While the top ten list has already been compiled with many strong contenders in 2021, there were much more than just 10 great dramas this year. While there were areas in which the following dramas may have fallen short – or even entirely flat -, these are shows that could have made it into the top ten list had competition not been so stiff. Below are ten shows that are deserving of a “special mention,” shows that brought in high ratings, great performances and/or were simply entertaining to watch – but simply didn’t manage to make the cut.
1) Raqs E Bismil
It’s only a matter of time before the question arises “Why didn’t Raqs E Bismil make the cut?”. “Raqs E Bismil” is a wonderful show with incredible chemistry between Imran Ashraf and Sarah Khan, their love story leaving viewers spellbound. Rare is it that two characters create this much chemistry despite sharing so few scenes. And yet, the show overall faltered when it chose to waste 7 full episodes (almost two months) on an unnecessary kidnapping storyline. Still, in the end, it delivered an incredible finale that left viewers more than satisfied. “Raqs E Bismil” was certainly not a perfect ride – but was definitely one worth watching.
“Dulhan” captures the interest of viewers not only with its star cast, but also due to its unique storyline and action-packed episodes. Starring Sami Khan, Sumbal Iqbal, Faizan Khawaja and Mashal Khan in lead roles, “Dulhan” has been written by Adeel Razzaq and directed by Adeel Siddiqui. Our female lead Amal (Sumbal Iqbal) finds herself caught between Mekaal (Sami Khan) and Shahmeer (Faizan Khawaja), two toxic men – and yet, unlike most helpless heroines, “Dulhan” is Amal’s jourey from a helpless girl to a strong, self-sufficient woman.
3) Pehli Si Muhabbat
In an attempt to create intensity, “Pehli Si Muhabbat” became miserable and void of happiness for months.Starring Maya Ali, Sheheryar Munawar, Shehryar Yasin, Nausheen Shah, Saba Faisal, Shabbir Jan, Uzma Beg, Paras Masroor, Saleem Mairaj, Rabia Butt and a number of other talented actors, the story has been written by Faiza Iftikhar and directed by Anjum Shahzad. Fortunately, the conclusion elevates “Pehli Si Muhabbat” back to quality storytelling, choosing to acknowledge that along with life, emotions and priorities also change. If the story started off strong, the conclusion is equally strong – something simply got lost in the middle with all the tears. Still, “Pehli Si Muhabbat” is a worthwhile show for its strong performances and realistic conclusion.
4) Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay
This is a confusing show, because one cannot deny the impact it has made this year, while also acknowledging the brilliant performances. Mahira Khan, Usman Mukhtar, Kubra Khan and the supporting cast have all done an incredible job. However, Farooq Rind as director and Umera Ahmed as the writer have been less-than-perfect with certain aspects of the story. While the focus on mental health and the dedication Umera Ahmed has shown to depicting the turmoil young women face when growing up in toxic households is commendable, the plot itself is weak, forcing the audience to suspend all concepts of questioning and logic. This is where “Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay” faltered, though it managed to excel in many aspects.
5) Khuda Aur Mohabbat
If one looks at “Khuda Aur Mohabbat 3” technically, the show has had a storyline which turned its sweet hero into a stalker who could not take no for an answer and placed a “curse” on his love, casting her in a shroud of doom, ultimately forcing her to love him due to his “persistence.” It’s not an easy show to digest and it’s almost against personal beliefs to root for such a “love story.” The show also has some odd dialogues and has been dragged out beyond necessity. And yet, it would be ludicrous to deny what “Khuda Aur Mohabbat” has going for it -beautiful, grand-scale sets, glamorous costumes, great performances from its lead actors (the brilliant Feroze Khan and talented Iqra Aziz), a memorable OST and the kind of tragic love story that lures viewers in.
