TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 15 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saife Hassan and written by Mustafa Afridi. Sang-e-Mah is the spiritual continuation of the saga introduced in the Hum TV drama Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016). Sang-e-Mah is the acting debut of the famous Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam and the drama is a Momina Duraid Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saife Hassan
  • Written by Mustafa Afridi
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

The drama Sang-e-Mah serves as a spiritual sequel to the show Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016) with Noman Ejaz, Sania Saeed and many others returning to the same cast and crew. The drama deals with life in the Pakhtoon region of Pakistan and explores such hard hitting topics like forced marriages and integral family relationships. According to the director, Sang-e-Mah serves under similar themes as its predecessor, in a three part trilogy, ending it with the next planned show, Sang-e-Siyah.

 + Main Cast

  1. Atif Aslam as Hilmand Khan
  2. Nauman Ijaz as Haji Marjaan Khan
  3. Kubra Khan as Sheherzaad
  4. Hania Amir as Gul Meena
  5. Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz as Hikmat Khan
  6. Sania Saeed as Zarghuna
  7. Samiya Mumtaz as Zarsanga
  8. Omair Rana as Mastaan Singh
  9. Najiba Faiz as Harshaali Kaur
  10. Hassan Noman as Badam Gul

+ Plot

Sang-e-Mah is a story of a dysfunctional Pakhtoon family in the tribal regions of Pakistan where pride and honour mostly triumphs over empathy and forgiveness. The show deals with issues such as young love and opposing families who are engaged in a tribal battle with one another.

+ High Points

i – I admire the way certain themes were handled in Episode 15. Themes regarding decades long friendship between Baddam Gul and Mastaan Singh or religious biases one could have regarding belief differences. The lessons were never overbearing and were communicated with some thought behind it. 

ii – Thankfully episode 15 was never plot heavy. Infact, it was a breeze to sit through. The show this week focused more on building relationships between the existing characters and exploring situations that could prove fatal to the people involved in them. The structure and the flow from one scene to the next was well executed and enhanced the overall viewing experience.

iii – When it comes to framing and setting up a scene, Sang-e-Mah is breathtaking to watch. Each frame you can just pause, print it out and hang it on your wall.

+ Low Points

i – There are just certain subplots carried from the previous episode that should have no place in this show, namely the Sherherzad and the misogynistic doctor Haider. Not only does the subplot not fit with the lead narrative of the show but it is also poorly timed and executed. The doctor is as cliche of an antagonist as they come and the coincidence of him ending up being the lead surgeon for Hilmand’s operation is also ludicrous. I understand that the show is trying hard to bring some depth into Sherherzad’s character but that also could have been achieved by just her interacting with the Khan family without a tacked on tragic, abusive past. The show could have just built a subplot around Sherherzad’s struggle working as a female journalist in a male dominated world and that alone is worth exploring without a needless back story that fits nowhere in the show.

ii – Although the situational drama with character interactions were great, the acting itself came off quite stiff and unconvincing from certain characters, namely the christian doctor. Not to mention, there were some cringeworthy dialogues like “Ziada Pathan mat bano! (Don’t be such a Pathan!)”. That was just horrendous writing.

iii – I really despise how little they have utilized Hilmand as a character and given him any depth to his character. In almost every scene, he just lethargically moans and complains about the situation he is in. And to top it off, there is absolutely zero chemistry between him and Sherherzad to build any romance around them. And as a result, Sang-e-Mah suffers heavily for lacking any interesting main protagonist on the show.

+ Overall

Sang-e-Mah is great when it focuses on building relationships but terrible at elevating its main plot. And episode 15 is a perfect example of it.

Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 14 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saife Hassan and written by Mustafa Afridi. Sang-e-Mah is the spiritual continuation of the saga introduced in the Hum TV drama Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016). Sang-e-Mah is the acting debut of the famous Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam and the drama is a Momina Duraid Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saife Hassan
  • Written by Mustafa Afridi
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

The drama Sang-e-Mah serves as a spiritual sequel to the show Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016) with Noman Ejaz, Sania Saeed and many others returning to the same cast and crew. The drama deals with life in the Pakhtoon region of Pakistan and explores such hard hitting topics like forced marriages and integral family relationships. According to the director, Sang-e-Mah serves under similar themes as its predecessor, in a three part trilogy, ending it with the next planned show, Sang-e-Siyah.

