“Pardes” highlights the reality of the 90s, a time when many Pakistanis sought work outside their homeland and left behind unusual family units. Starring Sarmat Khoosat, Shaista Lodhi, Gohar Rasheed, Bushra Ansari, Sharmeen Ali, Durr E Fishan and Affan Waheed in story that spans two generations, “Pardes” has been directed by Marina Khan and written by Sarwat Nazir. While the story had previously focused on Zubeidaa and Ahsan, the children have now grown up and we are now seeing Aiman’s track begin as an adult completing her life in university.
In episodes 13 and 14, we see Mumtaz (Bushra Ansari) bedridden, living out her last days, not only missing her son, but also regretting her actions over the years. She has grown to appreciate not only Zubeidaa (Shaisa Lodhi), but also has garnered a soft spot for Aiman (Durr E Fishan)and Zain, her beloved grandchildren who have suffered the most in this entire situation. Unfortunately, as Mumtaz is seen wishing to make amends, she passes away. This opens up new issues with the family left bickering over her assets, namely her jewelry and cash. Aiman rightly interjects and taunts that her grandmother was entirely Zubeidaa’s responsibility, but her things seem to belong to everyone but Zubeidaa. And this is true – and had Zubeidaa spoken up here as well, she may have had more to secure her future than what she ends up with.
What’s most heartbreaking about these two episodes is that one thing has become certain – there isn’t any respite or positivity in Ahsan’s life. Ahsan has lived his entire life outside of his homeland, away from his family and loved ones. His wife has suffered, his children have suffered, his mother has suffered and, most importantly, he has suffered. While it always seemed like a stretch, what one really wanted more than anything on this show was to see Ahsan and Zubi get their happy ending. However, with the latest duo of episodes, that does not seem like it will happen. While away, Ahsan provided not only for his wife and children (though they suffered the most), but also for his mother, his (married) sister and his (married) brother. Now back home, Ahsan is ill and expects his family to pick up the pieces, caring for him the way he cared for them. Unfortunately, Ahsan was simply too trusting and sent all his finances home, falling into the hands of his mother initially and later his brother. But all of that money has been spent, leaving a world of trouble for Ahsan and his family now. One has to stop here and wonder why Zubi didn’t take charge and control the finances? Why didn’t she save her husband’s hard-earned money? If Ahsan was too trusting, Zubi was simply too careless. Not only has she been careless with his money (yes, Asim taking his money is Zubi’s fault – she should have taken control), but she has also been careless with his children!
It’s a wonder how Ahsan and Zubi’s children have become so ill-mannered and badly behaved. While Aiman (Durr E Fishan) is somewhat understandable, as she was severely mistreated and troubled after her father left, Zain’s bad behavior is on a different level. Yes, he never knew his father, but many young men don’t know their fathers and are raised well by their mothers. Zain is genuinely a “bad kid,” a kid who doesn’t even respect his mother. How did these kids get off on such a terrible track? It’s even more heartbreaking when Ahsan sees his sister and brother’s kids and how well-behaved and educated they are – and then sees his own. It’s true that the repercussions of going out of country and staying away from one’s family are severe – but these are dire straits. Who is responsible? It’s nice then that Aiman has Ibad (Affan Waheed) in her life. However, she will have to fight for that happiness, the same way she has had to fight for everything in her life, as her Phupo now wants Aiman for her son. This is an interesting twist considering no one in the family ever appeared to like Aiman much – so why this decision?
“Pardes” is a Sarmad Khoosat show. From beginning to end, it’s Sarmad who holds the reigns, even when he isn’t there. This is Ahsan’s story – a story of his burdened marriage, failed children, the void in his life, his struggles living all alone…..and now his illness, a tragic life coming to an end. Watching stories like this hurt, because there are so many who can relate to this story in some way – and watching Ahsan’s lifestyle is painful, because we can see our own fathers in Ahsan. If and when Ahsan leaves our screens, one can only hope the rest of the story has enough soul to carry it to the end.