Humsafar is a Pakistani drama directed by Sarmad Sultan Khoosat, based on the Urdu novel Humsafar of the same name written by Farhat Ishtiaq. The story revolves around the trials and tribulations of a married couple, Asher Hussain (Fawad Afzal Khan) and Khirad Ihsan (Mahira Khan), and the jealous forces that work to break them apart. The story of Humsafar (Novel) was laid out in retrospective manner and was mainly told in flashbacks. However the drama’s narrative is mostly linear. The drama airs on Hum TV and has gained a large following globally and is critically acclaimed.
The drama's first episode begins with a glimpse into the lives of the three main characters. Khirad Ihsan (Mahira Khan) lives in Hyderabad, Pakistan with her mother, Maimona Ihsan, a school teacher. They belong to a lower-middle-class family. Maimona's wealthy nephew, Asher Hussain (Fawad Afzal Khan), is also introduced alongside his best friend (and maternal cousin), Sara Ajmal (Naveen Waqar). Unknown to Asher, Sara is deeply in love with him. Both Asher and Sara's mothers, Farida (Atiqa Odho) and Zareena (Hina Khawaja Bayat), assume that Asher will eventually propose to Sara since they have always been so close. It is soon revealed that Maimona Ihsan is diagnosed with cancer and she requests her brother, Baseerat Hussain (Behroze Sabzwari), Asher's rich father, to help her in this dire time of need. Out of guilt for neglecting his sister’s welfare for so long, Baseerat decides promptly to bring Maimona and Khirad to his Karachi mansion and provide first class treatment for her cancer. However, the doctors state that there is no hope of saving Maimona's life as her cancer has progressed to an advanced stage. Hearing this, Maimona becomes worried over what will happen to Khirad after she is gone, and she requests Baseerat to find a decent proposal for Khirad. Ridden with guilt, Baseerat decides to get Khirad married to Asher. Baseerat later conveys his desire to Asher, his son is taken much aback as he has no plans of getting married to anyone at that moment, let alone a girl who seems like the exact opposite of him. After Asher shares this news with Sara, she becomes very angry and heartbroken, revealing to Asher that no one has any right over him since she has loved him all her life. Asher strictly tells Sara that he does not share the feelings that Sara harbours for him; in his eyes, their relationship has always been limited to friendship. Sara promises Asher that she will not let him ruin his life by marrying Khirad and she will not be rejected in favour of the “veiled and backwards” Khirad since she is better in every aspect (education, background etc.). However, Baseerat breaks down in front of his son, begging him to marry Khirad, as he believes that no one else could take better care of her. Eventually, Asher agrees to marry Khirad under his dad’s immense emotional pressure. Farida, who is extremely possessive about her son, feels neglected during the whole process and lashes out at Baseerat, begging him to think of his son's welfare and reconsider the decision since Khirad and Asher are such a mismatch. Baseerat threatens his wife with a divorce if she tries to come between Asher and Khirad’s marriage. Meanwhile, Khirad is even more shocked than Asher to hear about her proposed marriage to Asher. Khirad decides to talk to Asher but overhears Asher's conversation with a friend about her being backwards. Khirad who is revealed to be very egoistic is deeply hurt. Being her dying mother's wish, Khirad has no choice but to agree to the wedding . Sara attempts suicide but is rescued in time. Asher and Khirad are married in a rush (and with a simple Nikah) due to Maimona's failing health. She dies soon after, leaving Khirad very depressed and lonely. Asher and Khirad begin their marriage on a very somber note, where both of them feel that they have been included into each others lives without consent and are being enforced on each other. None of them are happy about the union, however Asher promises Khirad that he will try his best to make her feel comfortable and this marriage work even though he knows that it will take them a long period of time to come to an understanding. Khirad is deeply hurt by the fact that she has been forced into Asher’s life and feels that her self-respect has been lost.