 + Main Cast

  1. Atif Aslam as Hilmand Khan
  2. Nauman Ijaz as Haji Marjaan Khan
  3. Kubra Khan as Sheherzaad
  4. Hania Amir as Gul Meena
  5. Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz as Hikmat Khan
  6. Sania Saeed as Zarghuna
  7. Samiya Mumtaz as Zarsanga
  8. Omair Rana as Mastaan Singh
  9. Najiba Faiz as Harshaali Kaur
  10. Hassan Noman as Badam Gul

+ Plot

Sang-e-Mah is a story of a dysfunctional Pakhtoon family in the tribal regions of Pakistan where pride and honour mostly triumphs over empathy and forgiveness. The show deals with issues such as young love and opposing families who are engaged in a tribal battle with one another.

+ High Points

i – All the scenes involving Samiya Mumtaz as Zarsanga were fantastic. There was tons of drama and emotion behind each scene but at the end, it was Samiya’s performance that knocked them out of the park. The hair coloring scene which was shared between Zarsanga and Zarghuna was not only well written but was also visually compelling to watch. As the news dawns upon Zarsanga that her son might be fighting for his life in the hospital, tears stream down her face with a slow momentum of the camera forward to frame the two sisters together. These are the kind of scenes that make Sang-e-Mah feel natural and realistic. I hope the next coming episodes contain more scenes like this.

ii – I also loved the on screen chemistry between Marjaan Khan and his wife. Earlier in the episode, they share a wonderful scene together which makes it obvious how much they are still in love with each other without uttering the words to signify it. For the two veteran actors, it just comes naturally to them as they have tons of acting experience behind them to make it work. 

+ Low Points

i – Apart from scenes involving Zarsanga, the rest of the episode was a letdown. The only plot that saw some form of development was the uninteresting and pointless backstory of Sherherzaad. Although tragic, the backstory feels incredibly tacked onto the overall narrative of the show. Firstly, you have the tension between Marjaan and his step son Hilmand, then the forcibly marriage situation between Hilmand and Gul Meena which has prompted her lover Hikmat to take revenge against his own brother. Then you have the side story of Mastaan Singh, not to mention Zarghuna’s unresolved beef with her past. Do we really need to be involved with yet another tragic backstory? Apart from that, the story itself is dull and lifeless, including caricature, mustache twirling performance by the antagonist. Let this be clear that I am always up for strong female leads on Pak television but not when it feels irrelevant to the overall plot of the show.

ii – Later in the episode, there were way too many nonsensical exposition scenes which dragged the episode way too much for its own good. As a viewer, do I really need to sit through why slapping the doctor who is heading the medical operation of Hilmand was a mistake? Sang-e-Mah undeniably has a vast list of characters and a supporting cast. We really don’t need any more. Develop the ones you already have.

iii – The police raid at the hospital also felt reckless and out of the blue. So apparently the law enforcers are searching for the Khan family now? And this buffoon from the Hilmand gang just decided to reveal the identity to a couple of police guards? This was just incredibly lazy writing. No prior information, no scene build up, just random events happening to keep the show going.

+ Overall

An improvement from the previous week but not by much. The needless exposition scenes are ultimately killing the narrative flow of Sang-e-Mah.

Rate:out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 13 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saife Hassan and written by Mustafa Afridi. Sang-e-Mah is the spiritual continuation of the saga introduced in the Hum TV drama Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016). Sang-e-Mah is the acting debut of the famous Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam and the drama is a Momina Duraid Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saife Hassan
  • Written by Mustafa Afridi
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

The drama Sang-e-Mah serves as a spiritual sequel to the show Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016) with Noman Ejaz, Sania Saeed and many others returning to the same cast and crew. The drama deals with life in the Pakhtoon region of Pakistan and explores such hard hitting topics like forced marriages and integral family relationships. According to the director, Sang-e-Mah serves under similar themes as its predecessor, in a three part trilogy, ending it with the next planned show, Sang-e-Siyah.

