TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 09 (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 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 – Within the facade of a Shakespearan melodrama, there lies the brilliance of sharp dialogues and intelligently scripted events and set pieces. Sang-e-Mah excels the most when it comes to family relationships and hidden skeletons inside various closets. The hatred that Hilmand has towards his stepfather brings a lot of depth and urgency to the story in this week’s episode as we finally witness the scene where Hilmand discovers Marjaan Khan’s dirty little secret. With each narrative step, the show further moves towards the inevitable confrontation between father and son… or even the two brothers for that matter. And speaking of brothers…

ii – Hikmat Khan dissension towards madness and revenge grows with each passing episode. He craves for justice, he desires his love and he will not be stopped. With the will to regain his beloved Gul Meena, Hikmat is ready to go beyond what he could have never even dreamed about. Although Nauman Ijaz’s performance has been satisfactory throughout the series at best, his portrayal of a madman in love was undoubtedly one of the key highlights of the show.

iii – Overall, episode 9 had much better character interactions with plot revelations accompanied by powerful performances. This week, each scene hit hard and fast, delivering intense dialogues and much improved character development. As mentioned in my previous reviews of the show, if Sang-e-Mah plays its cards right, it has the potential to become one of the best shows on television in recent times. Not only the cast and crew is talented, it is in fact the writing which propels it towards a quality work of art and this week, it moved an inch or so closer towards that goal of success. 

+ Low Points

i – But with all the praise that this week’s episode deserves, there also lies flaws that could have easily been ironed out. For example, the subplot with Sheherzaad’s tragic past feels incredibly tacked on and unnecessary to the overall narrative of the show. With so much going on within the Khan and the Singh family, why are we, as the viewer, being forced to shed yet another tear for Sheherzaad and her psychological woes? Undoubtedly these are very serious subject matters that are worthy of being explored upon but this seems the wrong story for the wrong show as the main beef of the narrative is the family drama. Sheherzaad can very well play the role of a ‘fish out of water’ character, forced into being involved in Pakhtoon customs and traditions. I hope that the show ultimately fizzles out on her subplot as it only ends up detracting from the main plot of the show.

ii – The scene with Zarghuna and her daughter dragged on for way too long, confined in a single cramped scene where shot/ reverse shot editing became quickly tiresome and ended up destroying the flow of the episode. I generally don’t mind longer, dialogue heavy scenes as long as the writing is interesting and is visually compelling. This scene was unfortunately neither of the two.

+ Overall

A good, noteworthy episode which progressed the story forward with intelligent writing and good performances all around.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 08 (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 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 – Now with the narrative clarification regarding the case of Mastaan Singh, the show has taken a step towards an intriguing direction. By taking the life of an innocent man, Mastaan Singh has forsaken himself to spend the rest of his life in eternal, self-inflicted prison. Its good characterization because we are now perhaps witnessing Mastaan Singh’s redemption arc. Since he is a man of his word, Mastaan admitted to the crime and has allowed Zarghuna (the widow of the victim) to play the role of the judge, the jury and the executioner. And with Episode 8 in the bag, I am keenly interested as to which direction will Mastaan Singh end up.

ii – This probably comes off as a surprise to myself but Nauman Ijaz as Haji Marjaan Khan has been developed in the past couple of episodes splendidly. And I am glad that he is not playing “just another role in his long acting career” but rather a conniving, devious one who has more than his share of skeletons in his closet. Although he tries hard to convince those around him to be wise and all knowing, Marjaan knows deep down that his past actions will catch up to him sooner rather than later. His sleepless nights, his manipulation of those under him, it will all come crashing down soon enough.

