STORY: Şehrazat Evliyaoğlu, a talented architect who works in Binyapı, a construction company owned by Onur Aksal and Kerem İnceoğlu. She is the mother of a five-year old boy who suffers from leukemia and needs an urgent and very expensive surgery.
Onur Aksal is a successful businessman and Şehrazat desperately tries to find ways to borrow the money she needs for her son’s very costly surgery, a bone marrow transplant. Only her boss Onur, who is secretly attracted to her, is willing to give her the money on condition that she spends one night with him.
Will she accept the offer and how far will she go to save her son’s life? That and many more questions are asked and answered in this riveting love story.
REVIEW: Here in the USA we had “Dynasty” and “Dallas”, but I think this serial was far better than both of those combined. One of my friends knows how much I love to read Romance Novels, so she sent me a link to this Turkish Serial. At this point, I wish she hadn’t. I literally spent a week glued to the Computer screen. This show is made of 90, one and a half hour episodes that spans 3 seasons. Now you do the math! You know how we sometimes do the most stupid things in our life, but are not sure why? That’s me and this show. I got hooked into it so easily.
I mean, this whole show revolves around these two trying to come to terms with a conscious decision they both made to spend one night together. To some, this might not be a problem. I mean we have entered a 21st Century for Heaven’s sake! It’s a one night stand with a rich dude, hopefully a great lover, and plus you get the money to save your kid! Get over it! Oh, and let’s not forget, the rich dude falls in love with you! Can this be any easier? Apparently not as we get to see how hard it is for both of these characters to come to terms with it. To better understand them we slowly get to know both through their family and friends as well as the way they interact with each other.
Scheherazade is a twenty-six year old widow, successful architect, and a mother of a five-year old boy. In order for us to understand this complex woman and why she does things, we need to know that at 12 years of age she loses her mother, at 19 her father and at 24 her husband whom she married against his family’s wishes. To make things even worse, shortly after her husband dies, she finds out that her son might die as he’s diagnosed with Leukemia. Life has not been kind to this woman, and in order for her to cope with everyday life, she pours all her love and attention to her son.
Scenes between the son and the mother are just heartbreaking. I found myself shedding a lot of tears while watching those and plenty of others as well. Also,
we get to understand the reasons behind decision to keep the existence of her son a secret from her superiors. It was an unwritten rule for many companies to pass on hiring women with children in a misguided notion that such employees would devote less time to their work. It was a very common thing in the work environment and she could not risk it. The first time we meet her, she’s late for work and the reason was because she was with her son. Onur, her boss, was not a pleased man and tried to embarrass her in front of her coworkers, even though she was the one to win the bid of their project in Dubai.
Through all three seasons we watch her make her decisions on a lot of issues, based on her past. She just could not bring herself to trust anyone but herself. After the Black Night, as she’d begun to call the night that she sold herself to Onur, she thought herself a whore. She used that excuse to push him away on many occasions even though she fell in love with him.
And then we meet Onur. What a piece of work our hero turned out to be. It’s been awhile since we met such a complex human specimen. He’s ALL THAT, and more! In his mid thirties, Onur has lived a charmed life, or we think it at the start of the story. We do get to learn a lot about him through his mother, his best friend Karem and various other professional people he gets in contact with. He also lost his father when he was 12 and the way that his father passed shows us a bit about why he doesn’t trust women. His mother adores him and has always been possessive of him and his time. His friend seems always in a competition with him on both professional and personal front. They both fall for Scheherazade and neither is willing to admit the fact, at the beginning.
However, after Onur spends that night with her, he knows that there’s no going back. He knows that he loves her, that the desire he feels for her is not just a passing fancy and that now he must work very hard to show her that love, so he starts courting her. Down the line we finally find out the reason for his jealousy and trust issues in women. Apparently, he caught his betrothed with another man in his bed, in his house, a week before the wedding. From that point on, women were not to be trusted and not to be loved, just used. Until he met Scheherazade.
Through three seasons of this show, we follow their love as it progresses from one night stand into an epic tale of love, betrayal and heartache. We also meet her In-Laws, his Mother, their best friends and their families, coworkers and we get to see many, many scenes of Istanbul and Turkey that I never thought I’d ever see. What a wonderful background Istanbul made!
Kudos to casting directors for casting the parts of Onur and Scheherazade with Halit Ergenç and Bergüzar Korel who I found out married in the second season. Tardu Flordun and Ceyda Düvenci were wonderful as Kerem and Bennu. There are many secondary characters that were so much the part of the story that we loved to hate some, and others just loved. I have to also give credit to the director Kudret Sabanci who was just amazing. Here are just a few scenes that I’ll never forget:
The scene in which they enter a hotel room on that night is one of the sexiest I’ve ever seen, and we don’t even see them in bed! She enters behind him and as he takes the drink, she just stands still with her head lowered, her eyes glued to the floor. He puts the drink down, walks up to her hardly looking at her, and slowly, ever so slowly he raises his hands and takes her shawl off to reveal the black dress she’s wearing. Again ever so slowly he reaches to the back of her head and slides the pony tail band and reverently touches her hair. WOW! Besides feeling the sexual tension between them, we could feel the shame and the desire.
