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 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 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

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Laapata Episode 11 & 12 (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 – Episode 11 and 12 had a lot going on. There was a massive development regarding a certain character and whether those changes worked or proved to be a bust, at least the episodes were an entertaining watch with some good performances from the main cast.

ii – In comparison to other shows currently on Pak television, Falak is portrayed as more self confident and doesn’t serve as a doormat for the men in her Life. Although her sportswoman background is completely abandoned (what a pity), she knows how to take care of herself and fend off bullies. I do have some major reservations regarding some of her reactions in episode 12 but we’ll get to that soon.

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

+ Low Points

i –  The character of Daniyal and the direction that they are going with him. It was in fact slightly hinted at in the previous episodes that something is psychologically not right with him but this week, they went all out with it. Playing a character with a split personality is a very difficult task since you really have to walk the fine line between goofy and insane. And unfortunately, Gohar Rasheed’s performance comes off more ridiculous than anything. His inflictions and body gestures are not convincing enough to play a character suffering from insanity. As far as “nice guy” goes, Gohar Rasheed was perfect for it but these two episodes made a massive revelation that seems largely at odds with the rest of the show. 

Could this twist in the story have worked? Yes, I think so but it needed to be perfect with its pacing, build it up for several episodes and not just jump from 10 to 100, all in a single episode! Also it was quite ludicurios how at the party, the guests just casually discussed with Falak that her husband might be a murderer. 

ii – Secondly, Falak’s reaction of discovering that her husband potentially might be a murder is incredibly unrealistic. In order to show how “strong” of a woman Falak is, when she gets slapped by Daniyal, she slaps him back. All good but in the previous episode, it was revealed to her that he might have killed his ex-wife in cold blood!! And she still decides to stay with him and slap back at him?? Are you serious? Girl, if I were you, I would be running towards the hills! Especially when I notice his erratic, mental behaviour! Many viewers (including myself) complain that women are always portrayed weak and helpless in Pak dramas but this is one instance that Falak should’ve been portrayed exactly that! I don’t care if you’re a male or female, if your spouse is rumored to be a murderer, you run away as far as you can from that individual!

iii  – The “comedy” scenes involving Geeti do not work. Please stop with this nonsense. Her acting is not good, all the jokes fall flat on their face and have no place in the show.

iv  – Ever since Shams has returned, his character has been somewhat in a limbo of what to do with him. I’m afraid they are now pairing him up with Geeti and frankly, he deserves a fate much better than that. 

+ Overall

Laapata moves into yet another direction which feels rushed and not properly developed as it should be.

Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Laapata – Episode IX & X (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Laapata Episode 9 & 10 (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 – The romance between Falak and Daniyal is cute. Even though it is inevitable that something will go wrong between them but for now, the character of Daniyal is a great counter to the arrogant Shams of before. Even the love banter between the couple is well written and its fun to watch the two actors interact on screen together.

ii – Apart from Ayeza Khan, the performances from the main cast are actually great. The love triangle of Ali Rehman Khan, Sarah Khan and Gohar Rasheed is undoubtedly the highlight of the show. 

SPOILER ALERT!!! (If you would like to avoid it, please skip to the Low Points section):

iii – Considering the circumstances, the return of Shams was very well handled. The imagery of his mother pacing back and forth towards the gate, hoping every time to see her son’s face behind it was heartbreaking and finally, it did pay off in the end. No unnecessary dialogue was incorporated into this scene, just melodic music and imagery. That’s all that it needed to be.

+ Low Points

i –  Laapata is a show that keeps faltering back and forth whether it wants to be a tragedy or a comedy of errors. While the story of Sham’s lost years is rightfully taken in a serious direction, the “comedy” antics of Geeti are unbearable (more on that in the next point!). The show is afraid to take a stern stance on which path to move forward with because it is afraid to lose its certain section of the audience. This is why Laapata (ironically) has no identity of its own. Although there is nothing wrong with a bit of light hearted scenes sprinkled in between dramatic moments of the show, it needs to commit to its “tragedy” genre to create a personality of its own. As the famous Urdu idiom goes:

“Dhobi ka kutta; na ghar ka, na ghat ka!”

“A washerman’s dog belongs to neither the house, nor the waterside!”

