TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay – Episode XII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay Episode 12 (2021). The new TV series is written by Umera Ahmed and directed by Farooq Rind. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is a Momina Duraid Production and currently airs on HUM TV.

(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ Crew

  • Directed by Farooq Rind
  • Written by Umer Ahmed
  • Produced by Nina Kashif & Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay marks 5 years since Mahira Khan appeared in a TV drama and as was the case before, this drama was also originally a novel by Umera Ahmed where the childhood and upbringing play an important part in the main plot of the show. The show deals with dark topics such as drug addiction and its impact on a child’s upbringing. 

The show also focuses once again on a love triangle between three cousins who shared a childhood together; Mehreen, Mashal and Aswad. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is essentially a case study of internal flaws and unspoken guilts that makes us human and how we learn to cope up in a less than ideal society.

 + Main Cast

  1. Mahira Khan as Mehreen Mansoor
  2. Kubra Khan as Mashal Tahir
  3. Usman Mukhtar as Aswad Ayub
  4. Omair Rana as Mansoor
  5. Zainab Qayyum as Shagufta
  6. Haroon Shahid
  7. Laila Wasti
  8. Huma Nawab as Saliha
  9. Kaif Ghaznavi
  10. Shamim Hilali as Aswad’s Grandmother
  11. Khalid Malik

+ Plot

Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is a story of three cousins; Mehreen, Mashal and Aswad. Their lives have coincided with each other since childhood. While Mashal and Aswad grew up in a stable, loving household, Mehreen had to live through the mistakes of her father for being a drug addict and financially unstable. As they grow older, it is obvious that they all share an unbroken bond between each other that will only culminate with certain unforeseeable events.

+ High Points

i – The impact that Mashal’s death has left on the family is very well depicted. The reactions from her parents and those who are accused are all splendidly portrayed and is clearly one of the highlights of the show. Character building and authentic dialogue are two of the most obvious assets of Umera Ahmed’s writing.

ii – But it always takes two to tango. Well written dialogues need to have authentic dialogue delivery by the actors and suffice to say, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay does not disappoint in that department. The talented cast of actors give their all in bringing authenticity and melodrama to the show without overstaying its welcome. Laila Wasti as Mehreen’s mother is definitely an unsung heroine of the show that deserves more praise and attention for her impressive performance.

iii – Regarding the main storyline: Since the death of Mashal, the story has picked up significantly in terms of level of engagement and pacing. Although the previous episode proved to be a tad bit timid, Episode 12 once again progresses story/ character development at a brisk pace. Although there is a lot of room for improvement, the show is getting better each week forward.

iv – It’s great to see Haroon Shahid as Saffan being part of a larger picture of the show. He’s a great counter to Aswad’s moral stubbornness and fits quite well with the rest of the cast. Would love to see him play a bigger role in the upcoming episodes!

+ Low Points

i –  Its still a bit confusing why Aswad keeps jumping back and forth when it comes to Mehreen’s fate. On one hand, he refuses to help her beyond what is required but at the same time, takes a monumental step regarding his future with Mehreen. To be fair, there is a reasoning given behind his action but still, the decision (presented later in the episode) came almost out of nowhere and needed an episode or two to let it sink in the psyche of Aswad and the audience watching the show as well.

ii – The character of Police Inspector still seems out of place with the tone of the show. His performance is a tad bit too excessive and it’s really hard to take him seriously. 

+ Overall

Episode 12 had good, engaging character development and even with some questionable moments, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is improving each and every week.

 Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Laapata – LAST EPISODE – Episode XXI & XXII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Laapata Episode 21 and 22 (2021). The new TV series is written and directed by Khizer Idrees. Laapata is a Momina Duraid Production and currently airs on HUM TV.

(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ Crew

  • Directed by Khizer Idrees
  • Written by Khizer Idrees
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

Laapata is a comedy/ drama which focuses on young love who aspire to fulfill all their wishes in Life. The drama also highlights modern obsessions with social media such as Tik Tok and its impact on the Pakistani youth of today. 

The writer/ director of the show, Khizer Idrees is most well renowned in the TV industry for his work as a Cinematographer for films such as Manto (2015) and Verna (2017). 

 + Main Cast

  1. Ali Rehman Khan as Shams
  2. Ayeza Khan as Geeti
  3. Gohar Rasheed as Daniyal
  4. Sarah Khan as Falak

+ Plot

Shams (Ali Rehman Khan) loves Falak (Sarah Khan) and they predict something big for their future. On the other hand, Geeti (Ayeza Khan), the big Tik Tok star, is always looking for a new toy to play with. After being faced to decide upon her secure future, Geeti might have her eyes now set on someone… and that someone could perhaps be Shams? 

