Man-O-Salwa: An unforgettable story of Karam Ali and Zaini

Nauman Ijaz as Karam Ali

Nauman Ijaz as Karam Ali

Resham as Pari Zad (Zaini)

Resham as Pari Zad (Zaini)

Pari Zad

Since my school days, I have been reading Urdu stories and novels. I always used to develop a relation with the characters that impressed me. Inspector Jamshed, Ali Imran, Black Zero (Tahir), Inspector Kamran Mirza and Shoki are few of the characters to be named from the bestselling novels of Ishtiaq Ahmed, Mazhar Kaleem and Ibn-e-Safi (creator of Imran Series).

Those days PTV was the only Urdu channel in Pakistan and it’s dramas were so much impressive that they used to bind the families in front of their TV screens. Serials and series like Tanhaayian, Alif Noon, Sona Chandi, Waris, Un-Kahi, Andhera Ujala, Dhoop Kinaray, Ehsas and Hawayain are few to be mentioned out of a long list. Many characters from these dramas also are part of my memory and I always like to cherish these sweet memories with my cousins and close friends.

Umera Ahmed has emerged as a very popular and wonderful Urdu novel writer. She is a born writer I believe and her stories touch the heart and one cannot forget them for a long time. Her books Peer-e-Kamil (پیر کامل), Meri Zaat Zara-e-benishaan (میری ذات ذرہ بے نشاں), Haasil (حاصل), La-haasil (لا حاصل), Iman Umeed Aur Muhabbat (ایمان، امید اور محبت) , Amar Bail (امر بیل), Man-O-Salwa (من و سلوٰی) and Zindagi Gulzar Hay (زندگی گلزار ہے) set records of sales. Due to her increasing popularity TV producers contacted her and asked her to allow them for making drama serials on her stories, with little changes required due to electronic media requirements. She accepted the offers and now Pakistani people are enjoying her best stories in the form of dramas.

Today I am going to pay tribute to two of her characters that have affected me the most in my life. I read the book first and then watched the drama for four times. After that I read the book once again, which has about 700 pages. Honestly speaking I would say that these are one of the best characters ever introduced by any Urdu writer. Name of both the novel and drama is Man-O-Salwa (من و سلوٰی).

Zainab Zia (Zaini)

This is the character around which the whole story is focused. In drama Resham has performed this role just wonderfully. Zaini belongs to a poor family where she lives with her dead honest clerk father, mother, one elder married sister and a younger sister. She is engaged to her first cousin Sheraz, who is trying his best to become a CSP officer. Zaini is happy despite of many problems due to poverty. She loves Sheraz the most in the world, whereas she is the most favourite daughter of her father Zia. After becoming the CSP officer Sheraz joins the training at academy where he comes across boys and girls belonging to the rich families. Somehow he thinks that for bringing his poor family out of poverty he would have to earn high using all possible unfair ways. He gets involved in a rich family and breaks his engagement with Zaini by accusing her falsely of having an affair with a trespasser.

Zaini breaks down as she always had a very firm belief in Allah (God) being a religious and pious girl. Her parents, especially father tries his best to convince her that she would be getting a better person than Sheraz, but she loses her hope. She then decides to become rich and joins the showbiz industry as a model through a friend’s cousin who was running a modelling agency.

Her father cannot digest it and passes away. At this stage her family gets into lot of financial problems but they don’t allow her to help them out. Later Zaini, who already had shifted to a bungalow, brings them at her place. She settles her elder sister back to her home, who was kicked out by her husband after giving birth to third daughter. Zaini joins the film industry and within days gets great popularity….. At this stage she is invited to Australia (Canada in the novel) by a new producer who wanted to produce his first ever film with Zaini as the heroine.

Karam Ali

This is the best male character in this story that is a self-made rich man and lacks love in his life. In drama Nauman Ijaz has played the role perfectly. He belongs to a poor family and after passing through lot of struggles that include illegal entry into Qatar by boat and working at the horse stable there for 3 years (novel gives these details) finally settles down in Australia (Canada in novel). Later Karam Ali also settles his mother and brothers in Australia. They all enjoy a very good lifestyle. Karam’s family have been using him for their own interests since he left the country. Karam Ali was engaged to his first cousin Arifa and loved her so much. His family kept delaying their wedding by pretending that Karam was not well set. They used all his wealth sent to them in improving their lifestyle. Later they broke his engagement forcefully. Karam Ali was very disappointed at that stage. Later he found a Pakistani showbiz star Pari Zad (پری زاد) having great resemblance with Arifa. He then decides to produce a movie in Australia with Pari Zad as the heroine.

Karam Ali and Pari Zad

Zaini whose showbiz name is Pari Zad, reaches Australia for meeting Karam Ali so that she could finalise the film deal with him. She is of the view that Karam Ali, just like other showbiz men, would satisfy his physical desires from her. However Karam Ali remains within his limits and just enjoys Pari Zad’s company. They spend time together as friends. Finally last night comes for Pari Zad before her departure from Australia. Karam Ali invites her for the first time to his home for having dinner with him. She is still waiting for the film deal to be signed off, in which Karam Ali had shown no interest at all. That night she thinks that he would offer her to stay with him and she shows her perception to Karam Ali. He is shocked and asks her to leave. He tells her that the deal would be signed through his manager on the following day. Pari Zad leaves him and returns to Pakistan after signing the deal.

Karam Ali and Zareen

Zareen is a 20 year old beautiful young girl from Pakistan. She belongs to a very poor family and her parents are worried for her and her sisters’ weddings. Karam Ali’s greedy family after knowing about Pari Zad’s meetings with Karam decides to get him married with Zareen. Karam was already very disappointed with Pari Zad so he agrees for the marriage. After the wedding Zareen, who had a love affair with her age fellow poor and lazy guy Jamal creates problems for Karam Ali. She is very rude and keeps contact with Jamal over the phone. Karam catches her talking to Jamal on phone and later divorces Zareen on her wish. Being a thorough gentleman, he arranges work visa for Jamal and calls him to Australia. Later Zareen gets married to him and they enter into lot of problems due to the bad nature and greed of Jamal.

Karam Ali and Zaini

Pari Zad gets lots of success through films and becomes one of the richest persons of the showbiz industry. On the other side Sheraz (her ex-fiancé) was unhappy due to his rich wife’ and her father’s insulting attitude. He tries very hard to meet Zaini. She traps him and calls him for meeting at a guest house, where she already had planned a police raid when she and Sheraz are drinking wine. Sheraz is sent to jail and Pari Zad gets released within minutes due to her high level contacts. Later she is cut from the casts of many movies due to her bad reputation. At this stage she leaves the industry and settles in Australia without informing anyone.

One day Karam Ali finds her working on one of his stores. From here their love story starts, which is the most beautiful part of this story. They both finally decide to get married. After that what comes to them, I will not share here. Just watch the drama (available on YouTube), beautifully directed by Babar Javed. Then I suggest that you read the novel. You will be amazed.

I appreciate Umera Ahmed in high words for bringing such great story to us with lots of lessons to learn from.

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