SPOILER ALERT!!! (If you would like to avoid it, please skip to the Overall section):

ii – The whole character of Geeti is the Achilles’ heel and brings the quality of the show significantly down. There is nothing hilarious about her shenanigans, in fact they are downright insulting. She tried to steal her friend’s fiance and when that didn’t work out, there was no lesson to be learnt about selfishness. She just went about her business and the show played it off as a “hilarious” joke! Her incredibly naive friend just forgave her in two seconds time and now, she is after Shams again?? What is even going on in this show? Laapata only proves that you always act self-centered and it might just pay off for you.

iii  – On top of all that is mentioned above, Ayeza Khan as Geeti is just one of the most annoying characters in recent memory. Her over the top antics and dialogue delivery just gives the show a “tacky” and inferior quality to it. If I was not reviewing this, I would gladly have skipped each scene that she is a part of in the show!

iv  – The worst part (hands down!) about Laapata has to be its “comedy”. Every joke is either corny or falls flat on its face. The whole subplot with Geeti’s fiance, the butcher’s son’s blackmail, the eye-rolling scene of Geeti’s arranged marriage meeting, it’s all terrible writing. Laapata would prove to be a much better show if the show runners introduce more poignantly written subplots with sensible writing that compliments the vibe of the show and not insult it.

+ Overall

Laapata has the potential to be a much better and focused show if not for its terrible “comedy” subplots involving Ayeza Khan as Geeti.

Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Laapata – Episode VII & VIII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Laapata Episode 7 & 8 (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 comparison to other female protagonists on Pak television, Falak is still relatively better written. She is not easily manipulated or oppressed by the men in her life. She has a solo career as a sportswoman and also possesses her own unique character.

ii – The plot flows along nicely with each passing episode. The pacing between the quieter and dramatic moments is commendable. And even though the new romance plotline between Falak and Daniyal serves yet again as just another drama cliche, it has been well introduced and executed. It’s genuinely admirable that the show is gradually developing the romance between the two and giving it the attention that it deserves.

Spoiler Alert!! (If you would like to avoid it, please skip to the Low Points section):

iii – The dream sequence perfectly describes the longing and desperation of Shams. The music is never overbearing, it lets just the visuals of the scene describe and the pain and anguish Shams is feeling at the moment. It’ll be interesting to see how he will react when he eventually returns to his past life.

+ Low Points

i –  Laapata is in the middle of crossroads when it comes to genres. The main plotline has taken a dark turn but the show is afraid to fully commit to it and therefore, has inconsequential flashback scenes to provide some levity to the show. And there lies the problem. What is it that Laapata wants from its viewers? Are we supposed to take it seriously or not? The drama and comedy scenes in this show mix as good as oil and water.

ii – Geeti is undoubtedly a horrible person as she now targets the fiance of her closest friend to be her next lover. It’s perplexing to me how the show plays all of this off as “comedy”. Should we be rooting for such an amoral character? Will Geeti learn her lesson not to be a narcissist and annoying by the end of the series? We shall find out.

iii  – The subplot of Falak’s sister proves to be completely unnecessary. Up till now, it has proven to be uninteresting and insignificant to the overall plot of the show.

iv  – The “two years” later episodes have not proven to be as colourful or compelling as the previous ones. Where are the corrupt police officers or the greedy mulla? It was at least fun to watch them on screen. Now it’s just dull, generic characters like Geeti’s new lover or the kind hearted boss of Falak. Nowhere near as interesting.

+ Overall

Laapata has recovered a tad bit from its sudden shift in tone but the drama and comedy aspect of the show still needs to be better balanced in order for the show to have an identity of its own.

 Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Laapata – Episode V & VI (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Laapata Episode 5 & 6 (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 – Episodes 5 and 6 have taken a more serious and logical approach towards the concept of “Laapata” and families who have lost their loved ones in such fashion. While its not an outstanding case study of “lost” family members, at least it has been given some level of seriousness that it deserves.

ii – It’s admirable from the show runners to depict Falak as a Badminton athlete. Most shows on Pak TV either depict their young women as flaunting 24/7 over their partners. Falak (on the other hand) has her own character defining trait outside her relationship. And this is what makes her character stand out from the rest of the shows.

iii – The corruption within the law enforcement section is quite truthfully depicted in the show. The telephone dialogues scene between the two Police Inspectors was very poignantly written and loved the “switcheroo” of the dialogue “ And please consider my promotion” from one Police Officer (in Ep 5) to the next (in Ep 6).

iv  – Seems like Saife Hasan is having a lot of fun playing the dastardly evil Police Inspector. You have to admire when an actor fully embraces a performance and runs wild with it.

