The new Netflix series from Saudi Arabia, Tahir’s House, evokes many feelings, but one of them that stands out is that of familiality. The comedy series is haphazardly structured but ultimately turns out to be a lovable one. The story revolves around the Tahir family, which gets into trouble when, in order to save its store, it tries to do away with the fishing business and starts to trade in spices instead, especially trying to sell an herb that is known to remove ailments related to the male organ!
It’s not as whacky a comedy as the plotline might suggest it to be. The family dynamics are exaggerated only to a certain degree. It’s the interpersonal dynamics between the family members that create the necessary friction and make the comedy work. The characters are the heart of the series. Each one leaves a lasting impression. The Tahir house had its head in Jumaa, who had two kids, Youssef and Aziza. There was also Jumaa’s outspoken mother-in-law, who lived with the Tahirs after her daughter passed away. Apart from the immediate family, there was Karim, who was an orphan, but Jumaa was his father figure. Leen, the modern fashion designer, also plays her part in this story, and lastly, there is Aida, Youssef’s wife, whose brother comes into the plot at crucial points and adds mystery and comedy to the story.
Why Did Youssef Want To Stay Away From Jumaa’s Business?
Jumaa, like all traditional fathers, was a bit of an authoritarian. He wanted his son, Youssef, to stay in the fishing business and run the store after him. This is what an ideal son would have done. But Youssef was looking for ways to seek a job elsewhere, which is why he did an internship at a corporate company. He was certain he would get the job. He even told Karim about it, who was like a brother to him. It wasn’t as if Youssef hadn’t helped Jumaa at all. He had tried to slog his way through, but the fishing business wasn’t worth it. He couldn’t even stand the stench! So, the neat and clean corporate job was the way for him.
How Did ‘Habsa’ Change Everything In The Tahir Household?
Youssef was confident that he would get the job, but his performance was so poor that he wasn’t accepted into the company even after the internship. He couldn’t tell Aida about this, and it later proved to be an issue. She found out that he had lied about getting the job and stopped talking to him. Now Youssef had to either work with his father again or look for something else that would change his fortunes. Luckily, he got to know about a “Traditional Medicine Agency,” which was headed by Leen’s uncle. He learned about an herb named ‘Habsa’ that was known to improve virility and seemed to be deemed prohibited, but it wasn’t. It could only be sold by those who had the license to deal in it. Youssef thought that he could get Leen to get him an appointment with her uncle, where he would get the license. He planned to overhaul the fish store and change it into a store for selling spices, where he would also sell Habsa. But it isn’t that easy to convince Jumaa.
Leen had a crush on Karim, and Youssef asked him to help get the license. Meanwhile, Jumaa was not in the mood to change his store. Youssef tried various methods to get him to change his mind. He also contacted one of Jumaa’s old friends to convince him. Youssef didn’t want to reveal his plans for Habsa to anyone, but it seems like the news had to be spread to convince everyone about its profitability. He needed the capital investment to set up the shop, and the fish business just didn’t provide enough. Soon, there were several partners in this Habsa business. It was only when Jumaa tried Habsa for himself that he understood its potency. He decided to remarry his second wife, who had run away. Meanwhile, all the other members of the Tahir household dropped whatever was keeping them busy and plunged into growing Habsa in their guesthouse.
How Did Aida’s Brother, Faisal, Get Involved?
Faisal had a sour relationship with Aida, and he wanted to mend things. Youssef had tried to get monetary help from wherever he could. When expenses got out of hand, he had to reach out to Faisal, who was in the real estate business. Youssef got the money from him and, in turn, promised he would help mend relations between him and Aida. Well, that plan didn’t really work. Faisal passed up on Jumaa’s offer to buy the store after Youssef had begged him to back off, as he wanted to start his own business. Now, he was a little frustrated, as Aida was still not talking to him. Faisal had his own ideas of what to do when he learned that Youssef was going to sell Habsa. He brought in a distributor by the name of Sultan Al-Mallah, who would take the Tahirs’ homegrown Habsa and sell it in multiple stores, but he was a dangerous man with a plan of his own.
Did Youssef Get The License To Sell Habsa?
Getting the license was Karim’s department, as far as Youssef was concerned. In actuality, it was Leen’s responsibility. She had decided to partner up in this Habsa deal only to get close to Karim and get twenty thousand riyals upfront. Karim had to ensure that Leen did not back out and that she made Youssef’s appointment with her uncle at the Traditional Medicine Agency. When Karim was feeling low one day, he blurted that he never wanted to marry, and hearing this, Leen canceled Youssef’s appointment. She blamed Youssef and his family for harassing Karim to such a degree and never making him feel like a family member that he didn’t ever want to have one of his own. They made Leen understand that it was how Karim communicated, and he was definitely interested in marrying her. The appointment was set, and it looked like they would get their license in a month. Everything was set. Jumaa had strictly warned Sultan not to start selling the product before they got their license.
Everything depended on this license, and the Tahir household was in a celebratory mood. They thought that their new business was going to make them a lot of money. Apart from the professional stuff, the news of Aida’s pregnancy was another cause for celebration. Everything came to a standstill when they heard that the Traditional Medicine Agency was being dissolved and wouldn’t have any rights to give out licenses to sell Habsa. This all happened because of Leen’s viral video. She recorded Habsa’s harvest going on in the guest house, and it went live. They didn’t even have their license yet, and the video was proof that they were growing Habsa. The Tahir household wasn’t visible in the video, so they thought they were safe. As Leen was the niece of the agency’s president, the authorities must have decided to dissolve the whole agency, as the deal seemed to promote nepotism and the whole scandal reeked of corruption.
What could the Tahirs do? They burned the produce they had grown themselves after such hard work to avoid police inspection. The whole Habsa Project seemed futile, but it wasn’t. The attempt to start his own thing had made Youssef a little bit more responsible, and Jumaa was a little more assured that even after he was gone, Youssef was capable enough to look after the business. When they all sat down to discuss what to do next, Sultan arrived and gave them an offer ‘they couldn’t refuse.’ He offered them 200,000 riyals for a month’s supply. In return, the Tahirs would have to continue to grow Habsa, even though they didn’t have the license. If they refused, Sultan would upload a video he had gotten from Karim in which each and every member of the Tahir household could be seen growing Habsa, essentially incriminating them. Now, they had to do this illegal Habsa production for Sultan. The business they thought they were done with was not done with them!
Faisal is surely to blame. He got Sultan involved, and now the Tahir were in trouble. They had a tough decision on their hands. Whether to refuse and wait for Sultan’s tactics or to take the money and start working for Sultan, there was a risk either way. The likely possibility seems to be that they would take the offer and try to keep the Habsa production hidden from the world.