+ High Points

Spoilers Alert!! There will be MAJOR Spoilers in this review for the finale of Laapata so if you would like to avoid it, please skip to the Overall section:

i – Episodes 21 and 22 were thankfully the last two episodes of this show! Before I get into the finale in detail (with all its glorious and ludicrous flaws), I did appreciate the fact that by the end of the show, Geeti never really changed. In the very last scene, it is strongly suggested that even though she “learned her lesson” by losing Shams and the respect of her mother, Geeti is too self-centered and entitled to ever change herself for the better. And that was the most logical outcome of her character.

+ Low Points

i – If you ever come across the word “Ludicrous” in a dictionary, I hope they can now cite ‘Laapata’s series finale’ as an example for their readers. Absolutely horrible, pointless, lack of creativity, absurd and downright insulting was the series finale of this show! Viewers who tuned in every week to invest an hour of their time on this show should rightfully feel cheated. In the last episode, the whole ordeal of Daniyal’s murder case ended in merely 5 minutes! Just by Munira Beebee’s testament, the whole case gets resolved in a matter of minutes!? That was the payoff to weeks upon weeks of buildup?? And to add further insult, the rest of the episode was all filler nonsense like a 10 minutes long song montage (cause we never got enough of those in this show!), Geeti and Falak still fighting over Shams, Falak digging up dirt on Geeti and Falak and Shams getting back together again. What a waste of time this whole show was ….

ii – The whole court case surprise witness twist makes no sense! Why would the prosecutor from Daniyal’s side bring Munira the maid as a witness? Were they just hoping that she would lie to the court and seal the deal for Falak? Did Daniyal’s parents not threaten her enough behind the scenes so she would be forced to lie in court? Why would Farooq (her husband) be part of a second degree murder? Wouldn’t it be beneficial for him if he took care of Daniyal so he would get financial compensation from the family (after all, he did get the money to buy a taxi from him)? In fact, how did Daniyal even die from the wounds? He got hit by a steel jug and that was apparently enough? This whole twist makes no sense. What a terrible, illogical way to bring the story to a conclusion!

iii  – Oh did I mention a 10 MINUTE LONG SONG MONTAGE!? So long in fact that they had to change songs in between? It was obvious that the writer ran out of content so they had to reach hard in order to get one more episode out of this script as they then could fulfill their two episodes per week quota for HUM TV. Pathetic.

iv  – Why did they first force upon this new sense of responsibility on Geeti that she should be more like Falak (i.e. responsible, study, cook etc) but then, ended right back to being herself in that every episode? This all was completely unnecessary character development.

+ Overall and Final Thoughts on Laapata

Laapata is definitely the right name for this show but not for the reason you may think. From the very first episode, it was “Laapata” in its sense of identity. The show had no idea what it wanted to be; was it a comedy? A tragedy? A study on families whose loved ones tragically disappear? Or was it a murder mystery? A study of split personalities perhaps? Or could it be that the team wanted to please all members of their audience and in the process, the show ended up being a creative mess.

The characters were by no means terrible. In fact, Shams and Falak had actual, good chemistry on screen but was ruined due to awful screenwriting by writer/director Khizer Idrees. Geeti was hands down the worst aspect of the show. The “comedy relief” that she brought to the show was downright awful and ruined numerous scenes and episodes due its below average writing and overbearing performance by Ayeza Khan as Geeti.

The show is named “Laapata” which led me to assume that the focus of the show will be Shams getting out of prison for false accusation and finding his way back home. But I was wrong since that would have actually made sense. The show was a needless concoction of storylines that had nothing to do with one another really. Why was Daniyal’s backstory and murder mystery a part of this show? This had nothing to do with the main plotline of Laapata and was undoubtedly gratuitous for the story to work.

Speaking of unnecessary, we had countless subplots that never went anywhere. Please take your pick:

  1. Geeti’s plan for a runaway marriage.
  2. Falak’s aspirations to become a professional Badminton player.
  3. Falak’s sister’s husband being harassed by a female.
  4. Falak’s sister’s sister-in-law dictating how she should serve her husband.
  5. Sham’s father having health issues.
  6. Sham’s gambling past and enemies that were completely ignored in the second part of the show.
  7. Geeti’s attempt to steal her friend’s fiance and her friend finding out.

When you have a list of subplots that never went anywhere, you know that the writer just created them just so each episode can reach its 30 minutes of runtime.

As far as production goes, Laapata was competent with its visual presentation. The colors, cinematography, the song playlist, everything went well with the vibe of the show but the overreliance on slow motion, song set pieces did overstay their welcome.

In conclusion, Laapata did not even come close to becoming a memorable show for HUM TV. Lack of good writing, tonal shift from scene to scene and forgettable, ludicrous storyline sealed this drama’s fate as a generic show that will be forgotten by the audience in a week’s time. And sadly, this is the state of creativity in Pak television at the moment.

 Rating (Last Two Episodes):out of 5 stars

Overall Series Rating: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Parizaad – Episode XIII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Parizaad Episode 13 (2021). The new TV series is directed by Shehzad Kashmiri and written by Hashim Nadeem. Parizaad is a Momina Duraid Production.

