Two years ago, Imran Ashraf and Sarah Khan won our hearts in “Raqs E Bismil.” A wonderful show about reforming and finding love through the love of God, “Raqs E Bismil” had fans awaiting a reunion. Imran and Sarah now return as a pair in “Namak Haraam,” a show in which Imran Ashraf plays, once again, a character with grey shades. The show has been written by Saqlain Abbas and directed by Shaquille Khan, a story about power and betrayal. “Namak Haraam” also stars Babar Ali, Sunita Marshal, Mohsin Ejaz, Anika Zulfigar, Salma Asim and others.
In the first two episodes, we are introduced to Mureed (Imran Ashraf), a man who works as the right-hand man (and essentially a servant) to Amin Qureshi, a ruthless man with many enemies. Several minutes are spent on showing how Mureed lives alone in the servant quarters and lives a life of discipline – an almost ridiculous amount of time to the point of it being laughable. The editing here needs work. We’re also introduced to Asma (Sarah Khan), the daughter of Amin. Her wedding preparations are in full swing and it’s here that we are introduced to her sister, who is in love with Mureed. Mureed, on his end, rejects her advances and asks her to go ahead with her impending engagement. This appears to be a case of childhood love between two children growing up together in proximity, not understanding social classes.
However, as the story plays out, it appears there’s more manipulation involved than it initially appears. Mureed’s father died under suspicious circumstances and all visual evidence points to Amin being behind it. While Amin believes Mureed to be a loyal worker without any memory of the past, Mureed has a manipulative side lurking under the surface. He is seen turning Asma’s fiancé against her and even planting ideas in the head of Asma’s sister’s fiancé. The ultimate reveal is when Asma, a doting and devoted daughter, goes missing on her wedding day – and we discover that while Mureed is assisting Amin in finding her, he’s the one behind the kidnapping.
Imran Ashraf is an actor who we can generally expect quality from. He is an actor who chooses his scripts with care and ensures that his characters will leave an impact in some way. This time around, Imran Ashraf has taken on a character with grey shades, possibly even an entirely negative role. And yet, he’s doing a great job of allowing the audience to connect with his character. The treatment is slightly over the top and the editing could be more crisp rather than focusing on one scene for far too long. Still, this is an interesting story with a great cast. While the rest of the cast has not been given the chance to show off their acting chops yet, the bulk of the “performing” coming from Imran Ashraf, this is a dependable, talented cast. “Namak Haram” doesn’t take an incredible start, but it does showcase that it will be a show worth watching.