“Badshah Begum” is a show that follows a family with a lot of power (an understatement), a family that rules Peeran Pur and is at constant odds over who will sit on the “gaddi,” the throne of power. Starring a number of talented actors, including Farhan Saeed, Zara Noor Abbas, Ali Rehman Khan, Komal Meer, Yasir Hussain, Saman Ansari, Abdul Hassan, Hamza Sohail, Shahzad Nawaz and many others in important roles, the story has been written by Saji Gul and directed by Khizer Idrees. While “Badshah Begum” isn’t necessarily fast-paced, each episode promises a dose in drama, character development and a shock or two.
In episode 15, much of the episode revolves around Jahan Ara (Zara Noor Abbas). Up until now, surrounded by maniacal family members with deceit, betrayal and even murder on their minds, Jahan Ara has appeared to be a lamb lost in the woods. However, with episode 15, we have begun to realize that Jahan Ara has simply been a wolf in the disguise of a lamb. Has Jahan Ara always been this ruthless and cunning and did Roshan Ara (Komal Meer) have her pegged all along? Or has the throne suddenly changed her as she has grown more and more frustrated with the burden placed on her shoulders. Either way, this is not the Jahan Ara we met in the initial first episodes. Jahan Ara is now caught between being angry (and abusively so) at Gulnar (Hiba Aziz) and protecting her from Murad (Abul Hassan). Jahan Ara is slowly evolving into the very image of Badshah Begum, though not (yet) at the murderous level of her predecessor. But how far off is she? Her anger towards Roshan Ara (Komal Meer) and Bakhtiyar (Ali Rehman Khan) has reached a new level of frustration. With the family back in the city, Bakhtiyar is using Roshan Ara as a means to make Jahan Ara jealous, while Roshan Ara is doing everything in her power to make him “hers.” Roshan Ara is an instable sort of character who appears to chase after whatever Jahan Ara wants. Jahan Ara is now at a breaking point where she’s seen keeping Roshan under house arrest before gagging her, dumping her in the car trunk and eventually keeping her tied up in a room in Peeran Pur. This casts a different light on Jahan Ara’s ways, which only delves into further darkness as the episode moves forward.
Now back in Peeran Pur, making it right in time before Qaisar (Yasir Hussain) exposes her for being missing in action, Jahan Ara continues to wreak havoc by calling Shahmir (Hamza Sohail) back to Peeran Pur under the false pretense of Pir Shah Alam (Shahzad Nawaz) having a heart attack. Now back in the village, Shahmir not only stumbles across his tied up younger sister, but also realizes that he is also now a hostage. Shahmir is now being forced to marry the woman Shahzaib (Farhan Saeed) wants to marry, which will move towards further animosity between the two brothers. And at the center of all this is Jahan Ara, who has taken up her role as Badshah Begum as the authoritative figure she was meant to be – not what was planned between herself and Shahmir.
Zara Noor Abbas is the star of this episode. While her performance was initially very subtle and Jahan Ara felt like a more “boring” character, she has easily become the best, most complex, most interesting character. This aligns Jahan Ara with the rest of her unstable family rather well and shows that she is just a chip off the old block. As viewers, we continue to sympathize with Shahzaib, despite recognizing that he isn’t much better than his family. However, he has been so horribly neglected by Pir Shah Alam that his neglect is reason enough to root for him – and Farhan Saeed is doing a great job. One thing is for sure – this crazy world of “Badshah Begum” continues to get just a little crazier each week and this is high praise.