Book Review | Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay | Umera Ahmed


Mishal is a beautiful girl. Everyone loves her. Brought up in an elite household with everything she can wish for, you think, she has everything she ever wants, but does she?
On the other hand is Mishal’s cousin Mehreen; a girl who is not-so-pretty and has a disturbing background. Everyone’s annoyed by her bad behavior and ill-mannered ways.
Living in the same house, these two girls go head-to-head. And in the middle of these two is caught Aswad, a handsome young guy, who is their cousin and who is also madly in love with Mishal, and hates Mehreen.
All three of them think they have their lives perfectly planned out for themselves but can this much hate and competition really end up in something good?
In Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay (English: When Were We Ever Truthful), the extent to which the imperfections and flaws of parents haunt their offspring in an eastern society is highlighted. Children belonging to dysfunctional families are always judged in the shadow of their parents.
It is a collection of three stories; Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay, Band Kiwaron Ke Aagey and Halal-e-Jurrat. It appeared in episodic form in Kiran digest from August 1998 to November 1998.

About Author

Umera Ahmed is one of the most widely-read and popular Urdu fiction novelist and screenplay writer of this era. She completed her Masters in English Literature from Murray College, Sialkot.
Later she became an English language lecturer for the students of O and A levels at Army Public College, Sialkot. However she left the job a few years back in order to devote her full attention to writing.
She began her writing career in 1998 at a quite young age. Her initial stories were published in monthly urdu digests and later came out in the form of books. She has written about 16 books , comprising of complete novels and compilations of short stories. However it was her novel “Peer-e-Kaamil (S.A.W.W)” which became her identity.

Why am I reviewing Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay?

I was binging YouTube as I do and guess what it recommended?

Teaser of upcoming hum TV drama Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay starring Mahira Khan as Mehreen Mansoor and Kubra Khan as Mashal.

Say what now?

But wait… Why am I getting so hyper? It’s established the screen adaptations mostly suck. I hate when they butcher the story for screen. They pick only a handful of characters to take the story forward. In doing so, the essence of the story is inevitably lost.

But I shouldn’t be worried about this one. I didn’t like this story in the first place. Don’t get me wrong. I admire Umera’s writing style and her stories just as much as any other Urdu genre fiction reading girl. I may have a bone to pick with a few over the top stories but I generally like her stories.

Except for this one.

Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay Plot Summary & Review

Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay is a story of a love triangle of sorts. Mehreen Mansoor, Mashal and Aswad. They’re cousins and childhood friend, but the elders’ politics spoils their relationship.
Mehreen comes from a troubled family. Her father Mansoor works for the government but is an alcoholic. Needless to say that even though Rabiea keeps it hidden, she isn’t happy with her marriage and her husband. Mansoor, however, loves his daughter. Mehreen and Mansoor share a good bond. 
Aswad has lost his father, but Saleha has raised him well. Saleha and Rabeya are sisters, and in turn Aswad and Mehreen are cousins and good friends. 
Mashal is Tahir and Shagufta’s daughter. Tahir is Saleha and Rabeya’s brother, and Shagufta is the typical bhabhi who can’t see anything good happening to her nands. While Mashal is friends with Mehreen, it’s Shagufta’s constant rant against Mehreen, Rabeya and Saleha that turns Mashal into a grey character. Scratch that. She’s pure evil.
And then there is Nano- Mehreen’s maternal grandmother and Mashal’s paternal grandmother. After Rabeya and Mansoor are separated, Rabeya remarries, leaving Mehreen to Nano and Shagufta and Tahir. Things don’t go well, as one might expect. Mehreen spends a tough childhood.
The hatred between Mehreen and Mashal grows as the grow older. Mashal always tries to bring down Mehreen in front of Aswad and Aswad blindly trusts her. Even though Saleha tells Aswad just how nice Mehreen is, he doesn’t trust his own mother and instead trusts Mashal. Go, figure!
It’s Saleha’s insistence, however, that Aswad ends up marrying Mehreen. He isn’t happy about it, and he has no qualms to torture Mehreen for coming between him and Mashal.

