We have dramas and then we have dramas. Some take on viral following and views, the male and female leads are the talk of every Pakistani drama lover and then some … throw those warm, groovy kind of love feels that make us want to watch because, somewhere on the screen we can see ourselves, or, our experiences play out in all their nuances. And those are the dramas I’m about to bring to the table so scroll down for more!
1. Pyari Mona
Mona embodies all the characteristics we crave to see in our drama heroines, for one, she speaks. For another, she does it without offending anyone, and even more, shaadi is not her one and only goal in life! Pyari Mona brings many issues to the forefront; from body shaming to parents being obsessive about wanting perfection from their children, depression and its fatal outcomes, platonic relationships and young girls living alone responsibly as well driving a scooter on the streets of Pakistan.
Pyari Mona relates a story that has been played out multiple times around us but it does it minus the sensationalism. Mona is not being slapped around by her mother for disobeying her, neighbours are not passing snide remarks about her living alone or having a male friend, Babar too, is your not so likeable yet relatable male lead who wavers between his flaws (the arrogance of one who is not too aware of his flaws) and seeming almost human, when he shies away from donating Samiya’s clothes.
Pyari Mona did not give in to the temptation of grabbing views through unnecessary drama, yet, Mona’s perpetual dilemma, her pain on losing her sister and then Irfan, her disappointment at her mother, are all sensitively depicted. Plus the hard work behind the project – wearing a fat suit, balancing the script with light and sober moments and keeping it real are perhaps the jewel in the crown for Pyari Mona – so, please watch if you haven’t given this one a go!
2. Kuch Ankahi
Why would you not want to watch a family drama unfold right in the comfort of your home, one that throws us comic relief (esp. with Shakeel and Tanya), delivers poignant messages (just look at Salman, the new age hero making chapatis), sharp dialogue exchange – from Agha Jaan to Shamu and then Sophie and Thanvi and then, Tanya’s smart comebacks, to glimpses of a budding romance between the characters of Sajal Ali and Bilal Abbas Khan and then, oh, wait for it, there’s Azfar and Saif’s journey too – did I forget to mention Samiya?
The main issue fans battle with Kuch Ankahi is the multi story lines that keep taking the spotlight away from Salman and Aliya – but, I think, if one were to stop focusing on the star power, or the lack of it, or the screen time awarded them, the multiple and diverse stories, ranging from Deepak to Tanya needed space to do justice to them, and the drama makers had the courage to give them that space! Every character has a reason for being onscreen and the reason is not toxic or overly dramatic. Even the relationship between Shamo and Sophie phoppo is so refreshing – it’s rough at the corners, yet not toxic, it has a charm of its own – a blatant, honest kind of charm. Samiya’s demure yet determined outlook paints her in compassionate shades of grey and when we see Agha Jaan standing up for his daughters without criticizing his wife’s erroneous judgement or passing her unneeded scathing comments, we just wonder, where else can we see such natural, sensitive story telling without compromising on any message. From women’s rights on property to arranged marriage – leave the YouTube views meter behind folks and enjoy the story telling, your stars are about to take centre stage as well so nothing to worry about.
In essence, we, as viewers have to understand that we too, need a detox to channel our expectations and not demand, in fact, blackmail makers into showing our favourite stars plastered all over the entire screen 24/7 of the drama run time! I kid you not, very often, we’re the problem, it’s us!
So what if Kim aka Kaneez Fatima isn’t your ideal representation of a foreign return? So what if David aka Dawood isn’t cutting it as your very modern, liberal minded hero – Yunhi tells a story with a vintage background. The story of the Dawood household goes back many years and the drama reminds us in cleverly inserted flashbacks, how it was for a family of women to deal with a hugely patriarchal mindset at home.
And that mindset has filtered into the younger generation, yeah! Just watch Daniyal telling off Suraiya or Dawood eyeing Kim’s attire – it’s all in the eyes. The drama plays it subtle, no loud or harsh threatening glares or dialogues, just a feel, of what he considers inappropriate – courtesy comes first!
Yunhi is gradually warming up and leaving some of its flaws behind, because, surprise, surprise, the onscreen chemistry between Bilal Ashraf and Maya Ali is just about to begin. It is with great trepidation that the two will serve to ‘fix’ each other’s mindsets, calling out prejudices and bigotry, and … they remind me of a twitter clash between two sides, one that is ever so protective about our culture, traditions and values (without heeding the suffocation therein sometimes), and the other, calling out our suffocating behaviours at times, traditions and hypocritical values (without heeding the positives and wisdom therein), both sides have a lot to learn, and so do we, from them!
But Dawood and Kaneez plan to do it all in super subtle mode, unless of course, Kim rattles David’s patience and he makes her reflect on her arrogance (and she on his). Yunhi is a story set in the present times but with a deep connection to our past. Because that’s how we understand the present right? Enjoy it for the soulful OST, the firm expressions without the slaps and violence and the charm that is Maya Ali with super support from the entire ensemble cast!
Pinjra is telling a story that has not been told, so far as I am aware, on the Pakistani drama screen. Not just that, but it is a story that is highly relevant to present day Pakistani family dynamics. However, the story, although hugely significant, is also hugely disturbing, and I have heard of many who cannot keep watching due to the sober nature of the issues addressed therein.
From parenting to single moms, working moms, drug abuse in schools, the use of social media and cyber bullying, Pinjra is almost as close to reality as if Javed, or Khadija or even Abeer just walked into our living room, brushed against us in school or, we might even be that character or friend. The drama makers were fully aware that the heavy issues taken on in the narrative might not go down as your typical Pakistani drama watch, but I am so, so glad that they they didn’t shy away from the topics they needed to address.
Pinjra is a drama that will go down as a classic, watch it a year or two later and the messages will still resonate. The lessons in parenting are countless and deep, so do give this one a watch, even if it pulls you down, it will leave a lasting impression on you, and the way you view relationships and parenting – Pinjra is a drama that can change lives and I want to thank the makers for being courageous enough to give this one a go!
5. Sar e Rah
Although this mini 6 episode series has just concluded and although the views have been considerably higher than the dramas I mentioned above (Thank Goodness), this narrative was telling uplifting stories of courage, it was handing out lessons without being didactic and the performances and breakthrough story telling broke the mould every week!
Not just that, but Sar e Rah is testament to the fact that short series with just a few episodes can also garner audiences’ appreciation and love, that stories told from the heart and knit into a well wrapped, concise yet impactful narrative – just one episode, can also get us invested in them, provided the story telling is sharp, crisp and thought provoking. Sar e Rah carried no slapstick comedy, slo-mo OST or unnecessarily cheesy or violent scenes, in short, zero dramatic yet hundred percent impact!
The mini series addressed male infertility, women influencers, working women, intersex individuals, and a woman taking on a hugely unconventional profession in our society – driving cab. Yet all the stories were delivered with so much sensitivity that the entire team deserves a standing ovation for raising the bar considerably higher in every possible way.
The future of Pakistani dramas looks bright, if only because of Sar e Rah, though all the stories mentioned above have just reignited my faith that our entertainment industry really has the potential, the competencies, the talent and the expertise to ace storytelling on the mini screen without being pressurized by YouTube views!
So drama makers, throw caution to the winds and focus on your content, remember, it is King and these 5 Pakistani dramas have shown us how!
3 Exciting new Shows Coming Up In Ramazan To Add To Your Watchlist This Year!
Catch the writer of Sar e Rah, Adeel Razzak in Gup Shup with FUCHSIA
Leave a Reply