(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ Crew

  • Directed by Shehzad Kashmiri
  • Written by Hashim Nadeem
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

Parizaad is based on a novel by Hashim Nadeem and is a case study of a protagonist who cannot seem to find his place in a world where illicit behaviour and exploitation is rewarded over truth and kindness. The show explores the lower middle class societal problems of Pakistan and how a wallflower like Parizaad is never appreciated by our society. 

The director of the show Shehzad Kashmiri is a well respected cinematographer who then moved towards directing TV shows. He also directed a feature length film Bin Roye in 2015 which earned him a nomination for Best Film Director at 15th Lux Style Awards.

 + Main Cast

  1. Noman Ejaz
  2. Ahmed Ali Akbar
  3. Syed Muhammad Ahmed
  4. Urwa Hussain
  5. Ushna Shah
  6. Yumna Zaidi
  7. Saboor Ali
  8. Mashal Khan
  9. Tipu Shah
  10. Kiran Tabeer

+ Plot

Born in a world of neglect and hurt, Parizaad is an innocent soul that differs from everyone. He is kind, thoughtful and a gentle soul who due to his nature and appearance, does not fit the societal norms of Pakistani culture. Will the devious modern society engulf Parizaad into its darkness or will he remain a beacon of hope and all that is good in Life?

+ High Points

i – Episode 13 went in a direction I never expected. It was bold and represented minorities which are very likely deprived of any coverage from our media and entertainment. They are the underbelly of our society that either are mostly refused to be accepted or are mistreated and abused. It makes me proud that Parizaad had the gall to represent them and depict “their” side of the story as well. Unfortunately I cannot say more as that will lead to spoilers. It’s points that I will discuss from here on out so fair warning! 

Spoilers Alert!! If you would like to avoid it, please skip to the Overall section:

ii – “Bubbly” Badmash makes a triumphant return to the show. While it is true that I was neither a fan of the character’s comedy segments nor the actress’s performance, Episode 13 brought a whole new light onto the character and his backstory. This time “bubbly” has been much better handled by the writer Hashim Nadeem and the needless comedy segments were replaced by understanding the psyche and motivations of Bubbly. And one cannot help but feel sympathy for him and the conflict that he has to go through for the society to accept him the way he wants to be represented. Such themes are almost never spoken of in Pakistani Television these days but Parizaad once again proves why it is an authentic representation of the Pakistani society that we live in.

iii – Some of the quieter moments of the episode were arguably the best parts of the episode. The “Guru” character seems like yet again, another eccentric but true to life character that you might stumble upon if you observe closely the underbelly of Karachi night life. He represents the voice for the minority, the sexually oppressed and the rejects of society. The Guru is a great addition to the ever growing cast of characters for Parizaad and I hope we get to see more of him in the next few episodes.

+ Low Points

i – The train fight scene was poorly executed to say the least. The obvious fake sound effects, the fight choreography, the ludicrous green screen. Even without a proper budget, I’m sure with some effort, the director Shehzad Kashmiri could have come up with something better than this. High quality writing but terrible visual effects unfortunately do not work well together and brought this episode a notch down for me.

+ Overall

Even though Parizaad only had a minor appearance, Episode 13 is a surprising yet bold representation of Karachi and its colorful, diverse list of citizens. 

 Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay – Episode XI (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay Episode 11 (2021). The new TV series is written by Umera Ahmed and directed by Farooq Rind. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is a Momina Duraid Production and currently airs on HUM TV.

(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ Crew

  • Directed by Farooq Rind
  • Written by Umer Ahmed
  • Produced by Nina Kashif & Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay marks 5 years since Mahira Khan appeared in a TV drama and as was the case before, this drama was also originally a novel by Umera Ahmed where the childhood and upbringing play an important part in the main plot of the show. The show deals with dark topics such as drug addiction and its impact on a child’s upbringing. 

The show also focuses once again on a love triangle between three cousins who shared a childhood together; Mehreen, Mashal and Aswad. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is essentially a case study of internal flaws and unspoken guilts that makes us human and how we learn to cope up in a less than ideal society.

 + Main Cast

  1. Mahira Khan as Mehreen Mansoor
  2. Kubra Khan as Mashal Tahir
  3. Usman Mukhtar as Aswad Ayub
  4. Omair Rana as Mansoor
  5. Zainab Qayyum as Shagufta
  6. Haroon Shahid
  7. Laila Wasti
  8. Huma Nawab as Saliha
  9. Kaif Ghaznavi
  10. Shamim Hilali as Aswad’s Grandmother
  11. Khalid Malik

+ Plot

Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is a story of three cousins; Mehreen, Mashal and Aswad. Their lives have coincided with each other since childhood. While Mashal and Aswad grew up in a stable, loving household, Mehreen had to live through the mistakes of her father for being a drug addict and financially unstable. As they grow older, it is obvious that they all share an unbroken bond between each other that will only culminate with certain unforeseeable events.

