“Pardes” continues to be “that” show, that show which is fascinatingly interesting and yet, hard-hitting in a way that’s almost uncomfortable to watch. There are many individuals in Pakistan (and outside) who have experienced the lifestyle of having a father living away from the home (myself included) and so stories like “Pardes” hit close to home, the pain and grief Aiman endures reflecting like a mirror. Starring Sarmad Khoosat, Shaista Lodhi, Durr E Fishan, Affan Waheed, Gohar Rasheed, Sharmeen Khan, Atiqa Odho and many others, “Pardes” has been written by Sarwat Nazir and directed by Marina Khan.
In episodes 15 & 16, we finally see Aiman (Durr E Fishan) soften and share a warm moment with Ahsan (Sarmad Khoosat), something the audience has been waiting for. Aiman has been deprived of her father’s love for over a decade and this has had a deep impact on her psyche. Adding to her dilemma, Zubeidaa (Shaista Lodhi) has always been a people pleaser, chiding her children and asking them to keep quiet with their complaints, giving birth to resentment in both children. Aiman has never had anyone to confide in, never had anyone to listen to her and now, finally with Ahsan’s return, she has someone who will love her, listen to her and protect her. Ahsan was always “that” parent for Aiman, so it’s obvious that Aiman would feel his loss deeply. With his return, she finally has that confidant back. And now, with the mending of their relationship, she has finally gotten her voice back and also feels deeply defensive for and protective of her father. Aiman is unable to see the injustice of her father’s life.
And there is a lot of injustice. Asim (Gohar Rasheed) is the perfect, thankless villain in this show, a character who resembles the family members of many, family members who only know how to take and don’t know how to give. Asim and Noshi (Sharmeen Ali) spent over a decade buying cars with Ahsan’s money, building a business with Ahsan’s money and filling their own pockets with Ahsan’s money. And now that Ahsan is requesting his share in the business, Asim has turned a blind eye, feigning innocence and claiming as though he did all of this on his own without Ahsan’s money – which is a flat out lie. Gohar Rasheed plays this role wonderfully, putting all his effort into playing this slimy, snake-like brother who is infuriating only because he’s so real.
Meanwhile, Ahsan and Nabila arrange Salman (Hammad Shoaib) and Aiman’s marriage. Salman genuinely seems like a good guy and Nabila seems to have reformed in her ways, recognizing her own faults in Ahsan’s current predicament. This is why, even after witnessing Aiman’s outburst about how Asim has left Ahsan empty-handed, Nabila and Salman stand firmly by Aiman’s side. Nabila has a profound moment where she is heard, finally, acknowledging how she always went to Ahsan for every simple financial problem, always taking from him when it wasn’t necessary. This is something people rarely acknowledge in real life, so it’s nice to see that Ahsan’s sister has realized her mistakes.
Unfortunately, Salman makes a declaration to his parents that he is planning on moving to Dubai. Will this be a breaking point for Aiman? Aiman has seen the lifestyle her mother has endured with a husband out of the country. It’s certain that she will not want such a life for herself. Meanwhile, Ibad’s (Affan Waheed) family dynamics are revealed, his mother (Atiqa Odho) being his father’s second wife and so, Ibad is hounded by hateful, venom-spewing half-siblings. This leaves Ibad to fulfill his mother’s expectations, her dreams of his success – and her dreams do not include marriage at this point, telling Ibad to let Aiman go.
The cast of “Pardes” is doing a brilliant job as a hole. Each actor is playing their role exactly right – from the selfish Asim played by Gohar Rasheed, the heart and soul of the show Ahsan played by Sarmad Khoosat, the bratty yet endearing Aiman played by Durr E Fishan and the kind-hearted yet silent Ibad played by Affan Waheed….really, each actor is worthy of praise. This show is not an easy ride, it’s serious and painful to watch (particularly Ahsan’s scenes), but it’s also beautiful in its realism and leaves the audience rooting for its (good) characters.