Later on, however, they both begin falling in love with each other, and Asher believes it is her innocence, simplicity, and purity of heart that attracts him to her, saying that she's unlike any other girl he's ever come across. Even as Sara pretends to befriend Khirad and humiliates her in front of her friends, Asher rebukes Sara for her cruelty and tells Khirad that she is the most perfect, beautiful girl he could have ever asked for. He tells her that people normally like each other, love each other, and then marry. But with them, it was the opposite. He tells her he loves her, and she loves him too, and that he thanks God every day that he agreed to the wedding. Soon, Baseerat becomes very sick, and while he's in the hospital, he warns his son against hurting Khirad, saying that she's very innocent by nature and doesn't know the realities of this world or the people in it. He asks him to treat her with constant love and kindess and to always forgive her for anything she might ever do. Asher, already in love with his new wife, agrees. Baseerat later dies in his sleep. While Sara pretends to befriend Khirad, she falsely tells Khirad that Asher makes fun of housewives by referring to them as "desperate housewives" in order to make her feel more embarrassed. Already well-educated with a BSC in physics and mathematics, Khirad decides to enroll in graduate studies to further her math skills in order to impress Asher and reach more to his standards. There, she meets Khizar, Sara's paternal cousin who has strong feelings towards Sara. Still, Sara expresses no feelings for Khizar and is still not over Asher. When Khizar starts to come to Asher and Khirad's house, he praises Khirad for how smart and beautiful she is, and Asher starts to get irritated and slightly jealous. Unbeknownst to Asher, Khirad is pregnant and can't wait to tell him this great news.
Meanwhile, Farida, Zareena, and Sara come up with a plan to separate Khirad and her husband. Farida plans on paying large sums of money to Khizar for him to be able to study abroad as well as have him marry Sara if he can convince Asher that he and Khirad are secretly engaged in an extramarital affair. Sara lies to Khizar by telling him that she'll marry him when he returns from his abroad studying. The scheme goes into action (before Khirad could tell Asher she was pregnant), and Asher sees what falsely appears to be Khirad and Khizar alone in his apartment. He storms off angry. When Khirad later asks Farida why she did this, she responds that she would never allow a public school teacher's daughter to be her daughter-in-law. She goes on to say that Khirad isn't even fit to be the house's servant. Khirad tries to protest and calls Khizar, who falsely keeps insisting that she is in an affair with him. However, Farida backs Khizar's lies and kicks Khirad out of the house before Asher has a chance to speak with her. Before leaving, she quickly manages to write a note for Asher and leaves it with a servant. Although Asher returns expecting to be able to speak with Khirad to hear her explanation, his mother lies and says that she and Khizar have already eloped together. Heartbroken and alone, Khirad takes refuge at the house of her mother's old friend, Batul Khala, in Hyderabad, Pakistan. Throughout her time there, she calls Asher at his cell phone and his office, but he promptly hangs up whenever he finds out it is Khirad calling. Believing his mother's story that Khirad eloped with Khizar, he says he no longer knows anyone named Khirad. After a few months, Khirad goes into labor and calls Asher one last time. Again he hangs up, and she prematurely gives birth to a baby girl whom she names Hareem. While in the small clinic with her newborn baby, Khirad vows that even on the Day of Judgment in front of Allah, she won't forgive Asher for what he did. Her desperate attempts to reach out to Asher have now turned to heartfelt anger and possibly hatred.
Four years pass and Khirad learns that her daughter is a patient of congenital heart disease, and needs immediate open heart surgery. Since she knows she will not be able to afford Hareem's treatment, Khirad hesitantly pays a visit to her husband and tells him about the current situation. She comes back a changed woman, one with more power and anger than she had before. At first, he doesn't react and refuses to help, but later, as he realizes his sudden love for the daughter he had never met, decides to treat Hareem. Asher brings his wife and four-year-old child to his house, but does not reveal this to Sara, Farida, or Zareena. He bonds with Khirad and Hareem over time, though Khirad still thinks he is a weak and horrible husband as he did not believe/listen to her four years earlier. In addition, she states that she's only there for her daughter's treatment and no longer cares about being with Asher, and it is because of this that she hasn't told him the realities of what his mother did to her four years earlier. Sara, in complete shock, spots Asher with his wife and daughter at a restaurant. After making comments that angered Asher, she leaves for home, agitated and angered. She calls Farida.
