As new shows continue to premiere on Green Entertainment, the channel lives up to its statement of bringing fresh ideas to Pakistani television. Following an amateur stand up comedian and an amateur rapper, “Standup Girl” follows the journey of struggling artists to success – and the families behind them. Starring Schail Ahmed, Zara Noor Abbas, Daniyal Zafar, Adnan Shah Tipu, Saba Faisal, Saqib Sameer, Jamkinat, Saad Azhar and others, the story has been written by Awais, Ahmed and Adeel Afzal and directed by Kashif Nisar.
Episode 6 basically highlights a generation gap with the younger generation unable to get on board with the ideas of the older generation – and vice versa. While Zara (Zara Noor Abbas) shared her thoughts on the lack of privacy, her grandfather (Sohail Ahmed) and the entire family attempt to follow her wishes. Unfortunately, their attempts to make Zara happy backfire with Zara only feeling more irritated by their silence each time she enters a room. On the other hand, Kabir (Daniyal Zafar) has been “kidnapped” by his father’s men and brought back home. It’s immediately apparent that Kabir’s family does not support his decision to leave the comforts of his home to pursue a career as a rap artist, which is why he does not live at home.
If there’s a point in “Standup Girl” where one can pinpoint a flaw, it’s in Zara’s behavior. Yes, the overall demeanor of those in Zara’s now family is incredibly over the top and downright irritating, especially for a young woman who has been raised in a quiet home by her mother single-handedly. She is obviously not accustomed to this sort of interference – and that’s realistic. However, the way Zara Noor Abbas is playing this role – it’s a bit overdone. It almost feels as though Zara should have been a character raised abroad by her single mother and then this scenario would have made more sense. While seclusion and lack of a joint family will make anyone feel oppressed by the sudden intrusion of so many family members – that too, loud ones -, Zara is behaving as though she simply doesn’t understand Pakistani culture. From basic respect for elders to eating Pakistani food, Zara’s reactions are not the most enjoyable or understandable part of “Standup Girl.” It’s not just restricted to Zara though. Even Kabir’s behavior towards his family, who seem loving enough, is incredibly hostile – Kabir hasn’t simply moved out, but does not even speak to his parents. We can hope that this improves moving forward with the leads feeling a little more……root worthy.
Still, there’s a lot to enjoy in “Standup Girl.” The differences between Zara and Kabir’s families and their group discussions are vastly different. While Zara’s home life at present is pure chaos, Kabir comes from a family where politics and history are discussed at mealtimes. Saba Faisal and Usman Peerzada make their presence felt as Kabir’s parents while Sohail Ahmed shines in each and every scene as Zara’s grandfather. There’s a moment where Zara asks for the entire family to simply pretend as though she doesn’t exist and Sohail Ahmed’s expressions in that scene are just applaud-worthy. The way he’s playing this loving, supportive grandfather who is simply trying to do right by his granddaughter – and daughter -, but failing to win her approval……it’s hearbreaking. He’s also painfully aware of Zara’s embarrassment at being seen with her family. Admidst the humor is a lot of vulnerability and tragedy, which has yet to be explored. “Standup Girl” is taking its time picking up speed, but it’s the perfect blend of a serious story and mindless comedy with some really great performances – specifically from the supporting cast.