 + Main Cast

  1. Atif Aslam as Hilmand Khan
  2. Nauman Ijaz as Haji Marjaan Khan
  3. Kubra Khan as Sheherzaad
  4. Hania Amir as Gul Meena
  5. Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz as Hikmat Khan
  6. Sania Saeed as Zarghuna
  7. Samiya Mumtaz as Zarsanga
  8. Omair Rana as Mastaan Singh
  9. Najiba Faiz as Harshaali Kaur
  10. Hassan Noman as Badam Gul

+ Plot

Sang-e-Mah is a story of a dysfunctional Pakhtoon family in the tribal regions of Pakistan where pride and honour mostly triumphs over empathy and forgiveness. The show deals with issues such as young love and opposing families who are engaged in a tribal battle with one another.

+ High Points

i – Episode 13 continues on with the unresolved issues between Marjaan Khan and Hilmand. With the recent attempt at his life, Hilmand strongly suspects his step father to be behind this heinous and cowardly act. When sharing the screen together, Atif Aslam and Nauman Ijaz play excellently off one another and bring a sense of dread to the forefront. 

+ Low Points

i – This episode was pretty much a waste of time. Nothing significant happened throughout its runtime. There were a lot of mediocre scenes and set pieces, accompanied by sub par performances from the main cast. Atif Aslam as Hilmand was especially one of the worst parts of this episode. Of all the scenes that he was conscious, his stabbing was played off as a minor inconvenience as he was too busy being sarcastic and nonchalant. How a person regains consciousness and health in just a week’s time by being repeatedly stabbed is beyond my comprehension of medical science. Episode 13 will undoubtedly go down as one of the weakest episodes this show has ever produced.

ii – Along with Hilmand, Sheherzaad is one of the worst written characters on the show. By sharing a mere couple of moments together, she has now fallen head over heels for the bad boy Hilmand who hardly remembers that she even exists. This feels as if the show missed out on building just basic chemistry between the two characters as it makes zero sense why she seems so utterly concerned about her love. I have seen better romance in Disney princess animated films than this. The writing by Mustafa Afridi has been just awful when it comes to building romance between the two leads. In contrast to this, Mastaan Singh and his fiance have a much better and convincing romance. They genuinely seem to care for each other’s well being and have the ability to finish each other’s sentences. Hilmand and Sherherzad have absolutely nothing going for them.

iii – Speaking of Mastaan Singh, why in the world did he decide to murder yet another person when he was just forgiven (merely days ago!) from his previous crime for life long slavery? The reasoning given by the script is that he wanted to protect his “daughter” Gul Meena from the trap that Hilmand had invertedly set for her. But Mastaan committing yet another heinous crime so nonsensically is beyond absurd and lacks any form of believability. Apparently the writer wanted Hilmand to be in peril so we could sympathize with him more and hence, the stabbing. This is a perfect example when the narrative hijacks the characters into committing actions which make no sense to their characterization or the situation. 

iv – The elders of the village serve absolutely no purpose to this story. They are literally pointless tools who add nothing and by now, they should really be written off the show. Their scenes usually consist of useless banter or some villager insulting them. That is the extent of their character development in the show.

+ Overall

Episode 13 has unfortunately turned out to be one of the worst written episodes this show has ever produced. 

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 12 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saife Hassan and written by Mustafa Afridi. Sang-e-Mah is the spiritual continuation of the saga introduced in the Hum TV drama Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016). Sang-e-Mah is the acting debut of the famous Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam and the drama is a Momina Duraid Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saife Hassan
  • Written by Mustafa Afridi
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

The drama Sang-e-Mah serves as a spiritual sequel to the show Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016) with Noman Ejaz, Sania Saeed and many others returning to the same cast and crew. The drama deals with life in the Pakhtoon region of Pakistan and explores such hard hitting topics like forced marriages and integral family relationships. According to the director, Sang-e-Mah serves under similar themes as its predecessor, in a three part trilogy, ending it with the next planned show, Sang-e-Siyah.

