Saba Qamar, Ahsan Khan and Mikaal Zulfiqar headline “Fraud,” a story about deception and second chances in life. They are supported by Mehmood Aslam, Nida Mumtaz, Asma Abbas, Annie Zaidi, Saife Hassan and others. “Fraud” has been written by Zanjabeel Asim Shah and directed by Saqib Khan.
The pacing of “Fraud” is its strength. It has taken its time not only introducing its characters, but also making each one a well-etched character with their flaws, insecurities and weaknesses. At this point in time, each character is progressing in life in a way that feels realistic. While Shujat (Ahsan Khan) fell into a life of crime, he did it due to his family’s circumstances, always wanting something better for him – and a shortcut to get there. While Tabrez is not a good guy in any way and there isn’t a way to redeem him after all the lives he has destroyed, it’s always great when human beings are presented as grey characters rather than black and white. Shujat may be a man with a hardened heart, cruel to women, but he still holds love and regard for his own immediate family and wants to better their lives. Ahsan Khan does a wonderful job in this episode allowing the audience a window into Shujat’s heart while still not crossing a line of portraying Shujat as a “reformed good guy.” His crimes are still his crimes, but the reason for his drive is now clear.
Of course, Shujat and Maya’s (Saba Qamar) paths are now set to cross with Maya now working for Shaan’s (Mikaal Zulfiqar) stepmother. Maya is incredibly hardworking and wants to build her career, putting aside any outward distractions and even receives a promotion. Shaan’s stepmother (Asma Abbas) is impressed with Maya, as are her friends, and she is requested to take a proposal for Maya – but is surprised when Maya turns her down, uninterested in marriage. When she speaks to Nisar (Mehmood Aslam), she learns the truth of Maya’s situation – and one can almost see the wheels turning in her head. While she seems well-meaning and has helped Maya’s career take off in a big way, will she use Maya’s weaknesses against her moving forward? Will she hold those “favors” over Maya’s head by getting her married to Shaan and expecting Maya to put up with her unethical behavior? It will be interesting to see – particularly now with Shujat “trapping” Shaan’s sister.
From Saba Qamar to Mikaal Zulfiqar to Ahsan Khan and even Asma Abbas, each actor is doing a commendable job in “Fraud.” They have truly sunk into the skin of their characters and show what a good team is capable of. While shows do tend to lose steam and drag out by this point, “Fraud” still has a lot of story to unravel and explore at episode 19 and has a lot of scope to carry on for another ten episodes (at least). If the team has played their cards right, “Fraud” will continue to be an example of good, solid storytelling.