TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Sang-e-Mah – Episode XXV (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 25 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saife Hassan and written by Mustafa Afridi. Sang-e-Mah is the spiritual continuation of the saga introduced in the Hum TV drama Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016). Sang-e-Mah is the acting debut of the famous Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam and the drama is a Momina Duraid Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saife Hassan
  • Written by Mustafa Afridi
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

The drama Sang-e-Mah serves as a spiritual sequel to the show Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016) with Noman Ejaz, Sania Saeed and many others returning to the same cast and crew. The drama deals with life in the Pakhtoon region of Pakistan and explores such hard hitting topics like forced marriages and integral family relationships. According to the director, Sang-e-Mah serves under similar themes as its predecessor, in a three part trilogy, ending it with the next planned show, Sang-e-Siyah.

 + Main Cast

  1. Atif Aslam as Hilmand Khan
  2. Nauman Ijaz as Haji Marjaan Khan
  3. Kubra Khan as Sheherzaad
  4. Hania Amir as Gul Meena
  5. Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz as Hikmat Khan
  6. Sania Saeed as Zarghuna
  7. Samiya Mumtaz as Zarsanga
  8. Omair Rana as Mastaan Singh
  9. Najiba Faiz as Harshaali Kaur
  10. Hassan Noman as Badam Gul

+ Plot

Sang-e-Mah is a story of a dysfunctional Pakhtoon family in the tribal regions of Pakistan where pride and honour mostly triumphs over empathy and forgiveness. The show deals with issues such as young love and opposing families who are engaged in a tribal battle with one another.

+ High Points

i – This was apparently the second last episode of Sang-e-Mah and from the looks of it, this is probably the right time to end the show. While nothing spectacular, the episode did have some worthy highlights such as the passing of the torch from father to son, a heartfelt moment between the sisters of Laspiran and a great cliffhanger to end it. 

ii – This week’s episode showcased their female talent to the fullest and honestly, it was great. We got to see some final character building moments from every main cast member but as usual, Samiya Mumtaz was outstanding with her performance. We also had great interaction between mother and daughter as Jirga rages on upon their very existence. Regardless of its varying writing quality, character development has always been one of the key highlights of Sang-e-Mah

+ Low Points

i – It’s a shame that we did not get to see more of Masha’allah Khan as he is by far the best and most effective antagonist of the show. In this episode, he was completely sidelined till the last scene. Now I can understand why since there are only two episodes left and the show wants to solely focus on its main cast but whether that’s a criticism or a compliment, Masha’allah Khan seems to be much more vigilant and interesting than most of the characters that we got to witness since the beginning of the show.

ii – I don’t like Atif Aslam in this show. His performance is mono-tone, his obnoxious, pseudo philosophical dialogues are ridiculous and clearly, he lacks the talent to pull such a pivotal character off. And he was insufferable this week as well. When Sang-e-Mah concludes next week, I know what I won’t miss about this show…

+ Overall

Episode 25 did manage to do one pivotal thing right, it will make you excited for the next week’s show finale.

Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Fraud – Episode VII (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 7 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – Episode 7 brought nothing new to the table. At least not the first half. The second half was much more eventful as we got to witness the follow up to Tabriaz’s betrayal and their upcoming next victim. The subplot with Mikaal Zulfiqar finally seems to converge with the main storyline so that’s some good news. While nothing out of the ordinary, Episode 7 tried to build further upon their plot and introduce new characters into the mix. The writing was unfortunately not on par with their previous few episodes but only time will tell how the quality of the show will develop in the next coming weeks.

ii – Initially, it was fun to see Tabriaz and his “mother” revealing their true personas and even though their portrayals were too over the top for my liking, it did somewhat bring a new dimension to the ongoing storyline. With the next coming episodes, the show can really have fun with these characters and switch back and forth with their “in-character” personas and the real devious ones.

iii – It is commendable the fact that Fraud shows the aftermath of such a situation where the entire neighborhood continues to ask ridiculous questions and further rub salt on the family’s wounds. Most of the society out there is solely interested in gossip and undeniable entertainment it brings to their dull, daily lives. That (unfortunately) is the true face of most societies around the world.

