Pakistani society, or society in general, is a funny thing. “Yeh duniya humein bhoolne nahin degi” (This world will never let us forget). Yet those bemoaning their situation will turn around and discuss the problems of others with equal jest and enthusiasm. What a wonderful world this would be if each individual could learn to mind their own business, take care of themselves and allow others to live their lives without judgement. As long as actions are not harming others, why does society interfere in the matters of others? Lectures aside, stories like “Bhool” would not exist if not for the way South Asian society operates.
Aiman (Saheefa Jabbar Khattak) made a mistake 21 years ago by running away from home on her wedding day to marry Awais (Affan Waheed), a man who was under the influence of his scheming, viciously malicious mother (Uzma Gillani). After getting married, Awais divorces Aiman under the orders of his mother and turns Aiman away. Left with nowhere else to go, Aiman returns home to her family only to discover her father has passed away. An object of disgrace in the eyes of society, Aiman fights with her idea of self-worth, especially after discovering she’s pregnant. While her brother Rashid (Kashif Mehmood) supports her, her sister in law Shabana (Nadia Afgan) treats her with open contempt, which is worsened after Aiman’s mother passes away (Saba Hameed). Awais is divorced by his second wife, Rania, after she discovers the truth regarding his past with Aiman. While Rania proves to be a support for Aiman during a trying time, she soon leaves the country. Left at the mercy of her brother’s good graces, Aiman raises her young daughter, Aisha, alongside Rashid’s two children – children who have been raised by Shabana to treat Aiman and Aisha with disdain as well.
In episodes 9 and 10, the story takes a 20 year leap with Aisha (Saboor Aly) now grown up and headed off to college. Aiman, unable to trust or release her grip on Aisha, accompanies Aisha everywhere she goes, including college. This causes Aisha to be an outcast amongst her peers and unsure of her place in society. Things take a supposed-to-be-interesting turn when Imran (Hassan Hayat Khan) is instantly attracted to Aisha. When he approaches Aisha’s cousin Sidra to inquire about her, Sidra becomes interested in Imran. There could not be a more cliched storyline here, considering Imran is painfully transparent regarding his interest in Aisha and Sidra meets him when he inquires about Aisha in this blunt, ridiculous way. So in what world does a self-respecting, confident girl begin panting like a lovesick puppy over a man so obviously interested in her cousin? This does not sit well and is clearly just a plotline to create further hostility towards Aisha and Aimen.
On the other end, Awais returns from abroad after decades of absence with a new resolve – he wants to make amends for his behavior towards Aimen and Aisha. Aisha, the daughter he has never met or acknowledged, is now his priority and he seeks to alleviate himself from his intense guilt. Awais visits Aisha’s school and introduces himself to a shocked Aisha, as she believes her father to be dead. This action forces Aimen to tell Aisha the truth – a truth that fills Aisha with much bitterness. Later, Awais approaches Aimen and they discuss her struggles, Aimen making it clear that she is not interested in his interference in her life.
What can be appreciated about Bhool is the pace. Each episode offers something of worth and interest, the episodes fast-paced and storyline driven. In this double episode, some aspects are now brought to light, including the effects of Aiman’s struggle. Now clearly visible is Aiman’s battle in proving herself to society, a battle she now fights for her daughter as well. But is this fight easy when Aiman is so lacking in self confidence herself? She does not understand how to deal with her circumstances, but also has not taught Aisha how to defend herself – rather, Aisha has been taught to live in the shadows and avoid confrontation by watching her mother do the same. Aiman’s words to Aisha are to fight against those who treat her badly, but can a daughter learn differently based on a mother’s words when her actions scream something else? Aisha is meek and lacking in confidence, unprepared when her world turns upside down at the appearance of her father, a father she didn’t realize existed. Bhool is an interesting show that touches upon the unforgiving nature of society and its inability to allow a person to move beyond their past mistakes. How the show continues on from here will be a challenge, as keeping the pace consistent will be essential to maintaining interest.