“Pardes” is one of those shows which is not only entertaining to watch, but also leaves an impact through its meaningful storytelling. How does a family suffer when the head of their household works out-of-country? While the wounds may not be physical, this situation can leave deep emotional scars. This is the message “Pardes” (successfully) attempts to put across. 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.
Ibad (Affan Waheed) is a great husband and a dedicated partner to Aiman (Durr E Fishan), much like Ahsan (Sarmad Khoosat) was to Zubeida (Shaista Lodhi). Unfortunately, like Ahsan, Ibad comes with his own family baggage that tends to dictate the amount of happiness he is allowed. While Aiman may have made the decision to marry within Pakistan to avoid the trauma her parents faced, her marriage appears to fall into that same category of “heavy family interference” regardless. However, fortunately, Ibad and Aiman are not Ahsan and Zubeida. These are not self-sacrificing, timid characters and they know how to stand up for themselves. There’s a great moment when Aiman shakes off Behzad, Sheema’s (Jinaan Hussain) husband and demands that he respect not only her, but her mother-in-law Raheela (Atiqa Odho) as well. It goes without say that Behzad’s behavior is undignified and slimy and one has to raise their eyebrows at why Sheema encourages/tolerates this bad behavior, which is disrespectful not only to her family, but to her as well.
Raheela may have had the best of intentions at trying to keep Aiman out of sight of Behzad, but the anger at her behavior emerges – not only did Aiman upset Raheela’s idea of “peace,” but she also disregarded her words to stay in her room. Raheela, in her frustration, demands that Aiman leave the house and Ibad, sending her home. Aiman is headstrong and intelligent enough to see the writing on the wall and leaves, understanding that despite what Ibad wants, she can live happily in this house only if Raheela accepts her. However, Aiman walks into a very different situation at home – one where the house is being sold to finance Asim (Gohar Rasheed) and Noshi’s (Sharmeen Ali) son’s education. The irony of this is not lost on Aiman, who quickly points out how much of a fight was put up against selling the house when the funds were needed to save Ahsan’s life. But Noshi and Asim are hypocrites of a different sort and so, the house is not only sold, but their old house is purchased for Zubeida and Zain to live in. Zubeida may have woken up from her slumber, but her sacrificial nature continues in a different way.
The foreshadowing of karma is not lost on the audience as Noshi and Asim discuss Nofl’s future with him and worry about sending their child abroad. They have invested everything (selfishly) into their son, cutting down everyone else in order to do so – and it’s clear that investment will be in vain. The highlight of this episode is the Ibad-Aiman relationship. It’s great to see Aiman’s confidence and the way in which she conducts herself. She isn’t a sitting duck, willing to take abuse and she has solid support in the form of Ibad, who tells her to only respect his mother and no one else. Affan Waheed and Durr E Fishan also enact their cute, romantic scenes in a captivating way and one can believe they are a real couple. While it initially appeared as though the pull would have diminished after Ahsan’s death, Affan Waheed and Durr E Fishan are keeping the interest alive through their performances and storyline.