+ Low Points

i – I have some serious fear that this show will inevitably dip in quality once the pivotal moment of the show (i.e. the fraud case) has been revealed. Will this show keep the consistency of its quality writing in the coming weeks and months? It’s hard to judge at the moment but episode 7 clearly felt down a notch compared to its previous episodes. Can this show keep its storyline interesting? This is a vital question as a show being a one trick pony isn’t good enough to make it a modern classic.

ii – The acting in this week’s episode was very hit or miss. The “miss” particularly came from the Tabriaz’s family as Annie Zaidi and Ahsan Khan’s portrayal seem so ridiculous that I had to chuckle at times during the entire scene. Eating a watermelon with a knife instead of a fork? Ohhh that’s so tough! Tabraiz with a soft sweater around his shoulders during the hot season of Punjab? Is this supposed to be taken seriously? What were the show runners thinking?

iii – Way too many tragic, self pity scenes. I realize that Maya just went through a traumatic experience but I am guessing that a few months have passed and she is still wallowing in despair? As a viewer, I’m more interested in how she is dealing with her daily life like going out for groceries or perhaps finding a part time teaching job to move on with her life. Does she have nothing else to do than lie in bed and pity herself? 

+ Overall

A mediocre episode but could lead into much more interesting situations in the next coming weeks.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Sang-e-Mah – Episode XXIV (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 24 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saife Hassan and written by Mustafa Afridi. Sang-e-Mah is the spiritual continuation of the saga introduced in the Hum TV drama Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016). Sang-e-Mah is the acting debut of the famous Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam and the drama is a Momina Duraid Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saife Hassan
  • Written by Mustafa Afridi
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

The drama Sang-e-Mah serves as a spiritual sequel to the show Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016) with Noman Ejaz, Sania Saeed and many others returning to the same cast and crew. The drama deals with life in the Pakhtoon region of Pakistan and explores such hard hitting topics like forced marriages and integral family relationships. According to the director, Sang-e-Mah serves under similar themes as its predecessor, in a three part trilogy, ending it with the next planned show, Sang-e-Siyah.

 + Main Cast

  1. Atif Aslam as Hilmand Khan
  2. Nauman Ijaz as Haji Marjaan Khan
  3. Kubra Khan as Sheherzaad
  4. Hania Amir as Gul Meena
  5. Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz as Hikmat Khan
  6. Sania Saeed as Zarghuna
  7. Samiya Mumtaz as Zarsanga
  8. Omair Rana as Mastaan Singh
  9. Najiba Faiz as Harshaali Kaur
  10. Hassan Noman as Badam Gul

+ Plot

Sang-e-Mah is a story of a dysfunctional Pakhtoon family in the tribal regions of Pakistan where pride and honour mostly triumphs over empathy and forgiveness. The show deals with issues such as young love and opposing families who are engaged in a tribal battle with one another.

+ High Points

i – Episode 24 continued on with the Marjaan/ Hilmand storyline but this time, we have a new antagonist; Masha’allah Khan (aka the grandfather of Hilmand). And I have to say, the authenticity of this character is what was sorely missing from this show this entire time! The character looks and feels like a genuine Pashtoon. His mannerisms and dialectic bring a great sense of credibility to the show and plus, the performance is outstanding. His threats feel like a game changer, someone who can single handedly disrupt the life of Marjaan Khan. Normally I am not a fan of introducing new characters so late into the show’s run but this seems like a clear exception. Masha’allah Khan has breathed a new life into this show and I am all for it.

ii – The broken dua scene between Awwal Khan and Sherherzad was charming and brought some levity to the show. While not exactly comedic, the scene worked fantastically in bringing a sense of hope in times of utter despair.

iii – Hilmand’s character has been written with great level of detail and attention in this episode as his sense of good/evil is shattered forever. His biological father turned out to be aggressor while his angelic mother was revealed to be the murderer. It’s brilliant that we get to see Hilmand not only question himself but also visit his family roots to find out the truth. Perhaps lesser shows would have left the story at the revelation but I’m all for exploring Hilmand’s character further to bring some depth into his psyche.