Sara tells Farida that Khirad has returned. Farida quickly returns to Pakistan from a conference in the United States and explains to Khirad that she can easily throw her and her daughter back on the streets again. She fears Khirad will tell Asher everything and that she's trying to be apart of his life again. No longer afraid of her mother-in-law, Khirad tells her to do as she pleases, as she is only there for her daughter's care and no longer cares for the Hussain family. She says, "I don't want anything to do with your son or your mansion...I don't even see your son as being worth talking to. Your son is weak. He couldn't protect me. He no longer has any place in my heart." In another scene, Khirad states she sends Allah's curse on Farida, her house, and her son. Farida seems shocked and outraged at how fearless and bold Khirad has become. As Hareem demands to see old pictures from their wedding, Asher brings out an old box, which contains the note Khirad left for Asher four years earlier as she was being thrown out of the house. He doesn't see it right away, however. Asher also overhears Afsheen, Khirad's friend, telling her to accept Asher back in her life if he asks her to. Khirad refuses, and overhearing this, Asher appears troubled.
Khizar returns from his studies abroad and demands Farida fulfill her promise of marrying him to Sara. Sara, angered by his return, refuses, but Farida insists she go through with it since Khizar threatens to tell Asher the truth of what happened four years ago. Meanwhile, Hareem's surgery takes place and is successful. Seeing how much he loves his daughter, Khirad decides to leave Hareem with Asher as he can provide for her better. Asher, who was never completely over his wife, finds himself redeveloping feelings for Khirad again and decides to wholeheartedly forgive her for her former affair (still not knowing it was all a lie). In addition, he wants her back in his life forever. He says to her while she's asleep, "I wish I can take you far away from here, far away from all the pain in this world...but one thing is true, Khirad, I've completely lost in trying to hate you." Khirad, on the other hand, does not appear to want anything to do with Asher anymore.
Khizar returns to Pakistan and visits Farida. He demands her to give an answer to his marriage request for Sara within two days or else he'll "destroy" her with everything he knows. Meanwhile, Asher finds Khizar leaving his home, and when he confronts his mother as to why he was there, Farida responds by saying, "He wants you and Khirad to take divorce..." Asher is seen visibly shaking with anger and sadness at this false revelation. Sara continues to spiral down with her depression, saying that she can never get over Asher due to her strong love and that she can never forget Khirad due to her strong hatred for her. Zareena, Sara's mother, says she is remorseful for having destroyed "that poor [Khirad's] life" and wishes she had nothing to do with Farida's evil plot. She tells Sara she feels Khirad's curse is beginning to mount on Sara and is the reason for her constant unhappiness and depression. Asher takes Khirad from the hospital (where Hareem is still recovering) to the seaside of Karachi and pours out his feelings to her. Still unaware of her innocence, he asks how she can walk around without feeling any kind of shame for what she did. He then says that he loves her just as he did four years ago and that he can't remove her from his heart. He begs her to stay, if not for him then for Hareem. Khirad, seemingly untouched by his emotional speech, rejects his offer and, when pressed, will not tell him her reasoning. She says she only cares about Hareem's health and happiness now and wants nothing else from this world, not even Asher. She tells him she's leaving Hareem with him so she can have a better life. Asher is hurt and saddened by how she no longer wants anything to do with him.
Asher promises Hareem he'll take her and Khirad to Disneyland once she recovers. In the middle of the night after they return home, Khirad packs her bags and tearfully says goodbye to her sleeping daughter. She leaves a note for Asher, saying she's leaving Hareem with him since he can better provide for her. She says she is surrendering all of her rights over Hareem for Hareem's sake but requests Asher to allow her to call her daughter every now and then, but that if he refuses, she will respect his decision. Hareem wakes up in the morning upset at not being able to find her mother. Asher, once he sees the note, is deeply saddened and emotional. Depressed, he tearfully remembers the romantic and touching moments he and Khirad shared four years ago. Khizar later comes by Asher's office to tell him the truth, but in his anger, Asher forces him out without listening. Later on, he returns home, intending to look at Khirad's photo albums when he finally discovers the letter she wrote for him four years ago when she was being thrown out of the house. It describes what his mother did and ends by saying, "I was yours, am yours, and until death, I'll always be yours. If you don't believe me, I don't know how I'll live...I'll always be waiting for you..." The letter also tells him she was pregnant and that Farida knew about it. Visibly distraught, Asher overhears his mother's revealing phone call with Khizar. He spirals into an emotional breakdown and leaves the house. Farida awakens to find him gone, and, concerned, begins trying to contact him. She stumbles upon Khirad's letter and is very stressed to learn that Asher finally knows the truth about what she did. Sara commits suicide, leaving her mother in complete despair and shock. She tells Farida, "You'll be alone just like I am now. You'll be crying the same way as I am..." She blames Farida for Sara's death.
