Written by Zanjabeel Asim and directed by Saqib Khan, “Fraud” has Saba Qamar, Ahsan Khan and Mikaal Zulfiqar as the three headlining leads. This trio has delivered strong projects together in the past, including “Paani Jaisa Pyar.” The show also stars Adnan Samad Khan, Mehmood Aslam, Nida Mumtaz, Asma Abbas, Annie Zaidi and others in prominent roles.
Episode 4 essentially follows Maya (Saba Qamar) post marriage. Life with Tabraiz (Ahsan Khan) is happy for her and she’s adjusting to her new home and in-laws nicely. Tabraiz is a doting husband, her in-laws are sweet and there aren’t any glaring red flags. Sure, her mother-in-law asks Maya for her jewelry to put in the bank locker, but explains that thieves have been ransacking homes. Sure, Tabraiz asks Maya for a loan from the money her parents gave her, but his business is going into loss and he promises to withdraw the money to reimburse her. Sure, the family goes to a family funeral, leaving Maya behind, but this is because they do not want to take a newly wed bride to such a somber event. And while we, as viewers, are aware of what’s happening, the excuses and the performances given by Tabraiz and his family is….smooth. It’s believable. Would anyone suspect something is wrong if put in her place? This is good writing and it also shows that Maya and her family are not dealing with amateurs. Tabraiz and his family are seasoned crooks!
The most fascinating aspect of this entire episode is how seamlessly Maya’s in-laws and Tabraiz are brainwashing her……one could almost call it gaslighting, but that wouldn’t be accurate. Rather, they are trying to plant an idea in her head, the idea that she is “jinxed” or bad luck for the family, all while keeping up the appearance of being the sweetest, most supportive, loving in-laws one could have. Tabraiz has made an impression within Maya’s family as a loving, dutiful son-in-law and brother-in-law and really, Maya does not have any room to complain. She is happy…..and yet, that troubling seed has been planted. How will her self-doubt come into play in the next episode when she realizes she has been abandoned? Meanwhile, Nail (Adnan Samad Khan) is growing increasingly bitter after being rejected by Maya’s father, especially after seeing Maya and Tabraiz happy together. Nail is a great character, because he is human. He wanted the girl he loved, knowing she could have been his as she also liked him……but now, he is living with resentment over it being snatched away. He wasn’t “owed” anything by his Mamoon and his Mamoon has always helped Nail and his mother – but Nail can’t help feeling this way and we can’t help feeling for him. Adnan Samad Khan is doing a great job.
“Fraud” is a strong show so far and has given us something to look forward to as viewers. Of course, there is also the story with Shaan (Mikaal Zulfiqar), a young man who has just lost his wife and daughter to divorce – a divorce perpetuated by his stepmother and stepsister, unknown to him. His stepmother, played by Asma Abbas, is a schemer and is doing everything she can to maintain control over Shaan, already plotting how to control his next marriage. Of course, we know that Maya and Shaan will eventually cross paths. Will Shaan be the partner Maya needs/deserves or will she wind up dealing with another mess with him? Of course, this is all very much forward thinking, as Maya is still living in the illusion that her marriage to Tabraiz is a happy one.
The performances are what make “Fraud” so intriguing. Saba Qamar is flawless in this episode as she bounces between happiness and self-doubt, Maya unsure how to carry herself through certain situations. Ahsan Khan is brilliant as Tabraiz, a man capable of presenting himself as the ideal man all while plotting against his wife to essentially rob her. Mikaal Zulfiqar is doing a good job as well, though his character has not been given room to grow just yet – that will certainly change later on in the show. Overall, “Fraud” is a strong project, one that has us waiting for the latest episode each week.