TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Fraud – Episode XI & XII (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 11 & 12 (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 – These past few episodes have brought Fraud into a new narrative direction and a whole new cast of characters. As Tabriaz and company gears up for their next victim, Maya and family struggle to get back to normality as the Policeman falls for Maila. While not as enticing as the first five episodes, Fraud is settling down on a narrative path and evidently down the line, the paths of Maya and Tabriaz will cross once again. It’s at least intriguing to see how the show plays this “double narrative” (or even triple) between Maya’s family, Tabriaz’s new con job and Shaan’s post separation woes.

ii – The newly introduced Police Officer Talal could potentially be an interesting character, a stark contrast to Nael and Tabriaz if the show plays their cards right. What the show does right for me at the moment is its vast cast of characters with their own personalities and problems that could contribute well into the show’s narrative.

iii – A well thought out decision by the show runners to move the next setting to the rural areas of Pakistan. It brings a much needed visual change for the audience as well as a fresh frame of mind for them.

+ Low Points

i – Unfortunately it is becoming increasingly clear that Fraud’s big hurrah was indeed the Revelation of the ‘Fraud’ job done by Tabriaz (and company) and the Betrayal of Nael. Since then, the show is not as engaging as it used to be. Sure, there are a few subplots pushing the main narrative forward but nothing seems fresh as it once was. How many times will we see the Nisar family being betrayed or Maya contemplating her fate when it comes to men. The only way the show can work now is that they make Maya the center of attention. She can’t constantly stay in the shadows and complain about her life. With repetitive misfortunes, it very quickly turns into a farce and in the end, comical. I also can’t understand how the Nisar family is again so eager to get their Maya married off when they just suffered such public humiliation… twice.

ii – Speaking of humiliation, the Rishta scene in Episode 12 just did not work. So apparently Talal and Maila studied together and spent most of their academic time together. Talal just had a brief chat with the older sister Maya in the hospital waiting room and for some reason, the Nisar family thought that he was interested in her and not the girl he spent most of his time with? This really just felt like forced drama/ misunderstanding to prolong the life of the show and felt unnecessary.

iii – With reference to the scene above, Rabya Kalsoom as Maila felt as if she was trying too hard to make the scene work. It has now become a trait of her character that she starts lecturing everyone who she comes across, regardless of Age, class or situation. Also Talal apparently just walked into her room without ever knocking or permission… Seriously, who does that?

iv – The Shaan subplot still lacks any motivation for me to comment upon. Moving on.

+ Overall

An entertaining watch but the show already seems like a shadow of its former self.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 10 (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 10 covered the aftermath of the previous week and while nothing spectacular, it was still an entertaining hour of television with great performances all around. I like the fact that we get to see repercussions of Nael’s selfish act from last week as he is forced to witness Nasir descend into sudden madness. Did Nael really loved Maya or was it all about his ego at the end? 

ii – Mehmood Aslam just dominates each scene that he is a part of. Bear in mind, this is not an easy character to pull off. Nisar is a genuinely  kind hearted person and wears his heart on his sleeve for the most part but greed for a better future for his daughter got the better of him. In episode 10, Mehmood Aslam got to flex more of his acting chops but never went into the silliness territory. Nisar is by far, the best and most interesting character Fraud has in its wide cast of characters.

iii – The hospital visit scene was wild in the best possible way. Nisar has probably descended into the point of no return and the production crew did a brilliant job in elevating that scene with great camera work and production design.

+ Low Points

i – Episode 10 was not without its flaws. The story of Shaan and his past married life feels so out of place with the rest of the show. The subplot with Shaan’s ex wife willingly leaving her daughter behind feels forced and unnecessary. Everything about this subplot since the first episode just doesn’t work. The acting is bad, the dialogues feel hokey and worst of all, it is clearly not on the level that the show’s main plot is. I also find it tad ridiculous that Shaan just allows his ex wife to dictate the terms of their child’s arrangement. 

So the ex wife is willingly leaving her daughter at Shaan’s place to improve the relationship with her new husband. But at the same time, she will call her daughter once a week and visit her once a year. And Shaan just accepts all of this? Why?? He can easily tell her off that once she is leaving her daughter, that is the end. You cannot just drop off the child and visit her whenever you like. If he agrees to all this then Shaan is an even bigger idiot than I thought he was. It’s ridiculous writing like this that makes this subplot so weak in comparison to the rest of the show.

ii – The episode also felt a bit too exposition heavy and could have really benefited from lesser dialogue heavy moments (particularly the Nael and his mother scene). I genuinely feel that the performances and the images are strong enough not to warrant heavy explanations of how our protagonists are feeling.

+ Overall

Episode 10 has nothing new to offer but strong performances all around makes it an entertaining hour watch.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Fraud – Episode VIII & IX (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 8 & 9 (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 – An intense, gut wrenching episode of Fraud! With each passing scene, the impending catastrophe loomed over the Nisar family. Even after repeated refusals from Nael over his marriage with Maya, the two families still went ahead with the proceedings. The hope that they will be finally united in ‘marriage in law’ made them blind towards the obvious truth. What I truly loved about episode 8 was its ‘ticking time bomb’ narrative. You just know it’s going to go off but still can do nothing to stop the inevitable. Brilliant writing, accompanied by fantastic performances made this one of the best episodes of Fraud yet.

ii – Speaking of performances, this episode had some spectacular ones from Adnan Samad Khan, Mehmood Aslam and also Nazli Nasr. They truly commanded every scene they were a part of. Nisar’s slow descent into lunacy was brilliantly contrasted with Nael’s vengeance. WIth the recent proposal of Maya’s marriage to Nael, the tables turned in his favor and the temptation to make Nisar suffer was greater than anything Nael could have truly wanted. 