+ Low Points

i – The story of Hilmand Khan just feels stagnated and refuses to budge forward under any circumstances. Since the premiere of the show, the character has been one note, devoid of any other emotion other than sulking in the background. Such lack of diverse characterization makes the protagonist unsympathetic and distant to the viewers. And I feel bad for Atif Aslam who in his first acting role ever, needs to overcome such blatant flaws in screenwriting. 

ii – Not only is the character of Hilmand Khan one of the most underwritten characters of the show but the onscreen chemistry between him and Sheherzaad comes completely out of left field and unearned. I guess one could say that they both had a terrible childhood to bond over but in this show, who didn’t!? It’s just lazy screenwriting with minimal effort in its exposition and character development scenes.

iii – The dream sequence involving Zarghuna and her late husband was supposed to be a tragic moment of the show but due to lack of proper emotional beats and faulty editing, it came off more awkward than anything else. The fatal flaw being that it went on just a tad bit too long, crossing the line of tragedy to trying too hard to gather our sympathy. Also the performance of Sania Saeed in the scene seemed off and forced. As a viewer, I could not grasp the pain and solitude that her character felt at that moment but rather waited impatiently for the scene to end.

+ Overall

When Sang-e-Mah does right, its highly engaging but when it does wrong, its cringeworthy. So was Episode 8 this week…

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 07 (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 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 – The scenes involving Mastaan Singh and his tragic past are brilliantly realized. The acting is top notch, the backdrop is dark and gloomy with an intensive look into the lives of Sikh Pakistani families. Omair Rana and Najiba Faiz’s onscreen chemistry is outstanding, delivering emotional beats with such poiancy and heartfelt moments. Seven episodes in, one can now fully understand the regret and remorse that Mastaan Singh feels everyday; an action, a thought of Evil that he can never take back. Harshaali, on the other hand, tries her best to bring out the man out of Mastaan that she fell in love with. It’s a brilliant set up and I eagerly await the inevitable payoff.

ii – This week, the storyline flowed at a much brisker pace, moving forward each and every subplot, inch by inch. There hides a lot of lies and deception from Marjaan Khan as his wife seems to be naive and oblivious to all of his previous mischief. Last week’s episode felt lethargic and stuck within its own tangled webs but episode 7 brought a certain amount of clarity and tension to the storyline including the interconnected subplots of the main cast.

iii – The dynamic between Zarghuna and her daughter also worked quite well, with both actresses delivering some worthy performances. With the current injustice in this world, Zarghuna learned long ago how to face the world with an iron fist. But unfortunately, that also meant that the absent emotional part of her also started losing the faith of her daughter in the process. By focusing solely on avenging her husband’s death, her daughter’s urgency of having a parental figure also started fading away with it. Honestly, it was refreshing to see a “softer” side to the stereotypical “toughness” of the Pakhtoon community.

+ Low Points

i – Now for something completely on the other side of the spectrum. An episode where we got wonderful performances from the main cast, Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz as Hikmat Khan was a total bust. In the most emotional scene of his character to date, Zaviyar Ijaz was emotionless and disinterested at the same time. He talks about killing his brother but his emotionless face might have not even conveyed that he wanted to put down his beloved pet. While not great by any stretch of the imagination, Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz has been serviceable up till now but this episode’s performance brought absolutely nothing to the table. His flat acting ended up hurting even Hania Amir’s performance and a scene that should have been the pivotal moment of the episode just did not work.

ii – Episode 7 brought yet another “tragic” past story to the table. Sheherzaad also suffered from lack of parental figures growing up and was emotionally abused by her relatives and cousins. Sheesh, does anyone have a happy childhood in this show!? This felt somewhat out of left field and unnecessary. Even the exposition felt so tacked on at a wrong stage of the show, it’s as if the show just wanted to be done with this scene asap.

