They were called Hammad, Talal and Farrukh – They Came, They Saw A Chance To Give Us Hope, They Conquered Hearts, And Then … They Were Killed Off Midway Into The Story!
Do I hear Pakistani drama fans protest – Why? Is it a sadistic streak in our writers who gift us the perfect hero, the Pakistani husband who is only allowed to live in our dreams miraculously comes to life onscreen, but just as we begin to believe, is he really for real, just as we warm up to the ‘normalcy’ of the abnormal, the script takes a blood curdling, utterly painful twist in the plot and down goes our hero – just like ‘Jill tumbling after’ in the dreaded nursery rhyme – our dreams too, warp into nightmares and … the story goes on!
We are predictable in our unpredictability
First, we get a hero who does everything against the book. He discards preconceived notions of our carefully constructed, misogynistic male leads, he stands up for his girl against his (dreaded) mother aka saas, he serenades her, marries her and continues to set the perfect example of what women want and then, all of a sudden, with no prior warning, … there he goes, off to his grave, midway into the story, leaving his heroine and us, lost, disheartened, helpless and hopeless! And no I’m not exaggerating, this is the new plot twist drama makers are hanging on to in their latest plot moves and here are 3 ‘killing’ examples to prove my point.
1. Hammad In Tinkay Ka Sahara
Hammad performed by none other than our guitar toting hero Haroon Shahid who was, ahem, side-tracked in HKKST as well (despite audience’s rooting for him), handed out the perfect husband vibes – supportive, not in the least insecure about his wife’s entrepreneurship goals, not overwhelmed by the saas and rest of the family toxicity – Hammad proved that he could be the shining example of how men can be, (if every woman’s dreams are manifested onscreen in a Pakistani drama) – but alas, it was not to be and Hammad took the bullet, literally. Shot dead in broad daylight, Hammad was lost forever to his Qadar and all the Pakistani drama fans who were rooting for him!
Sadistic plot twist much? Oh yes, weep our heavy hearts as Wasay, the other, not so Hammad male lead continues to live on in the other plot, same drama (despite facing a ‘hanging’ sentence in jail, and using the now predictable thappar on his wife, something Hammad would never do btw)!
2. Talal In Fraud – Sacrificed For Nael’s Redemption?
So here’s what happened in Fraud. Talal aka Alee Hassan Shah who’s winning hearts with Maila aka Rabya Kulsoom onscreen, especially when the likes of Nael and Tabrez are painting a sorrowful picture of men in Pakistani dramas (not surprising), also, surprise, surprise, takes the bullet! This time the heroine is left in utter remorse and guilt that she was somehow to blame for the mishap and, eventually, finds solace in Nael – yeah, the same guy who stood up her sister on her wedding night!
So I’m all for redemption and a character’s journey, but why did Talal have to be that Qurbani ka bakra? Why not let us, the audiences and Maila ) the outspoken young girl who was destined to live happily ever after have to deal with the trauma of losing near perfect husband material. So although Shaan had to seek redemption in losing his wealth, Nael in losing his mom, poor Talal and Maila who had done NOTHING wrong, end up losing each other. And us, the helpless Pakistani drama audiences once again lose a soldier to the Pakistani ‘male leads with problematic pasts; battle – Nael and Wasay and Shaan win (and get the girl) where Talal and Hammad lose!
This is our mantra – if you do wrong,, you err, you are mean to the woman who has done no wrong, you throw her out of your home, you don’t trust her word, you stand her up on her wedding night to seek revenge, you undergo a journey, and you can cross over to the other side and live happily ever after. But, if you’re a Talal or Hammad, who has done nothing wrong, zilch, in fact, you must pay for it with your life and, leave audiences in the lurch!
And last but not the least!
3. Farrukh in Agar – When Tragedy Strikes Just Because!
Farrukh played by Usama Khan was just making waves by not just standing up for his wife but also taking his dear mom along. The young husband who threw life goals above and beyond our expectations just turned into dust, literally by, yet again, being mugged and shot to meet his creator in a matter of seconds! Oh the tragedy of Farrukh is the latest in a line of three tragedies that even Shakespeare, with his streak for writing cutting edge tragic dramas would weep his eyes out!
Poor Farrukh’s death doesn’t seem to redeem anyone either since Hooriya is now left with a forlorn, depressing future back in her mom’s suffocating household. So, the lesson being, when you’ve developed a character that everyone loves, just kill him off so that fans whisper to each other in YouTube spaces, What? When? How? and the ultimate WHYYYY! Yeah, great for engagement there, but sad for the drama lover’s soul!
On a final note, it is not that tragedy cannot be part of the screenplay, it is the baseless killing off of good, endearing, lovable, braking the mould, refreshing characters that we don’t need to watch because, there are enough of the toxic, negative, flawed, redemption seeking ones around.
if conflict had to be created it could have been done in Agar through Annie’s revelation of her marriage and successive child. It could have been with Talal jumping in as the police officer who hunts down Shajji in Fraud, that would have made for a thrilling narrative yeah? It could also have been with Hammad and Qadar building a catering empire to have a faceoff with Wasay where he learns a thing or two from Hammad!
Unfortunately, our drama makers seem to prefer the route of extreme tragedy, as if the nation doesn’t have enough, what with marriage halls and markets pulling down the shutters at sundown as the country faces tough economic times (latest news on my feed). What if, dramas were also asked to promote positivity in their narratives because of a need to counter depression in our society? What if, we had to show out of the box, lovable, dreamy characters that not only set stellar examples for men, women and the dreaded saas bahu combo, but also be allowed to live till the end of the story.
What if, Pakistani drama dads were allowed to live on? Aaah, but that’s another battle for another day!
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