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 unique story following a family in Peeran Pur with each family member fighting to gain control over the “kursi,” their version of a throne. This story takes family politics to a new level with murder even coming into play and is refreshingly different from everything else on television with great acting, high production values and a gripping screenplay.
There are three key moments in this week’s episode of “Badshah Begum.” First, there’s a moment between Badshah Begum (Saman Ansari) and Jahan Ara (Zara Noor Abbas) where a lot is spoken in tense, abrupt words – but the message is clear. Badshah Begum had this role thrust upon her when Pir Shah Alam abandoned his role and while many may think this is a powerful position that many are vying for…..are they? Are the females really vying for this role? This is something Badshah Begum hints at partly with her words and partly with her silence. This is a position where a woman is not allowed to marry ever. This is a role that demands “purity” and, in turn, a lifetime of loneliness. While Badshah Begum seems horribly strict and has obviously done horrible things (beat a pregnant woman for one), this is a rare moment of softness (if you can call it that) where it almost seems as though she’s trying to protect Jahan Ara from her own fate.
Meanwhile, Jahan Ara is an interesting character in herself. She is so horrified by Bakhtiyar’s (Ali Rehman Khan) presence and is constantly seen trying to chase him off. She is seen fighting with Roshan Ara (Komal Meer) over the topic with Roshan Ara horribly upset over Bakhtiyar’s rejection. Will Roshan Ara really take this rejection sitting down? That’s not clear, but it’s also not clear how Jahan Ara feels about this whole situation. She is so adamant on becoming Badshah Begum and doing right by her father, but in the last moments of the episode, we can see that she does, in fact, love Bakhtiyar. So what is the endgame here? Or, if we are to assume Jahan Ara is anything like her crazy family (which she may be), then is she possibly using Bakhtiyar as a pawn?
Sakina is a character used to highlight the brutality innocent villagers face in Peeran Pur while the ruling family is embroiled in their power politics. The tragedy faced by this character is heavy, but the significance of her suffering is important to show exactly how desensitized the “kursi” has made the family towards those they are supposed to be helping through their “rule.” Kaisar (Yasir Hussain) is a greedy, selfish, ruthless-minded individual who has his eyes on the prize – being in a position of power once again, a power that was “stolen” from his father. In this desire, he has been celebrating the birth of a daughter, heartless towards the plight of others, even running over and murdering Sakina’s own son, the woman caring for his own daughter. There isn’t any excuse for this murder but the sheer indifference for the value of human life. Not even allowing her a moment to mourn, he immediately drags Sakina away to continue her duties…..something which deeply registers a desire for revenge in Sakina. In the process, she fills Shahzaib (Farhan Saeed) in on a secret – Kaisar’s daughter is actually an “eunuch.”
After recognizing Sakina’s betrayal, Kaisar not only murders his own child, a child Sakina was deeply committed to, but also buries Sakina alive alongside the child. From burying her own child to losing a child in her care to being buried alive at the hands of her employer, Sakina represents absolutely everything wrong with life in Peeran Pur and just how deranged this family has become in their fight for power….a power that is supposed to help the people they rule, but has done nothing but hurt them.This is also seen in Murad (Abul Hassan), as he is seen harassing the young women who work in the haveli. These girls have little room to deny or reject Murad, ultimately succumbing to his desires/attacks. We can see just how helpless they are and are unable to escape this horrific situation.
Shahzaib (Farhan Saeed) finds himself severely trampled upon when Pir Shah Alam, his own father, announces in a huge gathering in front of the entire village that his position will now permanently be filled by Shahmir (Hamza Sohail). Shahzaib has been single-handedly running things since a young age and understands the needs and demands of the role – something Shahmir is not only poorly equipped for, but also does not want have any desire for. Shahmir wants to resume his life in the city and Pir Shah Alam is proving himself to be quite the disaster of a father. This is not only for Murad and Shahzaib, who he abandoned at a young age, but also for the children he raised and claims to love so much. It’s eye-opening to see what this family does in the name of honor and culture and, adding to this, how much pride, ego and a desire for revenge Pir Shah Alam holds within him, even towards his own children.
Honestly, there’s something magical about “Badshah Begum” in how sinister it is. The cinematography is beautiful with visually appealing sets and beautiful scenery, but it’s coupled with harrowing scenarios and brutality that scares the viewer. The instability and unpredictability of life in Peeran Pur is unnerving and if one imagines living under these circumstances, it almost feels like a horror show. It has been a long time since we’ve seen a show of this nature on our television screens and it’s applause-worthy. It’s another thing that we are so early on in the show that there’s no telling how the story will unfold in later episodes. However, at the present moment, this is a must-watch!