+ Low Points

i –  Laapata has no idea what it wants to be. The show started off as a romantic, quirky love story which quite rapidly devolved into a tragic drama. The progression between the two genres is nowhere near seamless as it should have been. The viewers who probably tuned in for the comedic aspects of the show will be put off by the seriousness of the situation.

ii – Ayeza Khan as Geeti still does not fit the tone of the show. Her screwball performance is at complete odds with the storytelling of Laapata. Her character’s quirkiness is off putting and she definitely needs to tone down her performance to make herself more relatable to the viewers.

iii  – An awful lot of blurring in a single shot! How such images get approved for Broadcast quality in Pakistan is beyond my comprehension!

iv  – The two new “love interests” seem very generic and just something for our female leads to do since our main protagonist is “Laapata”. Perhaps it’s okay if our female lead doesn’t have a love interest for a few episodes. 

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

v  – Hakim’s change of heart in Episode 5 came out of nowhere. They tried to explain that the corrupt Police Inspector would have hounded their trial till they found him but murdering a police inspector by poisoning him in front of countless number of witnesses is probably an even worse idea! This move made no sense.

+ Overall

The sudden shift in tone will drive away viewers of Laapata. Although the cast is entertaining enough, the show seems confused as to what it wants to be; a rom-com or a serious drama?

 Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Laapata – Episode III & IV (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Laapata Episode 3 & 4 (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 – Episodes 3 and 4 were an entertaining watch. The structure of the narrative was on point, there was a good sense of pacing between the dramatic scenes and the quieter/ lighter moments of the show. Most of the characters are likeable to watch on screen. Even flawed characters like Shams (Ali Rehman Khan) have loads of charisma whenever he is in front of the camera. If you liked the first two episodes, you can’t go wrong with this week.

ii – Ali Rehman Khan and Sarah Khan are a natural pairing together. The banter, romantic moments between the two seem very genuine and credit should go to the writing of the show by Khizer Idrees. Even though the writing in the first two episodes was clunky, episodes 3 and 4 are a much needed improvement in balancing romance and drama. There are still some issues regarding the “comedy” aspect of the show but we’ll get to that in the Low Points section.

iii – The dramatic gambling scenes are such a treat to watch. They are not only visually impressive but its a perfect blend of slow motion mixed with tense music and atmosphere. The production crew has done an outstanding job in creating such dark visual undertones.

iv – The Police Inspector character (played by Saife Hasan) is an interesting adversary to the show. Cocky, brutal and unforgiving, he’s naturally someone who you would love to hate and root for him to get his comeuppins at the end.

v – In Episode 3, the montage sequence between Shams gamlbing, Geeti putting her makeup on and Falak practicing her Batminton skills was by far the highlight of the show. Such scenes are essential to storytelling because they explain the current situation to the audience purely through visuals. The emotions of each of the characters (at that moment in time) is depicted with such clarity that you don’t need dialogues or exposition for the audience to understand what is currently happening in the show.

+ Low Points

i –  I think the biggest drawback of Laapata has to be Geeti (played by Ayeza Khan). Her over the top performance and “comedy” does not fit the show. In one scene, she is acting like a deranged psychopath, talking to herself in the mirror and in the next, she is being “cute” and flirty with Shams. Either she has a split personality disorder or she can’t control her mood swings. Depicting such mental disorders is nothing wrong per se but it does not fit the lighthearted drama vibe of the show. Her character needs to be much more grounded and less erratic in order to play a vital role in the show. Whenever she is acting like a psychopath in front of a mirror, immediately followed by a “comedic” romantic scene, subconsciously you know that one thing does not fit the other.

ii – Laapata is trying hard to be the complete package of romance, drama and comedy. And for the most part, it does not work. Some light hearted comedy between the two families is perfectly fine but scenes like the Witch Doctor and the Wedding band are so out of place to the vibe of the show. Laapata is not a screwball comedy and it should not set itself to be one. I hope there’s less of such scenes in the upcoming episodes.

iii  – I realize this is now commonplace in Pak TV shows but there are way too many egregious blurring in pretty much every outdoor scene and its kind of ridiculous at this point. It’s obvious that none of it is paid sponsoring but it visually looks distracting and tacky. Perhaps shoot it such a way that the products don’t overwhelm the background? I think there can be different ways to avoid this.

Awful amount of blurring in a single shot!

+ Overall

Episode 3 and 4 have brought in quite an improvement. Although the show still needs to balance between its comedy and drama scenes, Laapata is definitely worth a watch.

 Rate:  out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Laapata – Episode I & II (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Laapata Episode 1 & 2 (2021). The new TV series is written and directed by Khizer Idrees. Laapata is a Momina Duraid Production and currently airs on HUM TV.

