It all started on the 3rd of September when the first promo was aired. It was a 37 second slide show with five pictures of various Fawad Khan’s poses, and in the last slide, the name appeared – Asher. Following this was a series of promos of the upcoming drama, Humsafar. At that time, the only thing we were intrigued about was to see Fawad Khan (FK) on screen again after his hugely successful venture Dastaan. But who knew that by the time Humsafar will reach its climax, it will not be FK who will be ruling the hearts of Pakistani viewers, but the entire serial itself would have become a part of every house in the country. This was just the starting of the era of Humsafar – a time period unique in itself, a golden era which has its own wonderful moments.
On 24th September, the first episode of the drama was aired, and by the third episode, Humsafar was surely the talk of the town. In the initial stage, it was all about Asher, the lead character of the serial, which was played by Fawad Khan. The fact that the character was portrayed so perfectly was amusing and breath-taking. The charming face, with the perfect academics and a sound business was like a dream come true for every girl like me!
It was certainly the beauty of the drama depiction that all of us had even developed affection for the lead character, Khirad, being played by Mahira Khan. Although she was playing the role of FK’s wife, but the tragic loss of her mother’s death and her sudden marriage to a total stranger made us sympathize with her instead. By the fourth episode, we all had our feelings developed for every character in the drama, including the evil vamp, Sarah. We all developed hatred for her. Yes, we did! Within 28 days of Humsafar’s commencement, every female in the country and even some in India were totally into the drama. The number of online readers of the novel, Humsafar, had risen to an unbelievable level, even the number of the novel buyers in Urdu Bazar was miraculous. Who knew Farhat Ishtiaq before? Not many of us.
Whether it was Fawad Khan’s face value, the high budget set and wardrobe, or the highly clichéd yet attractive story-line, Humsafar was certainly on the roll.
The sixth episode marked what all of us were dying to see: the romantic shoot off of our hero/heroine. The slowly building up affection was just so subtle; with every scene one could hear themselves sighing over their cutely growing bond. The little magical moments which were beautifully put in the drama included the time when Asher called Khirad ‘zarday ki daeg’; another romantic ‘raindrops falling from the sky’ scene where he stood standing and staring her, and how can we ever forget the way Asher used to defend Khirad against Sarah.
By the eighth episode, it was not only us who were head over heels in love with Asher, but there were a large number of boys who were love struck by Khirad, and another number of boys who were convinced by Sarah’s bitchiness. By this time, the popularity graph of Humsafar rose to an extent nobody had ever imagined. Text messages with Humsafar jokes, Facebook comics, Twilight vs. Humsafar and Karachi Tips about Humsafar, were now a trend. Saturdays had sentimental value for everyone; no man could gather courage and ask his kin to commit for any party or dinner on a Saturday between 8 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.
The appearance of Khizar in the drama was yet another turn. By now, we had entered into the most horrific time of the Humsafar’s era. The eleventh episode had the highest numbers of viewers, all thanks to Fareeda Auntie.
Humsafar was now at its peak, and just to add spice to the entire hype, Hum TV invited the cast of the drama to their last morning show of the year. What a perfect end it was to 2011! By this time, a number of parodies were v-logged on the internet. And pages like ‘ASHAD; the ultimate love story’ came into existence on Facebook. But the most intelligent man amongst us was the designer, Umar Sayeed, who cashed the hype of Humsafar by using Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan as his show-stoppers in the PDFC L’Oreal Fashion Week 2012. This stunt certainly made him earn a large viewership.
During this period of 21 weeks, we witnessed some miraculously jaw-dropping moments. The increment in the value of advertisements of products like TUC, Telenor, Tapal, Clean & Clear and Jazz went very high only because FK and MK had once upon a time worked in these. If anybody noticed, in the first episode, there were only 4-6 sponsors and now there are 11-14 sponsors. Earlier, the drama used to be aired for 13 minutes with a 7 minutes break, and now we see the drama for 10 minutes with a 10 minutes break.
Just to make this hype worse, Fawad Khan’s shooting for his upcoming drama serial at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS), Karachi, was perfect. People inside IVS clicking pictures literally in Fawad’s arms was a tragedy for the people outside IVS. Every single person associated with Humsafar has been benefited greatly. Think about Quratulain Baloch, the singer of the title song. She is a celebrity now.
But the maximum benefits were gained by EP, FK’s musical band, that appeared in the most number of concerts in these 21 weeks, a band which was lost since their last single ‘Shor Macha’.
Overly hyped, sensitively taken, or emotionally glued, Pakistanis are crazy about this drama. After a very long time, there is something which people depend on. Today, we make our Saturdays’ schedules according to Humsafar’s timings. One week’s unannounced gap created resentment across the entire country. The reaction was undoubtedly HUGE.
Finally, the era is coming to its end. The wonderful time waiting and discussing the drama will be forever green in our hearts and minds. As I end my article, I feel sad because this is probably the last week to wait for Humsafar, but I’m happy atleast ‘KHISHER’ will be together again, Hareem will get her family back, Fareeda Auntie, Khizer and Sarah will pay for their evil actions!
And for all of you Humsafarians, I know how desperate we all are for the next episode, so see you all on 18th then. Till then, take care and love Pakistan!