“Parizaad” has been on the receiving end of praise from both audiences and critics alike. A show centered around the problems and discrimination faced in society by a young man with darker skin, “Parizaad” has been winning hearts all around. Starring Ahmed Ali Akbar, Yumna Zaidi, Ushna Shah, Saboor Aly, Nauman Ejaz, Urwa Hocane and many others, the story has been written by Hashim Nadeem Khan and directed by Shehzad Kashmiri. “Parizaad” is already being hailed a present-day masterpiece.
And while “Parizaad” continues to ride a wave of success and praise, this track and episode are not entirely flawless. If anything, for the first time since the pilot episode, it feels as though a subject taken on has been more than Hashim Nadeem and Shehzad Kashmiri were able to handle. In episode 15, Bubbly (Saboor Aly) comes face-to-face with her parents once again when Parizaad (Ahmed Ali Akbar) brings them to meet her. This reunion is bittersweet, but ends with Bubbly agreeing to go back home while her parents agree to accept her “lifestyle choices.” But what does that really entail? These are big words and the audience understood why Bubbly chose to run away from home – her family and her identity clashed with one another. So how could her conservative parents even begin to understand her life and how to approach it? This was the reason she ran away to begin with.
There’s also an indigestible moment where Ustani Ji (Salma Hassan) blames herself for Bubbly’s “condition,” stating bad parenting as the reason for their predicament. This is not only a stretch, but also mildly insulting to the transgender community. Parenting is not what gives birth to those who are part of the transgender community or are grappling with gender identity. This is a path that needed to be treaded carefully and this is the point where the show’s footing slips a bit. Still, Saboor Aly’s performance has been wonderful throughout and to be quite honest, it was a brave move for a mainstream actress to take on such a role. But not only has Saboor won hearts as Bubbly, she has also cemented her place as an actress. Of course, both Salma Hassan and Rashid Farooqi have been wonderful as Shaista and Shabbir, Bubbly’s parents. But the performance that stands out the most in this episode is Asad Mumtaz Malik’s as Guru. While watching Bubbly and her parents embrace, Guru’s eyes fill with tears. It’s a simple moment, but so meaningful. Guru himself never attained the acceptance of his family, discarded and left to fend for himself in a world that preyed upon individuals like him. For Guru, this is a win for those like him and his tears shed freely, both in happiness for Bubbly and in misery for himself. The role of Guru is one that has made a strong impact and, as has been said before, it’s these supporting roles that have been winning viewers over.
While there’s no doubt that Nauman Ejaz is a fabulous actor, the track with Laila’s (Urwa Hocane) disappearance and Behroze (Nauman Ejaz) trying to evade the police has become tiresome. Badar Munir (Nadia Afgan) is a strong woman, a wonderful character, but in this game of cat and mouse, she is being portrayed as the “villain.” Do we want Behroze to get away with his crimes? No. But Parizaad does – which is another thing that does not make sense. Parizaad was friendly with Laila and had a better relationship with her than Behroze. Parizaad has been brought into the dark side of the world, sure, but while he’s fiercely loyal to his friends – why would he be so loyal to Behroze? And what did Parizaad think he was going to do anyway by rushing to Behroze’s side? He has been a hindrance more than anything, now caught by the police and being beaten black and blue in hopes of extracting a confession. As a viewer, I find myself wholeheartedly rooting for Badar Munir, hoping Parizaad cracks under pressure and outs Behroze and the man winds up behind bars. Is that how we are supposed to feel?
Overall, “Parizaad” continues to be a great show, one with an interesting storyline and stellar characters. And yet, this episode in particular felt less-than-perfect, if only because it seemed to fall into some loopy writing. Also, can the Behroze storyline wrap up now? It has been dragged out for too long without any reason. Ahmed Ali Akbar is wonderful week after week as Parizaad, a man with a heart of gold who is forever loyal to those around him. This has been a career-changing role for Ahmed and he has surpassed expectations. Now with Yumna Zaidi’s character set to make an appearance soon, the audience is left wondering what role she will have to play in Parizaad’s life