After the success of “Parizaad,” many were left wondering what show would be taking that slot, a drama that would have big boots to fill. Fortunately, the promos of “Badshah Begum” immediately intrigued viewers with what appeared to be a star-studded high-voltage drama focusing on power plays between family members. Starring Zara Noor Abbas, Ali Rehman Khan, Komal Meer, Farhan Saeed, Yasir Hussain, Hamza Sohail and many others, the story has been written by Saji Gul and directed by Khizer Idrees. With high expectations, this is a drama that has taken off with much promise.
In episode one, we are introduced to two sisters, Jahan Ara (Zara Noor Abbas) and Roshan Ara (Komal Meer), the daughters of Pir Shah Alam, a feudal lord who has given his children a city upbringing to keep them away from his life back home. Roshan Ara is headstrong, arrogant and controlling while Jahan Ara is simple and steers clear of trouble – particularly with her younger sister. Unfortunately, Bakhtiyar (Ali Rehman Khan), the object of Roshan Ara’s affection, is interested in Jahan Ara and this is already a growing problem between the two girls.
Meanwhile, back in Peeran Pur, Shahzaib (Farhan Saeed) is running things as a fill-in for Pir Shah Alam. Shahzaib and Murad (who has psychopathic tendencies) are Pir Shah Alam’s sons from a different wife, the woman who currently fills the “Badshah Begum” role. This is a city that gives preference to women, as Badshah Begum holds control and makes important decisions. There’s a horrifying scene where Badshah Begum breaks the feet of a young, expectant mother, because she stepped into the room without knowing if she’s having a boy or a girl. This is taking modesty and gender segregation to a different level, taking the viewer by surprise….and yet, this explains Murad’s behavior as well, as he has grown up seeing abuse and abuse of power. Meanwhile, Khizer (Yasir Hussain) and Shahzaib are fighting for Pir Shah Alam’s vacant seat (though Khizer’s relation isn’t exactly clear just yet – a cousin?). Shahzaib expresses an interest in marrying Zulekha, but is blocked by Badshah Begum, something which has already become an issue between the two. Both Yasir Hussain and Farhan Saeed make a strong impression in the first episode, particularly Yasir Hussain with his appearance fitting the part.
The show appears to fall in the genre of Pakistani dramas like “Ullu Baraye Farokht Nahin” where internal family politics and the quest for power will be the central focus. So far, this a show that’s off to a brilliant start with a story that’s immediately gripping. If there’s any complaint, it’s that Ali Rehman Khan is a bit miscast as a college student – but with his acting skills, this may be something that can be overlooked. “Badshah Begum” also boasts of a wonderful OST that is sure to become a hit over upcoming weeks. This is a show to look out for!