TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 7 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – Episode 7 brought nothing new to the table. At least not the first half. The second half was much more eventful as we got to witness the follow up to Tabriaz’s betrayal and their upcoming next victim. The subplot with Mikaal Zulfiqar finally seems to converge with the main storyline so that’s some good news. While nothing out of the ordinary, Episode 7 tried to build further upon their plot and introduce new characters into the mix. The writing was unfortunately not on par with their previous few episodes but only time will tell how the quality of the show will develop in the next coming weeks.

ii – Initially, it was fun to see Tabriaz and his “mother” revealing their true personas and even though their portrayals were too over the top for my liking, it did somewhat bring a new dimension to the ongoing storyline. With the next coming episodes, the show can really have fun with these characters and switch back and forth with their “in-character” personas and the real devious ones.

iii – It is commendable the fact that Fraud shows the aftermath of such a situation where the entire neighborhood continues to ask ridiculous questions and further rub salt on the family’s wounds. Most of the society out there is solely interested in gossip and undeniable entertainment it brings to their dull, daily lives. That (unfortunately) is the true face of most societies around the world.

+ Low Points

i – I have some serious fear that this show will inevitably dip in quality once the pivotal moment of the show (i.e. the fraud case) has been revealed. Will this show keep the consistency of its quality writing in the coming weeks and months? It’s hard to judge at the moment but episode 7 clearly felt down a notch compared to its previous episodes. Can this show keep its storyline interesting? This is a vital question as a show being a one trick pony isn’t good enough to make it a modern classic.

ii – The acting in this week’s episode was very hit or miss. The “miss” particularly came from the Tabriaz’s family as Annie Zaidi and Ahsan Khan’s portrayal seem so ridiculous that I had to chuckle at times during the entire scene. Eating a watermelon with a knife instead of a fork? Ohhh that’s so tough! Tabraiz with a soft sweater around his shoulders during the hot season of Punjab? Is this supposed to be taken seriously? What were the show runners thinking?

iii – Way too many tragic, self pity scenes. I realize that Maya just went through a traumatic experience but I am guessing that a few months have passed and she is still wallowing in despair? As a viewer, I’m more interested in how she is dealing with her daily life like going out for groceries or perhaps finding a part time teaching job to move on with her life. Does she have nothing else to do than lie in bed and pity herself? 

+ Overall

A mediocre episode but could lead into much more interesting situations in the next coming weeks.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 6 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – Although nowhere near as eventful as the previous episode, the creative team still did a great job in presenting the aftermath. The Nisar family seems utterly destroyed by now (morally and financially). They are now seen licking their wounds and scraping by with whatever help they can get. The past moments are set on repetition as Maya still has hard time contemplating these recent series of events. For the most part, the show has presented a pretty accurate portrayal of how the situation would play out in the real world and hope they keep it this way.

ii – Saba Qamar’s performance was exceptional in this episode. And it is not due to her emotional bursts but rather, her genuine emotions hidden behind her line of dialogues. Maya has been a victim of an evil act, her body and soul have been abused for financial gain and there is absolutely nothing she can do about it. I’m curious to see where her character will end up now but hopefully, this recent occurrence has smarted up now when it comes to blind trust in others.

iii – I also appreciated the scene where Maya’s sister told off her neighbors and relatives as their “sympathy” was nothing more than a disguised gossip update. Sadly, this factor is incredibly prevalent in most societies in the world (especially South Asian). I’m glad that the show had the guts to address it.

+ Low Points

i – I have genuinely zero interest in Shaan’s subplot. Although it is obviously going to play a major role in Maya’s current situation, everything about this subplot has been a total misfire. From acting to writing, nothing feels authentic or natural about it. This subplot almost feels like a different show compared to the main plot. I can’t help but admit that whenever this subplot is on, my mind automatically wanders off to what daily chores I have to accomplish that day and It’s still more entertaining than this.

ii – Fraud needs to tone down on the dramatic music as it doesn’t help the show in any way. When you have good writing and performances accompanying you, let them play out more. Instead of building more emotion through overbearing music, it only ends up detracting genuine emotion from the scene.

