It’s disheartening to see a show like “Badshah Begum” being declared unsuccessful by critics, viewers and even the team behind it. If there is any project on-air right now that has been almost pitch-perfect from start to now, it is “Badshah Begum.” Of course, it’s a matter of perception, but as far as solid writing goes, “Badshah Begum” has not put a toe out of line – with the exception of a flaw or two (which we will delve into later). One has to hope that while it may not be a success at present, “Badshah Begum” will go on to be remembered as a classic, because this is the stature it deserves. 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.
Episode 22 is not a perfect episode, many scenes focusing on Bakhtiyar (Ali Rehman Khan) and his mother (Uzma Beg). Talking about flaws earlier, let’s get that discussion out of the way. The flaws are the scenes with Bakhtiyar, his mother and Roshan Ara (Komal Meer), which stick out like a sore thumb. While Bakhtiyar’s mother has suddenly decided to “highlight” the plight of those in Peeran Pur, she’s doing so behind Bakhtiyar’s back. The scenes are almost comical, because she’s acting as though she can hide her actions – and even trying to rope Roshan Ara into her plan by telling her she’ll get Bakhtiyar married to her….another aspect which simply doesn’t make any sense. With such strict rules in Peeran Pur, why is Jahan Ara’s “Mureed” working at an NGO in the city, roaming around like a free man, able to make his own decisions of his own free will without consequences? What was the point of that ceremony then? Likewise with Roshan Ara, who has heard about being the respect of the family as Peeran Pur’s daughter – and yet, she’s living in the city alone, unattended, unsupervised and doing exactly as she pleases. Why? How? It simply doesn’t make sense and takes away from the brilliance of the rest of the show.
Back in Peeran Pur, Shahmir (Hamza Sohail) has married Gulnar (Hiba Aziz) and while she recognizes his goodness, she also mistrusts the entire Pir family. However, it will be nice to see Shahmir and Gulnar’s relationship grow, as both are inherently kind, good people. While Hiba and Hamza stole the show in the previous episode, their scenes are limited in episode 22. However, this gives an unlikely character his moment to shine – Kaiser (Yasir Hussain). While the family struggles to come up with a plan to restore the “gaddi” to a respectful place after Gulnar and Shahmir’s wedding, they decide to have Kaiser and Roshan Aara married to form an alliance. Unfortunately, they underestimate Kaiser, his cunningness and his awareness as to how desperate they are. Jahan Ara (Zara Noor Abbas) may hold power, but her position is weakened – and so, when called, Kaiser not only shamelessly demands to see Jahan Ara’s face, but also makes an interesting proposition. He states that he will not marry Roshan Ara, rather Jahan Ara while Roshan Ara should be made Badshah Begum. And while this leaves the family fuming, particularly Pir Shah Alam……will Jahan Ara (foolishly) agree? Anyone watching would say that this would be a ridiculous thing to agree to, especially considering the weakened “gaddi” and how replacing Badshah Begum would only further the lunacy of the situation in the eyes of their subjects.
Zara Noor Abbas is truly growing as an actress with this role. This is a character who is always at odds with herself. There’s the woman she believes she is, a woman who is “good” on one end and the woman she’s turning into on the other, a woman who will do anything to protect her family – even if that means doing as her ancestors have done before her, the same actions which labeled her family barbaric. And of course, then there’s Yasir Hussain who has had limited screen time since the initial episodes, but has now slowly made his return to the narrative. Kaiser is a character viewers love to hate and it’s Yasir Hussain’s performance which makes him so interesting. He’s a horrible human being, but there’s an almost comical demeanor in the way Yasir enacts the role, making Kaiser both menacing and light-hearted at the same time. This is Yasir Hussain’s moment to shine and shine he does, stealing the show in as little as 1-2 scenes per episode.
Farhan Saeed’s performance as Shahzaib is only getting better with each episode. Shahzaib may seem like an easy character to play on the surface, but it’s Farhan’s performance that has brought out all of Shahzaib’s complexes to the surface. Shahzaib is a product of his environment, raised without parents in a land of lawlessness and betrayal – and without love. And while Zulekha (Tanya Hussain) certainly got the short end of the stick in terms of husbands, one has to wonder what Shahzaib would have been like had he been raised in the same circumstances as Shahmir? Wouldn’t Shahzaib also been a “good” man? Instead, Shahzaib has been raised by Hakim Bi (Saman Ansari)…..at a distance and with an air of duty rather than affection. Shahzaib and Zulekha have only one scene together in this episode, but it’s a scene that stays with the viewer. Farhan and Tanya share a great working chemistry on-screen and while this marriage is toxic (at best), Zulekha refuses to bow down to Shahzaib and fights him tooth and nail. This is why the Zulekha-Shahzaib relationship is so interesting, because she will not allow herself to be his victim.
While Shahzaib has shown himself to be every bit as callous as his family and has turned a blind eye to Murad’s misdeeds, will Murad’s behavior towards Zulekha finally be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? It’s hypocrisy at it’s best – Murad can be left to reign terror on women “less than” while still retaining the affection of Shahzaib (and Pir Shah Alam), but with the women of the household in his line of fire, is this where the line is drawn? Will Kaiser and Jahan Ara be married? And if so, how will this effect the family dynamic? Overall, “Badshah Begum” continues to be a winner – if not with TRPs then with strong content!