+ Overall

A definite improvement from the previous week but the emotional beats still lack proper timing to make the show more impactful for the audience.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 06 (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 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 – The death of Lala Guru Baksh was brilliantly portrayed and realized by the creative team of the show. It had a high intensity of tragedy and regret dispersed across the images and dialogues. Although there are still some secrets that need to be uncovered by the audience, the pain one could witness in the eyes of Mastaan Singh was one of the best performances Sang-e-Mah has ever depicted onscreen up till now. Even though I have criticized the show for its stereotypical performances, this scene was heavily drenched in reality (mixed with slight melodrama) in every possible way. A lot of credit goes to the director, Cinematographer and the costume/ makeup artists in making this scene so close to the harsh reality of what death by old age actually means.

ii – Six Episodes in and its good to see that the show is finally revealing various pieces of the puzzle. And it would not be a mistake if the plot structure was to be compared with yet another Hum TV/ Momina Duraid production ‘Raqeeb Se’ (2021) which also starred Nauman Ijaz and Sania Saeed. Sang-e-Mah’s slow burning melodrama is very reminiscent of Raqeeb Se for which you either can gain patience for or drop off at any given episode. But overall, Sang-e-Mah has intrigued the attention of its viewers and it would not be a mistake to give this one a chance till the very end.

iii – And in conjunction to the point above; when it comes to melodrama and individual relationships, Sang-e-Mah excels far beyond any other show out there but the moment it tries to be comedic or too cute with its characters, it fails miserably. Since there was no hint of comedy in this episode, it proved to be an enjoyable and memorable hour of the show.

+ Low Points

i – I have to admit, with each passing episode, the back stories are turning out a tad bit too convoluted and a narrative mess. Who killed whose husband in the past, why is she after justice, who was poisoned by whom, who is not the real father, who was kept in the dark all this time and … you get the idea. While I hope all of these questions will be answered by the end of the series, it is unfortunately far too many lingering questions left by the showrunners for its audience which could end up not intriguing but rather a homework assignment for each passing week.

ii – The murder depicted in the episode was not justified at all. Sure, Mastaan Singh was insulted by the religious bigot but the scene did not leave the audience sympathizing with Mastaan Singh for his incredibly reckless behavior. One could argue that the landowner would have vilified his fiance in front of the whole village as ‘immoral’ and Singh just wanted to avoid that for her sake. But by the looks of the scene, clearly it was Singh himself who took the insults to heart and acted accordingly. I’m not sure if you can really make a ‘redemption’ story out of this as the writer clearly is on the side of Mastaan Singh.

iii – While Atif Aslam does fairly well with his performance, it has been noted that (apart from the Sikh community) he is the only one without a Pakhtoon accent. And yes, there are some hidden secrets between him and the Sikh community but did he not grow up in a Pakhtoon family and society? Surely he should also possess the same stereotypical Pakhtoon accent as his family! Clearly since this is Atif Aslam’s first ever acting role, the director gave him the comfort of delivering his lines according to what he saw fit. Sadly, in the context of the show, this makes as much sense as adding raisins to a biryani.

+ Overall

A satisfactory episode but too many unsolved narrative threads tend brought the show down a notch.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 05 (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 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 – While there was not much development in the storyline department, Episode 5 largely dedicated itself to character interactions and character building moments. The journalist Sheherzaad finally makes it into the Khan family’s home/ sanctuary and gets to interact with the elders, understanding but yet also imposing some of her “modern” perceptions onto the traditional Pakhtoon society. 

ii – Since Episode 5 was largely devoted to the investigative journalist Sheherzaad (played by Kubra Khan) and it was refreshing as a viewer to look into Pakhtoon land and culture through the eyes of an outsider. As she tries to wrap her head around the concept of ‘Ghaag’, the proud nature of the Pakhtoon closes in on her and her perception of how society functions. By and large, Kubra Khan’s performance seems very natural which can prove to be a vital asset later for the show.

iii – Needless to say, Sang-e-Mar possesses some of the most beautiful outdoor scenery in any show on television and plays a character of its own. In such heavenly landscapes, the Pakhtoon family rivalries spoil the atmosphere, devoted to gaining revenge upon one another. Even when scenes lack engaging characters or dialogues, the gorgeous landscape makes it worthy of continuing on with the episode. 