+ Overall

Not as eventful but still an entertaining episode with great performances all-around.

Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 5 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – Well, the show has finally delivered what it promised. Nisar sahib’s family has been duped, their savings and family jewelry stolen and their confidence in humanity permanently shattered. Episode 5 details each and every scene as the father/ daughter duo try to wrap their heads around what just happened to them. What I particularly enjoyed about the episode was that the show actually brought up all the questions that the viewers might have regarding this “sting” operation; the family factory, the fancy house, the wedding guests but most importantly, why a so-called “upper middle class” family was targeted instead of a much wealthier family . Whether the explanations were plausible is not very likely but nevertheless, it was greatly appreciated that the show did address all the possible questions that the viewers might have. It also was a very uncanny feeling for Maya to return back “home” and discover that she was living a lie this entire time. The scene where she enters her “husband’s” house and it’s instead a movie set had eerie vibes all over it! 

The main plot of the show is unique for Pakistani television and it already separates this show from the rest.

ii – The whole construction of certain scenes for Maya, reminiscent of her “husband’s” sweet and caring words to the bitter reality, were brilliantly executed. The switching from past to present was a creative editing technique that addressed the startling realization to its maximum effect. I also loved the steadicam shot as Maya went around the house, checking each and every room, only to realize that her reality is now completely shattered right in front of her. Good stuff!

iii – A fine way to conclude an episode as next week will definitely be must-see-TV!

+ Low Points

i – Fraud already had a great premise and it was beautifully executed in Episode 5. But of course, this whole “fraud” operation is not entirely plausible. Surely, Nisar and his family would have already gotten suspicious to see the groom’s side of the family in incredibly short numbers at the wedding. This isn’t a western wedding, it’s an Asian one where all the grandpas, grandkids, distant third generation cousins attend it. Were all the guests paid actors? Were they extras in a TV show? Were they also involved in this sting operation or were they just promised free food? To pull this entire operation off without a hitch, it must have cost Tabriz and his “partners in crime” large sums of cash, connections and time. Surely it’s not a single group operation. Renting a house for days/ months for a “TV shoot” is also not cheap, including the wedding expenses, the extras, was it all worth it for the family jewels of an upper middle class family? Was that all profitable in the end? 

There are way too many grounded questions that cannot justify this whole operation but the show did at least attempt to answer these vital questions.

ii – The police inspector’s performance did feel very hokey and unrealistic. It was almost as if his family got victimized in this fraud operation. His performance should have been more along the lines of “Yep, its those same con artists and y’all got duped!”. More laid back as he has already seen this happen eight times now!

iii – I wish this show was not named “Fraud” but some other generic title. Could you imagine if the first four episodes of the show were an unoriginal “Saas/ Bahoo” drama and the fifth episode brought this incredible twist that would have blown everyone’s minds and the show ends up being the talk of the town? With such a title, everyone anticipated the twist and did not have as much impact as this show could have had.

+ Overall

Undoubtedly the best episode of the show up till now. The twist was brilliantly executed and can’t wait to see how they will go on from here.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 4 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – Episode 4 was highly entertaining. The seeds of deceit were quietly planted in this and last week’s storyline. And now, we get to see them grow. Maya is now beginning to notice a pattern in Tarbiz’s family; she is being excluded from all important decisions or events. Her jewelry, the sudden death of “Zakir bhai”, all the devious plans are set up to (most probably) steal all the wealth of Maya’s maiden family. The performances from the main cast were also fantastic and sold this narrative well. I’m curious to see how this will all play out in the next coming weeks.

ii – I also appreciated the fact that Maya had a more integral role to play this episode. She is slowly waking up from her slumber and smelling the burnt coffee left on an open stove. Unlike previous episodes, this week brought a lot of character to Maya’s performance as we now get to unravel these mysterious events of the Tarbiz family with her. Maya is our gateway to this show and it is through her understanding that the plot of the show is slowly being revealed. And that is a great move by the creators of Fraud.

ii – Ahsan Khan’s portrayal as the deceitful Tabriaz is great and in episode 3, we get to see a lot more depth to his character as well. Obviously, Tarbiz and his whole family is in on this “Sting” operation. His dialogue delivery is charming but yet, riddled with lies and forgery. 