+ Low Points

i – It does seem odd that since the past 10 episodes, Hikmat has almost vanished from the picture. He  started off as one of the key characters to the show and is now being relegated to silently standing in the background. 

ii – With the episode’s conclusion, it seems like we are going to have a build up to yet another “Jirga” scene. Although this is the ‘legal’ way to handle situations in the villages of North Waziristan, we as an audience just went through that. It just makes the upcoming episodes seem a bit less exciting but the writer has a twist in the story planned, then I could be all for it.

+ Overall

Even with a satisfying conclusion to the main plot of the show, Sang-e-Mah still found a viable way to continue the show with a brand new antagonist.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Fraud – Episode VI (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 6 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – Although nowhere near as eventful as the previous episode, the creative team still did a great job in presenting the aftermath. The Nisar family seems utterly destroyed by now (morally and financially). They are now seen licking their wounds and scraping by with whatever help they can get. The past moments are set on repetition as Maya still has hard time contemplating these recent series of events. For the most part, the show has presented a pretty accurate portrayal of how the situation would play out in the real world and hope they keep it this way.

ii – Saba Qamar’s performance was exceptional in this episode. And it is not due to her emotional bursts but rather, her genuine emotions hidden behind her line of dialogues. Maya has been a victim of an evil act, her body and soul have been abused for financial gain and there is absolutely nothing she can do about it. I’m curious to see where her character will end up now but hopefully, this recent occurrence has smarted up now when it comes to blind trust in others.

iii – I also appreciated the scene where Maya’s sister told off her neighbors and relatives as their “sympathy” was nothing more than a disguised gossip update. Sadly, this factor is incredibly prevalent in most societies in the world (especially South Asian). I’m glad that the show had the guts to address it.

+ Low Points

i – I have genuinely zero interest in Shaan’s subplot. Although it is obviously going to play a major role in Maya’s current situation, everything about this subplot has been a total misfire. From acting to writing, nothing feels authentic or natural about it. This subplot almost feels like a different show compared to the main plot. I can’t help but admit that whenever this subplot is on, my mind automatically wanders off to what daily chores I have to accomplish that day and It’s still more entertaining than this.

ii – Fraud needs to tone down on the dramatic music as it doesn’t help the show in any way. When you have good writing and performances accompanying you, let them play out more. Instead of building more emotion through overbearing music, it only ends up detracting genuine emotion from the scene.

+ Overall

Not as eventful but still an entertaining episode with great performances all-around.

Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Sang-e-Mah – Episode XXIII (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 23 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saife Hassan and written by Mustafa Afridi. Sang-e-Mah is the spiritual continuation of the saga introduced in the Hum TV drama Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016). Sang-e-Mah is the acting debut of the famous Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam and the drama is a Momina Duraid Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saife Hassan
  • Written by Mustafa Afridi
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

The drama Sang-e-Mah serves as a spiritual sequel to the show Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016) with Noman Ejaz, Sania Saeed and many others returning to the same cast and crew. The drama deals with life in the Pakhtoon region of Pakistan and explores such hard hitting topics like forced marriages and integral family relationships. According to the director, Sang-e-Mah serves under similar themes as its predecessor, in a three part trilogy, ending it with the next planned show, Sang-e-Siyah.

 + Main Cast

  1. Atif Aslam as Hilmand Khan
  2. Nauman Ijaz as Haji Marjaan Khan
  3. Kubra Khan as Sheherzaad
  4. Hania Amir as Gul Meena
  5. Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz as Hikmat Khan
  6. Sania Saeed as Zarghuna
  7. Samiya Mumtaz as Zarsanga
  8. Omair Rana as Mastaan Singh
  9. Najiba Faiz as Harshaali Kaur
  10. Hassan Noman as Badam Gul

+ Plot

Sang-e-Mah is a story of a dysfunctional Pakhtoon family in the tribal regions of Pakistan where pride and honour mostly triumphs over empathy and forgiveness. The show deals with issues such as young love and opposing families who are engaged in a tribal battle with one another.

+ High Points

i – A great opening for the episode. A BIG revelation that undoubtedly changed the dynamics of the show. And it was all executed with certain precision by the writer Mustafa Afridi. We got to see some great performances by Samiya Mumtaz and Nauman Ijaz who share such a special bond and are arguably the best thing about the show. All-around, a good episode.