+ High Points

i – Its sincerely commendable that in such an absurd situation, the reaction of the supporting cast is not only well written but completely realistic and justifiable. Thankfully, the writing by Umera Ahmed is clever enough to understand each and every one of her characters and how the current situation would reflect their personalities. Aswad is skeptical while his mother is utterly convinced that Mehreen is innocent. Mashal’s parents are embodied with unbridled rage and ultimately, seek revenge for their daughter. But at the end of the day, everyone is trying their hardest to make some sense out of the situation. 

ii – The performances from the cast are great. Each main and supporting cast member fulfills their job to full potential. Mahira Khan has once again proved why she still remains the queen of Television dramas.

iii – The complexity between Mehreen and her mother is very poignantly written and executed with perfection through the use of flashbacks and revisiting childhood traumatic memories. Suffice to say, I appreciate the gal the writing has in presenting a broken down, perhaps beyond repairable relationship between a mother and her daughter.

+ Low Points

i –  There is unfortunately not much to say about Episode 11 since nothing really significant happened this week. Some minor character development but apart from that, the episode was nothing noteworthy for the show.

ii – One too many slow motion, soundtrack blasting in the background scenes. They need to sparingly utilize them if the show runners want an intense reaction from the audience. Episode 11 was unfortunately riddled with such dramatic moments where nothing too significant was happening on screen.

iii – Its a real shame that Haroon Shahid as Saffan is being wasted in this show. In every episode that he has been a part of, Saffan is instantly likable and has a magnetic personality to his performance. So why is his potential being ignored? Unless the creative team has something special planned for him in the later episodes, it makes no logical sense not to utilize him.

+ Overall

Episode 11 was a middle of the road affair where the half an hour was solely used to prolong the length of the show.

 Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Laapata – Episode XV to XX (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Laapata Episode 15 to 20 (2021). The new TV series is written and directed by Khizer Idrees. Laapata is a Momina Duraid Production and currently airs on HUM TV.

(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ Crew

  • Directed by Khizer Idrees
  • Written by Khizer Idrees
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

Laapata is a comedy/ drama which focuses on young love who aspire to fulfill all their wishes in Life. The drama also highlights modern obsessions with social media such as Tik Tok and its impact on the Pakistani youth of today. 

The writer/ director of the show, Khizer Idrees is most well renowned in the TV industry for his work as a Cinematographer for films such as Manto (2015) and Verna (2017). 

 + Main Cast

  1. Ali Rehman Khan as Shams
  2. Ayeza Khan as Geeti
  3. Gohar Rasheed as Daniyal
  4. Sarah Khan as Falak

+ Plot

Shams (Ali Rehman Khan) loves Falak (Sarah Khan) and they predict something big for their future. On the other hand, Geeti (Ayeza Khan), the big Tik Tok star, is always looking for a new toy to play with. After being faced to decide upon her secure future, Geeti might have her eyes now set on someone… and that someone could perhaps be Shams? 

+ High Points

Spoilers Alert!! If you would like to avoid it, please skip to the Overall section:

i – With all its flaws (oh… we will get to that in a sec!), Laapata has a dedicated creative team working behind the camera. There are few moments of originality beaming through the utter nonsense storytelling of the show. With some creative camera angles and inventive editing techniques, the creative team is trying their best to be original. 

+ Low Points

i –  I am utterly perplexed in what the creators want to accomplish with this show. Is Laapata about the horrors of being abducted for false accusation? Is it a comedy about Geeti’s antics as she rises to Stardom as an actor? Is it supposed to create awareness about abusive husbands? Or is it a murder mystery? Since the first few episodes, this show has been directionless, trying to please every member of their audience that watches the show. And now 20 episodes in, Laapata is still struggling to maintain an identity.

ii – Apparently, Daniyal is dead. Or is he? Logically, he should be as the police found his body. I really cannot tell if he actually died as he was axed with either a frying pan or a metal jug or some other various kitchen utensils  (I wish I was making this up!). This has been, without a shadow of a doubt, the most unceremonious, anti-climatic death of an antagonist that I have ever seen. Khizer Idrees’ writing brain feels “Laapata” as well as he cannot even conjure up a simple satisfying conclusion to the Falak and Daniyal confrontation. Maybe Daniyal’s rotting corpse will burst into the courthouse and feed on the brains of the supporting cast of the show. Hey now, there’s an idea!

iii  – The police bursting onto the scene of the wedding of Shams and Geeti was the cheesiest, cringeworthy cliche scene ever. I’m not sure if I should’ve laughed at it or… nope, there were no other emotions coming up. The dialogue, the acting was so incredibly mediocre, it was very courteous of the police waiting to arrest Falak till the wedding happened, giving Shams a convenient moment to fight for his love. This show is the pits….

