Produced by Humayun Saeed and Shahzad Nasib, “Benaam” is the latest launch on ARY Digital. Airing daily, “Benaam” has been written by Tahir Nazir and Seema Sheikh and directed by Ali Masood Syed. The drama stars Noor Hassan, Komal Meer, Anoushay Abbasi, Saad Qureshi, Waseem Abbas, Shazeal Shoukat, Babar Ali, Nadia Hussain, Imran Aslam, Humera Bano and others in prominent roles.
In episode one, we are introduced to Aiza (Komal Meer) and Aimal (Anoushay Abbasi), two sisters who live with their father (Waseem Abbas). The girls share a warm, loving relationship with their father, but he works hard to support the girls and make ends meet. While he has high dreams of his girls being educated and changing their circumstances, the girls are unable to even pay their University fees in order to take their exams. Thrown out during their exams, the girls are seen struggling to come up with the money – adding to this is their father’s deteriorating health. This story is upsetting, as education is so important and it’s horrifying to watch a (terrible actress) teacher throw her students out so cruelly without even understanding their circumstances. As an educator myself, I will refrain from making this a commentary on the education system, but this scenario simply should not have taken place.
On the other side of the city, we are introduced to Laiba (Shazeal Shoukat), who is engaged to her cousin Haider (Noor Hassan). From the get-go, it’s clear that Haider and Laiba are from two entirely different mindsets. Laiba is spoiled, selfish and fickle while Haider is hard-working, career oriented and a responsible young man who expects to be respected by his partner. Laiba is a ridiculous young girl who believes her birthday is a day where life should revolve around her an is unable to understand that Haider has other priorities – like interviewing for a job and being unable to answer her phone call. In the middle of her birthday party, Laiba slaps and misbehaves with the house help, which leads futher to Lailba shoving Haider. As Haider leaves in anger, it appears the cracks in their relationship are already forming. The character of Laiba is already irritating and loud, screaming “my foot” at least six times within one episode. Also, is it necessary for Nadia Hussain to play the manipulative mother/stepmother in every show? She just played this exact same role in “Yun Tu Hai Pyar Bohut.”
The connection between the two stories is Imran Aslam’s character, Laiba’s mamoon of bad character who is also Aiza and Aimal’s landlord. How the girls end up under the same roof as Laiba and her family is predictable enough, but will be entertaining to watch. Komal Meer is beautiful and she has been working her way up into more prominent roles – and has been making her mark. Her performance is natural and believable, as is Anoushay Abbasi’s, who is always a dependable actress. Noor Hassan is an actor that does not get as much work as he deserves, so it’s always a treat to see him in a prominent drama. It’s also great to see Saad Qureshi in a positive role, something which doesn’t happen too often, and he’s another underrated actor. Overall, the first episode of “Benaam” has taken off on an interesting note. The storyline isn’t earth shattering, but it’s intriguing enough and the presentation is fresh, vibrant and eye-catching with a strong cast. This has potential.