6) Mujhe Vida Kar
“Mujhe Vida Kar” is a show that has highlighted the difficulties young women face when they wind up with unkind in-laws. While this show is heavy on tragic content, it also casts light on how loving and supportive partners should be. Starring Saboor Aly, Haaris Waheed, Madiha Imam, Muneeb Butt, Raza Talish, Tara Mehmood and others, “Mujhe Vida Kar” has been written by Samra Bukhari and directed by Sabir Zafar. The show boasts of some stellar performances from Muneeb Butt, Saboor Aly and Madiha Imam, while leaving viewers with a positive message, showing how women can move past their grim circumstances to find happiness.
7) Yun Tu Hai Pyar Bohut
A guilty pleasure of sorts with some well-written characters and an interesting story, “Yun Tu Hai Pyar Bohut” won’t be called a classic years from now, nor can it be called a show that will stand the test of time. There have been a lot of melodramatic moments and this drama is far from perfect with some over-the-top characters. Still, this has been a thoroughly enjoyable ride and, to put it simply, it is an entertaining show. This will be remembered as one of Affan Waheed’s best characters and a show that genuinely deserved more praise than what it received.
“Bharaas,” on the outlook, appeared to be another drama about outside forces conspiring to break apart a couple in love. But looking deeper, “Bharaas” managed to make a statement about a lot of different topics, whether it be mental health or a woman’s independence. Starring Omer Shehzad, Durr E Fishan, Zubab Rana and Furqan Qureshi, the story is written by Adeel Razzaq and directed by Nain Maniar. With a strong screenplay, great performances (particularly from Furqan Qureshi and Zubab Rana) and a progressive ending, “Bharaas” makes an impression.
9) Rang Mahal
“Rang Mahal” has an episode count of 92 episodes, a story focusing on Mahapara (Sehar Khan) and her trials and tribulations in life. Starring Sehar Khan, Ali Ansari, Arooba Mirza, Humayun Ashraf, Asim Mehmood and Tanya Hussain in prominent roles, the story has been written by Shafia Khan and directed by Zahid Mehmood. Unfortunately, when it comes down to it, “Rang Mahal” comes across as a missed opportunity. In “Rang Mahal,” we watch as Mahapara found love with Rayed (Ali Ansari), but then, due to Sohail’s (Humayun Ashraf) advances and Hajra’s (Arooba Mirza) plotting, along with Ami Ji’s scheming of her own, Mahapara’s life is turned upside down. Throughout all this, Mahapara is unable to find support in the one man who claims to love her most of all – Rayed (Ali Ansari). It’s difficult to wrap one’s head around what the message was behind “Rang Mahal.” Move on and then start right where you left off? Forgive those who abused you and go back to normal? Rang Mahal” had such promise to be on the top 10 list of dramas for 2021, but unfortunately, the content in the last 1/3 of the show let it down completely. This show will be remembered for Asim Mehmood’s brilliant performance as Salaar, a loving, ideal companion and for Humayun Ashraf’s wonderful villainous act as Sohail.
“Laapata” is a show that had a lot going for it, but somehow didn’t have a clear path. There are many dramas that should end at the 22-24 episode point, because even that is stretching the story too thin – and yet, they drag on until episode 35 or, even worse, episode 100 with that wafer thin plot. Then there are stories like “Raqeeb Se,” “Dil Na Umeed Toh Nahi” and Laapata” that are refreshing for audiences, stories that keep the proceedings short and sweet, ending before the 24 episode mark and leaving audiences either satisfied or wanting more. Then there are stories like “Laapata” that needed more episodes to give the audience a satisfying, logical conclusion. It just seems as though there was so much more to elaborate on and the show did not need to end so quickly without allowing time to wrap up loose ends. “Laapata” is an enjoyable ride with some great performances and an interesting concept. However, as a story, “Laapata” had a lot to unpack – but it feels as though a lot of it was left in the bag.
With a list of top ten dramas and a list of special mentions, did any of your favorites not make the list this year? Feel free to leave a comment!