iv  – Surprisingly enough, since the past few weeks, the Geeti character was very tolerable. She was restrained from most bad comedy segments, we didn’t get to listen to her god awful TikTok videos (or just being a horrible person in general). Because she was so obsessed with gaining Shams’ love, Geeti was confined towards the “lesser third side” of the love triangle. But Episodes 19 and 20, oh boy… she is back at her annoying self. During her wedding, Falak got arrested which gave her yet another reason to hate her and now, she gets the idea to become a TV/ movie star! My only question being; who cares!? How does this subplot tie in to the overall plot of Falak being falsely arrested for murder? Why does this subplot feel like a massive waste of time? Apart from bad comedy, her character has contributed NOTHING to the show. You can easily take her out of the story and it wouldn’t impact the show one bit. Shams will still go “Laapata” and come back, in the meantime, Falak will still get married to that psychopath so…. Why is Geeti character essential to the show? Shouldn’t there be the love triangle between Shams, Falak and Daniyal instead? 

v  – Even though I have always liked the music, dialogue-less montages and dream sequences in the past, the show has used and abused it to such a point that it never feels special anymore but a drag to sit through it. How many times will we witness the dream that Falak is being hung by Daniyal or a music montage where our three main protagonists are just lying on the bed contemplating? Interesting visuals but the show runners have run these storytelling techniques to the ground.

vi  – Too many bad and abandoned subplots; Shams’s fight with the union workers, Falak’s sister’s problems with her sister in law, countless Geeti’s adventures with her “lovers”, jeweller and wedding band that never went anywhere. Each passing episode that most of them were not only badly written and executed but were a massive waste of time!

+ Overall

Since the past few weeks, Laapata has nosedived into cliche, illogical plot development and terrible acting. The dramatic moments feel like comedy segments and the comedy segments feel like you want to switch the channel to a better show.

 Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Parizaad – Episode XI & XII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Parizaad Episode 11 and 12 (2021). The new TV series is directed by Shehzad Kashmiri and written by Hashim Nadeem. Parizaad is a Momina Duraid Production.

(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ Crew

  • Directed by Shehzad Kashmiri
  • Written by Hashim Nadeem
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

Parizaad is based on a novel by Hashim Nadeem and is a case study of a protagonist who cannot seem to find his place in a world where illicit behaviour and exploitation is rewarded over truth and kindness. The show explores the lower middle class societal problems of Pakistan and how a wallflower like Parizaad is never appreciated by our society. 

The director of the show Shehzad Kashmiri is a well respected cinematographer who then moved towards directing TV shows. He also directed a feature length film Bin Roye in 2015 which earned him a nomination for Best Film Director at 15th Lux Style Awards.

 + Main Cast

  1. Noman Ejaz
  2. Ahmed Ali Akbar
  3. Syed Muhammad Ahmed
  4. Urwa Hussain
  5. Ushna Shah
  6. Yumna Zaidi
  7. Saboor Ali
  8. Mashal Khan
  9. Tipu Shah
  10. Kiran Tabeer

+ Plot

Born in a world of neglect and hurt, Parizaad is an innocent soul that differs from everyone. He is kind, thoughtful and a gentle soul who due to his nature and appearance, does not fit the societal norms of Pakistani culture. Will the devious modern society engulf Parizaad into its darkness or will he remain a beacon of hope and all that is good in Life?

+ High Points

i – With each passing episode, Parizaad just exuberates with quality writing and fantastic performances all around. Continuing the story of Parizaad in search of how the world works, his unapologetic honesty and constant need of empathy towards people around him makes him such a unique and intriguing character to watch on screen. The show poses an interesting question of whether the society corrupted itself with time or was it always in such a state of disarray and it is in fact our protagonist who has no place in such a vile, dog eat dog world.

ii – Of all the storylines up till now, the life in the Underworld of Karachi stands tall above the rest. The characters are mesmerizing, the writing is impeccable and the storyline strays far beyond what the modern Pakistani drama viewers are used to. 

iii – Nauman Ijaz as Behroze Kareem is just perfect casting. For some reason, he has the knack and tenacity of playing a murderous psychopath with a hidden soft side, buried within decades upon decades of ruthless violence and immoral conditioning. After Parizaad asks Behroze about the concept of forgiveness, he bluntly states:

“You can say all that. It’s because you still haven’t tasted the poison of Competition!”

Is it naivety that gets the better of Parizaad or genuine humanity that seems to be lacking in pretty much everyone that he comes across?

iv – Urwa Hussain as Laila as the devious femme fatale played her role to perfection. She is perhaps the sole owner of the key to unlock the cold encased heart of Behroze. Her deceptive looks and manipulative nature brings Parizaad closer towards the insane sense of Rhythm that humanity functions on.

v – I love that this show never shy away from exposing the true nature of humanity. From the rich and powerful to the down on luck, committed to any heinous act for a quick buck, Parizaad is the all observant but never compromises on his sense of morality. How can one not root for such a protagonist?

+ Low Points

i – The secondary story of Parizaad’s sister and her in-laws is the only major blemish on this fine work of Art. Although the sister character is great, her solo subplot is nowhere near as interesting and engaging as the main storyline of the show and is always a bit of a drag whenever the viewers have to go through it. There definitely could be several ways to make it more compelling and tie in better with the overarching plot of the show. But as of now, the less the show focuses on it, the better.

