Bhool, starring Saheefa Jabbar Khattak, Affan Waheed and Saboor Aly in lead roles, is six episodes in at present. Airing on ARY Digital, Bhool is a drama that drives one statement home: Our society is unforgiving towards women. A man and a woman can make a mistake together, but South Asian society will forget the man’s mistakes while forcing the woman to carry her burden of guilt throughout her lifetime. Bhool tells the story of one such mistake and how a daughter is forced to carry that burden for her mother.
To catch readers up to speed on the story of Bhool, it is as follows. Aiman (Saheefa Jabbar Khattak) is a lively girl with a loving family. Raised with love and respect, but with a fear of her elders, Aiman’s marriage is arranged – and only a few days before the wedding, Aiman informs Bano (Saba Hameed), her mother, that she is in love with her classmate, Awais (Affan Waheed), and wants to marry him. Her mother angrily tells her to hide this information and carry on with the wedding. Awais, a stubborn and rash man, convinces Aiman to run away with him and get married. While Aiman is hesitant, she ultimately feels this is the best thing for her. However, things do not turn out the way she expects.
Awais takes Aiman to a hotel until he can break the news to his mother. Riddled with guilt over her actions and the shame her family is facing, Aiman cries and seeks sympathy from Awais, who fails to provide the necessary support. Anxious and stressed due to his overbearing mother and fearful of her reaction, Awais is frustrated by Aiman’s behavior and by the time he finally decides to take her home to his mother, Asma (Uzma Gillani), he is already at his wits end with her. Uzma, upon seeing Aiman, slaps her and commands Awais to divorce her. Initially putting up a feeble fight, Awais attempts to defend Aiman – until she has the audacity to defend herself against Asma’s vile words. Upon hearing this, Awais snaps and divorces Aiman. Aiman finds herself out on the streets, abandoned and alone. During this time, her father (played by Salman Shahid) passes away. Aiman ultimately goes back home and is forgiven for her actions by her brother, Rashid (Kashif Mehmood), and mother. But Aiman’s plight does not end here.
Aiman discovers that though she was married for only a short time, she is now pregnant (though any logical adult will wonder how that happened with the amount of crying and grieving Aiman was doing and the amount of anger Awais was “jhaaring” her way). She informs Awais of the baby over the phone, but he refuses to acknowledge her. Dealing with the burden herself for months, finally Aiman gives birth to a baby girl. At this time, she tells her brother and mother that she would like to see Awais. Rashid takes her to his house, where she confronts Asma, Awais and meets Rania, the current wife of Awais. Aiman introduces Awais to his daughter, Aisha, and both Awais and Asma refuse to indulge her, attempting to kick her out by threatening her. Rashid intervenes and keeps them in check while Aiman speaks to Rania, informing her of their deceit and the fact that they’ve kept her in the dark as to Aiman being the first wife of Awais and Aisha being his daughter. Upon divulging this information, not only do Aiman and Rashid leave, but Rania also chooses to leave.
Awais and Asma become panicked and set out to convince Rania to return. Rania begins to search for Aiman, wanting to speak to her and find out the truth for herself. During this time, Awais asks Rania to come home, to which she replies that she will if he agrees to a DNA test and can prove that Aisha is not his daughter.
While the story of Bhool will have its share of twists and turns in the next episode, this is the story up until episode 6. Bhool is full of tropes, offering a lot of “seen this before,” including incredibly loud, almost ridiculously evil and, for lack of a better word, stupid characters. Affan Waheed’s Awais is absolutely nonsensical – a man who can barely be called a man. Uzma Gillani’s Asma is yet another page of her Kaisa Hai Naseeban character, offering little new except simply more evil.
So is there any aspect of Bhool that is interesting? Believe it or not, there is. First, Saheefa Jabbar Khattak’s Aiman, despite all the tears and weakness she has displayed in the initial episodes, is now starting to get a backbone. The way Aiman storms into Awais and Asma’s home and exposes them to Rania is refreshing – and considering what’s in store for Aiman with her daughter, we will certainly see more scenes of strength. Another character that is impressive at this point is that of Rania. Rania is expected to be the loyal wife, the wife who fights against her “sautan,” fighting for her place as Awais’ “real wife.” Instead, Rania does the exact opposite. She leaves Awais after his lies are exposed and sets out to discover the truth, wanting to speak to Aiman. Judging by the previews, Rania will continue to do so in future episodes, fighting for Aisha’s rights as the rightful daughter of Awais. Such characters are a refreshing change from what we are used to and Rania’s character is an interesting one.
Overall, Bhool is a show that follows a tried and tested path with the first few episodes. The extent of evil that Awais and his mother display makes it very difficult for the audience to understand how Aiman fell in love with this man to begin with. A love story has to be deep in order for a woman to run away from her wedding and abandon her family, but Awais turned on Aiman literally two days after getting married. What sort of love was this? However, it will be interesting to see Aisha (who will be played by Saboor Aly) grow up and to see what sort of relationship she shares with her parents, considering the stigma she will have to face as an unaccepted child and how society treats her. This show could be a good one, depending on how it’s handled from here on out.