Book Review: Alif – Episode #1 (By Umera Ahmed)

Background & Review:

Much like ‘Mann-o-salwa’ the first episode is about parallel tracks and a lot of characters. This episode had introduced a few characters; characters which are not necessarily named through the episode. There are four parallel tracks.

  • A girl / woman named Jahan who’s writing a letter. She maybe Husn-e-Jahan; but I cannot be sure, for writers have a way to give unexpected twists to the story.
  • Qalb-e-momin: A good-looking, super-successful and super obnoxious movie director.
  • A young school boy expecting a letter from Allah. It reminded me of Dusra dozakh where the narrator is writing to Allah. He maybe Momin; but I cannot be sure.
  • Momina Sultan & family: A fabulous actress who gets only side roles. She needs to take care of her ailing brother and her mother.

Most of the episode is revolving around the characters related to showbiz – actors, casting directors, producers etc for soaps, drama and movie. Yet again, it reminded me of Zainab from Mann-o-salwa.

It is a good start. And you’d want to move on to the second episode as early as possible. I know I can’t.


Umera is master of depicting human characteristics and feelings in words. There are many such lines. A couple of them my favourite ones are here. I don’t want to crowd the review with quotes.

نیند مہربان تھی، اور زندگی نامہربان


The above paragraph is defining Momin, but aren’t we ALL just the same?

A few other observations:

  • The narration is rich in terms of settings and description – makes it almost ready for drama, which is scheduled to air soon. The drama is getting filmed.
  • The name Momina Sultan – It reminded me of Momina Duraid and Sultana Siddiqui of Hum TV. She has done a lot of work with the channel. Was this intentional?
  • Since I already know that Hamza will be playing Momin, I can hear his voice mouthing the dialogues during her interview with Rushna. Haha.
  • There are far too many English terms and words used in the story, both in Roman and Urdu script. I feel average readers may not know those terms, unless the story is not targeted for masses.
  • The episodes are simultaneously published in Urdu, Roman Urdu, and English. That is a brilliant idea. I have been meaning to do that for my stories too. But my day job does not leave me with enough time. Sigh!

What do you others feel about this episode?

Happy reading!