+ Low Points

i – In contrast to the engaging storytelling of the main plot, I HATE the subplot of Shaan and his untrustworthy mother and sister. The acting, the corny dialogues, the lack of conviction in its scenes, it is so poorly staged and performed that Shaan’s subplot clearly feels like another show altogether. I’m not clear as to how Fraud will combine the two stories together but up till now, it is just not working.

ii – Unfortunately, Fraud still seems to go overboard with its use of tragic music and flashy editing. Let the scenes breathe a bit! You don’t need a music transition every two seconds, dictating the audience how to feel at that particular moment. Sadly, almost all the Pakistani TV shows are now guilty of this “Chamak Dhamak” technique of storytelling. In my point of view, this technique only shows the lack of faith the producers have in their writing and acting as they (apparently) cannot evoke the emotion required in that particular scene.

+ Overall

An entertaining one this week. The plot thickens, the story unravels and the show has my attention.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 3 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – Episode 3, while displaying nothing new, was a competent one. No scene really stood out but nothing also felt out of place. Rishta gets settled, Maya gets married while Nael contemplates his life. It was a standard episode which promises to lead its viewers into the crux of the plot in the coming weeks. 

ii – Good performances from all the main cast. Fraud Episode 3 had almost the right amount of story and melodrama to keep its viewers glued onto their screens for the next coming episodes. Mehmood Aslam and Adnan Samad Khan in particular were very enigmatic each scene that they were a part of. On one hand, we see Nisar’s (Maya’s father) guilt as he cannot even look into Nael’s eyes as he is forced to be part of his love’s marriage to someone else. I’m glad that Nisar wasn’t just reduced to “I’m the evil father who has a superiority complex”. He genuinely feels guilty of destroying his nephew’s wishes but at the same time, believes he made the right decision. But Nael is there, perhaps secretly waiting for all this to blow up in Nisar’s face once he comes to terms with who Maya’s newly wedded husband really is. 

+ Low Points

i – Episode 3 was a necessary episode to move the plot along to bigger and more original storytelling but still, the writer could have really condensed the Rishta talk and marriage celebrations to a minimum as we have seen these scenes in practically every Pakistani drama by now. Focus more on characterization instead. How does Maya feel about all this? All we know is that she just approves everything her father does. Maybe she has to on surface level but what about behind the scenes, with her sister? I sincerely feel that there is so much underutilized potential that Fraud is wasting with scenes that can be glanced over with a montage or two.

ii – The subplot with Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan seems rather tacked on and uninteresting. Mainly due to the fact that the writing and performances are terrible. As a viewer, I have zero interest in indulging myself into this subplot but hopefully, this will all quickly transition into the main plot.

+ Overall

A standard episode. Nothing outstanding but nothing offensive at the same time. A good transitional episode to the main plot of the show.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 2 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – Fraud has an interesting storyline with good pacing to keep the viewer engaged throughout its runtime. Most of the performances are decent and provide a convincing backdrop to the premise. Add some good direction to it and we have a promising show on our hands.

ii – What is also commendable is that the show takes its time for the viewers to get used to its surroundings and characters. Each person has a unique look, an interesting perspective to themselves that provide a colorful cast of characters to the show. Sometimes, pacing can be detrimental to the show’s longevity and Fraud is proving to be surpassing it all with flying colors.

iii – Mehmood Aslam as Nisar once again stole the show for me as his emotional and powerful performance has rapidly become the backbone of the show. It was intriguing to see the world from his perspective, how badly he wants a wealthy, comfortable future for his daughter. So much so that he has truly blinded himself to other qualities that a person should possess. 

iv  – Another great characterization by the writer is of Adnan Samad Khan as Nael as he now sits dejected and demoralized after the events of the last episode. It’s great to see that his character was not completely forgotten and perhaps will end up playing a major role down the line.

