“Badzaat” is a Pakistani drama that airs on Geo every Wednesday and Thursday. Starring Imran Ashraf and Urwa Hocane, a hit pairing after their much-praised “Mushk,” this drama also stars Ali Abbas, Mehmood Aslam, Saba Faisal, Nida Mumtaz, Zainab Qayyum, Sidra Niazi, Zoya Nasir, Sajida Syed, Danial Afzal Khan and Zohreh Amir in prominent roles. The story has been written by Misbah Nosheen and directed by Siraj Ul Haq. After the first episode, many viewers (myself included) felt as though the story was heading down a path of depicting a highly toxic love story, not sure what to expect from Imran Ashraf and Urwa Hocane, who usually pick their shows carefully. However, now with eight episodes down, the audience is able to get an understanding of the path and how to perceive it.
Quite honestly, “Badzaat” is the Pakistani equivalent of a Star Plus drama. There are toxic characters who also have a fair amount of good in them. Our male lead, Wali (Imran Ashraf) recognizes that Anabiya (Urwa Hocane) is scared of him and this has, oddly, caused him to fall in love with her. He shows his love by bullying her and forcing her to do chores for him. It’s all very odd and unpalatable at first, but as the show progresses, we begin to see Wali’s “soft” side. And while one could certainly grapple with their own sense of morality and question whether it’s appropriate to root for a romance like this, Wali proves himself every bit the dignified man when the time comes to do so.
When Daniyal (Ali Abbas) harasses Anabiya, Wali is the one who witnesses the exchange and protects Anabiya from a predator. Daniyal is a man who is already engaged to Huda (Zohreh Amir) and professes to love her, but also wants to have a “side chick” in the form of Anabiya. Wali does not have a strong opinion of women due to his own mother’s abandonment and his sister’s profession, which leads us to believe he will also suspect Anabiya’s intentions. However, he surprises viewers when he immediately defends Anabiya, proving his trust in her and her character and, amidst the family chaos, offers to marry Anabiya himself.
Unfortunately, things do not go his way and the family marries Anabiya to Daniyal by force, leaving Anabiya in a state of shock, disgraced, while Wali is left heartbroken. What’s horribly irritating about this is that Mehrunissa (Zainab Qayyum) immediately begins shrieking about her daughter’s izzat and who will marry her when Wali arrived well in time, Daniyal only having time to hold Anabiya’s hand. Was there really any need for all this drama and commotion? And now that the family has forced the two to marry, why are Daniyal’s parents acting as though it’s Anabiya’s fault when she does not even want to be with Daniyal? And why would she, considering he is her harasser who was engaged to Huda?
The show isn’t particularly logical and it’s melodramatic. However, it has that over-the-top feel with a root-worthy romance that is often missing from our screens (which is why many Pakistanis tune in to Star Plus dramas), so it’s nice to see such a romance on Pakistani television as well. Imran Ashraf and Urwa Hocane look very sweet together, once again, and share great chemistry. Imran Ashraf is every bit that swoon-worthy hero here and is sure to win hearts as Wali. This is one of those shows that viewers will need to suspend their sense of logic and simply lay back and enjoy the “drama” (pun intended).