It is revealed that Asher left for Hyderabad to bring Khirad back. He tells Khirad that Hareem misses her and won't eat, and, worried, Khirad returns to Karachi with him. Farida hears them return and confronts them at the entrance by saying the letter was false and that there's no proof that Hareem is Asher's daughter. Asher, angered by his mother's actions, swears upon Khirad's good character and tearfully asks his mother how she could do something so horrible to Khirad, Hareem, and, most importantly, to Asher himself. He says animals get treated better than what she did to Khirad. He also says, "You gave me life. And at the same time, you took it away from me. You murdered your own son, mother. You took his life away..." Khirad, during this whole confrontation, is very emotional. Farida returns to her room where she is met by three imaginary beings: incarnations of Sara, Baseerat, and Khirad. Sara tells her she is responsible for her death and that she is happy Asher finally knows the truth about his mother's evil nature. Baseerat rebukes her for her cruelty based on what she did to Asher and asks, "Do you know why your son is crying? It's because his own mother murdered all of his happiness..." And Khirad asks her, "Did you really think Allah was going to let you do this to me? Look how swift His justice is...your son has been taken away from you." Farida remembers how Khirad, four year earlier, begged her to allow her back in the house. She then begins screaming uncontrollably. Asher tells Khirad to never forgive him and to never love him again for what he did. She tells him she doesn't know what she should do but that she's tired of fighting this world by herself. She says that the four years they were apart felt like four centuries and that her love for him isn't dead but that its just temporarily lost. He asks her to take him back for Hareem's sake, and she agrees. Farida loses her mind. Due to her horrible mental condition, she still lives with Asher in the house. She constantly sees an imaginary Sara trying to murder her. When Asher asks her to please eat something, Farida, in her crazed mental state, says, "Sara came! Don't ever let her come in the house. I'm scared of her...she's trying to kill me." Asher assures her he'll make sure the guard keeps an eye out for her. Farida also sees Baseerat in many places and says he is mad at her. When she sees Hareem, she asks, "An angel...an angel in my house...who's angel is this?" Asher responds, "She's your angel." Farida, smiling at Hareem with love and affection, responds, "She's my little angel." Khizar tells Zareena, his aunt and Sara's mother, that he's leaving for America again. Zareena says she'll have to live with her consequences for the rest of her life. It rains, and Asher and Khirad watch Hareem play in it. He asks Khirad if it's because of him that she doesn't like the rain anymore. She smiles, and tells him that she still loves the rain. Asher used to like when Khirad wore her hair down and would periodically remove the clip from her bun to let it down. As they look at each other with Hareem playing in the rain, he takes her pin out, letting her hair fall. They both hold hands and run in the rain with Hareem. As they play in the rain, flashbacks happen of the time Asher saw how an excited Khirad danced in the rain four years earlier, implying their love for each back then was happening again. They laugh and smile, holding hands and running as a happy family. In the novel, the author quotes love as saying, "Every passion in the world dies, but not me [love]. Allah made me for eternity..."