SPOILERS AHEAD! If you would like to avoid it, please skip to the Overall section below:

ii – There were many heartfelt moments throughout episode 23; namely the Marjaan/ Zarsanga and the touching moment between the two sisters; Zarsanga and Zarghuna. The dialogue was great, especially the part where Zarsanga asks if she still stands by her even after she admitted to murdering her previous husband. To which Zarghuna replies that she would not even be next to her if she didn’t. This back and forth between the two sisters spoke volumes about their relationship without overwhelming their audience with too many exposition scenes. Great moment in the episode.

iii – This episode most probably concluded Mastaan Singh’s story arc. In one of the most unusual ways, Mastaan found a chance to redeem himself from his past evils, marry the love of his life and finally move on. Although there are still some glaring question marks left on how his actions were handled by the show, I am at least certain that the character suffered enough to finally reach the destination that he most likely deserves.

+ Low Points

i – Episode 23 was good but it did have its share of problems. Why in the world is murder or attempted murder not taken seriously in this show!? Zarsanga walked in the Jirga and openly admitted to murdering her previous husband. And…. nothing happens. It’s utterly ridiculous. This makes the audience feel like there are in fact, no consequences to anyone’s actions. Regardless that the crime took place 30 odd years ago, it was still murder. The elders of the village are the most useless, spineless characters that I have ever come across. But I guess nothing matters anymore. Just attempt to kill whoever crossed your path and you won’t even get a slap on the wrist. I sincerely hope that I am proven wrong in the next episodes where Zarsanga is placed under arrest or something because this is all just ludicrous. 

ii – This episode was supposed to be the big pivotal point (earth shattering if you will) in Hilmand’s life and unfortunately, Atif Aslam’s performance was not up to the mark. The only default emotion he can display is scroun and wallowing into his self pity. 

iii – So the big climatic scene has happened. And I am now a bit perplexed where the show will go from here. I guess Hilmand can finally make up with his step dad but the end of the episode indicated that there is somehow more to come. And honestly, this might be the opportunity that Sang-e-Mah should end on a high note and not drag on its already concluded storyline.

+ Overall

Episode 23 had some good emotional moments but certain storyline inconsistencies bring this episode down a notch or two.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Fraud – Episode V (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 5 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – Well, the show has finally delivered what it promised. Nisar sahib’s family has been duped, their savings and family jewelry stolen and their confidence in humanity permanently shattered. Episode 5 details each and every scene as the father/ daughter duo try to wrap their heads around what just happened to them. What I particularly enjoyed about the episode was that the show actually brought up all the questions that the viewers might have regarding this “sting” operation; the family factory, the fancy house, the wedding guests but most importantly, why a so-called “upper middle class” family was targeted instead of a much wealthier family . Whether the explanations were plausible is not very likely but nevertheless, it was greatly appreciated that the show did address all the possible questions that the viewers might have. It also was a very uncanny feeling for Maya to return back “home” and discover that she was living a lie this entire time. The scene where she enters her “husband’s” house and it’s instead a movie set had eerie vibes all over it! 

The main plot of the show is unique for Pakistani television and it already separates this show from the rest.

ii – The whole construction of certain scenes for Maya, reminiscent of her “husband’s” sweet and caring words to the bitter reality, were brilliantly executed. The switching from past to present was a creative editing technique that addressed the startling realization to its maximum effect. I also loved the steadicam shot as Maya went around the house, checking each and every room, only to realize that her reality is now completely shattered right in front of her. Good stuff!

iii – A fine way to conclude an episode as next week will definitely be must-see-TV!

+ Low Points

i – Fraud already had a great premise and it was beautifully executed in Episode 5. But of course, this whole “fraud” operation is not entirely plausible. Surely, Nisar and his family would have already gotten suspicious to see the groom’s side of the family in incredibly short numbers at the wedding. This isn’t a western wedding, it’s an Asian one where all the grandpas, grandkids, distant third generation cousins attend it. Were all the guests paid actors? Were they extras in a TV show? Were they also involved in this sting operation or were they just promised free food? To pull this entire operation off without a hitch, it must have cost Tabriz and his “partners in crime” large sums of cash, connections and time. Surely it’s not a single group operation. Renting a house for days/ months for a “TV shoot” is also not cheap, including the wedding expenses, the extras, was it all worth it for the family jewels of an upper middle class family? Was that all profitable in the end? 

