Category Archives: Neeraja Unni

International Segment: Recommends Humsafar! Episodes # 9-14 update

Author’s note: Watching six episodes of Humsafar at a go was akin to plugging my heart into an electrical socket for charging.  I was happy I was finally getting down to catch the episodes I sorely missed these last few weeks. As I started watching them one after another, my heart started thudding at a faster pace with each passing episode and even came to a standstill at few scenes which left me literally thumping at my chest to ease the pain that was quickly replacing my heartbeat.

Part of me envies those of you who have watched the episodes every week with enough days in between to recover. Another part of me is thankful for things that kept me away for it would have been impossible to concentrate on anything else while letting go of the injustice meted out to our dearest Khirad.

Swallowing the choicest of ‘gaalis’ in all the languages I know, aimed at those responsible for breaking a beautiful relationship,  I begin to pen down my thoughts on the episodes, which have brought life to emotions that clearly demarcate  human from evil.

Last drops of romance before the storm:

Episode 9 features two of the cutest romantic scenes between Ashar and Khirad. There is something about rains that magnifies our feelings many fold. And romance is one which is instantly associated with rain. Khirad’s childish glee at getting wet in the pouring rain in their yard with Ashar’s loving gaze and gentle laughter teasing her about it has been shot to perfection.

Another scene that made me grin is when Ashar is about to drop Khirad at her friend’s marriage.  Ashar’s reluctance in letting Khirad out of his sight and his possessiveness, pride in her beauty, and above all his singular devotion towards her is evident in this scene. Probably the last romantic scene between them for a while before all hell breaks loose.

Too Little Too Late

After an agonizing week apart in which Ashar does not speak with Khirad due to his insecurity regarding her non-existent relationship with Khizar, he finally calls her to let her know how much he misses her and loves her. Khirad is eager to have him back as she awaits to share the news of her pregnancy with him. Ashar rushes back home only to witness a scene play out in front of him that shocks and shatters him.

Betrayed by those closest to them, Ashar begins to hate Khirad, while Khirad gets kicked out of her home by Ashar’s mother in his absence. She leaves for Hyderabad nursing a broken heart and their baby in her womb. She takes refuge with Batul khala and her family who support her through one of the toughest times in her life.

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”

But I failed to realize it included mothers like Farida who would go to any extent in the name of pride, family status, and misplaced love even if that meant ripping apart her son’s heart to pieces. She took the term ‘evil’ to a different level with her flawless scheming and callous disregard for her son’s feelings.

Last nails in the coffin:

~ Hearing his mother state that Khirad left their home with Khizar never to return shakes Ashar to the core and shatters him into a nervous wreck. He vows never to let Khirad into his life ever again.

“Khirad  mere liye mar chuki hai. Na to main uski shakal dekhna chahta hoon naahi uski awaaz sunna chahta hoon. Agar galti se woh mere saamne zinda aa bhi gayi, I would kill her.”

~ Khirad finally manages to get Ashar on the phone only to realize he does not wish to talk to her. His silence on hearing her voice and the way he keeps the phone without saying a word tells her more than any words would.

“Mera shauhar mujhe badkirdhaar samajhta hai. Mere koi baat sune baghair, mujhe safai dene ka ek mauka diye baghair, mujhe mujrim karaar de chuka hai. Aisa toh duniya ki kisi bhi adalat mein nahi hota hai. Agar woh mujhse mohabbat karta tha to usne mujhpe aitbaar kyon nahi kiya. Meri baat kyon nahi suni.”

~ When Khirad goes into labour pains her one thought is to reach out to Ashar. She calls him only to hear the harshest words a beloved can ever speak. Ashar’s words slices through her heart and makes her cry out in agony.

“Aaj to tumne yahan pe phone kar liya aayinda mat karna kyonki tum mere liye mar chuki ho. na tumhara shakal dekhna chahta hoon naahi tumhari awaaz sunna chahta hoon.  Abse mera tumse koi talook nahi hai.”

~ After giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, Khirad vows to survive without Ashar, unable to digest the fact that the one person she considered her life had turned his back on her, humiliated her leaving her tarnished for the rest of her life.