+ Low Points

i – The biggest drawback to the show is the bland, generic production behind the camera. You don’t need overtly emotional music overpowering every scene just to force the viewers to shed a tear or two. Such tactics are disappointing because it clearly shows the lack of faith the show has in its writing and the heartfelt performances of its actors. Fraud can prove to be a unique show with a relevant premise to its target audience but it immediately gets drowned into its flashy editing and overbearing music. This show can prove to be better than it currently is. 

ii – With all the quest of finding the right “Rishta”, episode 2 completely ignored Maya, our lead female protagonist of the show. Even though there were a few scenes devoted to her thoughts, Maya’s point of view should be the main focus of the show. We should see the world through her eyes, what a young adult woman goes through when her life decisions are already made for her by her parents, whether she is in favor of it or not. A prime example can be the drama Khaas (2019) where our female protagonist was in a very similar situation. 

iii – The scene with Mikaal Zulfiqar was the true low point of the show. Even though the show has just introduced this subplot, the acting was bizarre and the dialogues were incredibly bad and obnoxious. Mikaal sounded like a whiny brat and unsympathetic with cringy dialogues like “Stop it, yaar!” . I guess he will end up being Maya’s love interest later on but this means we will have to put up with this nonsense storyline of “Saas/ Boohoo” for many episodes to come. Oh joy… 

+ Overall

Another promising episode with good performances and an engaging storyline. But the production quality can exponentially improve to propel Fraud from good to great.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 1 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – The premiere episode to the show was engaging and had some interesting foreshadowing towards the upcoming storyline. The narrative flowed well with the performances and the cliffhanger to the episode will definitely intrigue its viewers for several more weeks to come. Just a keen observation but Fraud has some incredibly strong vibes of the HUM TV drama Khaas (2019) where the female protagonist ends up marrying an egotistical maniac due to parental pressure and ends up ruining her life in the process. All in all, a good first episode. 

ii – The performances ranged from decent to great. Particularly Mehmood Aslam as Nisar (the father of our female protagonist) stood out from the rest with his emotional yet misguided well being for his daughter. Saba Qamar as Maya also gave a convincing performance in bringing out the innocence of a young adult who is shedding her naivety and entering the real world of deception and falsehood.

iii – The show should be commended for its storyline as many parents in Pakistan feel compelled to marry their daughter off to rich families regardless of their daughter’s emotional well being. This has always been a continuing issue in Pakistani culture as wealth is given priority above all else. On the other hand, as a parent, one would want their child to be financially secure but having an abusive life partner can never prove to be a good move in the long run. Fraud has an interesting but essential plot that deserves attention from the mainstream audience.

iv – The first episode had some good exposition, dialogue heavy set pieces as the plot is carefully set up for the ultimate payoff at the last episode of the show. I was particularly fond of Maya’s parents as they argued back and forth about what is best for their daughter. And last but not least…

v – The final act with the rejection of the Rishta was well written and fantastic performances all around. The emotions of rejection and humiliation drove the scene forward and made us empathize with the Khala’s side of the family. Of course it is good to be optimistic in life but some facts unfortunately cannot be overlooked namely wealth and social status; something that always plagues Pakistani society.

+ Low Points

i – The opening scene of the show… was something I guess. I’m sure the show was going for a more metaphorical foreshadowing of the coming weeks but unfortunately, its horror tone just felt out of place with the rest of the show. Where did they end up finding so many bats to begin with?

ii – The show looks visual bland. There are no interesting perspectives, no innovative camera framing or editing. The production of the show only manages to reach the bare minimum what TV or film can accomplish. Shows produced by Momina Duraid are a good example that there is always room for visual experimentation, even for such a commercial medium like television. And it’s a real pity since the storyline is deserving of a more talented production crew behind the camera.

iii – Speaking of visual quality, it is unfortunate that the show resorts to mainstream Indian drama TV style of visual storytelling as it can definitely do without it. Let go of the “chamak dhamak” style of camera work/ editing as it ends up making your product look cheap and lacks originality. A perfect example can be Daam (2010) by Mehreen Jabbar where the show, even with its so-called “slow” visual presentation, brought so much depth and realism to the plot and its characters.

iv – The title of the show ‘Fraud’ seems way too much on the nose. Couldn’t the show runners have come up with something a little less conspicuous?

