Come Ramadan season, Pakistani channels begin a fierce battle for ratings. While both “Hum Tum” and “Chaudhry And Sons” have put out promising first episodes, “Paristan” appears to be the “smaller” show in comparison. While Saima Akram Chaudhry has written the other two, “Paristan” has been written by Samra Bukhari and directed by Ali Hassan. The pulling factor in “Paristan” is the repeat pairing of Aymen Saleem and Arsalan Naseer, who won the hearts of audiences in “Chupke Chupke” last year. So how did the first episode of “Paristan” fare? Let’s discuss!
In episode one of “Paristan,” we are introduced to Pari (Aymen Saleem), a young girl who lives with her Mamoon (Saife Hassan) and Maami (Javeria Saud), along with her cousin Ujala (Merub Ali). This is a sweet family system and while Pari’s Maami has a rather blunt way of speaking, there isn’t any toxicity, which is nice to see. Pari is a dreamer and she’s constantly dreaming of moving out of her environment into a posh, lavish one. Daydreams are a part of her persona and her dreaming lands her in humorous situations when she is caught. Pari has a friend, Kamali (Ali Safina), who understands her and the two share a really sweet relationship – one that appears to be completely platonic and supportive, which is, again, really great to see. However, seeing that relationship, Pari’s Maami has now begun to get ideas, thinking Kamali is interested in Pari….though that does not seem to be the case.
Meanwhile, we are also introduced to Arsam (Arsalan Naseer), a young man who lives a quiet, somber life with his mother (or…..grandmother? It’s not clear), played by Azra Mansoor, and young niece and nephew. It’s revealed that his brother and sister-in-law passed away, leaving him in a state of grief and, also, custody of their children. Where the story seems to be headed is that Arsam will be moving back into their old home, which is across the street from Pari. Will Pari fall for Arsam without realizing how wealthy he is? This has the makings of a great story.
The first episode of “Paristan” is surprisingly refreshing, the humor more subtle than that in “Hum Tum” or “Chaudhry and Sons.” The characters have humorous undertones, but the “flow” is smooth, making it easier to catch on to the personalities of each character without laying it on thick. Arsalan Naseer does not receive as much screen space in this episode, but does well with his parts. However, it’s Aymen Saleem, Ali Safina and Merub Ali who stand out the most in this first episode. Aymen Saleem made her mark with “Chupke Chupke,” but has been proving herself as an actress with “Ibn E Hawwa” and now “Paristan.” She is a natural. Ali Safina is one of Pakistan’s best comedy actors and this is exactly why – he enacts his roles with such ease, it does not feel forced or over the top. Merub Ali is as sweet as she has been in “Sinf E Aahan” and has great screen presence. She is nice to watch. Overall, “Paristan” has the potential to wind up being the underdog of the three shows. While all eyes are on “Hum Tum” and “Chaudhry and Sons,” both of which are great, “Paristan” has the best first episode.