“Us roz jab mezaan kayam hoga, sabse badi adaalat lagegi, sab munsifon se bada munsif insaaf kar raha hoga, tab tumhe kahin panah nahi miley gi tumhare saari taqat us roz khaak mein mil jayegi. Jab tak mein tumhe maaf nahin karoongi Ashar, mera Allah bhi tumhe maaf nahin karega. Aur Ashar Hussain apni beti ki kasam khake kehti hoon us roz main tumhe maaf nahin karoon gi!”

Rangmunch Memorable Moments

RMM #1 The scene that was so cold heartedly orchestrated by the two evil sisters was so gut wrenching that it was no less than pre-meditated murder. What we saw was the death of faith, trust, hope, and above all love in one horrific slash, by words so mercilessly uttered by Ashar’s mother and Khizar. Ashar’s deafening silence when Khirad repeatedly hoped for her husband’s ‘yakeen’ in her, buried all things good in a relationship as sacred as marriage. 

Less said the better when it comes to Khizar’s reasoning behind his betrayal. He ruthlessly squashed an innocent woman’s dreams to further his own. His words about Khirad’s incompatibility with Ashar were designed to act as an arrow dipped in poison to relentlessly prick at Ashar’s already bleeding heart.

RMM #2 The scene where Khirad wakes up in the dead of the night and prepares to leave for Karachi to meet Ashar and set things right is something that will haunt  me for a very long time. Khirad tries desperately to remove the imaginary filth and grime that she feels has stuck to her. It symbolizes her inner turmoil at her name and character being tarnished and her desperation to clear her name of all the muck that has been unjustly thrown at her.

Writer Farhat Ishtiaq, director Sarmad Khoosat, and actor Khirad get a standing ovation from Rangmunch for giving us a scene that transcends excellence.

Questions swirling in my head:

1.   Why would Khizar help in breaking Ashar and Khirad’s marriage for Sara’s sake when he is blindly in love with Sara himself and would make more sense for him to want Ashar to be happy with Khirad leaving Sara free to be pursued by him? This is besides the money angle to his reason for betraying Khirad’s friendship.
2.   Love is like a sunlight streaming through one’s heart. Take the sunlight away, replace it with a candle or a torch and its not love in its purest form anymore. Why would any woman want to settle for a love that is forcibly attained through scheming and plotting?  It is sad that an intelligent, independent, modern girl like Sara will want to possess love by devious means instead of letting it shine through her heart on its own accord.
Precap for Episode #15

Brace your hearts for a combustion when Khirad meets Ashar after few years of estrangement. The promo promises yet another awesome episode from the makers of Humsafar. And am sure everyone is looking forward to meet Khirad and Ashar’s little one, Hareem. 

Neeraja Unni

International Segment: Recommends Humsafar! Episode # 8 update – “For a simple four letter word, ‘Love’ has too many connotations”

“When my father died, I moved into the space he left inside me and found out it was where I belonged” ~ Farland Fish
The death of a father is a life-altering moment especially for a man. He is forced to grow up in that very moment and fill his father’s shoes taking over the responsibility of the well-being of his loved ones leaving precious little time to grieve the loss of the only man he has ever aspired to emulate in life.
This episode begins on a somber note with Ashar losing his father, Baseerat within the confines of the hospital where he is being treated. Baseerat, as though he knew of his imminent death, confides in his son about his concern for Khirad’s welfare due to her innocence and simplicity. The words uttered by him regarding Khirad’s lack of knowledge of the ways of the world and how he fears people taking undue advantage of her simplicity and trusting nature sounds ominous considering what follows in the episode.
Khirad goes to college to pursue her higher studies in Mathematics where she meets Sara’s cousin, Khizer, who is enchanted with her from the very moment he sets eyes on her. The dynamics within the relationship between Ashar and Khirad gradually shifts and changes with these two events – Her singular focus on studies and the presence of Khizer!
In a way, this episode sets a serious tone for the rest of the story to follow.
Different shades of love
Love is definitely not as simple as it sounds. It is a beautiful feeling as long as it is untouched by emotions that can push you to act in a manner that is hurtful to your loved one. Add external factors, and it gets all the more difficult to hold on to the purity of that feeling. Understanding the various shades of love is as important in a relationship as loving itself is.

