“Paristan” is one of Hum TV’s two Ramadan shows this year. While “Hum Tum” has been the pick of many, “Paristan” has been making quite the impression on viewers with a natural feel that lures the audience in. Starring Aymen Saleem and Arsalan Naseer in lead roles, this alone is enough to bring in high viewership ratings. Add to that Javeria Saud, Merub Ali, Junaid Jamshed, Ali Safina, Navin Waqar, Asad Siddiqui, Mooroo and many others and this is a show with a star-studded, fun cast. The story has been written by Samra Bukhari and directed by Ali Hassan.
In episode 2, we can see Kamali (Ali Safina) is a genuine guy, but is so in love with the idea of love, he is easily taken for a ride. On the other side, we are introduced to Haseena’s cousin, Mehreen (Navin Waqar), who is a man-hater and does not trust men in regards to love at all. It will be great to see Kamali and Mehreen come together in a potential romance – or will Asad Siddiqui’s Aazar be another thorn in Kamali’s side? With this trio last seen together in the Baraat series, this is an exciting reunion that viewers are waiting to see.
While Pari (Aymen Saleem) has an optimistic, positive vibe, we do get a window into how she has been treated all these years by Haseena (Javeria Saud). Despite Ujala (Merub Ali) loving her like a sister, Haseena refuses to shop for Pari and gives all of Ujala’s already-worn rejects to Pari to satisfy her desire for new clothing. Pari’s dreams of living lavishly come from a place of deprivation, her own desires never really being fulfilled. Meanwhile, Haseena is bent on getting Pari and Kamali married, visiting his house to talk to his mother – who is shocked when Kamali informs her that Pari is like his sister. It doesn’t seem as though Haseena is cruel or unloving, rather she’s very money-minded and does not want to spend her limited finances on anyone other than her daughter. Still, this does leave an emotional impact and the result seems to be Pari’s fantasies. Shoutout to Merub Ali for her natural performance as Ujala.
Arsam (Arsalan Naseer) lives with his niece, nephew and grandmother, but his behavior with the children he has charge of is very sharp and unloving. It’s understandable that Arsam is sad post his brother’s death, but why would he treat children of that age so harshly? Arsam and Pari come face to face in this episode after Arsam moves in across the street. Their first “official” meeting after their brief bank encounter is not as sweet, rather Arsam calls Pari out for her silly behavior while Pari is unimpressed with Arsam’s attitude. This exchange is cute enough, but brief and doesn’t feel as though the writing is trying too hard to throw the two together quickly. Aymen Saleem is such a sweet, natural actress and is a joy to watch. Arsalan Naseer is doing well, but the role does feel like an extension of Hadi from Chupke Chupke, but even more stern.
There are some performances that aren’t gelling as well. Despite Mira Sethi’s natural acting talent, grace and likability, she is simply miscast as Zubeidaa. The accent in particular is overdone and her enactment feels more like a YouTube sketch than a performance in a Pakistani drama – and likewise, the same can be said for Taimoor Salahuddin’s (aka Mooroo) performance. He is playing the exact same role we have seen him playing on his own YouTube channel for ages. Still, out of all the Ramadan dramas, “Paristan” is a very breezy, light watch that does not require too much focus while still being thoroughly entertaining without any negative characters. A modern-day Cinderella story minus the trauma, this one is recommended.