The promos for “Phaans” have been on-air for weeks now, as the show now fills the void left by “Mushk.” With an exciting cast and a fresh look, “Phaans” appears to be an intense story with many characters affected by the fall-out. The story has been written by Sameena Aijaz, directed by Syed Ahmad Kamran and stars Zara Noor Abbas, Shahzad Sheikh, Sami Khan, Yashma Gill and others in lead roles. So how does the first episode fare? Let’s discuss.
In episode one, we are introduced to Zeba (Zara Noor Abbas), her sister Farah and their mother Shakeela (Kinza Malik). Shakeela works as kitchen staff for a well-off family and while Farah appears to be following in her mother’s footsteps, Zeba is studious and wishes to elevate her status through education. And yet, while Zeba wants to improve her status, she does not wish for riches, unlike Farah who clearly wants to live a lavish life without working for it. Farah also has eyes for Zeba’s fiancé, Hashim – which is a turn off for the logical viewer. Haven’t we had enough of jealous sisters at this point? Hashim is certainly not a catch, a man who loves Zeba, but also seems to want to control her, a man who will put a stop to her education rather than support it.
When Shakeela’s boss (played by Arjumand Rahim) begins preparing for her daughter Hafsa’s (Yashma Gill) wedding festivities, she invites the girls to accompany their mother and stay at her home for the duration of the wedding. While Farah assists her mother, Zeba continues to study and becomes friendly with Saahil (Shahzad Sheikh), Siraj and Arjumand Rahim’s (Cannot remember this character name) son. While Siraj and Arjumand Rahim’s characters seem polished and well-adjusted at first, it’s behind closed doors that we discover their toxic marriage, one which includes Siraj’s roving eye and womanizing ways. It’s not made clear what’s going on with Saahil, but it’s implied that Saahil had a normal childhood until he became a target for Siraj’s anger and abuse. Saahil is doted on by his mother and two sisters and while he’s mistreated terribly by his father, the girls always come to his defense and protect him. Shahzad Sheikh’s character is endearing and Saahil’s bond with Zeba brings a smile to one’s face.
Of course, throughout the course of the wedding, Zeba also becomes friendly with Saim (Sami Khan), Hafsa’s groom, and this becomes an issue for Hafsa. While Saim states he admires Zeba for her intelligence and desire to rise above her circumstances, Hafsa’s family life doesn’t allow for that sort of trust. She has seen her father’s behavior and that has made its mark on her attitude towards marriage. While Hafsa may seem unlikable at first, it’s only when you delve into her psyche that she becomes an interesting character – and her bond with Saahil is very sweet. It’s clear she’s a good person at heart and Yashma Gill does a great job.
The show takes off with a “mega episode,” a full 60 minutes to set the stage for upcoming events. The first episode is surprisingly gripping, keeping a crisp pace, and laying out its cards to the point that the viewer has a strong idea of where the show will be headed from this point onwards. This is not a bad thing, but the show (as pointed out by a friend) seems to have taken inspiration from several different past Hum TV shows – Khamoshi, Pyar Ke Sadqay and Naqab Zun. Fortunately, this is not something that feels like a strike against it and one hopes the script has taken all the positives from each of these shows (and leaves out the negatives) and manages to create a great product. Zara Noor Abbas is likable in her role as a confident, independent-minded girl. “Phaans” is off to a good start!