Mahira Khan portrays Khirad Ehsan, a lower-middle class girl and the main protagonist of the series. She is Ashar's paternal first cousin and wife. Her character grows from the submissive, quiet, and soft-spoken Asher's wife to the strong, fearless Hareem's mother. Initially, she was not happy with her marriage to Asher but she later fell in love with him. In addition, her uncle's caring nature toward his niece created a jealousy in Khirad's mother-in-law that eventually tore her apart from Asher. Fawad Afzal Khan portrays Ashar Hussain, an upper-class businessman who is forcibly married to his cousin, Khirad, but later falls deeply in love with her. He says Khirad is not just his only love but also his entire life and existence. Naveen Waqar portrays Sara Ajmal, a wealthy upper-class girl who is madly in love with Ashar. She is Ashar's maternal first cousin. She is one of the main antagonists of the series and plots to break the Khirad-Asher marriage apart. She continuously asserts that she will never love anyone or marry anyone other than Asher. Described as a very impulsive character, Sara is willing to go to any length to get Asher . Atiqa Odho portrays Farida Hussain, Asher's mother, and Khirad's mother-in-law. She is Sara's maternal aunt. She was firmly against Asher's forced marriage to Khirad, but her husband, Basirat, threatens to divorce her and throw her out of the house if she comes in between the two. He says, "This is my house. I decide who lives here." This preference of his niece over his own wife turns Farida into a jealous villain with a strong hatred toward Khirad, and when Basirat later passes, she says to herself, "Now we'll see, Basirat, who exactly gets to live in this house." As she throws Khirad out of the house in the middle of the night, she repeats what Basirat said to her earlier: "This is my house. I decide who lives here." Sara Kashif portrays Hareem Hussain, the 4-year old daughter of Khirad and Asher. She was born prematurely after Khirad was thrown out of the Hussain house. Asher didn't know of her existence until over four years after she was born. She was born with congenital heart disease and requires open heart surgery. She always knew what her father looked like due to a necklace her mother carried around that contained Asher's picture. Khirad would speak highly of Asher so that Hareem wouldn't think negatively of her father. Noor Hasan portrays Khizar Alam, Sara's paternal cousin who is madly in love with Sara and longs to study in America to reach her standards. He is paid a handsome sum of money by Farida to give the impression he's having an affair with Khirad in order to break Khirad and Asher apart. In addition, Sara, who plays along with Farida's plan, falsely promises to marry him once he returns from America, hoping that by the time he does, she'll be married to Asher. Behroze Sabzwari portrays Baseerat Hussain, Asher's father, and Khirad's maternal uncle. He is very wealthy while his sister, Khirad's mother, lives a lower-middle class life. He rarely checked up on his sister, but when she was diagnosed with deadly cancer, he was torn with guilt. He loved his niece tremendously and instructed Asher to always love her and forgive her because of her innocent nature.
Main Cast Mahira Khan as Khirad Ihsan (protagonist) Fawad Afzal Khan as Asher Hussain Naveen Waqar as Sara Ajmal (antagonist) Atiqa Odho as Farida Hussain Other Credited Cast Behroze Sabzwari as Baseerat Hussain Hina Khawaja Bayat as Zareena Ajmal Noor Hasan as Khizar Alam Qaiser Naqvi as Batool Bano Sara Kashif as Hareem Hussain Aalia A. Zaida Batool Hadi Shazia Khan Mohsin Ali Sundus Khan Manoj Zaheer Haider Saima Nisha Faizan
The theme song Woh Humsafar Tha was composed by Waqar Ali and sung by Qurat-ul-Ain Balouch. It was written by Naseer Turabi in 1971 after the fall of DHAKA. The lines of the song are frequently used during the course of the show. In certain parts of the show, a track from Dexter, "Blood Theme" composed by Daniel Licht is played. However, this is not credited in the ending credits.
The drama has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics. Many hail it as the revival of Pakistani Television, whereas others have alleged the show has a negative portrayal of women and their roles in society. Overall, however, the series has gained a very large audience internationally. The Humsafar page on Facebook reveals thousands of European and North American fans and viewers, with many saying they've never watched a Pakistani drama but are completely hooked on Humsafar. Many have praised the acting, particularly the roles Fawad Afzal Khan and Mahira Khan, as being outstanding with regards to character growth and emotion. Naveen Waqar, who plays Sara, has gained instant success despite this being her acting debut. In addition, it has become the most watched drama in Pakistani media history.
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