TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on ‘Tanhaiyaan’ (1985-6)

A review on Pakistani Classic TV Drama Series, ‘Tanhaiyaan’ aka Loneliness (1985-6). Its Production House is Shalimar Recording Company (SRC) while its Distribution is done by PTV Centre (Lahore).



+ Crew

  • Directed by Shahzad Khalil
  • Written by Haseena Moin
  • Music by Arshad Mehmood



+ Note
Tanhaiyaan aired on PTV in 1985-6. In total it consists of only 11 episodes. Over the time span, this classic TV series is also considered as cult favorites.

Shehnaz have acted in few TV series of her career whereas Tanhaiyaan and Ankahi is considered as Pakistan’s one of the best TV series.  Unfortunately, she took early retirement in mid 1990s and since have kept herself away from limelight until her debut directorial play in 2010. The director could not live long and was expired in 1989, due to cardiac arrest only at the age of 45.

Tanhaiyaan has re-run several times on PTV and other TV channels, due to its popularity. In 2012, there was a sequel to this TV serial as ‘Tanhaiyaan Naye Silsilay’ which was directed by Marina Khan and out of 12 main cast members, only 6 of them reprise their roles.




+ Main Cast

  1. Shehnaz Sheikh as Zara
  2. Marina Khan as Sanya
  3. Asif Raza Mir as Zain
  4. Aamir Hatmi as Fiancée / Syed Salman
  5. Behroze Sabzwari as Qutbutdin / Qabacha
  6. Badar Khalil as Zubi Khala / Aani
  7. Qazi Wajid as Farhan






+ Supportive Cast

  1. Azra Sherwani as Aapa Begum
  2. Durdana Butt as Bibi
  3. Yasmeen Ismail as Vida
  4. Jamshed Ansari as Buqrat
  5. Muhammad Yousuf as Zain’s Father
  6. Mushtaq Royaish as Servant / Salamet
  7. Subhaniba Yunus as Zara and Sanya’s father
  8. Sultana Zafar as Zara and Sanya’s mother




+ Plot

Zara & Sanya, two sisters start living with their aunt after the sudden loss of their parents. One of their efforts to buy back their parents’ house leads them to realize what makes a house a ‘Home’.



+ High Points

i – The main reason behind this classic TV series’ success is its direction. Shahzad Khalil who happens to be the brains behind it, have able to do a very splendid job. At many places, this TV series is executed in the world of realism.

ii – The writing especially the first few episodes and this TV series characters’ such as Zara, Sanya, Zain… is very effectively written by respected fame writer, Haseena Moin. The combined efforts with the director, have able to come up with a classic TV series.

iii – This serial featured an ensemble star cast of veterans such as Shenaz Sheikh, Marina Khan, Badar Khalil, Azra Sherwani, Asif Raza Mir, Behroze Sabzwari, Qazi Wajid, Jamshed Ansari, Yasmeen Ismail, Durdana Butt, Mohammad Yusuf, Sultana Zafar and Subhaniba Yunus.

iv – The comic relief character, ‘Qabacha’ played by Behroze Sabzwari have able to bring a hilarious moment for the viewers to enjoy. I remember watching this TV series back in early 90s during reruns, where I (at that time) did not know the names of celebrities, especially of Pakistani artists. But the character name, ‘Qabacha’ been given to Behroze Sabzwari’s role as ‘Qutbutdin’ was actually very catchy and often identified him as. Some people to this day often calls him as ‘Qabacha’ due to his iconic role that he played.

v – Good performance by Shehnaz Sheikh as she plays the elder, responsible sister Zara, who makes her ultimate goal to buy back the house where once lived with her late parents.

vi – Marina Khan as Sanya have performed nicely as the younger, immature sister who often plays gags and teases on Qutbutdin aka Qabacha. Other Honorable Mentions:  Rest of the cast.




+ Low Points

i – Talking about the first few episodes, they are very interesting to watch as we are shown new characters with the story gradually unfolding and been revealed to us. However, that doesn’t last long as the last four episodes (at least) were too serious, lacking the potential for the story to go any further. To make the TV series interesting again, the writer kept bringing in Qabacha with his silly misadventures to watch and enjoy. But it was already too late, as this TV serial had already fallen down the steep of no return.

ii – Jamshed Ansari’s character is totally wasted. Although he is a wonderful actor but the writer didn’t develop the character strong enough for him to make us feel his being importance. In first 3 – 4 episodes, Buqrat has some interesting scenes and lines to deliver. But then as this TV series starts to fall, so does his character.

iii – The time span passed too soon in these 11 episodes. Zara is already earning so well in her young age where she able to buy back the house of her late father and has able to expand her business to have a partnership. Let’s just say that with just 11 episodes and the characters’ still remaining young, it was very unlikely to believe all that. And speaking of some writing issues here, we are made to believe that after the sudden loss of Zara’s parents, she is able to find job easily and quickly. Not once, we are shown her co-workers or her boss who she is working for in the start of the episodes. As later on, she has her own business to start, where the character, Syed Salman as her business partner comes into view. This issue is regarding lack of details been shown in able to convince the viewers with the surrounding of realism.





+ Overall
Though hilarious and emotionally embodied at first, even with winning performances from the main cast, Tanhaiyaan suffers from taking itself way too seriously than intended to.




Rate: 3.25 out of 5 stars

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