+ 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 want to fulfill all of their aspirations 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 – I am a firm believer that the opening scene for a TV show or a Film should encompass the vibe of the content the viewers are going to watch. And Laapata does exactly that. The opening scene was goofy, comedic but also depicted the aspirations (or delusions) of Shams flawlessly. 

ii – The chemistry between Shams (Ali Rehman Khan) and Falak (Sarah Khan) is great. Both actors know how to play off each other which in turn creates fun banter between the two love birds. As far as casting goes, these two were spot on.

iii – The gambling scenes in the first two episodes are visual art at its finest. The colors, the low key lighting emphasizing on tension and devious atmosphere, the music also plays off great in these scenes without any dialogue. While gambling, one could instantly tell what each character is pondering without even any spoken dialogue. Great stuff.

iv – Speaking of visuals, Laapata is also very well shot with lots of creative camera movement accompanying the scenes. Since Khizer Idrees started off as a cinematographer first, it is not at all surprising that his shows will incorporate a lot of his experience behind the camera.

v – Most of the supporting cast also play their parts well. Actors such as Gohar Rasheed, Amna Malik, Rabia Noreen, Munazzah Arif and Khalifa Sajeer Uddin work brilliantly as our protagonist’s close acquaintances who want to guide their child/ sibling on the right path of success.

+ Low Points

i –  First of all, this really needs to be addressed; why does Ali Rehman Khan’s face have touches of “browness” to it? Its definitely subtle but after watching the first two episodes, the only reason could be is a cultural one where “Browness = lower class”. Such casual racism unfortunately plagues our TV screens and Film Industry. First it’s the drama Parizaad and now this? The power of Media has such influence on the masses to combat bigotry and racism but dramas like these only throw fuel to the fire. 

    In Laapta                                                 In other shows.

ii – When it comes to the main plot and narrative, Laapata is nothing out of the ordinary. Due to its themes involving comedy and melodrama, the show plays it safe and uncreative (which is a disappointment since the cast of the show is great). While Hum TV currently has shows like Parizaad which proudly makes itself distinctive from the rest of the shows out there, Laapata is yet another Love Triangle/ Comedy of Errors mixed with melodrama that we all have become accustomed to. The main plot of the show is nothing flawed of sorts but it is also nothing creative.

iii  – Ayeza Khan as Geeti is a tad bit annoying as the famous Tik Tok star. Now granted, she might perhaps be an ideal representation of a Tik Tok influencer but I wish she was not one of the main cast members of the show. Let us hope that with each passing episode, her character’s facade melts a bit and we get to see some depth in her character.

iv  – The humor of the show, while nothing offensive, is also not really hilarious and most of the comedic scenes are with Geeti the Tik Tok star. This probably was not a good idea since she pretty much has no comedic timing. Most jokes are connected to her overexaggerated gestures and not the best comedic dialogue so unfortunately, Comedy is not Laapta’s strong suit. It also should be mentioned that the show tries to make subjects like “runaway marriages” a short term joke. Personally, I love dark humor if done right but here, not much thought was given to this set piece by Khizer Idrees. He may be a competent director/ cinematographer but the writing is lacking in originality and dialogues that could’ve been written much tighter for better results.

v  – Now this is something really odd. In Episode Two, one of the supporting cast (in the midst of a conversation) gets off his chair, turns on the radio which is playing the Soundtrack of another Hum TV’s drama Raqeeb Se (sung by Hadiqa Kiani). Admittedly, the soundtrack is great but why was this necessary to shoehorned in the middle of a scene??

+ Overall

Laapata has a solid cast with gorgeous visuals but the writing lacks in creativity which could’ve distinguished it from the rest of the shows on Pak TV.

 Rate: 2.5 out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Khaas (2019)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Khaas (2019). The 27 Episode limited TV series is directed by Danish Nawaz and is a Momina Duraid production. Khaas was aired on HUM TV.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Danish Nawaz
  • Written by Sarwat Nazir
  • Edited by Mehmood Ali and Nasir Inayat
  • DOP by Tameen Nizami
  • Music Composed by Sohail Haider
  • Opening Theme song “Woh Jo Tha Bahut Hi Khaas” by Natasha Baig
  • Produced by Momina Duraid

+ Note

Back in 2019, Khaas was a show which strived to be unlike any no other on Pakistani Television. On the surface level, Khaas could be your typical run of the mill drama between In laws and daughter in law but Sarwat Nazir’s writing strives the show to be much more than what it seems to be. Khaas is about an emotional plight of a woman in a male dominated culture. Where certain expectations are required from the woman of the house. The show is primarily a case study of what emotional abuse a woman has to face in order to be loved and respected by the Pakistani society; be that sustaining composure while your Husband makes hurtful jokes about you or extinguishing your goals and ambitions in order to please the traditional “norm” of being a housewife. Although this word is treated as poision by most of the Pakistani community, Khaas is in fact a ‘feminist’ drama in which the target audience is not necessarily women but also the male counterparts of our everyday life.