There are way too many grounded questions that cannot justify this whole operation but the show did at least attempt to answer these vital questions.

ii – The police inspector’s performance did feel very hokey and unrealistic. It was almost as if his family got victimized in this fraud operation. His performance should have been more along the lines of “Yep, its those same con artists and y’all got duped!”. More laid back as he has already seen this happen eight times now!

iii – I wish this show was not named “Fraud” but some other generic title. Could you imagine if the first four episodes of the show were an unoriginal “Saas/ Bahoo” drama and the fifth episode brought this incredible twist that would have blown everyone’s minds and the show ends up being the talk of the town? With such a title, everyone anticipated the twist and did not have as much impact as this show could have had.

+ Overall

Undoubtedly the best episode of the show up till now. The twist was brilliantly executed and can’t wait to see how they will go on from here.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Sang-e-Mah – Episode XXII (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 22 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saife Hassan and written by Mustafa Afridi. Sang-e-Mah is the spiritual continuation of the saga introduced in the Hum TV drama Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016). Sang-e-Mah is the acting debut of the famous Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam and the drama is a Momina Duraid Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saife Hassan
  • Written by Mustafa Afridi
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

The drama Sang-e-Mah serves as a spiritual sequel to the show Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016) with Noman Ejaz, Sania Saeed and many others returning to the same cast and crew. The drama deals with life in the Pakhtoon region of Pakistan and explores such hard hitting topics like forced marriages and integral family relationships. According to the director, Sang-e-Mah serves under similar themes as its predecessor, in a three part trilogy, ending it with the next planned show, Sang-e-Siyah.

 + Main Cast

  1. Atif Aslam as Hilmand Khan
  2. Nauman Ijaz as Haji Marjaan Khan
  3. Kubra Khan as Sheherzaad
  4. Hania Amir as Gul Meena
  5. Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz as Hikmat Khan
  6. Sania Saeed as Zarghuna
  7. Samiya Mumtaz as Zarsanga
  8. Omair Rana as Mastaan Singh
  9. Najiba Faiz as Harshaali Kaur
  10. Hassan Noman as Badam Gul

+ Plot

Sang-e-Mah is a story of a dysfunctional Pakhtoon family in the tribal regions of Pakistan where pride and honour mostly triumphs over empathy and forgiveness. The show deals with issues such as young love and opposing families who are engaged in a tribal battle with one another.

+ High Points

i – This week Sang-e-Mah provided yet another great episode. The scenes flowed well with one another, leading up to the Jirga and of course, the trial itself had some twists hiding within the proceedings. All the cast members played their parts well, there was a lot of emotion involved within each and every scene. I also loved the contrast between the two scenes; the Jirga and the bride waiting for her groom to return safely so they can finally tie the knot. All in all, this show has been in the best of forms since the past four to five weeks and it’s just great, engaging television. 

ii – Atif Aslam was great in this episode. His stern demeanor, threatening voice accompanied by unhealthy obsession with revenge was perfectly utilized by this episode. Although Hilmand is a very one note character, his stronger assets can be cleverly utilized for the main plot of the show for some heightened dramatization of events. 

iii – The Jirga scene was undoubtedly some of the best, well directed/ acted scenes in the show’s history. The accusations back and forth along with some false confessions brought a fantastic level of excitement and made the climax well worth the wait. Mustafa Afridi wrote that scene to near perfection and the show will definitely be remembered by it long after the show has concluded.

iv – With all that said, the Jirga has still not reached its conclusion as the cliffhanger suggests that there still might be some surprise witnesses left unattended. Can’t wait for next week!

+ Low Points

i – A minor complaint but I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that Mastaan Singh’s fiance seems unphased with his confession that he in fact did try to murder yet again. Is this normal? Although I understand that she is madly in love with him so she refuses to see his massive character flaws but doesn’t that even scare her off just a bit? Or even reconsider if she even wants to marry a man who already took a person’s life and now he attempted to replicate it again? This also doesn’t really replicate the Sikh community in a positive light as the “hot headed” Sikh stereotype remains prevalent with this show. 

