A review on Pakistani Classic TV Drama Series ‘Guest House’ (1991). Its Production House and Distributor is PTV Network.
- Directed by Rauf Khalid
- Written by Qaiser Farooq, Muhammad Nisar & Shakir Uzair
Guest House aired on PTV Network on 1991. In total it consists of 52 episodes. What most people might not know is that this fame TV series is actually inspired by the classic British sitcom ‘The Fawlty Towers’ (1975 – 79). They also had 4 – 5 recurring characters including Mr. & Mrs. being the owners of their guest house. On the other hand, Guest House was such a super hit series in Pakistan that people wrote letters to PTV never to finish it. It was famous among children as ‘Rambo Wala Drama’ which means the drama featuring Rambo.
Afzal Khan aka Afzal Rambo Khan is said to have a striking resemblance with the legendary Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone. It is said that the producers were not too happy to have his character on board and wanted to cut him off after the pilot. But Afzal Khan’s comical performance made his character as the most interesting one to watch. In 2016 interview, Afzal Khan said how he had to hid himself from the public eye as he was very popular among the masses. He actually had to disguise himself whenever he went in the public, not able to recognize him. After this classic TV drama, he quickly become a super star in Lollywood industry. But even after so many hit films and other TV series, he is still known and loved because of his biggest fame in ‘Guest House’ as John Rambo.
As for the director, Rauf Khalid was the founding President and Chancellor of the National Institute of Cultural Studies, Lok Virsa; Islamabad. In 1991, he wrote Guest House, a comedy series that turned out to be very popular for PTV. In 1995, Rauf Khalid directed, produced and acted in few drama serials such as Angaar Wadi, Laag and Maddar. In 2003, Rauf Khalid released his debut film Laaj, as (writer, director, producer and actor). His film won 12 Bolan Awards, 14 Graduate Awards, 4 National Film Awards and Lux Style Award.
It is very unfortunate to know that the prominent writer, actor & director Rauf Khalid could not live long due to his car’s tire burst at a high-speed car accident heading to Sheikhpura in Nov, 2011.
+ Main Cast
- Khalid Hafeez as Mr. Shameem
- Sarwat Ateeque as Mrs. Shameem
- Nasir Iqbal as Bao Naveed
- Tariq Malik as Murad
- Afzal Khan as John Rambo
+ Special Guest Appearances
- Ghazala Butt
- Bushra Ansari
- Laila Zuberi
A guest house named as ‘Guest House’ is located in a posh area of Islamabad. It is run by Mr. Shameem and his wife with the help of three permanent regular employees, Naveed, Murad and Rambo.
+ High Points
i – The recurring characters were remarkably written as it was very pleasant to watch their comic behavior. Such as:
- Shameem is the owner of the Guest House and always ready to please his guests even if it means to meet their shocking demands. He is married to Mrs. Shameem who he dearly loves but has a habit to flirt with young, beautiful females who are staying as his guests. Unlike his employees, he does not like to get involved in his guests’ private issues.
- Mrs. Shameem would mostly catch her husband off-guard and would make a living hell for him and his new love interest. She loves shopping but complains to her husband for being a miser. She is soft on the employees, often takes their side, and tries to stop her husband from punishing them. She hates being called ‘Aunty’ and says to call her only ‘Mrs. Shameem’.
- As for John Rambo the janitor, he hates when someone offers him ‘Tip’ as he considers this as being offended. He likes to work hard and bring good name to the Guest House, where he is employed. He can be easily convinced to do what is morally right. He often gets involved with other people personal issues and tries his best to gets them solved.
- Then we have Murad who is a ‘Bellboy’ and would look for tips by the guests. He would break things up accidentally and had to pay from his salary.
- Lastly, we have Naveed is the receptionist and is the only character who is mature and makes the right decision in order to run the Guest House.
ii – One of the most lovable and fun-filled performance to watch was of Afzal Khan as John Rambo. This was first TV series after leaping from theater acting career. He had no idea that his debut performance in TV series would give a permanent name in his own as other alias. Even today he is still well known and loved due to this character of John Rambo that he played in this classic TV series ‘Guest House’. His characteristics as to his well-intention mishaps and involvement into the personal lives of the guests would put him in trouble.
iii – Tariq Malik as Murad has made many people laugh and enjoy with his great timing comical facial expressions and remarks. His on & off fights with John Rambo in most of the episodes was always a great watch to enjoy. Though never seen Tariq Malik in other project after this but this iconic character has surely made everyone to remember him great respect. Other Honorable Mentions: Khalid Hafeez and Sarwat Ateeque.
iv – This is the only direction of Rauf Khalid, that I watched and reviewed on. Although he has been a director for few more TV series and a couple of films at least. A good director would make sure how smoothly everything goes and is responsible for having bigger credit for overall good performance by the cast members. For classic TV series, Rauf Khalid is a name to remember with great respect.
v – Its writing, screenplay has been very strong, to give an effective combination with the performances. The three writers had made sure that their TV series would be cherished with good memories for times to come.
vi – There are several famous quotes spoken by these iconic characters. Some of them are:
- “My Name is Rambo, Rambo, John Rambo, Silver Stallone, the Cockroach Killer” – John Rambo.
- “Yeh Aunty Kis Ko Kaha? Meh Kya Tumari Aunty Hu?” – Mrs. Shameem.
- “TIP, TIP Karta Meh Kamray Mein Aatha Hu” – Murad.
- “Easy Feel” – Murad.
- “After Kar” – John Rambo.
vii – Since every episode had a new story to tell, this way we had new characters to watch and know their side of the story while the Guest House’s recurring characters would most often engage themselves in their private matters to solve it.
viii – Everyone in the cast gave a very, satisfying good performance as their characters demanded it to be.
ix – On choosing your favorite episodes, there might be vast variance. For myself, I loved two episodes very much. The one where Bushra Ansari is in and the other one involves local wrestlers are invited to stay at their guest house.
x – Costume designing for the iconic characters were the interesting ones. Such as John Rambo is given wiper, which he carries with him as if it is a rifle. He wears black sleeveless t-shirt with goofy type of skulls printed on the centre. He wears light orange loose pajamas similar to the pants worn by Pakistani police. He ties a long red cloth around his head with has a butterfly tattoo on each arm along wearing long black boots. Murad is wearing typical professional uniform for a bellboy.
xi – In Makeup & Hair-styling, they made sure that Afzal Khan looked like a low-class janitor and made his skin complexion dark, as to be find normally in our demographic areas. There were scenes of imagination where Afzal Khan finds himself in formal suit as some high-class gentlemen or perhaps the owner of this guest house. There we see his true self, what he actually looks in real life. As for others, there were a number of different guests arrived in each episode. The makeup and hair styling that is applied on them is praise worthy.
+ Low Points
i – The finale is something that you would like to avoid watching it. Just because it’s the last episode, the writers made sure that no one after this will ask us for another episode or for a remake. Yes, it’s that bad. Instead of making a memorable finale and enjoyable end – they went for a kill shot! By having no comedy but only soberness.
ii – The Production Design was very basic. It didn’t look like a good guest house decorum. For sure, if this was a real guest house, I would have taken it as being run by totally non-professionals.
With iconic characters, comical performances, and interesting repeated quotes, Guest House is truly a wonderful classic TV series which has done right in every aspect of its writing and directorial departments.
Rate: 4.50 out of 5 stars