The pilot episode of “Shehnai” aired with a bang, giving viewers two episodes back-to-back. “Shehnai” stars Affan Waheed and Ramsha Khan in lead roles, supported by a wonderful cast including names like Javed Sheikh, Behroze Sabzwari, Samina Ahmed, Saleem Mairaj, Javeria Abbasi, Nida Mumtaz, Salma Hassan, Zainab Qayyum, Sheheryar Zaidi, Arsalan Faisal, Marium Noor and many more. This drama has been directed by Ahmed Bhatti and written by Radian Shah. The premiere episode took off on a positive note, introducing viewers to Bakht and Meerab, our to-be bride and groom.
Meerab (Affan Waheed) comes through like a true knight in shining armor in episode 3. While the family confirms their wedding date, Meerab and Bakht (Ramsha Khan) are horrified, but go out together to “shop” – in reality, Meerab has lunch with Bakht and Hunain…and realizes immediately that Hunain is not who Bakht believes him to be. Mind you, there’s something very strange in how Hunain begs Meerab to take Bakht off his hands, making it clear that he’s just been using Bakht and now can’t get rid of her. If a man is this greedy, why can’t he simply say “I don’t want to marry you” and ghost her? What would she do? Regardless, the way Meerab worries for Bakht after this and recognizes how hurt she will be, left abandoned by both Hunain and Meerab if he breaks off the engagement is really sweet. But again, how exactly he will handle this situation now with attempting to remain engaged to Bakht while also pacifying Samreen will be the deciding factor as to how likable Meerab is. Affan Waheed has always been a favorite, though always given substandard roles. Here, he’s finally getting his chance to shine as the male lead in a light-hearted role and, so far, he’s doing a great job.
In a show that revolves around so many characters, there are many different angles emerging. The character of Bakht’s cousin (with the glasses) is emerging to be a promising one and the actress is very confident, along with Maryam Noor as Saima. The scene with Bakht’s cousin (have not managed to catch her name yet) speaking on the phone with her boyfriend came across as cute and humorous. On the other end, the level of family pettiness here is the sort that would be really uncomfortable and tedious to watch had it not be given the guise of “comedy.” Kifayat (Saleem Mairaj), Tooba (Salma Hassan) and Zainab Qayyum’s characters are very manipulative and the financial situation here doesn’t appear to be bad at all, rather these characters are simply greedy. The way Kifayat speaks to Meerab in an attempt to break off the wedding is terrible – but is yet another great moment for Meerab, who defends Bakht.
Overall, “Shehnai” is a show with an interesting concept. It does manage to give off feelings of déjà vu, being a blend of several shows of the past, but the presentation is fresh, as is the casting, which makes it engaging. So far, this is an entertaining show with some great characters and a fun feel (so far). With Bakht running away to get married next week (or so she thinks), let’s wait and watch to see how it unfolds.