 + Main Cast

  1. Atif Aslam as Hilmand Khan
  2. Nauman Ijaz as Haji Marjaan Khan
  3. Kubra Khan as Sheherzaad
  4. Hania Amir as Gul Meena
  5. Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz as Hikmat Khan
  6. Sania Saeed as Zarghuna
  7. Samiya Mumtaz as Zarsanga
  8. Omair Rana as Mastaan Singh
  9. Najiba Faiz as Harshaali Kaur
  10. Hassan Noman as Badam Gul

+ Plot

Sang-e-Mah is a story of a dysfunctional Pakhtoon family in the tribal regions of Pakistan where pride and honour mostly triumphs over empathy and forgiveness. The show deals with issues such as young love and opposing families who are engaged in a tribal battle with one another.

+ High Points

i – The whole episode was an utter bore to sit through until the last 10 minutes where the intrigue was well and truly brought back into the forefront. Without any spoilers, this “incident” can create some cataclysmic results and a complete rift in the Khan family once and for all. Although this “incident” would have made much more sense as a cliffhanger to the episode, it still played an integral part in the overall narrative of the show. 

ii – There was a thoughtful and emotional scene shared between Marjaan Khan and Sheherzaad. Although it did go overboard in a few places (which I’ll talk about later in the review), the scene contained some strong performances especially from Nauman Ijaz who brought an immense amount of intensity to the vulnerable moment in the life of Marjaan Khan. Due to sharp writing, the scene also brought a lot of humanity to Nauman Ijaz’s character who, despite his flaws, wants to make amends with his past mistakes. It is also worth mentioning that Sheherzaad is the only person to whom he feels comfortable enough to bear all his inner demons. This truly hints at a special bond shared between Marjaan Khan and the “outsider”.

iii –  Regardless of the show’s glaring flaws in writing, the production has been top notch with each and every scene. Whether it’s the costume design or the lighting under the moonlit skies, Sang-e-Mah projects a sense of wonder in its surroundings. But not everything is perfect (namely the direction but we’ll get to that in the low points section …).

SPOILER ALERT!!! (if you would like to avoid it, please skip directly to the Low Points Section):

iv – So now that Hilmand is on the brink of death, it is heavily implied that Mastaan Singh murdered him in cold blood in order to resolve the current dilemma. But the key point is that Mastaan never said outright that he killed Hilmand so there might be a curveball being thrown into this. We already know that Hilmand has created a lot of enemies for himself. But time will tell how things will ultimately play out. This was a great way to enhance the intrigue of the audience with future episodes to come.

+ Low Points

i – The first half of the episode was yet another repetitious barrage of story that has already been covered and dialogue that we have already heard numerous times before. If not for the cliffhanger in the latter part of the episode, this week would have accomplished nothing for the show with its repetitive scenes and uninteresting side characters. Sang-e-Mah desperately needs scenes with more substance to them. Pretty much every single scene consists of people sitting and talking without any real depth to it. Let the daily interactions of the character accompany everyday chores like cooking in the kitchen, washing clothes, walking in the lush green fields of Northern Pakistan, picking fruits from trees and so on. Such actions within dialogue heavy scenes detract a bit of lethargic aspects to it but as of now, the scenes offer visually nothing to its viewers.

ii – Sheherzaad is a badly written character. Even though it is quite clear why she exists, the way she has been portrayed throughout the show has been far from realistic. Without much interaction, she has become a part of the Khan family, respecting Marjaan Khan so far as kissing his hands like a protege would for his/ her Godfather. This is walking along the fine line of silliness at this point. And since the last 4-5 episodes, the forced romance with Hilmand has completely vanished into thin air. What is her purpose on this show? She literally acts like a psychologist now to every member of the Khan family without much rhyme or reason. Not only Sheherzaad lacks any depth to her own character but rather, her sole purpose is to be part of repetitive expositions for the main cast. These are just signs of poor writing.