Khaas was a critical and commercial success throughout the country, garnering praise and applause from audiences who saw themselves in the protagonist Saba. The drama was nominated by Lux Style Awards for Best Writing and Best Original Soundtrack.

 + Main Cast

  1. Sanam Baloch as Saba Faraz
  2. Ali Rehman Khan as Ammar Saud
  3. Haroon Shahid as Fakhir
  4. Behroze Sabzwari as Faraz Ahmed; Saba’s father
  5. Lubna Aslam as Sadaf Faraz; Saba’s mother
  6. Saba Faisal as Kanwal Saud; Ammar’s mother
  7. Mashal Khan as Sonia
  8. Anam Goher as Nida Saud
  9. Sajida Syed as Nusrat

 + Supporting Cast

  1. Natasha Ali as Farah
  2. Amna Malik as Javeria
  3. Shehryar Zaidi as Saud; Ammar’s father
  4. Sonia Nazir as Anam
  5. Areesha Shah as Mehak Faraz
  6. Sanam Baloch as Fakhir’s late mother 
  7. Danish Nawaz as Fakhir’s late father (only seen in flashbacks)
  8. Hira Tareen as Salma

+ Plot

Khaas is a story of an ambitious woman named Saba (played by Sanam Baloch) who strives for her career and other goals in Life. That all unfortunately gets cut short once Ammar (Ali Rehman Khan) proposes to her and her family. Due to unwarranted pressure from her parents and society, Saba accepts the proposal and focuses on her married life instead. Even though Ammar is considered charming and loved by everyone around him, something seems not right about him. Slowly, the façade of Ammar breaks down and Saba gets to see what lies behind the curtain.

Meanwhile Fakhir (Haroon Shahid), a timid, shy artist who falls in love with Saba and steadily, a friendship brews between them, proving that within all that is dark, there is a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.

+ High Points

i – Khaas is a textbook example of how it should be done! Engaging storyline, memorable characters, cliffhangers after each episode, never once did my attention span falter while watching the show. The show hit every narrative beat picture perfect and its success and admiration by the fans is the living proof of it. 

ii – A lot of praise and attention should be devoted towards the main cast as each one of them portrayed their characters with absolute perfection. Sana Baloch as the strong yet sympathetic protagonist, Ali Rehman Khan as the narcissistic, petty manchild and Haroon Shahid as the shy, timid artist who sees good in everything. That’s a perfect dynamic of characters one could have for any TV show. And their performances were excellent throughout the series. 

iii – The character arcs of each of the main cast is also incredibly well written and realized onto the small screen. As a viewer, you can empathize with Saba’s journey from a shy, dominated girl to an empowered, striving woman. Experiences made her change, become more stronger in a cut throat environment of male domination. In Pakistan, men usually get away with a whole lot more than a woman can and Khaas highlights that aspect with total honesty and sincerity. And that is one of the main reasons why Khaas was such a mainstream success.

iv – Apart from the main cast, some of the supporting characters also resonate incredibly well, mainly Saba Faisal as Ammar’s mother. Saba is such a versatile actress that she could adapt to any character she would like and this one is no exception. Her perception towards womanhood and blindness towards her son Ammar is a story seen numerous times in our culture. Men mainly get away with such ruthless behaviour because there are certain women who support and tolerate them.

v– The production of the show is also a key aspect of its success. The colors are vibrant, the sets and costumes are adapted well to its narrative. Momina Duraid’s shows are usually top notch in quality and Khaas is no different.

vi– The story progression of the show is meticulously handled and executed. With each episode, you get to learn more about each of our main cast of characters, their motivations and their ambitions in life. Each episode just revealed enough for the audience to eagerly anticipate what would happen next.

vii– The dream sequence scene involving Fakhir’s parents was inventive and brilliantly executed. Especially casting Sanam Baloch as the mother (since Fakhir sees his mother in Saba) and the father played the director of the show Danish Nawaz.