+ Overall

Parizaad is a breath of fresh air. In a sea of tiresome plots and sub par performances, this show dares to be different. And it has earned every praise that comes its way.

 Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay – Episode IX and X (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay Episode 9 & 10 (2021). The new TV series is written by Umera Ahmed and directed by Farooq Rind. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is a Momina Duraid Production and currently airs on HUM TV.

(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ Crew

  • Directed by Farooq Rind
  • Written by Umer Ahmed
  • Produced by Nina Kashif & Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay marks 5 years since Mahira Khan appeared in a TV drama and as was the case before, this drama was also originally a novel by Umera Ahmed where the childhood and upbringing play an important part in the main plot of the show. The show deals with dark topics such as drug addiction and its impact on a child’s upbringing. 

The show also focuses once again on a love triangle between three cousins who shared a childhood together; Mehreen, Mashal and Aswad. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is essentially a case study of internal flaws and unspoken guilts that makes us human and how we learn to cope up in a less than ideal society.

 + Main Cast

  1. Mahira Khan as Mehreen Mansoor
  2. Kubra Khan as Mashal Tahir
  3. Usman Mukhtar as Aswad Ayub
  4. Omair Rana as Mansoor
  5. Zainab Qayyum as Shagufta
  6. Haroon Shahid
  7. Laila Wasti
  8. Huma Nawab as Saliha
  9. Kaif Ghaznavi
  10. Shamim Hilali as Aswad’s Grandmother
  11. Khalid Malik

+ Plot

Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is a story of three cousins; Mehreen, Mashal and Aswad. Their lives have coincided with each other since childhood. While Mashal and Aswad grew up in a stable, loving household, Mehreen had to live through the mistakes of her father for being a drug addict and financially unstable. As they grow older, it is obvious that they all share an unbroken bond between each other that will only culminate with certain unforeseeable events.

+ High Points

i – Since the passing away of Mashal, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay has taken a drastic turn in its tone and narrative direction. And for the most part, the show works quite well. The plot seems much more focused towards the immediate storyline and the reaction of the main cast towards the tragedy is appropriate and well written. Although there are some glaring flaws, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay has evolved into a much more interesting show and moves further away from the stereotypical “cousin love triangle” storyline.

ii – The performances from the main cast and supporting are commendable and memorable. Mahira Khan’s soliloquies display the internal conflict that she faces and perhaps feels somewhat responsible for what has transpired in the last few days. One of the unsung hero of the show, Ali Tahir’s superb performance also plays a massive role in displaying the anguish and anger that embellished the parents as they somehow need to rationalize their daughter’s death by resorting to violence and revenge towards Mehreen.

iii – Great shot. By displaying her mother only as a reflection of herself, it perfectly encapsulates the psychological torture that Mehreen has been through by her mother.

iv – I do admire the fact that for the prison scenes, the director Farooq Rind went for a more theatrical approach with spotlights and minimal set design. The director wants the audience to dive right into the moral ambiguity and subconscious torture that Mehreen has to face alone throughout this ordeal.

+ Low Points

i –  Although the psychological infliction of pain on Mehreen and her being trapped in a jail cell is appropriate to the current storyline, reality arguably dictates that you cannot imprison someone just on the basis of suspicion. Up till now, there has been no clear evidence if Mashal was poisoned or she committed suicide so how can Mehreen be imprisoned for days?

ii – The police inspector’s performance seems slightly goofy and hysterical. While performances from the supporting cast come off fairly realistic, his “exaggerated” dialogue delivery does not seem on par with the tone of the show.

+ Overall

Since its major plot development, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay has moved away from your typical “cousin love triangle” storyline into a much more engaging and compelling show.

 Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Parizaad – Episode X (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Parizaad Episode 10 (2021). The new TV series is directed by Shehzad Kashmiri and written by Hashim Nadeem. Parizaad is a Momina Duraid Production.

(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ Crew

  • Directed by Shehzad Kashmiri
  • Written by Hashim Nadeem
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

Parizaad is based on a novel by Hashim Nadeem and is a case study of a protagonist who cannot seem to find his place in a world where illicit behaviour and exploitation is rewarded over truth and kindness. The show explores the lower middle class societal problems of Pakistan and how a wallflower like Parizaad is never appreciated by our society. 

The director of the show Shehzad Kashmiri is a well respected cinematographer who then moved towards directing TV shows. He also directed a feature length film Bin Roye in 2015 which earned him a nomination for Best Film Director at 15th Lux Style Awards.

 + Main Cast

  1. Noman Ejaz
  2. Ahmed Ali Akbar
  3. Syed Muhammad Ahmed
  4. Urwa Hussain
  5. Ushna Shah
  6. Yumna Zaidi
  7. Saboor Ali
  8. Mashal Khan
  9. Tipu Shah
  10. Kiran Tabeer

+ Plot

Born in a world of neglect and hurt, Parizaad is an innocent soul that differs from everyone. He is kind, thoughtful and a gentle soul who due to his nature and appearance, does not fit the societal norms of Pakistani culture. Will the devious modern society engulf Parizaad into its darkness or will he remain a beacon of hope and all that is good in Life?

