“Badshah Begum” can’t be described as “action packed,” but it can certainly be called eventful. The growth each character shows from episode to episode is impressive, the transformations surprising viewers and leaving us wondering what to expect next. 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. “Badshah Begum” only improves with each episode and deserves more applause than what it’s receiving.
In episode 17, Shahmir (Hamza Sohail) has returned by choice, now willing to marry the woman of his father’s choosing – and the woman Shahzaib (Farhan Saeed) has always had his eyes on, Zulekha (Tanya Hussain). His return, however, causes more drama when he arrives with Bakhtiyar (Ali Rehman Khan) and his mother (Uzma Beg). This, of course, causes more friction between the two sisters. And while Shahmir appears to give in to the idea of marriage, it almost appears as though he has something up his sleeve. Is Shahmir really ready to give up his life (and love) for the “gaddi”? Meanwhile, Murad (Abul Hassan) kidnaps Tara and threatens Gulnar’s (Hiba Aziz) life. What will be the outcome of this family tussle for the general population and innocent civilians?
While Jahan Ara initially felt like the show’s more “dull” facet, she has slowly morphed into the most intriguing part of the story. She is a character who is difficult to read and difficult to trust. Is she “good”? Is she “bad”? Or is she somewhere in between, an odd shade of grey, while her morals and values slowly wash away, being replaced by the morals and values held by those who have always ruled Peeran Pur? In her moments with Roshan Ara (Komal Meer), she tethers between her show of love and concern while also stoic, intimidating and even threatens Roshan Ara’s life, warning her what her pursuit of Bakhtiyar will bring. Later, she is hot and cold when interacting with Bakhtiyar’s mother and then, later, Bakhtiyar himself. While initially cold with his mother, she gives in when she sees the woman crying for Bakhtiyar’s life. Later, she puts her walls down, compassionate and vulnerable with Bakhtiyar, explaining her helplessness and reasons for not being with him. It’s here where it begins to feel like Jahan Ara is playing a game, her vulnerability taking viewers by surprise and leaving us wondering if she has always been this cunning.
“Badshah Begum” excels week after week. There isn’t a dull moment and the 40 minute episodes seem to end quicker than expected. This is a great lesson for drama writers to not only invest in unique concepts, but also how to keep direction and storytelling slick and gripping.