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 Parizaad – Episode IX (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Parizaad Episode 9 (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 9 was fantastic. A lot of memorable scenes occurred that could become staple of the quality that Parizaad produces. We now get to see a new step in Life unfold as Parizaad moves to Karachi in search of a substantial source of income. The episode presents some new, interesting characters and finally, the introduction of Noman Ejaz into the show. This week’s proves once again why Parizaad is one of the best shows on Pakistani television at the moment.

ii – Shah Jahan “Jannu” is a great addition to the supporting cast of the show. He’s street savvy but sincere, and serves perfectly as a guidance for Parizaad through the depths of insanity we call humanity.

The famous Karachi ‘Daal Chawal’

iii – One of the essential reasons why I admire this show is that it is perhaps the complete antithesis of what Pakistani TV channels consider “marketable content”. Unlike other Pak shows airing on television at the moment, Parizaad is not afraid to depict reality on screen. As a viewer, we get to see our protagonist meet characters from all circles of Pakistani society; from the high class snobs to the low life hustlers. The show could serve well as the diverse groups of people that live, work and survive in our society. Episode 9 depicted some of the most rundown, crumbling apartments of Karachi and I cannot stress enough how refreshing it was to see that on our television screens! Whether we admit it or not, there is a massive capital disparity in our country that we should never shy away from.

iv – The dream sequence of Parizaad and Naheed was sweet but tragic at the same time. Since its first few episodes, Parizaad has constantly met people from all facets of society but the lingering love that embellished deep in Parizaad’s heart for Naheed could never be extinguished. The scene rightfully had a starry night, “magical realism” quality to it and it just goes to show how much talent is in front but also behind the camera.

Beautifully lit and visually mesmerizing dream sequence

v – Speaking of creative camera work, the massive, single shot of Parizaad and Jannu climbing the stairs to his apartment was marvellous. Taking a single shot for two minutes straight through a flight of stairs is no easy task but it’s admirable to see the commitment of the creative team and director who insisted upon it. The lack of a cut in between the shot was important because it gave the viewer an overwhelming feeling of the surroundings that they have to live in but at the same time, their banter was so interesting that they almost did not mind the massive flight of stairs that they had to take just to get to their door! This is the effort of filmmaking that I greatly admire in Parizaad and undoubtedly sets itself apart from other shows on TV.

A 2 min single shot through the massive flight of stairs!

vi – And once again, the performances by Ahmed Ali Akbar and the supporting cast is nothing short of excellent. It’s great to see that every actor is giving their best in bringing the authentic representation of a Pakistani society on screen. 

+ Low Points

i – A minor criticism can be made of the story and it has largely to do with its pacing. It would have been great if we had a couple of episodes where Parizaad just attended College and perhaps a few struggling as a car mechanic. A lot has occurred in the last few episodes and it is beneficial for the show if it slows its pacing down a bit for us (as viewers) to take in every twist and turn in Parizaad’s life.

+ Overall

Episode 9 has once again set the bar quite high when it comes to quality television and Parizaad is arguably the best show on Pakistani television at the moment.

 Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay Episode 7 (2021). The new TV series is written by Umera Ahmed and directed by Farooq Rind. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is a Momina Duraid Production and currently airs on HUM TV.

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

+ Crew

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

+ Note

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

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

 + Main Cast

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

+ Plot

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

+ High Points

i – Episode 7 benefited immensely from well defined roles for each of the main characters. The continuing war of words (and now slaps apparently) between Mehreen and Mashal was seamlessly progressed without feeling forced, Aswad’s dilemma of pleasing his mother fits well into the woes of a love triangle and the casualty of this conflict is undoubtedly Saffan who has to needlessly suffer in the process. Even though the show has its own set of problems, the plot progression is admittedly great without forcing sudden changes onto the viewers. And this is the aspect of storytelling where the writer Umera Ahmed shines the most.

ii – What’s also refreshing is that our main protagonist Mehreen also ends up acting selfish due to a personal vendetta. Most Pak dramas depict their protagonists as “goody two shoes” who are pious and utterly flawless in character. By depicting moral ambiguity in Mehreen, the viewers have the opportunity to relate to her and even though Mehreen cares for others, she also succumbs to flaws of her own. And it’s also great that the people close to her, call her out on her selfish actions.