+ High Points

i – Almost throughout its 10 episode run (up till now), Parizaad’s storytelling has been excellent. It’s a perfect example of a Hero’s Journey; from Rags to Riches, a protagonist who overcomes the odds and excels beyond expectations. Every episode follows the odyssey of Parizaad and his quest of understanding how the world functions. Up till now, the show has had an excellent performance from Ahmed Ali Akbar and in comparison to other shows out there, Parizaad flourishes with its original storytelling and quite convincingly proving to the Pak drama industry that individual stories not related to your typical “Saas/ Bahou”, cousin love triangle can also prove to be engaging Television.

ii – No matter the circumstances, the writing always stays true to the innocent nature of Parizaad and Episode 10 is a perfect example of it. With everything stacked against him (including his own life!), Parizaad is always motivated to do the right thing. Perhaps he comes off naive and self righteous but regardless, he stands for loyalty to his employer. I love how Hashim Nadeem the writer has portrayed Parizaad as a “fish out of water” character who may come off as gullible but at the same time, his honesty is extremely likeable and a person who you would like to have in your life. Perhaps in his own twisted way, Nauman Ijaz as Behroze Kareem feels the same way.

iii – Speaking of Nauman Ijaz, his portrayal as Behroze Kareem (the crime lord) works flawlessly for the show. Nauman’s performance pertains the surface level charm but the lethal ruthlessness behind the facade. I’m eagerly anticipating how the relationship between the wide-eyed Parizaad and the cynical worldview of Behroze would develop in the upcoming episodes. 

iv – Another great addition to the ever growing cast of Parizaad has to be Urwa Hussain as the overprotected (wife? lover?) Laila. She serves as the “softer” side of Behroze, perhaps a gateway for his enemies to bring a downfall to his empire.

+ Low Points

i – Even though the plot and storyline of Parizaad is heaps and bounds more interesting and engaging than anything out there, I do wish that the show runners should slow down the pacing of it just a bit and let the audience breathe and admire each and every phase that our protagonist goes through. There are hardly a few episodes devoted to a certain scenario before it quickly rushes onto the next one. For example, in a span of 3-4 episodes, Parizaad has gone from being a College student to a Car mechanic which then led him to travel to Karachi to find work and ended up being a Cargo inspector to finally, working directly under Behroze Kareem. Great storytelling but its a tad bit too fast to comprehend and not enough time to appreciate each and every twist and turn that Life throws at our wide eyed protagonist.

+ Overall

With Episode 10, Parizaad continues to be one of the best shows on Pak television. Highly recommended!

 Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay – Episode VIII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay Episode 8 (2021). The new TV series is written by Umera Ahmed and directed by Farooq Rind. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is a Momina Duraid Production and currently airs on HUM TV.

(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ Crew

  • Directed by Farooq Rind
  • Written by Umer Ahmed
  • Produced by Nina Kashif & Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay marks 5 years since Mahira Khan appeared in a TV drama and as was the case before, this drama was also originally a novel by Umera Ahmed where the childhood and upbringing play an important part in the main plot of the show. The show deals with dark topics such as drug addiction and its impact on a child’s upbringing. 

The show also focuses once again on a love triangle between three cousins who shared a childhood together; Mehreen, Mashal and Aswad. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is essentially a case study of internal flaws and unspoken guilts that makes us human and how we learn to cope up in a less than ideal society.

 + Main Cast

  1. Mahira Khan as Mehreen Mansoor
  2. Kubra Khan as Mashal Tahir
  3. Usman Mukhtar as Aswad Ayub
  4. Omair Rana as Mansoor
  5. Zainab Qayyum as Shagufta
  6. Haroon Shahid
  7. Laila Wasti
  8. Huma Nawab as Saliha
  9. Kaif Ghaznavi
  10. Shamim Hilali as Aswad’s Grandmother
  11. Khalid Malik

+ Plot

Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is a story of three cousins; Mehreen, Mashal and Aswad. Their lives have coincided with each other since childhood. While Mashal and Aswad grew up in a stable, loving household, Mehreen had to live through the mistakes of her father for being a drug addict and financially unstable. As they grow older, it is obvious that they all share an unbroken bond between each other that will only culminate with certain unforeseeable events.

+ High Points

i – The confrontation scene was great between Mehreen and Mashal. Arguably the dysfunctional relationship between the two is probably the best aspect of the show. There are hidden grudges and mannerisms that are hinted at with each childhood flashback scene. The memories make it obvious why Mashal has always been envious of Mehreen’s success and wants to snatch away everything that Mehreen has ever achieved in her life.

ii – Even though every other character in the show is either underdeveloped or not given enough screen time, Umera Ahmed has written Mehreen in a way that is not only realistic but also quite relatable. Even though life has always wronged her in so many ways, she is also not without faults of her own. She also feels envious, hurt and afraid to face her past. 