+ Overall

A good, promising first episode; Fraud has the capability to be one of the best shows currently on television right now if not for its lackluster presentation.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Maat (2011)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Maat (2011). The 25 Episode limited TV series is directed by Amna Nawaz Khan and is produced by Momina Duraid. Maat was broadcasted on HUM TV Pakistan.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Amna Nawaz Khan
  • Written by Umera Ahmad
  • DOP by Shehzad Kashmiri
  • Edited by Husnain
  • OST Theme composed by Farrukh Abid and Shoaib Farrukh
  • Produced by Momina Duraid

+ Note

Maat (adapted from the book of the same name) is written by the prolific Pakistani Urdu writer Umera Ahmad who is well renowned in the Pakistani Literature as well as Drama Industry as one of the most talented writers in Pakistan. The show is an exploration of themes such as moral defeat and victory in the eyes of our society. How far should one be selfish or selfless in order to survive in this world? Umera’s key strength in her writing has always been indulging in close family affairs and how differences in lifestyles can destroy the loved ones around you.

After its original broadcast on HUM TV, Maat instantly gained its popularity amongst its fanbase and was aired once again in 2013. This also led to the show being dubbed in Pashto for Hum Pashto 1 and drew numerous fans outside the country’s borders (such as India, Iran and Turkey). At the Lux Style Awards, Maat bagged Best Television Actress for Saba Qamar, Best Director, Best Writer and Best Television Serial awards.

 + Main Cast

  1. Aamina Sheikh as Aiman
  2. Saba Qamar as Saman
  3. Adnan Siddiqui as Faisal
  4. Noor Hassan Rizvi as Hadeed
  5. Shamim Hilaly as Faisal’s mother
  6. Rabia Noreen as Afia
  7. Asad Malik as Aazar
  8. Samina Ahmad as servant
  9. Maheen Rizvi as Shaila
  10. Sadia Ghaffar as Munazzah

+ Plot

Two sisters; Aiman (Aamina Sheikh) and Saman (Saba Qamar) have vastly different visions of a perfect life. Aiman dreams of a modest, honest life whereas Saman dreams of a luxurious life with no consequences. Ideals clash when Faisal (Adnan Siddiqui)  proposes to marry his long time love Saman but her perfect Husband might not have a clear face so long as he can fulfill every material need that she desires in Life.

+ High Points

i – This is by now no secret that I am a massive fan of Umera Ahmed and her writing. She is undoubtedly miles ahead from many other drama writers in the Pakistani TV Industry. And Maat is no exception. Every episode is written with intricate precision and attention. With depth and understanding, each character feels a real and integral part of the story. Throughout its 25 Episodes, the show never felt staggered or prolonged (which is a rarity in modern Pak Television!). Each episode had a purpose to exist and that is perhaps one of the biggest compliments I could possibly give to a episodic soap opera. 

ii – Even though Maat is (yet again) a story of love triangle on the surface level, the plot goes much deeper than that. The show is an exploration of selfness vs selfishness (similar to Umera Ahmed’s previous work Daam (2010) but interestingly enough, the role of Aamina Sheikh reversed). It’s obvious that the sympathies lie solely on Aiman but she herself is not flawless in her woes. She fails to understand where the limits lie when it comes to personal sacrifice. Saman (on the other hand) fails to understand why the world doesn’t revolve according to her needs. She has no issues in manipulating people in order to get her way. The concept of ‘philanthropy’ is all alien to her. 

