“Badshah Begum” is the sort of show one can fall behind on, because it is a quality show and one which requires focus to enjoy the experience. Starring Farhan Saeed, Zara Noor Abbas, Yasir Hussain, Komal Meer, Hamza Sohail, Saman Ansari, Abul Hassan and others in lead roles, the story of “Badshah Begum” has been written by Saji Gul and directed by Khizer Idrees. This is a Pakistani drama which has often been compared to “Game of Thrones” and while initially, this comparison seemed ludicrous and a way to put down Pakistani content by labeling this as a remake of anything – the comparison now, several episodes in, does make sense in a way. The show has its own identity, premise and is not really in any way like “Game of Thrones,” but the show does revolve around a “kingdom” of sorts (Peeran Pur) and focuses on family dynamics, betrayal, sabotage and the fight to gain power of the “gaddi” (a seat of control). In this way, the comparison is, in fact, applicable.
What’s great about “Badshah Begum” is that it’s a very “grey” show in the way that there isn’t a clear-cut “good guy, bad guy” situation. Each character is out to do what is best for….themselves. With Jahan Ara (Zara Noor Abbas) in the hospital, recovering from a snake bite, Hakim Bi (Saman Ansari) is seen coaching Roshan Ara (Komal Meer) into taking over as Badshah Begum, potentially seeing her own ruthless self in this young woman. There is no doubt that Roshan Ara is capable of horrible things in her impulsiveness and just as the idea begins to seep into Roshan Ara’s mind….Jahan Ara wakes up. How will this affect the already fractured relationship between the two sisters?
Meanwhile, Shahzaib (Farhan Saeed) has grown to admire Jahan Ara and how she has handled the situation, aligning himself with her. However, his disdain towards Shahmeer (Hamza Sohail) holding the position he desires is still a point of contention. How will this issue resolve between these siblings? Now with Bakhtiyar (Ali Rehman Khan) safely back at home, how will his character affect the story moving forward? Bakhtiyar’s mother works a high profile job with an NGO, fighting against atrocities committed on the underprivileged and “oppressed,” so will she step in at some point? With Uzma Beg playing the role, it must be worthwhile.
The character of Gulnaaz, played by Hiba Aziz, is quickly becoming a favorite character. This is a character who has become a driving force in the balancing of scales in Qaiser’s (Yasir Hussain) favor. A loyal servant of the Pir Shah Alam family and the newly appointed Badshah Begum’s “right hand (wo)man,” Gulnaaz is horrified after she begs Hakim Bi (Saman Ansari) for help when Murad (Abul Hassan) corners her – and Hakim Bi closes the door, throwing Gulnaaz to the wolves essentially. This is a scene that is highly uncomfortable to watch, a scene that highlights how Hakim Bi and Murad (and potentially the entire Pir Shah Alam family) view their “subjects”……at their mercy and easily dispensable. Gulnaaz and her fiancé Tara (Kasim Khan) have now joined hands with Qaiser against the “ruling” family. Will Gulnaaz now betray Jahan Ara, the woman who saved her from a horrible fate, in order to avenge her own mistreatment?
While we may sympathize with Jahan Ara and understand her actions, it’s difficult to not root for Gulnaaz after what she has endured – and yet, haven’t we seen that Qaiser, a man who murdered his own wife, his child and his child’s caretaker, is capable of so much worse? This is what makes “Badshah Begum” such a captivating watch. It’s very difficult to decide who to root for, because the relationships are deeply interwoven and connected and while one set of characters may be right in their own way, they are wrong in another. All the performances have been excellent, along with a tight script and excellent direction. There is little to criticize in this show at this point. This is simply a show all Pakistani drama fans should be watching.