Mariam Khan makes for a good watch

Children-based shows are few and far between, on desi telly. Hence, we really like new Star Plus show, Mariam Khan Reporting Live.

It has all the ingredients of child innocence and banter. And must say that the makers (Majid Azam and Afaque Azam) have smartly not followed the Taare Zameen Par template. Mariam (Deshna Dugad) too has dyslexia, but is fun and cheerful. It would have been tough to always see her cry and wallow in the torture such kids often face at school.

The setting is nawabi Bhopal, and we love the mix of Urdu and Hindi, a perfect symbol of our syncretic cultures.

The opening scene, of Mariam not wanting to get up for school, is every child’s story and was dealt with lots of fun. The CG effects, shown on the milk or Mariam’s mom, take the children’s tale a notch higher.

Mariam’s abu, Majaaz Khan (Khalid Siddiqui), is an idealistic scribe, who faces the brunt for exposing the powers that be. And as it is said– when it rains it pours– so, besides having workroom woes, he is also facing legal challenges regarding Enemy Property Act.

He really loves his three daughters, Mariam being the youngest, and inspires her to also take up the pen on growing up. The scene where she talks about being a journo and yet unable to even pronounce the word was really hilarious.

Rukshar Rehman essays Mariam’s ammi, Madeeha Khan, with great élan. She is really worried about all her daughters’ welfare. The fact that the above fracas cost them the wedding of her eldest daughter is not lost on her and she reads her husband the riot act about choosing between family and press.

Mariam’s grand-dad, Aijaaz Khan (veteran actor, SM Zaheer) is the prototype of the old nawab. The scene when he and his old rival refuse to give way for hours was a funny take on the pehle aap pehle app nawabi tehzeeb.

He has lots of pain in his body, yet likes female attention. His reminder to Majeed, to be more adjusting in his world view, showed that the old man knows how the world operates, and is not completely lost in his Nawabi bubble.

Mariam has two adult appas (elder sisters), Meher (Sheena Bajaj) and Mahira (Priyanka Kandwal). She has more nok-jhoks with the middle sister. Both love Mariam, yet her tantrums do turn them off; most siblings will identify with this love-hate equation.

Their love lives will lead to lots of complications, as their boyfriends belong to families that have an axe to grind, either with their dad or with their grandpa.

Lubna Salim, aka Rifat, is not only the mother of Fawad, Mariam’s bete noire in class, but also of Zain, who Mariam’s elder sis, Meher, will have a thing with. Just how small our TV worlds are– her husband Wasim Ashraf is giving Mariam‘s dad lots of hassles as well. She does the vamp thing quite well.

The cycle-racetrack, when Mariam wants to come second, was interesting. She coveted the skateboard to be awarded to the runner-up. She cheats and ends up coming numero uno. But her father, in a bid to teach her that winning or losing does not matter but competing fairly does, makes her admit the truth.

Mariam’s gang has four other kids, with all acting very well. The scene, where she blackmails Fawad into doing her homework, brought a smile to our face. Also, the scene when the gang acts as Mariam’s make-believe camera team when she mock-interviews her sisters, goes on to show the immense attraction of mass media.

Since the show is being seen from Mariam’s perspective, hope the light-heartedness is retained even in the wake of TRP pulls and pressures. The biggest fear is that family drama will eventually overtake everything else.

The writing team headed by Saba Mumtaz has paid lots of attention to her dialogues; they often take us back to our childhood. Full marks to Deshna Dugad for having pulled off Mariam to the T so far.

There is just one question– since the show centers on Deshna, we wonder how she will be able to handle both school and shoot. We are well aware that lead characters require lot of blocked dates and that shoots go on for 12 hours at a stretch. We sincerely hope that her studies do not have to suffer as a result of excess workload.

Appreciating the efforts of the team of Mariam Khan, IWMBuzz.com credits the show 4 out of 5 stars.

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