Pakistan has seen its share of supernatural shows, sprinkled with flickering lights, buried dolls, conspiring negative-minded women, evil spirit-men and a large dash of black magic. But what sets “Chalawa” apart is not only the storyline, which seems to focus directly on jinns and the supernatural folklore we’ve all heard growing up, but also the fact that it actually has a storyline that leaves the viewer curious (and confused) at the end of each episode. “Chalawa” has been written by Shahid Nizami and directed by Najaf Bilgrami and stars Naveen Waqar, Adnan Jaffar, Naveed Raza, Samina Ahmed and others in prominent roles. Noor Khan and Ali Ansari also play major roles, though they have yet to appear on the show itself.
In episode 7, Mahnoor (Naveen Waqar) is now terrified of what’s happening to her daughter. With Khala (Samina Ahmed) now in the hospital, injured by Savera’s invisible friend, Mahnoor is on edge and has reached out to Professor Hamdani (Adnan Jafar) for help. Much of the episode focuses on Professor Hamdani’s visit to Mahnoor’s house with his associates. Savera is now cooperating, hoping to help the professor discover the secret behind the chalawa’s presence. However, things are not what they seem and it’s clear Professor Hamdani is a very complicated character. Is Gulkand really the negative character Hamdani is painting him to be? Or is Gulkand trying to help Mahnoor and protect her family from Hamdani’s negative intentions? And how exactly does Aamir fit in? Khala states that Aamir also dealt with spirits and always had “something” following him – did Aamir’s actions bring this “chalawa” upon his own family? At the end of the episode, we see that Savera has been, essentially, possessed and the chalawa declares that Hamdani is the one who sent him after Savera, adding to the theory that Hamdani himself is a negative presence – but what is his endgame exactly? The performances of Adnan Jafar, the little boy (the chalawa) and little Savera really stand out and these three actors are really making an impact.
Is everything about “Chalawa” perfect? Of course not, so let’s take a moment to discuss the negatives. Dialogues like “Chhal kar gaya chalawa” manage to grate on the nerves with the number of times the audience is forced to hear it. We understand, we get it, this spirit is a “chalawa.” These dialogues aren’t particularly good to begin with, but they also come out of nowhere and don’t really make sense in the moment. Also the scenes between Professor Hamdani (Adnan Jafar) and the little boy (the “chalawa”) are very confusing – and while they’re interesting, they definitely fall more on the side of confusing.
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And yet, this still manages to work in the show’s favor. Confusing? Sure, but at the end of the day, the viewer is more likely to reach out to other fans to discuss the show, which is a plus in itself. The storyline of “Chalawa” is one that keeps the audience on their toes, keeps them spooked and still manages to tell a story that offers much more than just jump-scares and creepy figures lurking in the distance. If you’re searching for something different than the usual, something that has a strong story with great performances, “Chalawa” is definitely a show to consider – just watch it with the lights on!