+ Low Points

i – This episode was a bore. There is unfortunately no way around it. With no new plot revelations or climatic moments, the show primarily depended on its characters but sadly, since the character developments are still in their infancy, none of them have proven to be interesting enough to carry an hour long episode. Undoubtedly the journalist Sheherzaad is a great addition and a perfect way to understand the Pakhtoon as an outsider, it still was not enough to compel the viewer to have unbridled attention throughout its runtime. 

ii – Sigh… the comedy just does not work. What is this fascination with sunglasses?? Is it such an anomaly for the Pakhtoons that they need to impress others with it? It is beyond ridiculous to even assume that Pakhtoons are completely enticed with such minor, everyday objects.

iii – On that note, the more I listen every week to these utterly stereotypical Pakhtoon accents from the cast, the more I am taken out of this world created by Sang-e-Mar. It is wishful to assume that the main cast could have devoted a bit more time and energy into getting the Pakhtoon dialect right but unfortunately, they just opted for the most generic accent they could get their hands on. And the results are far removed from reality.

+ Overall

Satisfactory development for Kubra Khan’s character but apart from that, the episode was a dull outing for Sang-e-Mah

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 04 (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 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 – The plot thickens. Episode 4 provided a bit more clarity with the main plot and individual storylines. This week, we got a lot more exposure towards the Hikmat Khan and Gul Meena’s Romeo and Juliet situation. We also got to see some more investigative journalism from Sheherzaad (aka Kubra Khan). So in spite of some minor flaws, the episode was well paced, engaging throughout and ended with an interesting twist at the end. 

ii – What Sang-e-Mar does better than most shows is the slow teasing each week of the entire plot which in turn, keeps the viewers coming back every week. And the individual subplots are also fascinating in their own right. Although we already know just the glimpses of the plot, exactly what sin did Marjaan Khan commit in his past that has left his “son” to disown him altogether? Essentially it is all just family drama but the twist that Sang-e-Mar presents is the Pakhtoon cultural backdrop (for which many Pakistani viewers are not too familiar with). This one quintessential factor makes the show stand out from everything else on Television right now and if you include a star studded cast with it, you can potentially have a hit show on your hands. 

iii – Speaking of Star studded cast, everyone is out there playing their A game to bring some levity into the dramatic storyline. Although probably none of the cast members do a convincing Pakhtoon accent, their onscreen presence is strong enough for the viewers to go along with its storyline and have an entertaining time dealing with the woes of the Khan family.

iv – The twist at the end was great with Hilmand intentionally taking the place of his brother in order to anger and further humiliate his ” father’s” name. A splendid setup and would be interesting to see where the show goes from here.

+ Low Points

i – As mentioned previously, the actors are giving it their all in the performances but none of them ever feel like they have enveloped the Pakhtoon culture. The accents and mannerisms are still not convincing enough. It seems like each of them are there to be ‘Nauman Ijaz’ or ‘Sania Saeed’ but with some stereotypical Pakhtoon accents. And it’s a bit of a shame cause I genuinely feel they are all great actors who can do better than this.

ii – While we had some progress with the Hikmat/ Gul Meera storyline, Mastaan Singh was completely ignored and four episodes in, we still do not know what major role he plays in the main plot of the show. Probably just a minor complaint but love if each episode can continue giving glimpses of each subplot without sacrificing the other.

+ Overall

Episode 4 was an obvious improvement from the previous week as it had better pacing and none of the “comedy” nonsense. 

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Parizaad Episode 28 (2021). The new TV series is directed by Shehzad Kashmiri and written by Hashim Nadeem. Parizaad is a Momina Duraid Production.