Passionate and Powerful 

“Main eh university apne liye nahi ja rahi, Ashar keliye jana chahti hoon. Main janti hoon woh mujhse mohabbat karte hain,
Lekin ab dil chahta hai ke woh mujhpe fakr bhi Karen.”

Love can be empowering to those who believe in its power. Khirad wants to step up and be worthy of not only Ashar’s love but also his respect. She decides to pursue her higher studies in order to stand tall beside her husband with her head held high and even more so for her husband to stand taller because of her. Her passion for her husband reflects in her passionate approach to her studies and her need to excel at whatever she does.
BUT does Khirad realize that in her passion to prove herself worthy of her beloved, she may be paying a little less attention to her husband’s needs?
Laughter and Playfulness 

“Achi tarah dil lagake padna, baki bachchon se nahi ladna, lunch time se khana hai, okay?”

A relationship that thrives on laughing together has a better success rate than those that don’t. Ashar’s playfulness is evident in scenes where he sweetly mock instructs Khirad to behave like a good kid without getting into fights with the other kids as he drops her off at her college.
His attempt at keeping it light can also be seen when he tries to divert her attention from studies to himself by grabbing her books and sweetly requesting her to spend time with him.
Rangmunch cutest moment of the episode has to be the scene where Ashar comes back home in the dead of the night to find Khirad fast asleep. The way he tries to wake her up is playful at the same time reveals his craving to be with his wife the moment he comes back home.
Innocence and Trust

“Ashar, Khirad ka khyaal rakhna. Woh bahut sada hai. Bahut masoom hai. Use zindagi ke bare mein kuch nahi pata”

Khirad is portrayed as someone who is innocent and trusting. She probably does not yet realize Khizer’s intentions in constantly seeking her guidance in studies or the reasoning behind his choice of words while praising her in front of Ashar.
Her innocence and trust in all things good may soon be put to test when circumstances prove to be stronger than her inherent goodness.
Protectiveness and Concern

“Mujhe darr hai ki koi uski saadagi ka najayaz fayada na uta len. Maine apni marti hui behen ko wada kiya tha ki mera beta uski beti ko khush rakhega.”

The most important ingredient in any relationship based on love is the wish to protect the ones you love from harm. Baseerat’s love for his son, his niece, and his sister comes through loud and clear in his words to his son just before his death. An honorable man who stood by his dying sister and kept his word till his last breath that he would protect her daughter, will be sorely missed by us all.
In the face of the events that follow, it will be interesting to see how far Ashar remembers and makes an effort to keep his father’s words and dying wish at heart.
Jealousy and Suspicion (Precap of Episode # 9)
These are undoubtedly the perfect ‘deal breakers’ of a relationship. This is that facet of love you never want to encounter. Entry of Khizer with his intent to cause disruption in their lives has opened up the door to this deadly duo in the mind of Ashar. But, the question is, Is Khizer the only reason for Ashar’s growing insecurity, jealousy, and suspicion?

I think not! I leave the discussion open on what you think those other factors are that has made a gentleman like Ashar suddenly feel insecure about his relationship with his beloved innocent wife Khirad and has let petty emotions like jealousy and suspicion take over his heart and mind.
You can find the links for this episode @
More on Humsafar @

Neeraja Unni

International Segment: Castle, Bones, and White Collar – Solving Crimes never looked this good and snazzy!

‘Castle and Bones’ courtesy: Star world facebook page

We are ordinary people going about our mundane lives with a laugh here and a yawn there. For most of us, crimes are those that happen far away from us or that we read of in the newspapers the next morning or that we see everyday on television with our favorite stars enacting ‘crime solvers’ to perfection.

In the present day, Castle, Bones, and White Collar are three such successful shows on a string of a long list of crime solving ones that we have loved and grown up on. Remington Steele and Moonlighting are two hugely popular ones of yesteryears that instantly pop into our minds. This genre of shows has ruled our hearts then and is doing it again now.
What is it about them that has us hooked to their every move on screen and off it? This is no conjecture on my part; various social networking sites are testimonial to how much these shows are loved and followed across the world.
Stand-alone episodes of Crimes:

The central theme of each episode is different and varied. The crimes are not connected to each other thereby bringing in a lot of variety for the audience to enjoy. The fact that in a world where we are having less and less control over what is happening around us, these hourly episodes of solving a crime gives us a sense of closure and thereby a sense of control that we so eagerly crave in reality.
Castle’ sees an irresistibly handsome crime novelist Castle team up with a sexy, kick-ass NYPD detective, Beckett to solve murders.