What I really admire about the storyline is all characters (whether good or bad) have flaws within them. The victim nor the oppressor can remain blameless throughout the show. It’s a balanced style of Umera’s writing which I truly applaud about her work. But with that being said, I think a lot of credit also should go to Amna Nawaz Khan’s superb direction. Her meticulous direction of her cast of characters and the scenes that they were part of really brought a lot of life into the show.

iii – The performances are great all around but it’s mostly the main cast of Aamina Sheikh, Saba Qamar and Adnan Siddiqui that shine throughout the show. The audience naturally tunes in for them to take the center stage and they never fail to deliver. But surprisingly, as the show progressed, Saba Qamar quickly captured the limelight of the show and most of the later episodes were solely through her perspective. And that I felt was very refreshing to view the events from the “Antagonist’s” point of view.

iv – The supporting cast of Shamim Hilaly, Rabia Noreen and others also contributed a lot to the show’s strength in its performances. Apart from the servant actors sounding a bit stiff, the main supporting cast was excellent throughout its 25 episodes. The scenes between Shamim and Rabia were also great to watch as their onscreen chemistry really had me believe that they are in fact sisters long after the cameras have stopped recording for the day.

v – The setting, locations and backdrop was all brilliantly realized for the show. The living condition differences between lower social classes and upper social classes were very apparent and added much needed depth and diversity to the moving images of the show.

vi – Apart from the brilliant OST by Muhammad Ali, most of the music was fantastic throughout the show. The integration of flute with melancholic piano really brought a sense of pain and regret onto the small screen. The music never felt overbearing but only ended up enhancing your viewing experience.

vii –  The conclusion to the show was outstanding and fit right in the tone and narrative of the show. Most TV dramas fall into the trap of a great setup but a terrible payback at the end but the writer of Maat knew in which direction she was taking the show and how this particular story would end. The conclusion of any show always makes or breaks it but fortunately, Maat had a very satisfying conclusion to the show.

 + Low Points

i – The production was serviceable to say the least. Shehzad Kashmiri’s camerawork was subpar and lacked any sort of creativity in its visuals. Shows like Raqeeb Se (2021) are a prime example how inventive framing and camerawork can really contribute to the overall aesthetic of the show.

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

ii – One major problem that left me perplexed was the shift of perspective from Aiman to Saman. Why? Why could not both have been the audience’s window into the world of Maat? Since the two sisters have polar opposite understanding of the world, this unique dual perspective would have worked seamlessly into the narrative but for some reason, Umera’s script solely focused on Saman’s view mostly throughout the show. A bit more balanced screentime between the two sisters would worked better for the show.

iii – Although Saba Qamar’s performance was great, she had a certain tick in her performance that whenever she said something in a condescending tone, she shook her head on the side at the end of each sentence. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be a tick that Saba invented for her character or if it was the director’s suggestion but became a bit distracting as episodes went on. 

iv – There were times when the audience might lose their empathy towards Aiman because she is gratuitously more generous than anyone ever should be. It’s hard to sympathize but only pity someone’s lack of intelligence if it’s already written on the wall that caving into Saman’s stubbornness and Faisal’s self-destructive desires will lead to nothing good in life. Perhaps it can be noted as a flaw of Aiman but these were the times when I momentarily lost sympathy for Aiman for being so naive and clueless.

v – The “elderly” make up in the last two episodes was laughable. It looked ridiculous considering the white hair but perfect “wrinkless” skin. A random guy called Aiman ‘old lady’ just took me completely out of the scene. Stage plays have better makeup than this!

vi – The last few episodes have a bit too many inner monologues from Aiman. I think that dragged the episodes a bit and could’ve been avoided. The visuals were enough for the audience to understand what was happening without the show spelling it out for them.

+ Overall

Maat is such an entertaining watch. The characters are interesting and the plot progression is excellent throughout its 25 episodes. One of the best shows to come out of the last decade.

 Rate: 4.0 out of 5 stars