When the promos of “Pagal Khana” went on air, the title itself was enough to leave audiences intrigued. Adding to the excitement is the excellent ensemble cast. Starring Sami Khan, Saba Qamar, Syed Jibran, Omair Rana, Mashal Khan, Faiza Gillani, Huma Nawab, Jan Rambo, Babar Ali, Tipu Shah, Sahiba, Nadia Hussain and more, the story has been written and directed by Iqbal Hussain. With an excellent cast and an interesting topic, does “Pagal Khana” have what it takes to be the next “big” show?
The first fifteen minutes or so of episode one are absolutely hilarious as the inpatients revolt against the administration, fighting against the “brutal torture” they are subjected to. Of course, it isn’t long before things are brought back under control and Dr. Behram (Syed Jibran) manages to calm down his patients. There’s an interesting angle here, as we hear the “owner” of the institution discussing the facility – and it appears as though the doctors, nurses and staff may not actually be licensed medical professionals?
Saba Qamar not only looks heartbreakingly beautiful as Noor, but Noor’s backstory appears to be equally heartbreaking. While her initial moments are humorous as we hear her discussing her pregnancy and children, it quickly becomes clear that these delusions must come from a place of trauma for her. She is not an abandoned young woman and we see her mother visiting. With Noor being an only, loved child, her mother is anxiously awaiting Noor’s recovery – but is she getting the treatment necessary? The diagnosis for Noor is OCD and it appears as though Noor suffers from OCD hallucinations. From the conversation between Behram and Noor’s mother, it seems we make get Noor’s backstory in the next week.
Omair Rana as Taimoor Ali Khan is a fascinating character. Taimoor is schizophrenic and a man who believes himself to be a natural born leader. Whether it’s leading the rebellion or whether it’s simply being a leader with the inmates or taking over in the role as “father” for Noor, Taimoor is a layered character. Judging by his vision of Saba Faisal’s character and being shot, his backstory also appears to be one of interest. Omair Rana is doing a great job in this role, though it’s funny to hear him called “uncle” when he’s not much older than those saying those dialogues.
Jan Rambo, Tipu Shah and Mashal Khan also make an impression in the first episode, while it’s nice to see Faiza Gillani and Saba Qamar together once again after “Serial Killer” with a different dynamic. As of right now, “Pagal Khana” is an entertaining watch, but one that we’re watching with slight hesitation. With a show dealing so heavily with mental illness, sensitivity and proper research and presentation is so important. Will the team pull through and give us a meaningful story which removes the taboo and stigma around treatment? With a cast like this, we have high expectations!