+ Low Points

i –  Although the show has somewhat improved since its lackluster beginning, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is still devoid of the spark that separates it from the rest of the shows out there. The story lacks any sort of urgency that makes the viewer tune in every week. And the fault somewhat lies also in the performance from Usman Mukhtar. Apparently he is supposed to be the center of attention for the two ladies but the lack of energy and charisma in his performance brings the stakes down a notch. Seven episodes in and it’s evident that Usman Mukhtar was wrongfully casted for the role of Aswad.

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

ii – The engagement scene was comical for all the wrong reasons. By the stunned impressions of the duo, it’s understandable what the show was going for (an abstract, out of body experience) but unfortunately, the result of them sitting in a trance was laughable and did not work to the context of the show. Well, at least the director Farooq Rind tried something different so can’t fault him on that.

iii  – With Mehreen’s engagement, it is unfortunately apparent that Saffan will be shoved out from the picture. It’s a shame that Haroon Shahid only serves as a minor character in the show as he could be deemed as the most likeable of the cast. I hope I’m proven wrong and he gets to play a bigger role in the story of Mehreen.

+ Overall

With Episode 7, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is slowly but steadily finding its footing with its narrative direction but the show still lacks the energy and urgency that would make the viewers tune in the show every week.

 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 Parizaad – Episode VIII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Parizaad Episode 8 (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 8 brought out all the elements which make Parizaad such a unique show to watch. Through the eyes of our protagonist, we get to witness the injustices of our society, how the influence of money and power can destroy those around you and the moral journey that Parizaad must walk through alone. The writer Hashim Nadeem has done a wonderful job in portraying the true yet cruel nature of our species and how it gnaws away on the less unfortunate ones. 

ii – The revelation of Lubna’s fate in this episode was bold and courageous. Without revealing much, I am pleasantly surprised that the creative team of the show had the gall to go into this direction on National television. And best of all, the twist in the story made sense and was not portrayed just out of ‘shock’ value.

iii – I can never stress this enough how great Ahmed Ali Akbar’s performance is in this show. He has a tender soul but yet, is being constantly confronted by the harsh realities of Life. It absolutely baffles me that Ahmed Ali Akbar was not the show’s first choice to play Parizaad but I am glad that they decided on him at the end. Parizaad as a show works solely because of the actor’s magnificent performance and it will be quite a letdown if he does not end up bagging nominations during the award season.

iv – What we also don’t see very often in Pakistani dramas nowadays is a genuine, loving relationship between a brother and his sister. In terms of storytelling, it was a wise decision to have Parizaad’s motivations be connected to his sister’s wellbeing as she serves as his last getaway to his family. Kiran Tabeer as Saeeda plays a key role in her brother’s life as she might be the only “soul” Parizaad can save from the wretched evils of our society who also possesses a pure heart like himself. They are the kindred spirits who still resist the urge to be enveloped towards the dark side and still want to believe the good in people. 

v – The scene where Parizaad has to confront the business tycoon Noman Bashir was the highlight of Episode 8. The depiction of Parizaad’s desperation and hopelessness towards humanity and our society is very apparent in the scene. As a viewer, you do end up feeling pity and to a certain extent, guilt as we all somehow contribute to this horrible cycle of rewarding evil deeds and bashing the innocent in the process.

+ Low Points

i – The only minor criticism I have of the episode is that midway through its runtime, there were some “filler” scenes which were not whole lot necessary and served only as minor character building moments. Personally, I understand the purpose behind them but it may be possible that some viewer’s attention span might wander off during those scenes but I can only advise to follow through the whole episode as it is one of the best ones that the show has produced.

+ Overall

Bold, engaging and thought provoking, episode 8 is a return to form for Parizaad and a reminder why it is one of the best serial dramas out there on Pakistani Television.

 Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay Episode 6 (2021). The new TV series is written by Umera Ahmed and directed by Farooq Rind. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is a Momina Duraid Production and currently airs on HUM TV.

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

+ Crew

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

+ Note

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

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

 + Main Cast

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

+ Plot

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

+ High Points

i – Episode 6 served as a better narrative this time around. The story progressed fluidly, the conversations and arguments made more impact to the plot of the show. There were no time wasting scenes to hinder the pacing and a good example of how an episode should be written on a weekly basis.

ii – It was great to see Mehreen stand up for herself and make realistic counter arguments to Mashal’s accusations. Its really few and far between but when it comes to strong female representation, Mehreen currently serves as one of the better ones on Pakistan Television.

+ Low Points

i –  Aswad’s reaction to Mehreen seemed very unrealistic to the context of the show. His incredibly conservative mindset when it comes to meeting friends of the opposite sex seemed forced and unnatural to the character that we had been initially introduced to. Granted, one could argue that it is Mashal’s manipulation that has corrupted him but its way too early for that. We are only six episodes in, this doesn’t feel earned and natural but only what the script required him to do. Oh my god, she is having lunch with someone at a restaurant!? How dare she!? 

ii – The cousin rivalry between Mehreen and Mashal solely revolves around Aswad’s affection (even though there are plenty of issues under the surface like favouritism, lack of parental support, horrend childhood etc). This storyline is worthy of exploration but what would serve most beneficial is that they get rid of Aswad as the main crux of their rivalry. Luckily, episode 6 feels like Mehreen is slowly moving away from being under the fascination of Aswad and probably the right way to go.

iii  – Speaking of Mashal, her character is not being properly represented by the actress Kubra Khan. Her performance is not on par with what the script requires of her. And the fault lies on both the actress and the director Farooq Rind. The narrative portrays her as a conniving, evil mastermind who is pulling the strings of Aswad but only comes off as a whiny, entitled child of the family. This scenario would’ve been much more believable if Aswad was head over heels in love with her, which obviously does not seem to be the case. Why would he so blindly believe her lies is beyond me or the intelligence of their audience. And this seems to be the underlining problem of the show. The plot structure seems to be solid but the development leading up to it seems faulty and not given enough time to breath to make it seem realistic.

iv  – The Production of the show still looks like an overlit mess. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is one of the very few Momina Duraid productions that look visually unpleasant as if they have no clue what lighting is supposed to represent in moving pictures.

+ Overall

All the pieces of the puzzle are there for Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay to be a successful drama but lack of proper progression and not so stellar performances hinder the show’s true potential.

 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 Parizaad – Episode VII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Parizaad Episode 7 (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 7 is the beginning of a new phase in Parizaad’s life and its great to see that the focus of attention is once again on Parizaad. The last few episodes lost its way a bit, focusing too much on side characters who were nowhere near as interesting as our main protagonist but Episode 7 rectified all that. The subplots still exist but were given as much attention as they should have. The show is about Parizaad’s odyssey; the different kinds of people he meets along the way, the hardships that he has to face, this is and should be the main focus of the show and Episode 7 delivered on that front.

ii – In this week’s episode, there seems to be a subtle thematic nod to William Shakespare that I truly admired. In the episode, Parizaad’s new friend Lubna directed a theater play “Othello” which was written by the greatest playwright of all, William Shakespare. The play is about a Moorish General who destroys his own personal life due to jealousy by murdering his wife Desdemona in a fit of rage. Othello has a sense of insecurity due to his appearance since he is a dark skinned man. As you can imagine, this directly refers to our protagonist Parizaad who is also (perhaps not explicitly) insecure of his appearance. I love the fact that the director Shehzad Kashmiri decided to add a subtle thematic connection to our main character of the show. Let’s just hope that Parizaad’s story does not end the same way Othello did!  

iii – It was intriguing to see Parizaad interacting with the high society and what a misfit he seems to be amongst them. It highlights the lack of moral corruption and purity of Parizaad.

