While “Badshah Begum” may not be raking in the high viewership it deserves, this is quality Pakistani television at its finest. With a fabulous cast, complicated characters and an action-packed, emotionally-charged storyline, “Badshah Begum” makes for a gripping watch. Starring Farhan Saeed, Zara Noor Abbas, Ali Rehman Khan, Hamza Sohail, Komal Meer, Abul Hassan, Saman Ansari, Shahzad Nawaz and others, the story has been written by Saji Gul and directed by Khizer Idrees. In episode 20, the story takes yet another turn, leaving the audience wondering where the narrative will go from this point on.
In episode 20, Gulnar (Hiba Aziz) and Tara (Kasim Khan) have become pawns in the battle between the Pir family. While Shahzaib (Farhan Saeed) is holding Tara and Gulnar for safety in order to remove Shahmeer (Hamza Sohail) from the “gaddi,” Jahan Aara (Zara Noor Abbas) is set on destroying the two in order to restore Shahmeer’s reputation. It all comes to a crossroads when Murad (Abul Hassan) is recruited by Jahan Aara to murder Tara – as if Murad hasn’t done enough to hurt Gulnar and Tara. For all the talk of doing “good” and bringing change to Peeran Pur, Jahan Ara has become exactly what her predecessors have been – ruthless, murderous and willing to do anything to protect the family….specifically her own inner circle. And while she ultimately does realize the path she’s headed down, it’s too late. Zara Noor Abbas gives her career-best performance in this episode as she fights a battle within herself – and loses.
There’s a brilliant, heated, charged scene between Tara, Murad, Shahzaib and Jahan Aara where Tara, sadly, winds up dead. The way this scene has been executed can be described as nothing short of brilliant, though it’s always clear Tara will be the loser in this scenario. The weak are always abused by those in positions of power and Tara succumbs to Murad’s cruelty once again, this time in death. The following sequence between Jahan Aara, Shahzaib and Gulnar is equally as impressive with Hiba Aziz, who has been impressing more with each episode, taking the reigns as Gulnar grieves the loss of her beloved Tara and reels at Shahzaib and Jahan Aara’s betrayal.
As the episode winds up, Gulnar clears Shahmir’s name, leaving her fate in the hands of God and resigning herself to death. Both Hiba Aziz and Kasim Khan deserve a round of applause for their portrayal of Gulnar and Tara, two characters who have been so pivotal in moving the plot forward and two characters who have suffered at the hands of the Pir family. This episode is fairly flawless with strong performances all around. If there’s a flaw, it’s that the story between Shahzaib and Zulekha (Tanya Hussain) is moving at a snail’s pace. It would have been nice to see at least one moment with these two characters, considering they are now living under one roof – if not as husband and wife. Overall, Saji Gul’s writing and Khizer Idrees’ direction have not faltered, making “Badshah Begum” a riveting piece of entertainment.