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

+ Crew

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

+ Note

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

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

 + Main Cast

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

+ Plot

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

+ High Points

i – If Episode 27 was the powerhouse tipping point for the character of Parizaad then this week was perhaps the “calm before the storm”. There is nothing much to be analysed for episode 28 as the show went back to the arc of Parizaad in search of himself through the depths of vast, gorgeous landscapes of Pakistan. After a long time, Parizaad is once again without power, responsibilities, professional rivals but in return, has his sense of freedom back. Deep into the outskirts of Punjab, Parizaad is once again a nobody and that suits him just fine. And truth be told, it works out quite well for the show.

ii – Even though the episode had no real dramatic twists or nerve wrecking storytelling, it was exactly what it needed to be. Case in Point; the local village school teacher that Parizaad ends up befriending along the way. Impressed by the old man’s sense of nobility, Parizaad decides to give something back to the society (apart from making an endless number of donations). By dedicating himself to educate the youth, this might seem as charitable work but it is in fact some self therapy for our protagonist. In the past 10-15 episodes, Parizaad has gained and lost so much in the process that perhaps, it was time for him to leave this all behind once and for all and start anew. 

iii – The only dramatic scene in the episode was perhaps the most essential of them all; the confrontation with Annie post-eye sight surgery. And suffice to say, the creative team handled the scene with perfection. From the oblivious reaction of Annie to the gut wretching paralysis of Parizaad, it was indeed the right outcome. Was this the last time these two would ever meet? Only the series finale next week can answer that…

+ Low Points

i – In critique, one could argue that the more “quiet” second to last episode might have derailed the moment the previous few episodes captured, all leading to the inevitable conclusion to the odyssey of Parizaad. And… there is some truth to it. Perhaps episode 28 could have concluded in a more impactful manner but it did feel a bit lackluster in the end. There was no real cliffhanger to reel the viewers back into the series finale next week. It just ends without any flair or a sense of excitement. Just sorrow and pity for our main protagonist.

ii – Personally, I was not a fan of the 5 to 10 minute clip show at the end. It really felt like the show runners wanted to prolong the episode into a whole hour long for no apparent plot reason. This time could have been utilized for some more character building or even motivated Parizaad to return back home. But instead, the episode ended on a whimper which is such a shame.

+ Overall

A decent episode, a brilliant confrontation scene but a lackluster conclusion into the final episode next week.

Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 03 (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 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 – With Episode 3, Sang-e-Mah’s storyline progresses further and the roles of the main cast are better defined for the audience. We get to witness a flashback scene and a dream sequence as indirect expositions to the plot (which is a predictable but nonetheless enjoyable way to get your viewers up to speed with the premise). The locations are gorgeous and the cast has dramatic interactions with one another. Even though it was the least engaging of all the three episodes up till now, Sang-e-Mah looks promising each and every week.

ii – What really excels the show is that each and every character has a certain quirk to themselves. Hilmand Khan (aka Atif Aslam) is bitter about his mysterious past and is out for revenge against his “father”, Marjaan Khan (aka Noman Ijaz) acts tough but deep down, knows that he wronged some people in his life, Mastaan Singh (aka Omair Rana) is struggling with his current situation but has nonetheless a humble, loving personality to him. These characterizations are great as they give the audience a reason to latch onto them and compel them to tune in each and every week. 

iii – The dream sequence was a fantastic way to convey the inner demons that Marjaan Khan has to live with. Although we just got a glimpse of the backstory between the two families, it is certain that Marjaan made some selfish decisions in the past that destroyed the lives of others. And now, these demons are coming back to haunt him. This is a brilliant way to create some complexity within the storyline itself and a perfect way to evolve some drama out of this plot.

iv – In terms of production, Sang-e-Mah is arguably one of the best looking shows on Television at the moment. Not only the locations and set designs are gorgeous, the cinematography and editing also compliments the rather timid pace and slow building tension of the show. Sang-e-Mah is not only enjoyable to watch due to its stellar cast and premise but also due to the creative team behind the camera. Its a rare occurrence with it comes to Pakistani dramas these days but one that makes it stand out from the rest.

