Here is the review in full:
‘Guzar Az Ranjha’ is an Iranian serial, dubbed in Urdu as ‘Humdum’, telecasted on Sehar TV Urdu at 11:00 PM IST from 8th June to 19th July, 2019. The serial is also dubbed in English, named as 'Passing through the Hardships'. The serial, directed by Fereydon Hassanpour, has 34 episodes with the running time of an hour. The dubbing, both in Urdu and English, is exemplary not only of having an appropriate arrangement of voice to each and every character suitable to their physical stature but also the use of language; the choice of words and the phrases. The subject is multi dimensional however; the time period which has been portrayed is pre to post Islamic revolution of Iran. The story narrates the pre-revolution period of feudal system prevalent in Iran; the discriminatory rule of landlords over the majority of villagers. The story rides up to the time of abolition of the feudal system after revolution. It shows the consequences and ramifications of the despotic rule of landlords wherein basic fundamental rights of ordinary citizens, like right to education, were curtailed with the repressive measures. The story tells how it was beneficial for landlords, of keeping the ordinary villagers uneducated thereby maintaining their status quo for long. But despite the repressive measures and treacherous tactics, the tyrannical system eventually turns shallow within and finally collapses in the worst way possible.
Among the other aspects which have been given due importance, the most intriguing part is the exceptionally well depiction of time period with an appropriate apparatus to give a real experience to the viewers. The scenery and the costumes visualizes the time period to the most exact way possible in an on-screen depiction. Some locations used for different scenes are quite similar to the places in Kashmir valley; the mud houses, the old bridges, crowded squares and the alleys.
Coming to the story, it revolves around a particular female character, the protagonist named as ‘Duniya’, the beloved daughter of Sohrab and Zeba. Duniya lost her mother at the birth and was raised by his father and other relatives in the village. The death of her mother is indeed a tragic part of the story, an irony of not reaching to the city hospital far from the village. The serial projects the tragedy of villagers at that period of time when the deaths occurred often due to the lack of basic medical facilities within the villages. The landlords were projected as busy in amassing wealth; usurping the lands of common people and ignoring the craving voices of the poor. The story narrates their arrogant and selfish behavior; the way they keep the villagers beneath their feet and assign henchmen to keep vigil upon them to avoid any sort of revolt.
In comparison to the Hindi serials, the serial portrays each situation in a more realistic manner and avoids over exaggeration. This approach is much more graspable to get an understanding of the narration. It is interesting to hear the names of characters acting in the serial, like Sohrab, Bahram, Behzad, Khosrow; the characters eulogized in the famous epic poem ‘Shahnama’ written by Ferdowsi. It sounds tasteful to ears to hear such historical and legendary names which we read in the phenomenal literary works like Shahnama. It is quite fascinating to watch the scenes like poetry recital sessions the protagonist organizing with her family and reciting the couplets of famous poets like Hafiz Shirazi, Saadi, Ferdowsi and others; her kids memorize the quatrains, stanzas to recite at the occasion which gradually increase their knowledge in the field.
The character of the protagonist, ‘Duniya’, depicts valor, intellect and farsightedness breaking the stereotype and becoming the first educated woman, and an entrepreneur, from an ordinary family living in a village whose illiterate father used to serve the elites, the landlords. Breaking the shackles of slavery, Duniya excelled in her work and gained a respected position in the society. She is not only shaping her life but simultaneously giving direction to the other women in her village who are skilled in weaving crafts. However, her journey is filled with anxieties, troubles, miseries and misfortune but she stood firm and patient at every difficult situation. Her character is being portrayed as an exemplary woman who despite the harsh conditions met in her life never gives up and retreats adversaries with bravery.
In parallel of entertaining the viewers, the serial enlightens; the dialogues and scenes have been written so well that it often providing food for thoughts, persuading to contemplate upon the situations we are living in and offering to derive lessons for life. The story blatantly projects the reality of life; how good deeds eventually shower blessings to those who take pride of performing good deeds without any doubt and how evil returns to the wrongdoers.
*Imran Ali Buth holds a master degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Kashmir University. He has also recently completed course on paper conservation. Presently, he is working with an organisation INTACH Kashmir Chapter as media executive, and also coordinate manuscript conservation centre.