The scene in which Onur proposes marriage to her takes place in a very posh, upscale restaurant that he bought out for the evening and had it decorated all in white, with soft lighting and a classical three-piece orchestra playing in the background. He knows that she’s skittish and so the approach he takes is that of honesty as he says this:
“You know better than I the story of Shah Sheharyar where he says ‘Friend, do not trust women’ . It takes Scheherazade Thousand and One Night to tell Shah Sheharyar her stories and at the end she saves herself as well as all the women. Together we spent one night, but that one night is for me longer than thousand and one. Scheherazade, I know if I spent thousand and one nights on my knees and begged your forgiveness, I would never atone for it in my heart. Every night that I’m alone I think of only one thing: How can I erase that night from your memory. Will You Marry Me? Please, do not hurry with your answer. I am afraid that it would be No. In order to get the answer that my heart wants to hear, I will be patient. For you to say Yes, I will wait thousand and One Night because I love you. I have never said those words with fire that burns within my heart. You have entered my soul, I feel you all around me, and you are the very breath I take. I wondered for a while what gift of my affection I can offer to you. No precious jewels could ever show you how much I love you, how much I suffer for the deep hurt I brought you, and how sorry I am for hurting you. You deserve the best that this world can offer. Everything. So I gift you with a piece of my childhood.”
With that he takes out of his pocket a small warned out toy of a horse and slowly pushes it toward her. She looks at it for a while and you can see it in her eyes that she’s battling herself as to what she should do and say. She never takes the horse, but tells him that she thinks it’s too soon, she needs time and to his relief she does not say No.
Every scene, and there are many, in which Onur reads the “Thousand and One Night” is a gift to us. I’ll be hearing his voice in my dreams, and seeing him ride his horse, Shah Sheharyar. It is the most impressive and soothing voice I’ve heard in a long time. The music played a major role in this series. It was beautiful and very haunting.
There’s also a scene where he just about had enough with her running away from him, so he arranges to have a business meeting where her presence is important, so after the meeting she can’t start her jeep and he offers her a ride and she acceppts. In the car they have a minor disagreement, and he abruptly stops the car and forces her to get out of it, then proceeds to drag her into the forest and pours his heart out, YET AGAIN!
“You’re right, Scheherazade. Totaly!I will NEVER forget that night! Every time I look at you, I remember the night I fell in love with you! That night brought me one more thing, and that is a lifetime of jealousy! Towards Everyone! That wil NEVER change!If ever we get back together, we WILL fight over it! Not because I don’t trust you, but because I don’t think I deserve you! I’ll be always scared to lose you! That is WHO I am! I am a man who NEVER trusted women before that night. I am a man changed by love from that night! If you can tell me you don’t love that man, then take the car keys and go!”
She does not take the keys and they stand there in the pouring rain in the middle of the forest and kiss!
The scene at the end of the series, where Scheherazade is set to wed another, and is asked the question “Will you….” And she just sits there so quiet, so afraid that once she answers it, it would be too late. You can feel her doubts…and then HE walks in, saying nothing, just solemnly looking straight at her, making her turn and then we all see what she sees. Onur, flanked on both sides and holding hands with their children, little Kaan (her son) and Lilliput (his daughter who finds him after nine years).
These are only a handful of scenes that have made a lasting impression on me, but there are too many to go into, least of all THE scene in which she asks him for money and he makes her an offer she really had no choice but to take. These actors were chosen so well and did an outstanding job in conveying to us the pain they both were in, the love, the desire, the chemistry was undeniable.
BRAVO! Bravo to all. Even though this was a love story of Onur and Scheherazade, we know it took a “village” to bring us this story and we know this was an ensemble show. As far as I know it was aired in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Kuwait, Greece, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia. I watched it with Serbian Subtitles and I tried to find out if it was available in English, but could not find it.
Binbir Gece (“Thousand and one nights“) is a Turkish television series starring: Halit Ergenç, Bergüzar Korel, Tardu Flordun and Ceyda Düvenci; Director: Kudret Sabanci; Screen Writer: Mehmet Bilal, Murat Lutfu, Yildiz Tunc, Ethem Yekta; Episodes: 90; Broadcast Network: Kanal D; Broadcast Period: November 7, 2006 – May 12, 2009; Production Company: TMC Film. It won a 34th Golden Butterfly Awards for Best Actress (Berguzar Korel), Best Actor (Halit Ergenc) and Best Drama (Binbir Gece). To catch Berguzar Korel: Endless Song (Bitmeyen Sarki) or Halit Ergenc: Zerda (Zerda), Aliye (Aliye), Magnificient Century (Muhtesem Yuzyil).
Sample the music, the scenery of Istanbul, and the chemistry of Onur and Scheherazade:
Onur’s speach in the forest and THE KISS
Other External Links:
Official Site: http://www.binbirgecetmc.com/;
English Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binbir_Gece;