Pakistani content generally can be found on the usual 4-5 channels and that content tends to follow trends based on audience demand. However, with web series and streaming content now finding its way into Pakistani homes, opportunities for more diverse methods of storytelling are also opening up. The Rinstra platform presents “Haya,” a thriller which has been written by Shah Yasir, directed by Erum Binte Shahid and produced by Maria Wasti and Erum Binte Shahid. The star cast includes Hasan Ahmed, Maria Wasti and Srha Asghar.
Without divulging any spoilers, “Haya” tells the story of a young girl, Haya, who visits a friend’s house one night and goes missing. With her family left to cope with the grief of her disappearance, Haya turns up in a women’s shelter eight years later but has suffered severe memory loss due to trauma. This story is full of twists and turns where things are not as they appear to be. The greatest strength of the show is exactly that – it’s not predictable and offers something truly different for the drama audience.
There are a lot of positives to discuss. The length is one positive. The episodes are 10-13 minutes each with a total of ten episodes, making it easy to binge-watch the show within two hours. This means the show is able to avoid any filler moments, only focusing on presenting viewers with the scenes required to tell the story – and it succeeds, giving its audience a tight-knit, well-executed show. The story by Shah Yasir is gripping and written in true thriller format, leaving viewers on the edge of their seats and wanting more at the end of each episode. Accompanying the intense story is Erum Binte Shahid’s direction. The direction is equally as impressive, reinforcing the story, breathing life into the screenplay with the use of lighting, shadows, and overall presentation. And, of course, the cast itself is a plus. Composed of a cast of highly underrated, underutilized actors, this is a talented cast and each actor fully immerses themselves into the role they are playing. Srha Asghar is wonderful as Haya, portraying the vulnerability and innocence required to play a character suffering from memory loss and trauma. Maria Wasti plays a more inquisitive character, and she pulls it off with ease, naturally fitting into her character. Hasan Ahmed is wonderful as a protective brother trying to care for his family.
The greatest strength of “Haya” is its ability to leave the viewer guessing. Just when one feels they have it all figured out, the show changes gears. It’s not predictable and, more than anything else, it’s genuinely an entertaining show while also casting light on an issue within the Pakistani social system. This web series comes highly recommended, a must-watch for Pakistani drama fans! All episodes of “Haya” are now available for viewing on the Rinstra platform for free after registering.