viii– SPOILER ALERT!!! In the next point, I will talk about the controversial ending of the show. You can skip directly to the Low Points if you would like to avoid it:

So the most vital question in each viewer’s mind was how the show will conclude? Would Saba and Fakhir live happily ever after? Would Ammar learn the error of his ways and rekindle his love with Saba? The answer is; perhaps a little bit of it all? A lot of people were disappointed not to see Saba and Fakhir happily living together and granted, his supposed life threatening accident was a forced narrative decision (which I will elaborate more in the Low Points) but to see Saba, even in her most vulnerable position with her new born child, reject Ammar’s proposal for remarriage was the absolute right outcome. Fakhir’s untimely death and Saba’s decision to live her own life the way she wants it is the most logical conclusion to the story. She needed the conflict of decision making when life doesn’t go as planned. 

Saba’s experiences living under Ammar’s thumb and eventually self-emancipating herself from the shackles of society would have been in vain if not for this conclusion. Fakhir taught her to be responsible, to live her own life the way she sees fit. With his passing away, Saba can put all of this to the test. Whether she would ever remarry, could be anyone’s guess but Saba decided to raise her child on her own was the right outcome of the show. And a lot of praise and admiration should go to the writer Sarwat Nazir for making this happen in a mainstream TV show.

 + Low Points

i – While I really applaud the show’s audacity and determination to show such a unique storyline of how women are emotionally abused in Pakistani culture, what Khaas really should’ve done is make the show as close to reality as possible. This was necessary in order for the audience to relate to the protagonist beyond the world of TV dramas. Unfortunately, this is what the show failed to accomplish. The script is merely written for the sole purpose of melodrama entertainment. And sadly, that is what Khaas ends up being. A TV show. There are too many unrealistic scenarios, coincidences (in convenience to the plot), characters act completely dumb in order for the misunderstandings to happen, too many times where two characters gossip about someone and that “someone” is eavesdropping at that exact moment. Yes, it is possible to brush all of this off and say “It is just a TV show!”. Well, that is why one cannot take the story of Khaas seriously. It’s only true within the confines of your TV screen.

ii – Speaking of dumb characters, Behroze Sabzwari as Saba’s dad should really be awarded the “Worst Father of the Year” award. Judging how the character was written, even the slightest words of encouragement from anyone in the show would persuade him to jump off a cliff. Unless of course, you are his daughter. Then he will not believe a single word you could say. Saba’s father was incredibly dumb and gullible whenever the script wanted him to be. He was written with absolutely zero intelligence, arriving at the most awkward of moments and did not possess the intelligence to even put 2 and 2 together. Sabzwari ‘s character is by far one of the worst written characters I have come across and is the embodiment of what a bad writing looks like.

iii – There are way too many flashbacks in the show. There are several flashbacks of scenes and dialogues that happened just a few minutes ago! Does the show think we have a memory of a goldfish? It’s a bad move from the creative team’s part to treat its audience like they are not intelligent enough to follow a single episode without a reminder every five minutes of each character’s motivations. 

iv – Whenever a dramatic moment occurs, this show just abuses it with a barrage of slow motions, melodramatic cheesy music and anything they could get their hands on. The first episode especially was the worst offender in all this. In visual art, subtlety is always the best option and Mehreen Jabbar’s TV dramas have proven that.

v –  That “twisted ankle and rubbing ointment on it” scene. Just a perfect example of forced romantic moments between the two protagonists. Ugh.

vi – SPOILER ALERT!!! In the next point, I will talk about the controversial ending of the show. You can skip directly to Overall section if you would like to avoid it:

Even though I praised the ending of the show above, the demise of Fakhir’s character was incredibly lazy writing. In every good script, there needs to be a set up and a pay off. Granted, Fakhir had this one nightmare and kept reminding Saba to be brave if she ends up alone but that is not enough to earn that pay off. A terminal illness of Fakhir could’ve been hinted at right at the beginning of the show and then his passing away in the final episode would’ve made a lot more sense. In short, the script wanted to kill off Fakhir so Saba could have her moment of realization that she could live and be happy on her own. It feels very unearned and possibly divides the audience on this decision.

+ Overall

Khaas has a very unique story to tell. It is bold and pulls no punches when it comes to exposing the hypocrisy against women in Pakistani culture. Unfortunately it also gets muddled up with too many TV drama cliches and mediocre writing. But at the end of the day, it is the cast of the show that makes Khaas special. True, the show could’ve accomplished a lot more than it ended up with but for what the show is, Khaas is definitely worth your time.

 Rate: 3.25 out of 5 stars