Many Pakistani dramas tend to fall into this lull as they rack up episodes, slowing down and beginning to bore audiences. Fortunately, “Aakhir Kab Tak” is not such a show. With the exception of the slight slow-down with Saim and Fajar’s separation due to Neelofar’s (Sabahat Bukhari) disapproval, “Aakhir Kab Tak” has been a drama to look forward to. Out of all the quality dramas out there right now, “Aakhir Kab Tak” is the one that is most awaited (for me personally) each week. Starring Srha Asghar, Ushna Shah, Adeel Hussain, Haroon Shahid, Azfar Rehman, Javeria Abbasi, Shahood Alvi and Gul E Rana in pivotal roles, the story has been written by Radain Shah and directed by Syed Ali Raza Usama.
In episode 26, a lot takes place to move the story forward. Fajar’s condition has further deteriorated as she now refuses to leave her bedroom, locking the door at all times and even scolding the houe help for leaving the door open. She is not in a right frame of mind, terrified of Zafar while also too scared to tell Saim the truth. Fajar’s predicament is just that – a predicament. She has been through so much trauma at Zafar’s hands and now that he has entered her life again as her own husband’s childhood friend, she is petrified of what could happen if she tells the truth. Zafar (Azfar Rehman) harasses Fajar in the kitchen late at night, not only scaring her, but threatening to send her video to Saim. If there’s light at the end of the tunnel, it’s that Fajar’s sister-in-law overhears his exchange and has become aware of Zafar harassing Fajar. Having been at the receiving end of his behavior as well, this could be a real turning point for Fajar within that household. Srha Asghar is such a natural actress and while she has always been a great performer, her performance as Fajar has really launched her into a different talent bracket.
While Fajar’s life falls apart around her, Noor (Ushna Shah) and Safiya (Javeria Abbasi) are not blind to it. Rather, Noor while initially upset, quickly realizes after a short visit that Fajar is physically terrified of something – something which isn’t in her head. Noor notes Fajar’s need to close the door, realizing Fajar is hiding something….or someone. It’s this quality in Noor that makes her so lovable and “real.” This is a character who handles all her problems through a realistic lens, reacting to situations the way the average person would – and yet, she’s also incredibly intelligent and the sort of female character that is a role model of sorts, a character young girls could (and should) look up to. Ushna Shah has put her all into this role and despite having a resume full of strong roles, this may be her best yet.
While initially audiences were left wondering why Adeel Hussain chose this role when his character only appeared at the halfway point and seemed to be more of a comedic relief, it becomes more apparent episode by episode why he took on this character. Nasir is genuinely the glue that binds the story together. This is a character who is gray – he isn’t a squeaky-clean man. He has his flaws, he has his demons and he has his “crooked cop” moments. And yet, he is proving himself to be an ideal husband and partner, caring not only for Noor, but also for her family. And it’s Adeel Hussain who walks away with the best scene in the episode, along with Azfar Rehman. In Bushra’s hospital room, Nasir stumbles across Zafar and, while he initially ignores him, he puts Zafar in his place as he realizes Zafar is a person of interest. His line “Jab bhi boltay ho, phastay ho” puts a big smile on the viewer’s face. This entire exchange is not only slightly comical, but also gives viewers a sense of relief knowing that Nasir is slowly peeling away at the layers to uncover the truth. This role feels as though it were written for Adeel, he is performing so well.
Of course, we can’t discuss “Aakhir Kab Tak” without talking about Azfar Rehman. Zulfi is a detestable character, but it is a challenge to play such a role as a “normal” character. Predators live amongst us and are “normal” people, smiling, laughing and talking with others – and yet, it’s not easy to play a character like this naturally. Azfar Rehman is a talented actor who has not been given worthwhile roles over the years, so it’s great to see him working in quality shows. Of course, Shahood Alvi and Javeria Abbasi are brilliant as always. Watching Ehtasham recover slowly with Noor’s help and Safia’s love is one of the most endearing parts of the show. Watching this once-oppressive father now laughing and cheering on his daughters is one of the best character growth arcs in recent times. It feels like a genuine bond.
Overall, there’s little to criticize about “Aakhir Kab Tak.” Of course, the Neelofar character is still grating on the nerves, but she is a blurb in the larger picture, which is that of a realistic, uplifting story that shows hope at the end of the tunnel.