“Pardes” is an ode to those Pakistanis who leave their homeland behind, along with their loved ones, in order to provide a “better life” for their families. However, who are they really providing for and are they doing justice to the relationships that rely on their love and support? This is a thought which is highlighted in “Pardes.” Written by Sarwat Nazir and directed by Marina Khan, “Pardes” stars Sarmad Khoosat, Shaista Lodhi, Bushra Ansari, Gohar Rasheed, Sharmeen Ali, Affan Waheed, Durr E Fishan, Atiqa Odho, Hina Javed and others in current and upcoming prominent roles.
Zubeidaa (Shaista Lodhi) and Aiman have been suffering in Ahsan’s (Sarmad Khoosat) absence. While the entire family is with Noshi (Sharmeen Ali) in the hospital as she gives birth, Zubeidaa does it all alone with the support of a kindly neighbor. Both give birth to baby boys, but while Noshi’s son is celebrated, Zubeidaa’s is only given momentary attention. The difference between both children is felt by Zubeidaa and, more importantly, Aiman. While Noshi’s child is given gifts and showered with affection by his own father, Zubeidaa’s child is left in Aiman’s care often, as Zubeidaa isn’t given more than a day’s rest after returning home. Aiman grows resentful and angry, being treated terribly by the family and, as a result, acting out and being punished by her mother as well. It’s heartbreaking to see Aiman’s transition from a good-mannered, sweet child to one who no longer trusts anyone to love her. Such is the outcome when there isn’t a protective hand on a child’s head.
Fortunately, the misery doesn’t last for too long and Ahsan surprises Zubeidaa by arriving home for a short trip. Watching these happy moments between the couple make the last few episodes of misery worth it. It’s wonderful to see the loving, protective relationship between these two. Fortunately, Zubeidaa and Aiman’s condition does not go unnoticed by Ahsan who questions why even the baby is not using the gifts he sent for him. Ahsan brings a set for Zubeidaa, but his mother immediately seizes it for her daughter’s wedding – though Aaliyah is a loving sister and tries to refuse it. Small situations begin to come to Ahsan’s attention throughout this episode. Ahsan’s main focus for going abroad was Aiman’s schooling – and questions Zubeidaa about the school at the end of the episode.
Sarmad Khoosat is the heart and soul of “Pardes” and is winning hearts as Ahsan and Shaista Lodhi is giving him solid support. “Pardes” is not an easy watch. It’s a heavy subject and this isn’t a melodramatic show – it’s reality. There are many families who face such situations, their husbands working like machines for their families abroad while the money is spent frivolously at home. In Ahsan’s case, the money isn’t even going to his own nuclear family, his own wife and children being neglected entirely. How will he react in the next episode when he sees, directly, the mistreatment that his family has been facing at the hands of his mother, brother and sister-in-law?