+ Low Points

i –  Episode 8 was very lethargic to say the least. The themes of Aswad and Mehreen’s engagement were repetitive and grew tiresome midway through the show. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay needs some urgency into its storyline to liven up its pacing and characters. Right now, it certainly feels like the momentum of the show is at a stand still between the three main cast of the show and nowhere to go.

ii – The whole “rehearsal for the nikah” scene was just lame. Is marriage the only thought that Pakistani women’s whole life is based around? They have no personal goals and ambitions of their own? It’s a terrible precedent that our media has set for our younger female and male audiences alike. 

iii  – A show about love and drama usually works when there is strong chemistry between the two main characters. But nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to Aswad and Mehreen. They practically hate each other and only decided to get engaged due to external pressure from their elders. Aswad cannot say no to his mom and Mehreen… well, just to spite Mashal? Is that really worth destroying your future for? Apart from the convoluted plot, the two actors feel awkward whenever they are on screen together. This could be one of the vital reasons why this show lacks certain engagement necessary for the viewers to tune in every week. 

+ Overall

Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay has steadily been getting comfortable with being a mediocre, run of the mill Pakistani drama. Apart from the Mehreen/ Mashal conflict, nothing is memorable about the show.

Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Laapata – Episode XIII & XIV (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Laapata Episode 13 & 14 (2021). The new TV series is written and directed by Khizer Idrees. Laapata is a Momina Duraid Production and currently airs on HUM TV.

(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ Crew

  • Directed by Khizer Idrees
  • Written by Khizer Idrees
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

Laapata is a comedy/ drama which focuses on young love who aspire to fulfill all their wishes in Life. The drama also highlights modern obsessions with social media such as Tik Tok and its impact on the Pakistani youth of today. 

The writer/ director of the show, Khizer Idrees is most well renowned in the TV industry for his work as a Cinematographer for films such as Manto (2015) and Verna (2017). 

 + Main Cast

  1. Ali Rehman Khan as Shams
  2. Ayeza Khan as Geeti
  3. Gohar Rasheed as Daniyal
  4. Sarah Khan as Falak

+ Plot

Shams (Ali Rehman Khan) loves Falak (Sarah Khan) and they predict something big for their future. On the other hand, Geeti (Ayeza Khan), the big Tik Tok star, is always looking for a new toy to play with. After being faced to decide upon her secure future, Geeti might have her eyes now set on someone… and that someone could perhaps be Shams? 

+ High Points

i – In Episodes 13 and 14, we finally get to see the backstory of Daniyal and his tale of misfortunes. Although it’s not entirely convincing or informative, it does fill in some of the plot holes that were present prior to it.

ii – This was a great shot. Without uttering a single word, it visually displayed the stature of Daniyal and his maid with the high angle/ low angle shot. It also strongly highlights not only how Daniyal views those literally beneath him but who has the “situational” high ground when it comes to the maid being his accomplice and the power he holds over her. I wish such visual storytelling would be incorporated more in Pakistani Television.

iii – Episodes 13 and 14 had the least amount of screentime for Geeti and her nonsense shenanigans. Greatly appreciated!

iv – The actress Momina Iqbal who portrayed Daniyal’s first wife Alia, was the most genuine and convincing in her performance. Even though it was short lived (no pun intended), her performance elevated Alia’s pivotal role in the story of Laapata.

+ Low Points

i –  Unfortunately this is where my praises for episodes 13 and 14 end as the show has taken a total 180 from where it all started. The first few episodes gave the impression that Laapata will be a light hearted romantic comedy with some elements of drama. But this week, the show has taken yet another swift turn towards suspense with the continuing backstory of Daniyal, his mental illness and the repercussions of his past actions. How is any of this related to the main plot of Laapata? Or even the name of the show? Isn’t Shams the main protagonist of the show? Why has he been sidelined to a “B” story of the evils of trade unions? This has been my consistent complaint towards Laapata; it has a genuine identity crisis of what it wants to be and which sections of the audiences it wants to please.

ii – Apart from Momina Iqbal, every other actor in the flashback scenes were completely cheesy and over the top with their performances. It is sad to admit that Gohar Rasheed does not possess the acting chops required to portray a split personality disorder. As mentioned in my last review, portraying mental illness on screen is difficult because as an actor, you need to act out of the norms of human behavior without coming off as comical in your performance. Unfortunately, Gohar Rasheed comes off more goofy than anything else. Even the actor who plays Aliya’s brother gave the worst performance in the show.

iii  – I don’t understand why Laapata is so keen on demonizing trade unions as lazy and ungrateful workers. This side plot has nothing really do with the main plot of the show so why portray trade unions in a negative light who have single-handedly have protected workers and their basic human rights?

+ Overall

Laapata has its redeeming factors but the show is undoubtedly directionless in its approach to maintain an identity.

Rate: out of 5 stars