+ Overall

Episode 22 promised a great payoff to the father/ son rivalry and it did not disappoint. Yet another fantastic episode!

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Fraud – Episode IV (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 4 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – Episode 4 was highly entertaining. The seeds of deceit were quietly planted in this and last week’s storyline. And now, we get to see them grow. Maya is now beginning to notice a pattern in Tarbiz’s family; she is being excluded from all important decisions or events. Her jewelry, the sudden death of “Zakir bhai”, all the devious plans are set up to (most probably) steal all the wealth of Maya’s maiden family. The performances from the main cast were also fantastic and sold this narrative well. I’m curious to see how this will all play out in the next coming weeks.

ii – I also appreciated the fact that Maya had a more integral role to play this episode. She is slowly waking up from her slumber and smelling the burnt coffee left on an open stove. Unlike previous episodes, this week brought a lot of character to Maya’s performance as we now get to unravel these mysterious events of the Tarbiz family with her. Maya is our gateway to this show and it is through her understanding that the plot of the show is slowly being revealed. And that is a great move by the creators of Fraud.

ii – Ahsan Khan’s portrayal as the deceitful Tabriaz is great and in episode 3, we get to see a lot more depth to his character as well. Obviously, Tarbiz and his whole family is in on this “Sting” operation. His dialogue delivery is charming but yet, riddled with lies and forgery. 

+ Low Points

i – In contrast to the engaging storytelling of the main plot, I HATE the subplot of Shaan and his untrustworthy mother and sister. The acting, the corny dialogues, the lack of conviction in its scenes, it is so poorly staged and performed that Shaan’s subplot clearly feels like another show altogether. I’m not clear as to how Fraud will combine the two stories together but up till now, it is just not working.

ii – Unfortunately, Fraud still seems to go overboard with its use of tragic music and flashy editing. Let the scenes breathe a bit! You don’t need a music transition every two seconds, dictating the audience how to feel at that particular moment. Sadly, almost all the Pakistani TV shows are now guilty of this “Chamak Dhamak” technique of storytelling. In my point of view, this technique only shows the lack of faith the producers have in their writing and acting as they (apparently) cannot evoke the emotion required in that particular scene.

+ Overall

An entertaining one this week. The plot thickens, the story unravels and the show has my attention.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Sang-e-Mah – Episode XXI (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 21 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saife Hassan and written by Mustafa Afridi. Sang-e-Mah is the spiritual continuation of the saga introduced in the Hum TV drama Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016). Sang-e-Mah is the acting debut of the famous Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam and the drama is a Momina Duraid Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saife Hassan
  • Written by Mustafa Afridi
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

The drama Sang-e-Mah serves as a spiritual sequel to the show Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016) with Noman Ejaz, Sania Saeed and many others returning to the same cast and crew. The drama deals with life in the Pakhtoon region of Pakistan and explores such hard hitting topics like forced marriages and integral family relationships. According to the director, Sang-e-Mah serves under similar themes as its predecessor, in a three part trilogy, ending it with the next planned show, Sang-e-Siyah.

 + Main Cast

  1. Atif Aslam as Hilmand Khan
  2. Nauman Ijaz as Haji Marjaan Khan
  3. Kubra Khan as Sheherzaad
  4. Hania Amir as Gul Meena
  5. Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz as Hikmat Khan
  6. Sania Saeed as Zarghuna
  7. Samiya Mumtaz as Zarsanga
  8. Omair Rana as Mastaan Singh
  9. Najiba Faiz as Harshaali Kaur
  10. Hassan Noman as Badam Gul

+ Plot

Sang-e-Mah is a story of a dysfunctional Pakhtoon family in the tribal regions of Pakistan where pride and honour mostly triumphs over empathy and forgiveness. The show deals with issues such as young love and opposing families who are engaged in a tribal battle with one another.

