The theme of “Pardes” focuses on those individuals who leave their loved ones in search of greater (financial) pastures abroad and not only what they go through, but what their loved ones endure back home. This topic is one that’s relevant to so many South Asian families and somewhat similar stories have been told in the past in shows like “Daldal” on Hum TV. “Pardes” stars the brilliant Sarmad Khoosat, Shaista Lodhi, Bushra Ansari, Gohar Rasheed and Sharmeen Ali in prominent roles. Written by Sarwat Nazir, the show has been directed by Marina Khan. With so many stellar names attached to the show, there are bound to be expectations. Does the first episode meet them?
To keep it short – absolutely. The first episode introduces viewers to Ahsan (Sarmad Khoosat) and Zubeida (Shaista Lodhi), a very much in love couple that lives not only with their daughter, but also with Ahsan’s mother (Bushra Ansari), younger brother Asim (Gohar Rasheed) and Ahsan’s younger sister. There’s also another already-married sister who serves to leech off the family’s finances, not understanding their financial condition. While Ahsan dotes on his wife and young daughter, helping Zubeida in any way he can, whether it be with household chores or emotional support, this is frowned upon by his mother who disapproves of Ahsan even giving his wife and child small, inexpensive gifts.
The story is not slow-paced and within the first episode, Ahsan is already struggling under financial pressures placed up on him. Asim is careless, irresponsible and is carrying on an affair with Nausheen (Sharmeen Ali), his better-off cousin. When the two are caught together, her father forces the two to get married, placing only more financial strain on the family. Asim is aspiration-less, unmotivated and even after marriage, continues to expect Ahsan to support him and his new wife – a wife who is used to living a good life. While a job opportunity in Dubai (or is it Oman?) arrives for Asim, Asim refuses. Will Ahsan be forced to abandon his loving wife and daughter to earn in a foreign country?
First off, the pull of the show is the wonderful relationship between Zubeida and Ahsan. This is a loving, supportive marriage where both partners are looking out for each other’s best interest. Unfortunately, we know this love will be tested and hard times are in the future of this pair. Sarmad Khoosat is a joy to watch on-screen whenever he graces us drama viewers with his presence. His acting is effortless and the way he portrays Ahsan, a common, lower-middle-class man is just….real. Shaista Lodhi is surprisingly natural in her role as Zubeida and it’s clear that she has worked on her acting skills. She offers great support to Sarmad Khoosat and the two share good chemistry. Overall, the subject of this story is interesting, something which is bound to pull in many viewers. To top it off, the direction and treatment is instantly alluring with its down-to-earth presentation. There have been quite a few disappointing new shows, but “Pardes” does not fall into this category. This one is worth a watch!