Then, after very dramatic twists and turns that we know Umera for, we learn that Mashal was lying all along.
Mehreen is the heroine. She is the brilliant and outstanding student with excellent curricular and extra curricular record. She never lied, she never talked back, she was exemplary.
And Mashal was jealous of her. So was Shagufta, of Rabeya and Saleha. Like mother, like daughter.
Mashal is the villain of this story and Aswad is a bigger one because he blindly believes everything that Mashal says. By the time he realize the truth, Mehreen has already lost her mind.
For real!
Then, Aswad is left to regret his deeds. Too little, too late.
Can I spoil the ending of Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay for you?
Mashal dies, Mehreen loses her mind, and Aswad is drowned in a well of regrets.
I’m not joking.
Where is my happily ever after?

I’m a sucker for escapist fiction. I have enough troubles around me. I don’t need to read a book to weep and sob and cry like a baby. If I wanted heartache, I would just read literature and be pretentious, right?

Would I be watching the drama?

Probably not. Because firstly, I don’t really like the story.

Secondly, the casting… Mehreen Mansoor wasn’t the most beautiful girl as you can read in the description above. She has a pleasant personality but she isn’t gorgeous. Mahira Khan is one the most beautiful actresses of Pakistan (I don’t necessarily agree with that opinion). She was cast as Falak Naaz in Shehr-e-zaat who was epitome of beauty and grace. Now, are we to believe that the same person is mehreen Mansoor? Not gonna happen.

Thirdly, Farooq Rind is going to direct the drama. I have seen his work in Pyar Ke Sadqay and I still have some bad memories about that drama. I mean it started on such a fun note and ended up being about an incestuous attachment and unnecessary drama. Let’s just say I don’t trust his direction. A good director can elevate even a poorly written story. For instance, Danish Nawaz can do make my stories shine if they are ever adapted for screen.

Lastly, I feel, and this is just me, Mahira doesn’t have the range of emotions that Mehreen’s character demands. I find her voice annoying, her acting repetitive and methodic and boring, and she isn’t even that beautiful. But that’s just me and I am not going to watch or review the drama. A story I didn’t like with the cast that I don’t like and a director I don’t like. I can’t watch the drama only for Osman Mukhtar, can I? Who, by the way, is aptly cast.

Watch it, don’t watch it, it’s up to you.

Have you read this book? What do you think of the story? I will meet you in another review.
Shabana Mukhtar


40 Comments Add yours

  1. You’re like my soul twin on this one 🙂
    I watched it mid-way through last week but couldn’t bear the rest. My sis tells that apart from the acting, the storyline is also bleh. I guess someday I will finish the telefilm. Maybe, someday.

  2. Romita Lamba says:

    I did end up watching Aik hai Nigar and got frustrated right away. Very poorly directed and terrible acting yet again by Mahira. The facial expressions were appalling.Too much overacting to bear. Nigar as a person and her achievements definitely need to be admired and appreciated. But the director could not do Justice at all – story line was so weak on screen and Mahira brutally killed it further with her (non) acting.
    Another thing that surprised me was why army women in Pakistan have to wear a saree. Just curious.

  3. I’m glad to find someone who feels the way I do. These days I get quite a flak when I talk not-so-nicely about certain names, ahem… I haven’t watched Sadqe tumhare, nor do I plan to watch upcoming Mahira Khan’s drama Aik Thhi Nigaar, for obvious reasons.

  4. Romita says:

    Thanks for your review on this drama. I thought that I was the only one who felt that the story is weak and the direction bad. You are a murder suspect and out on bail and all you can think of is to get married. Hard to digest that. I admit that Mahira is very beautiful and that’s that. She can’t act and her voice is bad.
    I totally agree with you about the director not being so good and Mahira being an overrated actor. I watch Pakistani plays because they are genuinely very good with realistic stories and portrayed very well. One can actually relate to it. Sadquay pyar ke was one of the very few of the paki plays that I hated – the storyline was terrible, didn’t make sense at all and Mahira’s coy and fake acting in that play didn’t help either. The director definitely is bad. I wonder where this play will lead to. As of now it’s overhyped but soon we will find out.

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Sadia. I guess we have very different opinions about things.

    I agree that all three characters are victims (I must have mentioned it in my reviews somewhere), and I also agree that it’s natural to think that the world is just as good as you.

    In Aswad’s case, though, don’t you think he should consider Saleha’s opinion of Mashal once? He himself heard Mashal badmouthing Saleha. And still… I didn’t like him in the novel, and I didn’t like him in the drama so Usman Mukhtar is doing a great job.

