harib’s “friend”.

If this serial shows any signs of rising above a modified Dusri Bivi story, I might just watch it but otherwise I think may just leave it as the one I had to let go.

Sadaf Haider







  1. Hello Sadaf… Wish had read this before I embarked on the long tiring journey of binge watching this serial!! I stuck with this because I had to know what unraveled after this and then this…. So inched my way through! Loved Hina Bayat’s portrayal … And loved the last episode. For once, instead of wrapping up the seral abruptly, they showed some life after their happy marriage! Wished the mother would have lived on to enjoy her children’s happiness!! But I did miss the chemistry between Aan and Harib like it was in aunn aur zaara! Let me watch Mann Mayal next….. Since so many of you liked their chemistry!! Loved the name OSMAYA😜😜😜😂😂


    • Mannmayal is not one I enjoyed it kind of went down hill and up hill and then waaaay down hill . Maya Ali was good but Hamza Ali Abbasi not so much . However Mannmayal was a huge hit because Pakistan loves Hamza . Sorry there is no Osmaya in MM


      • No no I meant Diyar e dil!!! I got confused with the names… Wanted to go back and edit my comment… You beat me to it😜😜😄. I don’t want to watch man Mayal after reading the reviews and comments!! I am going to start Diyar e Dil now! Thanks for getting back to me so quickly!! Have a lovely day…..


          • Is it the Pashtun culture?? Picked up the lingo from sang e mar mar😜! How I wish I could visit all those places!! Looks beautiful!! Just finished first episode! But where is my fave Jodi OSMAYA?? I only saw sanam and Milkar … Hope they come too!! I love the dadi Maa. Hope she has a meaty role as in bin roye!!


  2. Just saw the serial last night. The interest that I had in the beginning and eagerly waiting for Monday night is gradually dying down. Too many women in Harib’s life. With the entering of Sara and she constantly after him is getting bored. Instead of patching up with her husband here we are watching her forcing Harib in her life.We want to see more of Aan & Harib together.They both look stunning together as they are in the same age group. Alya looks older and fat too. I love Aan’s mother’s character, her act is so natural, literally makes me sit up. Hope the story turns interesting in the episodes to come. Nevertheless, the director has done a great job.


  3. Thank you Sadaf.

    I’m glad they are depicting mental illness in this play. I hope the writer takes this seriously & not as an escape route just to unite OKB & Maya.
    Although I do agree with the rest of your review, I don’t think mental illness can be cured by the love & affection of the spouse. Harib should get rid of this fat woman, as soon as possible before they have kids, otherwise he will be in this hell forever.

    Hareem Farooq really needs to lose weight. She looks like OKB’s mother. Absolutely zero chemistry between the lead makes their scenes cringe worthy.


    • No Mental illness Cannot be cured . However it can be managed and only to a certain extent . That is why I mentioned the briefness of Harib and ayla’s relationship . How much Harib should or should not put up with is a big moral dilemma which I wish was the focus of the story . As they hardly know each other yes Harib may do better to move on but if they had been married for years it might not be that easy . Even what I have just said might not be easy for most . I am going to wait and see but I have a feeling of impending doom after MannMayal .


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