A review on Pakistani Classic TV Drama Series, ‘Dasht’ aka Desert (1993). Its Production and Distribution is done by NTM.
- Directed & Produced by Abid Ali and F.H. Qureshi
- Written by Munnu Bhai
- Music by Wajid Ali Nashad
- Opening Theme ‘Dasht’ by Ameer Ali Nashad
Dasht aired on NTM from 5th Feb 1993 – 2nd Jul 1993. In total it consists of 22 episodes. The location for the shoot was entirely in Balochistan; Pakistan. It is Abid Ali’s first self-produced and self-directed drama serial which became a hit project of its time and this happened to be the first ever private production in Pakistan. It is a tale of unrequited love and parental opposition while the culture, thinking and issues of tribes in Balochistan served as sidelines of Shahtaaj and Balaaj story of two youngsters from rival tribes who fall in love. The plot was a modern-day take on classic tragic romance stories such as Layla and Majnun, Heer Ranjha and Romeo and Juliet.
It is unique as it was the first time in Pakistani television history a series of songs were used which is well received by audiences. It proudly displays Baloch traditions, was memorable in terms of its dialogues, performances, cinematography and songs. The Balochi attire, jewelry and the dressing style Balochi Chaddar & Bughti Shalwar became a trend.
Dasht is critically acclaim and a major commercial success, Atiqa Odho and Nauman Ejaz on-screen pair to stardom. The audiences loved the chemistry between Atiqa Odho and Nauman Ejaz, who later worked together in several successful dramas including Nijaat (1993), Talaash (Telefilm 1994), Arzoo Jeenay Ki Tu Nahin (2014), Khan (2017). This drama also launched the successful debut carrier of Asad Malik.
+ Main Cast
- Atiqa Odho as Shahtaaj
- Nauman Ejaz as Balaaj
- Ayub Khoso as Guwaraam
- Abid Ali as Shams Shah
- Nena as Hani
- Fazila Qazi as Sajjal
- Asad Malik as Bebarg
+ Supportive Cast
- Noor Mohammad Lashari as Sardar Nadir Jumbail
- Rasheed Naz as Sardar Zakaullah Mehdi
- Sabiha Khanum as Dai Mah
- Zahid Saleem as Nuro
- Robina Arshi as Sakeena
- Nayyer Ejaz as Third Clan Chief’s Son
There has been a long quarrel between the three warring tribes in rural Balochistan; Pakistan. Shahtaaj & Balaaj happens to fall in love with each other although belong to different clans. Despite being surrounded by violence all their lives, both are gentle souls with a love of music and poetry. Fearing that these two tribes be more powerful once united because of this love marriage, the third tribe would make sure that this remains an on-going dispute.
+ High Points
i – Even today, it is still very rare to see good budget TV series with strong and well-known actors to portray Balochistan, their tribes, way of living, customs and cultural dresses.
ii – Although, the entire cast gave a very satisfying performance. But I believe, Nauman Ejaz’s performance was the best one.
iii – A long list of casts, consisting of strong star power, such as Nauman Ejaz, Atiqa Odho, Ayub Khoso, Abid Ali, Fazila Qazi, Asad Malik, Rasheed Naz and Nayyer Ejaz.
iv – The chemistry between Nauman Ejaz and Atiqa Odho is a memorable on-screen couple to watch.
v – The combined efforts behind the cinematography and inclusion of songs, gave a strong go-ahead for the viewers to watch.
+ Low Points
i – The level of interest had a great downfall, when we lose a main character in the midway of the series. After that, it almost un-replaceable to find a better or similar character in its place. Even after re-watching this TV drama with more attention this time, I still had this issue where I had to force myself to watch the rest of the remaining series.
ii – The viewers wanted to see the details on the love triangle of Balaaj, Shahtaaj and Guwaraam but was missing. The love between Balaaj and Shahtaaj happens almost immediately as to love at first sight. The problem is of the character development and understanding between the two was greatly lacked.
iii – Though, the number of subplots were around 4 – 5 in total but the compiling ones were only 1 – 2.
iv – In peaceful times, Balaaj is most often been found playing his cultural musical instrument under a tree. As a son of one of the tribal chief’s, I am sure that he must have many other interesting things to do than that.
Dasht has able to pull off with great chemistry, effective technical aspects, solid performances but most importantly, an insight into cultural customs & their on-going long personal disputes.
Rate: 3.25 out of 5 stars