  6. Sadia Habib says:

    Thank you for your review. Now I know whose review not to read. I disagree with your analysis of Umera Ahmed novels, Farooq Rind’s skills as a director, Mahira Khan’s acting, and Umera Ahmed’s portrayal of characters in her novels. Not a single thing you said that I could agree with. As a reviewer, you should be unbiased to analyze a character, like that of Aswad. In this drama, all three of the cousins are victims of something or the other. Aswad is meticulously manipulated. He is torn between his feeling of guilt, sadness for a loss of a cousin he was starting to think seriously about, looking for a way to absolve himself by finding another logical cause (in this case Mehreen being the likely murderer) of Mashal’s death, and the sadness of losing another one of his childhood friend. He is constantly struggling. It is easy to call him gullible and weak but people who do not tell lies themselves, do not just assume others to be guilty of lying.

  7. All actors have done extremely well, but for me Kubra and Huma Nawab are out there. Kubra stands out because she, as you rightly mentioned, expresses a range of emotion within a couple of seconds. Mashal and Mehreen both have shades of grey, and both get my sympathy. They are what they are because of the lessons parted to them knowingly or unknowingly.

    I should probably stop now, but your comment has many points, and I want to comment on all of them. But I stop now. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your view. so long 🙂

  8. From what I’ve heard on various channels, the novel’s plot is changed to suit today’s sensibilities. Let’s hope there is a happy ending. I have a theory on that, but more on that later.

  9. I wish i had the urdu manuscript. I would have transliterated it for you in Hindi 🙂

  10. Hey… Now, Mashal is dead, so it isn’t a spoiler… But yeah… i did that on purpose… i hated the story and had to bring that frustration out. I should probably add a disclaimer on top of the post.
    I agree, Aswad is the bigger culprit here, and I think I do mention that in my review. What irks me more is that he trusts Mashal more than he trusts Saleha, his mother that he so dearly loves…

  11. Charu says:

    Thank you but no thank you for the spoiler!! Urghhh!! How could you do that?!
    Mahira is definitely not the most beautiful but the way she carries herself, she outshines the others.
    And she’s portrayed the simpleton Mehreen to perfection! She’s played her part well although Kubra is stiff competition because she succeeds in making everyone hate her. The range of emotions that she shows in a single shot is amazing. But she also managed to exact sympathy from me censuses she’s a disturbed soul. The actors have done a remarkable job.
    I hope there’s a twist to the story’s end. Mehreen is strong and she should be able to leave Aswad. Aswad deserves no respect. He’s such a gullible and misleading person. I hate him more than Mashal!
    Have been trying to get hold of this novel written in Hindi but with the original Urdu script in India but can’t find it. Umera Ahmed has a great insight into human character. She brings it out perfectly in her characters.
    I like this drama and will watch it till the end. There’s not much going on as is. The rest ( the ones on air at present) are not worth mentioning.

  12. I will, but yeah, time is a constraint. I’m also watching shehnai but it has become repetitive now. The first few episodes were good. I like Rafey more than the lead characters.

  13. liza says:

    some scenes are melodramatic but i think that’s every show now lol but the only thing i care about is the plot and character development and this show has it all !! and did i mention the ost ? so so soooo good !! give it a try if you have time 🙂

  14. Woah! I think its only Parizaad for me 🙂 I have heard good things about Do Bol… Is it melodramatic?

  15. liza says:

    yes yes !! primarily because i love mahira khan (after humsafar ofc) and the music score of the drama really intrigued me so definitely gonna watch. i think hun tv is releasing very good dramas this month ; paarizad, laapata (most excited about this cuz ayeza fking khan) and HKKST !! and oof currently i’m simultaneously watching i think 8 dramas ? shehnai, yaar na bichray (starting was great but now it’s bakwas but if i commit to smth i don’t stop so sigh), ishq hai, paarizad, o rangreza, dunk (cuz bilal abbas), ishq zahe naseeb, dhoop ki deewar

    and i’ve recently finished do bol (omfg THE OST IS SO DAMN GOOD AND THE LEADS AHHH AFFAN N HIRA), churails (loved this !! boss bitches in action), PKS (i lowkey loved it), malaal e yaar (story was repetitive but the two leads were SO GOOD +ost was so damn good n tbh just watched for the ost) yeah that’s about it 🙂

  16. Will you be watching Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay? Did you like the teasers?

  17. I’ve watched neither. the premise of Ishq Zah-e-Naseeb didn’t interest me, not did Malal-e-yaar’s cast. But I will give it a two-episode try for you 🙂

  18. Array says:

    i don’t know if you’re interested, but i would love your review on ishq zahe naseeb (that’s if you watched it) or malaal e yaar

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