“Parizaad” is a show that’s only growing stronger each week. This Hashim Nadeem story has pulled viewers in not only within Pakistan, but internationally, with its compelling story, wonderful cast and seamless direction (by the talented Shehzad Kashmiri). Starring Ahmed Ali Akbar, Ushna Shah, Saboor Aly, Urwa Hocane, Nauman Ijaz and Yumna Zaidi, the supporting cast also includes brilliant names like Adnan Shah Tipu, Paras Masroor, Madiha Rizvi, Raza Ali Abid and others. Telling the story of a darker-skinned man, “Parizaad” tells the tale of his struggles within Pakistani society.
There’s so much to be said about each episode of “Parizaad,” while also essentially leaving the viewer without words. This is a story that is seemingly so simple and yet, the way it is presented leaves the audience spellbound while watching. In episode 3, we see Parizaad (Ahmed Ali Akbar) struggling with the insult hurled his way by Naheed (Ushna Shah), the woman he loved. While it’s in her right to choose a partner of her choice, her colorist remark has genuinely wounded Parizaad and leaves him contemplating suicide – when Nasaaz (Adeel Afzal) stops him and uses his gift of words to divert his attention. Nasaaz is a poet, an inattentive student who fails each year, but is gifted in the world of heartbreak and how to channel it into art. He becomes a mentor of sorts for Parizaad, teaching him how to use his own pain and create poetry from it. The quick bond between Parizaad and Nasaaz leaves an impression and it’s clear to see that all Parizaad really has ever wanted is for someone to understand him – and now he has found that. Of course, Parizaad’s relationship with Shauky (Raza Ali Abid) continues to warm the heart as Shauky’s guilt will not leave him. Parizaad asks Shauky to remain silent for his sake and keep Naheed’s secret, which leaves Shauky feeing indebted to Parizaad. Will Parizaad take Shauky up on his promise later in life when he finds himself in trouble?
There’s a tragic parallel where Saeeda’s wedding to the much older Saleem is taking place at the same time as Majid and Naheed’s wedding. Majid and Naheed’s happiness at their union is in stark contrast to the grief both Saeeda and Parizaad have endured at their hands. While it’s never clear if Majid led Saeeda on, Parizaad’s grief endures due to the stripping of his reputation. Still, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s heartwarming to see Saleem’s encouragement of Saeeda’s education. Will Saleem end up being an ideal spouse for Saeeda after all?
There’s an extraordinary quality about “Parizaad” in that it’s a story that feels real and down-to-earth while being poetic in nature at the same time. There’s something larger-than-life majestic about it while telling a story about individuals from modest backgrounds. Ahmed Ali Akbar is absolutely brilliant as Parizaad. He has made this character immediately lovable and he makes the audience forget all his past performances, “becoming” Parizaad. It also must be said that the supporting cast is really forcing the audience to sit up and take notice. While Raza Ali Abid has been gaining appreciation from all corners for his performance as Shauky for the first three episodes, Adeel Afzal (of Mangobaaz fame) leaves the audience surprised this week with his nuanced, rough yet sensitive portrayal as Nasaaz. As viewers with a desire for strong content and performers, we should take a moment to applaud these talented young men. We look forward to seeing more of both these actors. There appears to be much more in store for Parizaad now that he’s in Nasaaz’s company. And while it appears as though Parizaad is working hard to move on from Naheed, it does not seem to be in Naheed’s fate to be let off so easily for maligning the reputation of another. Will Naheed and Majid face the consequences of their actions?