Green Entertainment has launched a multitude of new shows over the past week, each one with a unique storyline. While all these shows have shown promise in their own way, “22 Qadam” has possibly been the most highly awaited drama from the channel. The theme revolving around female advancement in cricket, this drama promises to focus on the challenges faced by the female gender in progressing in cricket within Pakistan, a sport which has traditionally been dominated by males. Like the channel itself, “22 Qadam” strives to shatter barriers and highlight gender discrimination. Starring Hareem Farooq and Wahaj Ali in lead roles, this show also stars Kinza Razzak, Shahnawaz Zaidi, Nida Mumtaz, Alina Abbas Shah and Zainab Waseem in prominent roles. The story has been written by Zeeshan Ilyas and directed by Anjum Shahzad.
Hareem Farooq plays Fari, a confident, spirited young woman who lives life on her own terms. It’s refreshing to see how Hareem Farooq has molded herself to fit into this role, instantly making Fari an endearing, enjoyable character to watch. Competing against boys in cricket and constantly finding herself in trouble at school due to lack of focus, Fari has her own goals and dreams in life and does not want to be confined to the expectations women are held to. Both Fari and Ambar (Kinza Razzak) are fun-loving young women raised by loving parents, particularly their father who supports their carefree attitude.
On the other side, we are introduced to Junaid (Wahaj Ali), a cricket player with torn knee ligaments who cannot fathom living a life without cricket in it. Junaid has many health limitations, including a heart condition, but actively pursued his dreams – something which is now catching up with him. The two come together when Junaid picks up Fari when she asks for a ride. This exchange is entertaining, though Hareem’s acting is a bit over-the-top in these moments. It will be interesting to see how these two characters come together to pursue their goals.
We also see how Ambar is being forced to trudge through the proposal grind, unsuitable and dishonest people sending over proposals and lowering Ambar’s sense of self worth. How many girls go through these situations? The answer is many, particularly in South Asian society. The contrast with Fari trying to create a space in cricket is stark. At the end of the episode, Fari creates (literally) a meeting with her favorite cricket player, Sana Mir, and receives the inspiration and encouragement she needs to move forward.
“22 Qadam” is off to a good start with the first two episodes. It’s an interesting concept with a female led story that promises to provide inspiration to young women. The presentation is fresh and the story is engaging. Wahaj Ali’s screen time is not much in the first two episodes, but he makes an impact. Hareem Farooq does a great job bringing Fari to life, though she does go overboard at times and does not necessarily fit the mold of an athlete. Still, her performance is commendable. The supporting cast is good, particularly Kinza Razzaq and Nida Mumtaz. How the show moves forward from this point onward remains to be seen, but it’s off to a good start!