Imran Ashraf and Urwa Hocane are two of Pakistani television’s biggest names and with the success of “Mushk,” fans have been waiting for their pairing to be repeated. Their wish has been granted with “Badzaat,” Geo’s latest launch starring Imran Ashraf, Urwa Hocane, Ali Abbas, Mehmood Aslam, Saba Faisal, Nida Mumtaz, Zainab Qayyum, Zoya Nasir and others. The story has been written by Misbah Nosheen and directed by Siraj Ul Haq. With such a talented team, did the first episode meet expectations?
From the word “go,” the basis for the story pulls the audience in with Wali’s (Imran Ashraf) complicated upbringing. His mother Laila (Saba Faisal) is an actress, something his father Akber (Mehmood Aslam) found distasteful. It’s not clear exactly why Akber married Laila to begin with, considering he did not agree with or support her career choices. Still, the “backstory” is riveting and establishes why Wali is the way he is. Despite having an incredibly loving, supportive stepmother in the form of Narmeen (Nida Mumtaz), Wali has heard his mother being called “badzaat” throughout his entire childhood and formative years. These words have left an impression on him and despite still sharing a relationship with his mother, he has a raging temper problem and does not blink when pointing a gun at anyone who stands in his way. There’s an almost comical moment when he lashes out at his younger sister Annie (Zoya Nasir) for modeling in unacceptable clothing – but Annie is wearing a full gown with long sleeves. It’s obvious that the channel cannot show revealing clothing, but the clothing should have at least matched the situation. Wali is horrified at her “libaas” and tells her (at least 4 times within the same scene) that he will support her modeling career, but not in such clothing. This is a ridiculous moment for many reasons, the main two being her actual (covered) clothing and the repetitiveness of the sequence with overdramatic music.
We are also introduced to Anabiya (Urwa Hocane), a young girl who is visiting Wali’s home. Is she a cousin? A family friend? That’s not clear, but she immediately gets off on the wrong foot with Wali when she is seen looking at Annie’s “inappropriate” photos on a magazine cover. Later, Wali lashes out at Anabiya when he finds her in his room. Anabiya is there putting away his clothing, but she doesn’t say this. Instead, she says “Woh….main…..” and leaves her sentence incomplete, as if she doesn’t have time to state it clearly. Does anyone ever get so flustered to the point where they cannot say what they need to? Anyway, Wali reacts in the way he sees fit – he points a gun at her. Is this romantic? No. Is this cute? No. Is this a meet-cute? No. But Anabiya runs off after making many promises to stay out of his way and Wali is seen grinning, already smitten with the girl. Why? Did he get some sort of joy at seeing her fear with a gun pointed at her?
Honestly, it’s Wali’s backstory and the story with his mothers and father that is most interesting, along with the Urwa-Imran pairing. Otherwise, the first episode is a bit questionable. Still, this is exactly what audiences lap up and it’s sure to be a true entertainer. Of course, Imran Ashraf always carries his characters with conviction and Wali is no less. Wali commands the screen and the viewer cannot tear their eyes away. It’s another thing that his background music is loud, over-the-top and unnecessary. Urwa Hocane does well as the usual “bubbly” girl. “Badzaat” is a show with an interesting concept and promises an unusual (hopefully not abusive) romance. We will have to wait and watch to see how it unfolds!