“Parizaad’ is a show that arrived with a lot of anticipation – and is, so far, managing to live up to expectations. Starring Ahmed Ali Akbar, Ushna Shah, Adeel Afzal, Yumna Zaidi, Nauman Ijaz, Urwa Hocane and many others in lead roles, “Parizaad” has been written by Hashim Nadeem and directed by Shehzad Kashmiri. The story follows the journey of a young man who is deemed unattractive by society and how he makes his way through life.
In episode 4, Parizaad (Ahmed Ali Akbar) and Na Saaz’s (Adeel Afzal) friendship continues to grow. This is a beautiful friendship in which both seem to genuinely care for each other, a friendship without any strings attached. It’s great to see a “bromance” like this on-screen after quite some time.
While visiting Na Saaz, Parizaad has an encounter with Bubbly (Saboor Aly). Bubbly is the daughter of Na Saaz’s landlord and is an interestingly written character. As Na Saaz explains to Parizaad, Bubbly was expected to be a boy and so, she was raised as a boy through much of her childhood – and never grew out of it. “Parizaad” has been a brilliant show since its first episode, but Saboor Aly’s performance as Bubbly has added an interesting dynamic to the narrative. Bubbly is a character that can be interpreted in many different ways – first, she stands for the expectations that society holds for women. Girls are expected to behave in a certain way and anything different is seen as abnormal. One can also look at the story from a different angle, that of a young woman who is confused about her identity – and wishes to be of the opposite gender. This is something that has not (or perhaps has been, but rarely) been discussed on-screen and even here, it’s more of a beat-around-the-bush sort of discussion. Bubbly is seen telling Parizaad that she has fought with her mother to make her a boy and while one could simply interpret this as Bubbly wanting to live life as she wishes, there does appear to be a deeper statement being made there. This is what makes Parizaad and Bubbly’s newfound bond intriguing – it’s sweet to see these two individuals who are negatively perceived by society’s standards coming together to form a friendship. Saboor Aly’s performance in the latter part of the episode when Bubbly’s proposal arrives leaves an impact, revealing the pain underneath Bubbly’s rough exterior. With Bubbly’s plan to recruit Parizaad to pretend to like her, will this be yet another relationship that will cause Parizaad grief in the long run?
There are side-stories running parallel here. We do see Naheen (Ushna Shah) and Majid leaving for Karachi for Majid’s job. These two have gotten off Scott-free with their reputations, leaving Parizaad to clean his own. And yet, it’s heartwarming and heartbreaking to see how Parizaad bids farewell to the two with respect and doesn’t, even for a moment, show the pain he is still struggling with. We also see that Sayeeda has built a happy life for herself with her husband, Saleem, and mother-in-law. However, her scheming sisters-in-law have arrived to create trouble for her and put a stop to her education. What’s wonderful here is how Saleem picks up on exactly what happened. As great as a husband as Saleem is, will he be able to protect Sayeeda now that he has been arrested for selling “bad” face cream?
This show belongs to Ahmed Ali Akbar and it’s Ahmed Ali Akbar who is carrying on his shoulders. Parizaad is such an endearing character and Ahmed is playing him with a sincerity that makes the viewer want to hug him, root for him and tell him that he is worthy of love. Na Muraad’s words about making people forget his appearance by making them pay attention to his identity touch the heart and Adeel Afzal is doing a wonderful job in this role. He is a natural! Overall, “Parizaad” is quality viewing. These are the shows that register with viewers and leave a lasting impact.