“Fraud” stars Saba Qamar with two of her most popular co-stars, Ahsan Khan and Mikaal Zulfiqar, along with Asma Abbasi, Adnan Samad Khan, Nida Mumtaz, Mehmood Aslam, Annie Zaidi, Saife Hasan and others. Written by Zanjabeel Asim and directed by Saqib Khan, “Fraud” follows the life of Maya (Saba Qamar) after she is married to con-artist Tabrez (Ahsan Khan) and then abandoned, Tabrez taking all of Maya’s jewelry and valuables with him. Up until now, it has been a slow, though steady and nicely paced, climb to Maya regaining emotional stability. But with episode 16, the show takes strides towards finally joining Shaan (Mikaal Zulfiqar) and Maya’s stories together.
Episode 16 begins with the happiness of wedding festivities. Generally speaking, wedding night sequences are really awkward, not only for the actors, but also for viewers to watch. It’s difficult to create a romantic mood when actors are obviously unable to touch each other and are forced to spout romantic dialogues while behaving so formally. This is why Talaal (Alee Hassan Shah) and Maila’s (Rabya Kulsoom) wedding night sequence is so refreshingly different. Talaal and Maila have known each other since childhood, have been speaking to each other as supportive partners on the phone for weeks leading up to their wedding and share not only a love for one another, but also a comfort level that partners do share. It’s great to see that translate on-screen for these characters as they joke and share friendly banter in a relaxed manner. Of course, credit for this goes to the actors for their comfortable chemistry. Maila and Talaal are a great couple and the audience wants to continue seeing more of them – happily married, of course.
Meanwhile, Nisar (Mehmood Aslam) is now retired and in need of a good job, which requires the family to move. While initially upset, Nisar, Shehnaz (Nida Mumtaz) and Maya decide to take the new opportunity as a fresh start. Of course, we can see exactly where this move will be taking Maya – will she now wind up working for Shaan (Mikaal Zulfiqar)? Of course, Shaan is dealing with his own hassles. Newly in love with Maria, who has not only won over Shaan but also his daughter, Shaan shares his newfound happiness with this ex-wife…..who scoffs at his declaration, mentally thinking about the trauma his sister and mother will inflict on his new wife. However, Shaan’s happiness is short-lived when he overhears Maria and her father discussing their plan to hook Shaan and send his daughter to boarding school after marriage. It’s sad to see Shaan heartbroken, but this scene really puts into perspective why Shaan’s life is in its present state. Shaan is simply too gullible and trusting in regards to relationships – and that trust has allowed his family to destroy his happiness. This sets the stage for Maya’s entry into Shaan’s life…..but how will it play out?
Of course, the most interesting aspect of this episode is Tabrez (Ahsan Khan), who is on the prowl once again, this time as a solo player. Ahsan Khan is so funny in this episode, his Punjabi quips leaving the viewer in splits. His comic timing is in full form as Tabrez attempts to con his latest victim, this time deciding to trap a rich girl and truly settle down. Tabrez is also now using his real name, Shujaat, moving forward – and traps none other than Shaan’s sister. The courtship period looks a bit forced and once has to wonder why Shaan’s sister falls for Shujaat at all, but the sequences are so entertaining that we throw those thoughts out the window.
Ahsan Khan deserves applause for his performance this week. He is so funny as Shujaat and this role is really giving him room to perform (though we’ve always known he’s a great performer). It will be interesting to see how Maya enters Shaan’s life – and how her path crosses with Shujaat, the man who destroyed her life. “Fraud” is genuinely a quality show.