iii – I’m still not sure how the main protagonist of the show (Hilmand/ Atif Aslam) can be so underwritten and underutilized. With each and every passing episode, he can only be seen sulking in the background, having no real impact on the overall narrative of the show. It’s utterly disappointing to see how Sang-e-Mah has utilized Atif Aslam’s on screen debut but with a new recent development to his character, let’s see how things will go from here on out…

+ Overall

With the first half of episode 12 dull and the second half with some exciting new development, one can’t help but wonder how Sang-e-Mah underutilized its own talented cast of characters.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 11 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saife Hassan and written by Mustafa Afridi. Sang-e-Mah is the spiritual continuation of the saga introduced in the Hum TV drama Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016). Sang-e-Mah is the acting debut of the famous Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam and the drama is a Momina Duraid Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saife Hassan
  • Written by Mustafa Afridi
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

The drama Sang-e-Mah serves as a spiritual sequel to the show Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016) with Noman Ejaz, Sania Saeed and many others returning to the same cast and crew. The drama deals with life in the Pakhtoon region of Pakistan and explores such hard hitting topics like forced marriages and integral family relationships. According to the director, Sang-e-Mah serves under similar themes as its predecessor, in a three part trilogy, ending it with the next planned show, Sang-e-Siyah.

 + Main Cast

  1. Atif Aslam as Hilmand Khan
  2. Nauman Ijaz as Haji Marjaan Khan
  3. Kubra Khan as Sheherzaad
  4. Hania Amir as Gul Meena
  5. Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz as Hikmat Khan
  6. Sania Saeed as Zarghuna
  7. Samiya Mumtaz as Zarsanga
  8. Omair Rana as Mastaan Singh
  9. Najiba Faiz as Harshaali Kaur
  10. Hassan Noman as Badam Gul

+ Plot

Sang-e-Mah is a story of a dysfunctional Pakhtoon family in the tribal regions of Pakistan where pride and honour mostly triumphs over empathy and forgiveness. The show deals with issues such as young love and opposing families who are engaged in a tribal battle with one another.

+ High Points

i – Like in all the previous episodes, the scenes shared between Marjaan Khan and his wife are always touching and memorable. Nauman Ijaz and Samiya Mumtaz did a wonderful job in setting up the scene and the dialogue beats that follow it. The performances feel genuine, bringing a sense of tragedy to their tale.

ii – It is still not certain what role Sheherzaad plays in the Khan family saga but at least in this episode, she was utilized to what she was supposed to be; a fish out of water character, a vessel for the viewers to get into the psyche of the Khan family. Apart from that, Sheherzaad as a character just fails to grab the viewer’s interest, including the farcical love story with Hilmand and the ‘who cares’ tragic backstory. 

+ Low Points

i – This episode was frustrating to watch at times. Throughout its runtime, we were constantly being bombarded with confrontational (past and present) scenes which are either just repetition of information we already know or scenes that do not serve any real purpose to the show. How many times will we get to see the elders of the village being insulted by every person in the neighborhood? I thought they had a very authoritative hold on their village, how could they even allow anyone to insult them and get away with it? This is far from being realistic. 

Apart from that, Sang-e-Mah has way too many unimportant side characters which take away from the overall experience of the show.

ii – Hikmat Khan has taken his family and surroundings by storm. He is out for blood and grabs whatever he thinks belongs to him. For such an intensive character development, you need to walk a fine line between reality and insanity with your performance. Sadly, I do not think Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz is up to the task. His performance seems timid, his impulses feel forced and farcical. His facial expressions and dialogue delivery lacks depth and intensity that is so desperately needed for this character to work. I hope I am proven wrong in the next coming episodes, otherwise this will always prove to be a sore spot for the entire show.

iii – I sincerely do not understand how Sang-e-Mah is handling its main cast of characters, particularly Hilmand who seems completely lost in the overall narrative of the show. What exact purpose does he serve to the show? What is his character arc? Does he share any other emotion other than sulking in the background? Hilmand, as a main protagonist of the show, is massively underwritten and underutilized for the show. He just serves as a clog to the overall story and has no real character development of his own. And with all that, you have a debut actor playing the role and trying his level best to make this work. I do feel it is incredibly unfair for Atif Aslam to be stuck playing a role so underwritten that even veteran actors might have had problems pulling it off!

