“Pardes” is the tale of many Pakistani families in the 90s who sent their children overseas to earn for their families. This gave birth to several family situations where wives and children were kept apart from their husbands/fathers for years at a time, the men living the life of nomads – neither belonging to that country or Pakistan. This is a difficult situation to be in, one made even worse when in-laws are unsupportive. This is the story “Pardes” tells. Starring the brilliant Sarmad Khoosat as Ahsan and Shaista Lodhi as Zubeidaa, viewers were immediately drawn in to their love story, their bond and their little nuclear family. Unfortunately, the extended family, played by Bushra Ansari, Gohar Rasheed, Sharmeen Ali, Mohammad Ahmed and others, have constantly tried to wedge the two apart. Written by Sarwat Nazir, the show has been directed by Marina Khan.
What’s great about Ahsan as a character is that he is intuitive, understanding and knows his wife’s heart. He loves his children and his entire world revolves around the happiness of his wife and children. This is unlike the men we see in other shows (ex: Mujhe Vida Kar), who believe their family are the only ones capable of speaking the truth and doubt their own wives. Ahsan runs into Ruqaiyya Khala, who informs him what Zubeidaa went through on the night of her delivery. This is the final straw for Ahsan, as he’s been noticing the injustices done to his wife and daughter up until now silently. He declares that he won’t be going back to Muscat. Unfortunately, the family turns against Zubeidaa for his decision, believing she’s brainwashing him against them.
While Ahsan does his best to remain by Zubeidaa’s side, he quickly realizes that his household expenses cannot run on a salary in Pakistan. He deicides, instead, to go back and call Zubeidaa and his children to Muscat to live with him. However – will Asim (Gohar Rasheed) and his mother (Bushra Ansari) allow for it? These characters are so frustrating, it’s as though they see Ahsan as a machine, a man without any feelings, wants or needs. They only think of themselves. It’s disgusting to see how Ahsan’s mother thinks about her own married daughter with an earning husband and doesn’t even think that little Aiman needs her father as well.
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It’s Sarmad Khoosat who is the heart and soul of the show, the sweetest character on the show, a man who not only recognizes his family’s manipulations, but also the heart of his own wife. Sarmad Khoosat may be known as a director before an actor, but he is no less as an actor, always putting his best foot forward. One wishes he would act more often. Unfortunately, next week’s episode will only make things more difficult for Ahsan and Zubeidaa as Asim and his mother accuse Zubeidaa of having an affair with her cousin – which will cause Ahsan to have, what seems to be a heart attack. Will this love story end in tragedy? Or will Ahsan manage to get his wife and children out of this toxic home environment? We will have to see, but if Sarmad Khoosat is no longer in “Pardes,” it will be a loss to the show.