Aulaad makes for a compelling watch initially but loses its appeal as it progresses
Aulaad, on ARY, explores the relationship dynamics between parents and their children. Marina Khan and Mohammad Ahmed play an elderly couple who have three sons and two daughters. One of the daughters is a special child and is the apple of her parents’ eye. Some of the issues raised in this series are true to life, such as the dynamics of a joint family system. The story starts on a promising note, with the eldest son moving his family out of the joint-family home, at the end of the first episode to provide a more secure future for them. He is also resentful at being forced to bear the lion’s share of the household expenses.
The joint family system has been prevalent in Pakistan for a long time. Nowadays, with the cost of living rising, it is often preferred due to financial limitations. However, the combined family setup also has its share of problems. As more people are added to the family equation, the dynamics change. An important lesson in this show is that parents should always remain financially independent and never hand over everything to their children in their lifetime.
Parenting is like walking a tightrope and both the actors who played the role of the parents managed to portray their helplessness and vulnerability effectively. Their youngest son is besotted with one of his cousins, but she only agrees to marry him if his parents legally transfer the ancestral home, in which they all live, to her. Obviously, the parents disagree but when their son attempts suicide, they are compelled to acquiesce. This triggers a chain of events when the other brothers discover the facts. The plot becomes quite predictable at this point and the viewer can imagine the full extent of the miseries in the offing.
The other son demands his father’s provident fund in compensation. Initially, the narrative keeps the viewer engaged but then the misery and the melodrama become too much to digest and it begins to lose its appeal. Although one cannot help but rebuke the father for allowing himself to be emotionally blackmailed by his children, one can also relate to how helpless parents feel at times. If the story had relied less on melodrama and had attempted to take a more objective view of the situation, it could have had greater impact.
The picture presented is however, heavily biased in favour of the parents and the sons, despite their redeeming qualities that are fleetingly mentioned, seem to be a source of great stress and worry for their parents. A hard dose of the bitter realities of life is thrown into the plot with commendable acting by all the actors. Aulaad makes for a compelling watch initially but loses its appeal as it progresses. Moving the special sister to a mental institution at the behest of her sister-in-law and her mother is too much to absorb. The manipulation of the entire family by the youngest daughter-in-law, who is egged on by her mother, makes the show very predictable and monotonous. Shows like Raqeeb Say and Dil Na Umeed to Nahin are like a breath of fresh air because they refuse to be unoriginal and raise relevant issues. The style is also novel, and viewers are spared the run-of-the-mill melodrama.
A marriage without children is quite unfathomable in our part of the world, as it is an extremely family oriented society. However, sometimes in an effort to protect children from the consequences of their actions, their parents don’t allow them to mature and make their own decisions. Manipulation is a two way street and most children have a love-hate relationship with their parents as they grow older. Like all relationships, it is extremely complicated and Aulaad takes a very myopic view of the many facets of the parent-child dynamic. Parents are only humans and to err is human. They should be seen as fallible. It is problematic to put them on a pedestal and expect them to act fairly in every situation.
The writer is an educationist and can be reached at [email protected]