It would not be a stretch to call “Parizaad” an instant success. While the show may not be racking up the colossal number of views some (terrible) TRP churners are, Pakistani drama viewers have been singing the praises of this show for two weeks now, impressed not only by the acting, but also at the tight screenplay. The show stars Ahmed Ali Akbar, Ushna Shah, Nauman Ijaz, Urwa Hocane, Saboor Aly, Yumna Zaidi and others in prominent roles. The story has been written by Hashim Nadeem and directed by Shehzad Kashmiri.
Episode two focuses on the fall-out after Parizaad’s (Ahmed Ali Akbar) public humiliation. Naheed’s father (Mohammad Ahmed) is furious at Parizaad for “his actions” and the entire neighborhood is witness to the slap Parizaad receives, as well as the thrashing by his brothers, which gets very serious. Parizaad maintains his silence to protect Naheed’s reputation and takes the blame upon himself. It is nice to see that the women in Naheed’s family have taken notice of Parizaad’s nature and do question the legitimacy of the accusation. Other than Naheed’s sister and mother, Shauky also finds himself deeply troubled by Parizaad’s condition, unable to come to terms with his own conscience for allowing Parizaad to take the fall for him. Upon Shauky’s insistence that Naheed was not alone on the roof, Parizaad sets out to investigate and finds Naheed and Majid together. The two explain that they did not want Naheed’s father to turn away Majid’s proposal, so they allowed Parizaad to take the fall. Characters like Naheed and Majid may feel truly evil in the moment, but the reason it’s so upsetting to watch them is that one can almost relate to them as well. These are technically “pure souls,” good, like-minded people who have found each other – but their current actions have essentially wiped away that facade of being “good.” Shauky is one of those characters who comes across as very sleazy at first, but has somehow ended up being a kinder, more humane one than these two with fake faces. It’s Naheed’s final remark that drives in the final cut – a colorist remark about how no one doubted her innocence when Parizaad’s name was taken as no one would imagine Naheed taking an interest in Parizaad. This hurts Parizaad immensely and Ahmed Ali Akbar’s performance here is just brilliant as he conceals his insult and quickly walks away, wishing the two well like the kind-hearted soul he is.
Despite all the controversy surrounding Ahmed Ali Akbar’s casting and his darkened skin, it doesn’t take much to recognize exactly why he was chosen to play this role – his talent. Ahmed Ali Akbar has always been a reliable, dependable, incredibly talented – and incredibly underrated – actor. However, with “Parizaad,” he owns this role from the first moment he appears on screen. As an audience, we sympathize with this character, we root for him and we want his happiness. The character of Parizaad is so innocent, a man who minds his own business and respects others – not only does he protect Naheed’s reputation by taking the fall himself, but also continues to keep Shauky’s actions a secret. One can only hope this action will earn Parizaad a permanent friend in Shauky, because he certainly needs someone in his life to talk to. The actor playing Shauky also deserves a round of applause – his name is currently unknown, but that won’t remain the case for too long with his talent. Ushna Shah performs well too, though somehow the actress playing her sister makes more of an impact this time around.