“Meri Shehzadi” has not concealed the fact that it’s a Pakistani retelling of Princess Diana’s life story. Starring Urwa Hocane, Ali Rehman Khan, Qavi Khan, Atiqa Odho, Sonia Mishal, Nauman Masood, Najiba Faiz and others in prominent roles, the story has been written by Zanjabeel Asim Shah and directed by Qasim Ali Mureed. In the past several episodes, we have seen Dania (Urwa Hocane) struggle with her marriage to Shehroze (Ali Rehman Khan). Not only has she found herself pulled out of her simple environment and thrust into a political one, but she has also had to compete emotionally with her husband’s affection, as he already has a wife he’s deeply in love with.
In episode 19, Dania has left Shehroze and is now living back at her grandfather’s. However, things have not become any easier for her, particularly with the custody games her in-laws are now playing. To top it off, she’s living in constant fear of being slandered in the public eye while also caring for her ill grandfather – who has irritatingly been recast due to Qavi Khan’s illness. It has to be noted that Qavi Khan’s performance as Nana Jaan has been the heart and soul of the show, aside from Urwa Hocane’s as Dania. The conversations between Dania and (Qavi Khan’s) Nana Jaan will be deeply missed. Moving on, Dr. Hassan (Farhan Saeed) has entered the show – and Dania’s life – as a ray of light. He’s a character who offers her much support and words of comfort. Farhan’s performance is also winning us over, currently the highlight of the show.
While the story of “Meri Shehzadi” is very much based on the story of Princess Diana, the story has been altered to feel Pakistani – which does require some major changes. First, with the royal family, Queen Elizabeth II has never been portrayed as a ruthless, cunning woman – she simply followed the rules put forth by the institution. However, in “Meri Shehzadi,” Shahana is a manipulative character who will do anything to spite Dania…..with her calculating sister, Almas ((Najiba Faiz) adding oil to the fire every step of the way. And yet, Shahana is a character we can somewhat handle watching, as she’s a strong woman fighting for power, even if that fight is against her daughter-in-law. She is not a nice person from any angle, but she’s a proper Pakistani politician – and Atiqa Odho is brilliant in this role.
Quite honestly, it’s the Almas and Cam characters who have become a serious irritation. While Almas has now set up her own downfall through her behavior, Cam (Sonia Mishal) is a character beyond understanding. In “Meri Shehzadi,” unlike in the true Princess Diana story, Cam is offered legitimacy by making her Shehroze’s first wife, which puts her position above Dania’s. This unfortunately does lesson Dania’s position in terms of the story, but what makes Cam’s character undigestible is her background story. Cam is such a pitifully written character, she is the weakest link in the entire show. She is a American woman who is independent, a working woman, a woman who has essentially raised her son on her own. She is a woman who had the strength to face Shehroze’s family despite their opposition and a woman who then turned spiteful, giving interviews against Shehroze to the media. Now, at present, we see Cam and Sunny back in Pakistan, settling down, living in an oppressive joint family system with Cam continuously trying to put Dania down. A more sane, logical character would recognize how Dania herself has been trapped into this marriage by Shehroze and potentially have sympathy for her – but no. Cam is not a sane character. She’s completely illogical, void of self-respect, begging Shehroze to announce their marriage, claim her, divorce Dania and cease communication – even if that communication is pertaining to the care of his two babies with Dania. Unfortunately, Cam is the weakest link in “Meri Shehzadi” – both as a character and as a performance by Sonia Mishal, who is absolutely capable of being a good actress, but has put zero effort into making Cam a character we can sympathize with on any level.
Urwa Hocane’s performance has been getting better with each episode. Dania is truly coming into her own as she’s struggling emotionally, but also gaining strength vocally with the bravery to fight back against her husband and in-laws. Atiqa Odho and Ali Rehman Khan are also doing a great job in their roles, truly inspiring hate within viewers for their characters. Urwa Hocane and Farhan Saeed’s chemistry is shining as Dr. Hassan and Dania grow closer. Could Dania and Hassan have a happy ending? While we know it’s difficult and with the precedent set by the show and its premise, would it be too much to wish and hope that the story of the Pakistani Princess Diana does not end in tragedy?