TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Khaas (2019)

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

+ Crew

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

+ Note

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

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

 + Main Cast

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

 + Supporting Cast

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

+ Plot

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

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

+ High Points

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 + Low Points

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+ Overall

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

 Rate: 3.25 out of 5 stars