+ Overall

Not the best of what Sang-e-Mah has to offer this week. The story needs to be better focused and characters should be used to their full potential.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

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

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Sang-e-Mah Episode 10 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saife Hassan and written by Mustafa Afridi. Sang-e-Mah is the spiritual continuation of the saga introduced in the Hum TV drama Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016). Sang-e-Mah is the acting debut of the famous Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam and the drama is a Momina Duraid Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saife Hassan
  • Written by Mustafa Afridi
  • Produced by Momina Duraid Productions

+ Note

The drama Sang-e-Mah serves as a spiritual sequel to the show Sang-e-Mar Mar (2016) with Noman Ejaz, Sania Saeed and many others returning to the same cast and crew. The drama deals with life in the Pakhtoon region of Pakistan and explores such hard hitting topics like forced marriages and integral family relationships. According to the director, Sang-e-Mah serves under similar themes as its predecessor, in a three part trilogy, ending it with the next planned show, Sang-e-Siyah.

 + Main Cast

  1. Atif Aslam as Hilmand Khan
  2. Nauman Ijaz as Haji Marjaan Khan
  3. Kubra Khan as Sheherzaad
  4. Hania Amir as Gul Meena
  5. Zaviyar Nauman Ijaz as Hikmat Khan
  6. Sania Saeed as Zarghuna
  7. Samiya Mumtaz as Zarsanga
  8. Omair Rana as Mastaan Singh
  9. Najiba Faiz as Harshaali Kaur
  10. Hassan Noman as Badam Gul

+ Plot

Sang-e-Mah is a story of a dysfunctional Pakhtoon family in the tribal regions of Pakistan where pride and honour mostly triumphs over empathy and forgiveness. The show deals with issues such as young love and opposing families who are engaged in a tribal battle with one another.

+ High Points

i – Massive new developments in the plot, including certain character arcs coming to a close (already?) but episode 10 was nonetheless entertaining to watch. With slow burning drama but high intensity, rapid plot progression, Sang-e-Mah proved this week to be well worth the viewer’s time.

ii – Episode 10 was purely a one woman show, namely Zarghuna who had some major character development but truth be told, Sania Saeed performed well in all of those vital scenes. Her performance was nuanced and emotional but never went overboard with it. Her forgiveness was subtle yet impactful, she lowered her head, came to a certain realization regarding the ugly aspect of revenge and spoke with a timid voice but with clarity. The performance was superb and proves once again why Sania Saeed is one of the best in the business.

iii – The fictional and real life father and son scene between Marjaan and Hikmat Khan was incredibly well directed. Normally, Nauman Ijaz’s performance has always felt weak to me but this scene is one of those prime examples where (with the help of a veteran actor, like his father) he can unleash a lot of potential that is holding him back as an actor. The scene itself was slow, tension building moments where one could realize how Marjaan might be corrupting his own son, infusing hatred into his naive yet impressionable mind. As far as the camerawork and production goes, the scene was pretty simple but it is the dialogue and performances that made it so intense to watch.

+ Low Points

i – There were some very awkward dialogues in episode 10, namely the foreign radio scene. I am completely baffled as to what this show wants to do with its main protagonist. For what reason is he listening to radio in a language that he apparently doesn’t understand (the foreign language was German by the way) but then when the village elders arrive, he forces them to say a prayer for Lady Diana (as the radio news was about her, who died almost 30 years ago!). So apparently Himand is so wise that he can understand foreign languages if he concentrates enough? What was the purpose of this scene??

ii – It’s good to see Zarghuna’s character arc and her letting go of her demons but it did feel very abrupt and everything got wrapped up within a single episode: she forgave her husband’s killer and also made amends with her sister. It’s nothing drastically awful but why the sudden rush to wrap things up? I am sure that the show is not even halfway through.

+ Overall

An entertaining episode with good plot progression and scenarios that will ultimately end up with consequences.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

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