‘Bones’ explores the depths of solving crimes by digging up bones and giving them a voice and who better to do it than an unusual duo of perfectionist forensic anthropologist Brennan and the ‘casual as they come’ cool hunk of an FBI agent, Booth.

‘White Collar’ has uber-intelligent Conman Neal Caffrey turning consultant under the watchful smart FBI agent Peter Burke to get to the bottom of white collar crimes like fraud, art theft, forgery, and embezzlement.
Lead Factor: The Chemistry!
One major factor that keeps us glued to ‘Castle’ and ‘Bones’ is the undeniable chemistry between the lead pairs; writer of crime novels,  Richard Castle and NYPD detective, Kate Beckett in Castle and Forensic anthropologist, Temperance Brennan (Bones) and FBI agent Seely Booth.

The swordplay and sexual tension between Castle and Beckett (Caskett) is something that we look forward to be part of in every episode of Castle. The tug of words between them is a top draw for fans who thrive on little friction in relationships.

Bones and Booth share an unconventional partnership that is both stimulating to our minds as well as our hearts. Both of them have come a long way in terms of learning and unlearning many things from each other in the six seasons of Bones. While Bones has learned to be a little more flexible and respectful of all things related to one’s heart, Booth has learnt to be pragmatic in his relationship with Bones.

Other points of romantic relationship interests in Castle are Jenny-Ryan, Esposito-Lanie and Angela-Hodgins in Bones.
Interpersonal equations:

The increasing interest in the show White Collar is proof that romantic tension is not necessarily significant in keeping fans happy. Even without a steady love interest at the forefront in ‘White Collar’ for the charismatic conman Neal Caffrey, the show still manages to keep the audiences hooked to it right from the word go.

The relationship dynamics between the FBI agent, Peter Burke and Caffrey that has recently turned edgy with season 2 finale is one of the most intriguing aspects of ‘White Collar’. The love and understanding that Burke shares with his wife, Elizabeth, unlike those shown in most of the cop shows, is also one of the most fascinating factors of the show. Neal Caffrey’s friendship with his confidante mozzie is another winner for the show.

In Castle, the father-daughter (Castle and Alexis) and mother-son (Martha and Castle) relationships are refreshingly different where you see the son playing the parent to his mother, while at times  the daughter takes on the reigns of a parent to her father. The bond these three characters share is undoubtedly one of the most envious ones I have seen on screen. Esposito and Ryan’s easy and committed partnership in the precinct is a treat to watch. Infact, the team of four (Beckett, Castle, Esposito, and Ryan) belonging to the 12th precinct rocks! We will miss Captain Montgomery in the upcoming season (4) of Castle.

Common Thread through the Seasons:
A show cannot survive on plain old romantic formula. It has to have something beyond it to keep the narrative alive through the various seasons.

Castle: The suspense behind Beckett’s mother, Johanna’s brutal murder is the common thread that links the seasons apart from her growing relationship/partnership with Castle.

Bones: The bones create enough and more drama besides the psyche of our protagonist Bones to delve into throughout the various seasons. The various new characters entering the Jeffersonian Institute as Brennan’s “squinterns” each come equipped with a quirk that is ludicrously entertaining.

White Collar: Trapped on the right side of the law for too long with FBI agent Burke, the born conman Caffrey tries to struggle free and leap over to the familiar wrong side with the right instigation from his friend in crime, Mozzie. His love of his life, Kate and her mysterious death in Season 2 has opened up another interesting link in the story.
Another thing that binds these shows together for us is that we are eagerly awaiting the next seasons of each of these beloved shows to return to our television screens at the earliest. I hear the ongoing seasons of Bones and Castle in US are well worth waiting for but yet I hope we don’t have to wait for very long before we get to watch it on our television screens.

Neeraja Unni