+ High Points

i – Episode 21 was heavily centered around Haji Marjaan Khan as we get to know his childhood through a flashback right up to the present day as he is on the brink of his own Jirga. Throughout the series, Marjaan has evolved into a more sympathetic character even though one might not agree with his past actions. Under the facade of a leader, lies a character who has genuine regrets and unfulfilled promises which haunt every single day of his existence. Sang-e-Mah has some underdeveloped characters (and some overdeveloped) but with each passing episode, Marjaan has truly shined not only through some impeccable writing but also great performance by Nauman Ijaz as he is, without a doubt, one of the finest actors in the business.

ii – And when it comes to Marjaan Khan, you cannot leave out Samiya Mumtaz’s heartfelt performance as Zarsanga. Her and Nauman Ijaz share some truly emotional scenes together. Without even uttering the words, one could see how much they love each other. The closing scene of episode 21 was undoubtedly the highlight of this week as we witness the two reminiscing about their past selves and how times have changed since then. As a viewer, I would now hate to see any harm done to either of these two characters but it is unfortunately inevitable. 

iii – For the most part, episode 21 had some great scenes and none felt time consuming or out of place. We get an emotional yet fun interaction between the two young lovers Gul Meena and Hikmat as they shed their indifferences and finally come together. On the other end of the spectrum, we witness Mastaan Singh confess his attempted murder to his fiance. Through fantastic writing and poignantly well crafted scenes, Sang-e-Mah has really elevated itself back on top to retain its position as one of the best shows currently out there.

iv – Great cliffhanger! I am now genuinely interested in how the Jirga proceedings will follow. Will Marjaan finally be pronounced guilty? We shall find out soon enough.

+ Low Points

i – Not much to complain about this time but one of my few big gripes with Sang-e-Mah has always been the portrayal of the elders of the village. They have been depicted as nobodies, a group who everyone in the village disobeys or talks back to. They seem to have no authority and yet, they are supposed to be the judge, jury and executioners of this village. Apart from that, the attempted murder case of Hilmand has been so quickly swept under the carpet as if it was a daily occurrence. This just goes to show that any major decision and event will always be met with no real consequences.

ii – The chemistry/ romance between Hilmand and Sherherzaad has been pretty much non-existent. They have shared some poorly written scenes, accompanied by lackluster performances. To put it simply, it was the complete opposite to Marjaan and Zarsanga. I guess this major flaw in the show cannot be rectified now as we are now soon reaching the conclusion of the show.

+ Overall

Another week, another great Sang-e-Mah episode. And with a tremendous cliffhanger, I am cautiously looking forward to how this could all end.

Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Fraud – Episode III (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 3 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – Episode 3, while displaying nothing new, was a competent one. No scene really stood out but nothing also felt out of place. Rishta gets settled, Maya gets married while Nael contemplates his life. It was a standard episode which promises to lead its viewers into the crux of the plot in the coming weeks. 

ii – Good performances from all the main cast. Fraud Episode 3 had almost the right amount of story and melodrama to keep its viewers glued onto their screens for the next coming episodes. Mehmood Aslam and Adnan Samad Khan in particular were very enigmatic each scene that they were a part of. On one hand, we see Nisar’s (Maya’s father) guilt as he cannot even look into Nael’s eyes as he is forced to be part of his love’s marriage to someone else. I’m glad that Nisar wasn’t just reduced to “I’m the evil father who has a superiority complex”. He genuinely feels guilty of destroying his nephew’s wishes but at the same time, believes he made the right decision. But Nael is there, perhaps secretly waiting for all this to blow up in Nisar’s face once he comes to terms with who Maya’s newly wedded husband really is. 

+ Low Points

i – Episode 3 was a necessary episode to move the plot along to bigger and more original storytelling but still, the writer could have really condensed the Rishta talk and marriage celebrations to a minimum as we have seen these scenes in practically every Pakistani drama by now. Focus more on characterization instead. How does Maya feel about all this? All we know is that she just approves everything her father does. Maybe she has to on surface level but what about behind the scenes, with her sister? I sincerely feel that there is so much underutilized potential that Fraud is wasting with scenes that can be glanced over with a montage or two.

ii – The subplot with Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan seems rather tacked on and uninteresting. Mainly due to the fact that the writing and performances are terrible. As a viewer, I have zero interest in indulging myself into this subplot but hopefully, this will all quickly transition into the main plot.

+ Overall

A standard episode. Nothing outstanding but nothing offensive at the same time. A good transitional episode to the main plot of the show.

Rate: out of 5 stars