+ Low Points

i – Since Ahmed Ali Akbar is just so outstanding in his performance as Parizaad, it puts most of the other performances of our supporting cast on the back foot. Mashal Khan as Lubna has definitely the potential to be an interesting character, her performance lacks the tenacity that the role requires. Her dialogue delivery and expressions seem very lethargic and not genuine to the character that she is supposed to be portraying onscreen. Although the performance is not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, it does seem lacking in quality when it coincides next to Ahmed Ali Akbar as Parizaad. 

And on the side note, please get rid of cringeworthy dialogues from Lubna like “Mai Party phaak rahi hou!”. This sentence seems to be a direct translation of “I’m throwing a party!”. The translation makes no sense in Urdu. Either let her say this dialogue in English or avoid such false translations completely. 

ii – There were several scenes during episode 7 where the atmospheric noise was completely absent (the echo and footsteps while walking in the hallway of the university). I’m not sure why this decision was made since it just ended up making the scenes feel hollow and taking place inside a vacuum capsule. Atmospheric background noise is vital if you want to give the illusion to the viewers that they themselves are part of the scene.

iii – The subplot of Parizaad’s sister has really not been all that interesting and are definitely the “skippable” parts of the episode. Let’s just hope that the subplot develops into something more engrossing than their current state.

+ Overall

Episode 7 presents a thought provoking journey for Parizaad as he gets to interact with high society and an entertaining hour of Television!

 Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay Episode 5 (2021). The new TV series is written by Umera Ahmed and directed by Farooq Rind. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is a Momina Duraid Production and currently airs on HUM TV.

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

+ Crew

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

+ Note

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

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

 + Main Cast

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

+ Plot

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

+ High Points

i – One of the aspects that Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay does better than the rest has to be the dialogue. The written conversations between friends in the show is one of the stronger suits of the writer Umera Ahmed. It seems very natural as if the two characters have known each other for some time. The casual banter between the friends lures the viewer in to become a part of it. And exactly what good writing should do.

ii – Its a neat idea to show Mehreen writing her daily dairy as to how the current situation is unfolding and it would be great if the show could have more such scenes added to the narrative.

+ Low Points

i –  Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay has the potential to be original and different from the rest of the shows out there but that’s unfortunately not the direction the show wants to go for. The cousin love triangle, the tired old tropes of misunderstandings and jealousy, we have seen such themes time and time again and this show is no different. It’s such a pity because the writer Umera Ahmed has proven to be (as a writer) much more talented than this. 

ii – Apart from Mahira Khan, the other two leads Kubra Khan and Usman Mukhtar seem like their performances are not up to the task. The subtlety that the role requires is absent from both of these performances. And as I have previously mentioned before, Usman Mukhtar lacks the screen presence that the character of Aswad requires. The lead does not have to be cocky but there has to be an abundance of charisma which attracts both of his female leads towards him. And this always begs the question; why are the two girls in love with him? So far, the show has given no explanation for this. Just cause the script demands it I suppose …

iii  – Since the premiere episode of the show, I have been complaining about the production quality of the show, namely the habit of “overlit” scenes and the picture below is a prime example of it. This scene takes place in a car at night but the interior of the car has been lit as if they are being interrogated by the cops! The scene needed some softer light and shadows to give the illusion of the actors sitting inside a car at night. Momina Duraid’s projects usually have great production work but Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay is one of their worst looking shows to date.

iv  – I believe the show will benefit more if there are more scenes outside the bungalow. Scenes taking place in the University, office or just outdoors will bring a much needed authenticity to the story. It is becoming very tiresome that 90% of the scenes are just characters sitting on a sofa and having a conversation about the current situation. This is why Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay as a show lacks energy or even a sense of urgency to its plot. Show the characters going through their daily routine, mixing work with personal life. So far, Mehreen is the ONLY character that we know who has a life outside her situation with Aswad. And at its current state, the show is lethargic and downright boring.

+ Overall

Episode 5 was proven to be inconsequential to the rest of the plot. Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay continues to suffer from tired old Pak drama tropes and lack of originality really hurts the overall product at the end.

 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