Often there are Pakistani dramas which arrive with much promise, but fizzle out due to weak storylines. In 2021, we’ve seen several such shows with wonderful actors and potentially strong storylines that have lost the plot somehow. While some remain high on viewership and would be considered “successes,” here’s a list of shows that have fallen from grace in terms of content.
“Qayamat” has been written by Sarwat Nazir and directed by Ali Faizan and stars Neelam Muneer, Ahsan Khan, Amar Khan and Haroon Shahid in lead roles. While “Qayamat” initially began as the story of two sisters going through turmoil when one, Samra (Amar Khan) winds up married to an emotionally and physically abusive husband, Rashid (Ahsan Khan), the story has moved leaps and bounds from there since then – and not in a pleasant way. While after Samra’s death, Ifrah (Neelam Khan) steps in to care for her daughter by marrying Rashid, viewers did not expect Ifrah to fall for Rashid, her sister’s abuser/killer. The show has re-written Rashid to white-wash his crimes, making him more palatable for viewers to see him with Ifrah. Unfortunately at present, the story seems geared to continue for easily another 20 episodes with new, uninteresting, unnecessary storylines taking root.
Safar Tamam Hua
“Safar Tamam Hua” has been written by Rahat Jabeen and directed by Shehrazade Shekh. When one sees big names like Madiha Imam, Ali Rehman Khan, Syed Jibran, Samina Ahmed and so forth, there’s a level of quality expected from a show. Add to that the brilliant, soft, meaningful OST and one feels the show screams surefire hit. Mind you, “Safar Tamam Hua” is not a lost cause just yet – there may still be hope for it in the long run (possibly). However, at present, the characters are so illogical, so nonsensical and one cannot even seem to grasp what these characters are truly about. Anoushay (Madiha Imam) is thoroughly unlikable as a lead character and yet, shouldn’t we feel for her circumstances? Jalal (Syed Jibran) makes the skin crawl, but he’s one of three lead characters. Why do we hate him? Nabeel (Haaris Waheed) has essentially committed a crime (presumably), but what is the logic behind his act when he’s been presented as a loving, protective, kind individual until now? In this entire show, Sami (Ali Rehman Khan) is the only mildly redeemable character – and so, what’s the point of a show when there isn’t anyone (other than one character) to root for? Will things change moving forward? It’s difficult to say, but the show has already reached a halfway point, so it may be too much to hope for.
There’s something to be said about a brilliant OST in that it can keep viewers coming back to watch an otherwise substandard show and this certainly rings true for “Fitoor.” “Fitoor” is a show that comes with not only an impressive cast, but also an impressive writer-director team, the show being written by Zanjabeel Asim and directed by Siraj Ul Haq. And yet, this talented crew has managed to deliver a successful, hit show, but has been unable to produce anything of quality. “Fitoor” did manage to start off as an interesting story, the premise of a young woman Dilnasheen (Hiba Bukhari) ripped apart from her love, Hamza (Wahaj Ali), and forced to marry the older Haider (Faysal Qureshi), a man still pining over his own lost love, Mehmal (Kiran Haq). What sounded promising on paper has turned into a colossal mess with each and every character being unlikable and unrelatable. These characters are all selfish, self-absorbed and their actions are simply illogical. For example, an independent, self-sufficient woman like Mehmal is seen comfortable and protected in her husband’s home alone while he’s out with other woman – but she’s seen having a panic attack, scared to be alone suddenly after Haider drops her off in a safe, secure hotel room. Bizarre scenarios like this is what makes “Fitoor” a show that may be hitting the right notes in terms of TRPs, but it has lost the attention of those attracted to quality content.
“Phaans” is a show that promised something exciting and seemed to have a very different story – and for the most part, it does. Unfortunately, the way the story, written by Samina Ejaz and directed by Syed Ahmed Kamran, has unfolded is less than intriguing. It’s understandable that the team wants to maintain the mystery factor and that’s fine, but the mystery has turned into a joke and more time is spent on Zeba’s (Zara Noor Abbas) irritating sister and her love affair with Zeba’s fiancé. The screen time is divided in absurd ways and one wonders what this brilliant cast, including Sami Khan, Zara Noor Abbas, Yashma Gill, Shehzad Sheikh, Arjumand Rahim and several others are even doing in this show. Again, like “Safar Tamam Hua,” this one still has room to redeem itself, but that path needs to be taken soon.
Last, but definitely not least, “Qarar” is the best example of how a great star cast can sink when the story is so atrociously written. Starring Sanam Jung, Rabab Hashim, Muneeb Butt and Mekaal Zulfiqar in lead roles, this drama has been written by Aaliya Bukhari and directed by Barkat Siddiqui. This show focuses on two cousins who marry into the same household with one, played by Sanam Jung, consistently trying to “destroy” her kinder, more “innocent” (read: completely dim and self sabotaging) cousin. It’s a shame, because Muneeb Butt and Rabab Hashim have great chemistry, but it’s wasted in this pitiful show.
These are the shows that have failed to make a mark or hold interest (for me personally). Which others have been missed?