+ Low Points

i – As mentioned above, the plot has been in parts revealed to the audience but some of it still remain shrouded in mystery. As expected, these mysteries will be revealed sooner rather than later but it will end up frustrating some of the viewers who might just bail out beforehand. What is the story behind Mastaan Singh? How does he know Zarghuna? Just who was Hilmand Khan’s real father? It also needs to be mentioned that there is at times way too much exposition dumped into some unnecessary scenes (usually involving two characters explaining the situation to one another for no real plot reason behind it). The exposition became so tiresome in fact that my brain just phased out for a couple of minutes and had to rewatch the scenes again for better understanding.

I am certain that each and every question mentioned here will soon be answered in the next coming weeks but some viewers might not possess such patience and the show might lose a chunk of viewership in the next coming episodes.

ii – The “comedy” was just badly written. None of the scenes with the sunglasses worked and I find it utterly ridiculous that in the year 2022, anyone would be fascinated wearing a pair of sunglasses as if it were Virtual Reality goggles. It also indirectly depicts Pashtoons as a backwards group of people who cannot keep with the basic modern day accessories. This were just some unnecessary “comedic” scenes that I hope are avoided in the next coming episodes.

+ Overall

Episode 3 provided some exposition regarding the premise of the show but the slow revelation of the complete plot might frustrate some viewers into quitting the show altogether.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Parizaad Episode 27 (2021). The new TV series is directed by Shehzad Kashmiri and written by Hashim Nadeem. Parizaad is a Momina Duraid Production.

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

+ Crew

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

+ Note

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

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

 + Main Cast

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

+ Plot

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

+ High Points

i – Episode 27 served purely as a follow up to the cliffhanger from the previous one. And that in itself was an exciting prospect! This episode really tested the morality of Parizaad and what he could be capable of. He was tempted by fate, stood on the fork road of Good and Evil. Ever since Parizaad inherited Behroze Karim’s wealth and power, it all led up to this moment and suffice to say, the show handled it brilliantly. The episode was intense and full of emotion with great performances all around. And this serves perfectly as the bridge to the last two episodes of the series.

ii – This is probably universally agreed upon by now but Ahmed Ali Akbar was once again just brilliant in this episode. We got to see three completely different ranges of emotions/ characterization from Parizaad; the Vengeful, the Remorse and ultimately, the Acceptance. The impeccable writing by Hashim Nadeem allowed Parizaad to complete an entire character arc within an hour’s worth of screentime. And with the game changing cliffhanger at the end of the episode, I am keenly interested where the last two episodes will conclude the tale of Parizaad.

iii – Yumna Zaidi as Annie also gave a standout performance this week. Her very emotional farewell (?) to her mentor Parizaad was incredibly heartfelt and created a sense of realisation for the viewers just how essential Parizaad was to her.

iv – Episode 27 conclusion has brought in a lot of interesting questions to the forefront. Does Parizaad feel that he has failed himself? When his sense of sacrifice was questioned, Parizaad fell right into the hands of human temptation. After sacrificing time and time again in his life, perhaps he could not take it anymore and wanted at least one snippet of happiness to slip away from his fingers. But ultimately, Parizaad not only lost the love of his life but also ended up losing respect for himself in the process. Where this will all lead up remains to be seen.

+ Low Points

i – Although the “self-reflection” scene was impactful, it once again made the technical error where the reflection of Parizaad is facing the camera (aka the audience) instead of looking directly at himself in front of the mirror. Not a massive fault but still takes you out of the scene a bit.

ii – The scene with Majid felt quite unnecessary in this episode and also somewhat ended up disrupting the flow of the narrative. I’m not sure if the show will continue this storyline in the last two episodes of the series or if it will play an important part but as for now, it could’ve been avoided. 

+ Overall

What an intensive, thrilling episode this turned out to be! The show has certainly now intrigued its audience for the last two episodes of its series finale.

Rate: out of 5 stars