iii – On the other hand, the side plot of “Tabriaz family” was also entertaining. It was undoubtedly less corny than the previous episode and this time, Annie Zaidi’s character felt more genuine as we got to witness how these con artists function under the belly of our society. They are sharp, cunning and most of all, they only look after themselves. The scene with the jewelry store owner brought a lot of authenticity to her character as she desperately needs inside contacts in order to make such a Fraud display work. Optimistically looking forward to what the show will follow up with.

iv – Picking up from my criticism of the last episode, Maya displayed a far better character this week as she tries her hardest to adjust to her hideous reality. Even when she is told about her engagement with Nael, Maya blurts out that he doesn’t deserve her (and with that, her father’s misguided arrogance). Even with the days coming closer to the Nikah, Maya keeps questioning if things will ultimately take the turn for the worst (and spoiler alert, they do).

+ Low Points

i – My only point of criticism for episode 8 could be Ahsan Khan’s performance. While not terrible, it’s also far from impressive. It’s painfully obvious that Ahsan does not possess the acting chops to pull off this role as successfully as his “mom & dad” counterparts in the show. Although Ahsan Khan’s performance improves with less seasoned actors around, it’s hard to take his performance seriously when he shares the screen with the likes of Annie Zaidi and Saife Hasan.

+ Overall

Brilliant episode! It’s worth all of its new, two hour format. Highly recommended!

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Last Episode (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.

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!! Please read with caution:

+ High Points

i – A credible, thought-provoking and at the end of the day, entertaining finale to the Khan family saga from Laspiran. The final episode certainly delivered, bringing this tale of love and revenge to a close. Was it a satisfying conclusion? It solely depends on what you wanted from the show. Even in my previous reviews, I always compared Sang-e-Mah to a Shakespearan tragedy and that is exactly how the curtains were closed at the end. Props to the writer of the show Mustafa Afridi who brought a creative twist ending to the tale. Although I was aware that Haji Marjaan Khan’s days were numbered, the ending did take me by surprise and left me pondering well after the last image of the episode left my tv screen. The show was far from being a masterpiece as it had its share of problems but I can safely say, the conclusion to the show was immensely satisfying.

ii – This was the final time we got to see Marjaan Khan and his wife Zarsanga together and without a doubt, their performances were just on another level throughout the show. Both veteran actors have such beautiful on screen chemistry that they can literally end each other’s sentences. The terrible secret that they shared made their love all the more stronger and perhaps passing away together was the only way they would have liked to depart from this sinful world.

iii – The climatic scene at the Jirga was brilliantly presented and directed by Saife Hassan. The dialogues were mostly pitch perfect, including the “little white lie” by Hilmand to drive Masha’allah Khan out of Laspiran once and for all. Even though it was not entirely realistic, I did immensely enjoy the proceedings and thankfully, the women’s revolt was played with a certain realistic restraint and never went overboard.  

iv – In a sea of “Saas/ Bahoo” dramas with poor, cliched writing and production, Sang-e-Mah had the guts to leave its viewers with a tragic ending that would leave anyone cold with a lingering, haunting image of the two aged lovers, found leaning on one another and waiting for their reunion in the afterlife. But was the tragic ending warranted? I can see arguments to both sides of the spectrum but regardless, I’m sure it took a lot of courage from the creative team to stick to their guns and go with the ending that I’m sure left half of their viewers dissatisfied (mostly because they wanted a happy end to the show).  

+ Low Points

i – There’s not much I can criticize about the finale, apart from the fact that the Jirga and the impending problem of Gak. The issue was certainly oversimplified and the solution came rather quickly with no real thought behind it. I wish the show would have put in a bit more effort into it, making it more realistic and believable. 

ii – Masa’allah Khan should have been used more in the show. He was barely in a couple of episodes and even then, he showed more grit and tenacity than any antagonist in Sang-e-Mah. This character was unfortunately introduced too late into the show and was immensely underutilized. 

+ Overall and Final thoughts on Sang-e-Mah

Sang-e-Mah was engaging and at times, thought provoking but with such a stellar cast of actors like Nauman Ijaz, Sania Saeed, Atif Aslam, Kubra Khan; it never reached the level of quality that it had every right to be. And most of the blame lies solely on the writing. First of all, Sang-e-Mah should never have been 26 episodes long as some felt an incredibly forced hour of content with no real substance. Even though characters like Marjaan Khan, Zarguna, Zarsanga, Mastaan Singh were great to witness on screen, main characters like Hilmand and Sherherzad felt underdeveloped and under performed (including their forced romance). Unfortunately, this show did no favors to the amateur actor Atif Aslam who is too much of a novice to pull off such a complex character of Hilmand. The never ending pseudo philosophy and constant sulking in each scene left an undesirable taste in my mouth. Sherherzad on the other hand, had a back story that no one asked for. Instead of exploring her “fish out of water” character (a city reporter who was forced to deal with the male chauvinist society of Pakhtoon), we got a tired, recycled childhood abuse story that only made the show feel tacky and unrealistic.

The production of the show was yet another home run for Momina Duraid productions as they prove time and time again that you do not need constant overbearing music in the background to provoke emotions out of your audience. Great framing, excellent cinematography made Sang-e-Mah such a pleasant viewing. 

In conclusion, Sang-e-Mah was a show that had the potential to be a modern classic but sadly, settled to being just better than most current Pakistani shows. Lesser episodes, more sharper writing could have done wonders but that is not the show that we got to witness. What worked for the show, worked to its highest potential; what did not, left a permanent stain on its legacy.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

Overall Series Rating: out of 5 stars

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