Love is in the air as the title suggests in Tum Kon Piya. The drama was riding high on the wave of anticipation even before it aired. Tum Kon Piya marks actress Ayeza Khan’s return to the small screen after the blockbuster Pyare Afzal, marriage and motherhood.
It also matches her with Imran Abbas fresh off his own romantic role in Mera Naam Yousuf Hai. Viewers were enticed by this fresh pairing.
However this is desi television, so we must set the boundaries for our romantic entanglements as well as our class dynamics that threaten to pull them apart. In the first episode we are introduced to Elma (Ayeza Khan) who is up at daybreak to indulge in some poetry and all around domestic wizardry.
As the eldest daughter in a motherless family of three girls and a doting dad she naturally has to take responsibility for the home. Her father, Waqar Ali (Qavi Khan in an ill fitting wig) loves her to a fault, often over his other two daughters and to whom he instructs: ”Kuch ghardari sikha dena (teach them some home making skills).” Because of course, that is all a girl needs in this day and age.
A 1970s hangover
As usual Tum Kon Piya keeps it all in the family.
Tum Kon Piya is adapted from Maha Malik’s novel of the same name so readers might already be familiar with the story, which has a very strong 70s vibe and not in a good way. There is the rich boy falling in love with poor girl, striking labourers and other family class dynamics.
None of the girls seem to have a life beyond the home and college. This maybe a reflection of some parts of our social reality but that doesn’t create any memorable characters.
The other parallel tracks include the home of Sharafat khala (Hina Bayat) and her children. The eldest Zarbab’s (Ali Abbas) salary sustains the home and is watched like a hawk by his mother. She is none too happy that her daughter Sobia’s friend/her own niece Javeria is all moony-eyed over the boy. Khala decrees that she be kept at a distance from her son, though she has her own soft spot for her youngest son who has her wrapped around his finger.
The drama sees domestic goddess Elma (played by Ayeza Khan) fall for Ramish (played by Imran Abbas), a bleeding heart liberal. Of course they occupy opposing ends of the class spectrum.
Meanwhile, Elma’s father is a hardworking employee at his richer relative’s factory. His middle-class status is driven home by his riding a bright blue scooter (which I suspect we have seen before.) He interacts with Ramish Hassan (Imran Abbas), a bleeding heart liberal bent on sharing his father’s wealth with the labourers who created it by promising them backdated bonuses.
tum kon piya
All this is very quaint, very 1970s and very yawn inducing. Surely there are more inventive ways to showcase socialist sympathies and the hero as a good guy?
Ho hum, humdrum
Elam’s father is an honest employee and kind-hearted chacha to his nephew. Ramish too respects and loves him dearly. His sudden illness leads Ramish to his home (again, been there done that) where he falls in love at first sight with Elma.
For a change though Elma too holds his gaze so she is not some sharmili larki who can’t deal with budding feelings of love and she says just as much in some very cringe-inducing dialogue. That Ayeza Khan was saying these lines is the only thing that saves them from being a total disaster.
All this dovetails very well to what is becoming something of a rule in dramas these days: ‘Thou may only be romantically inclined to persons who are near relations.’