“Meri Shehzadi” is a show that has been spoken about for a while due to its casting. While initially meant to star real-life couple Farhan Saeed and Urwa Hocane, the male lead went through many changes before finally settling on Ali Rehman Khan. And while the many changes in cast may have affected audience perception towards the show, the first episode proves that with such an ensemble cast, good things are to follow. Other than Urwa Hocane and Ali Rehman Khan, “Meri Shehzadi” also stars Atiqa Odho, Qavi Khan, Shamim Hilaly, Shabbir Jan, Nauman Masood, Najiba Faiz and others. The story has been written by Zanjabeel Asim Shah and directed by Qasim Ali Mureed.
In episode one, we are introduced to Dania (Urwa Hocane), a young girl raised by her grandparents, Safia (Shamim Hilaly) and Sanaullah (Qavi Khan) after her mother’s death. While Dania has had a happy upbringing, Safia is unable to forgive Dania’s father, Salahuddin (Nauman Masood), for remarrying and moving on in life. While one may think Safia is bitter over losing her daughter, it’s Salahuddin’s disregard for his responsibilities as a parent that are the trigger for Safia. Salahuddin is kind-hearted enough, but is easily controlled by his wife, who does not appreciate his past and seeks to keep him distant from both his late wife’s memories and his daughter. However, Dania’s entry into her father’s house is almost a foreshadowing of things to come when she meets Wali (Ali Rehman Khan). While Wali is kind to Dania, his mother gives Dania and her friend, Bisma, a telling off after they break a vase. Later, Safia calls Ayaz (Shabbir Jan) and gives him a politely biting lecture on how family members should be treated – at the exact moment that he’s having a heart attack.
The first episode sets the stage nicely for the storyline, making clear the state of relationships between these family members. It’s Qavi Khan, Shamim Hilaly and Shabbir Jan who make the greatest impact in this first episode. Shamim Hilaly and Qavi Khan are wonderful as Dania’s grandparents, two individuals who love and hate differently, but genuinely care for their granddaughter and her happiness. The scene between Shamim Hilaly and Shabbir Jan at the end of the episode is impactful and we can predict that Ayaz will make a recovery – but his heart attack will scare him into making amends for Dania. “Meri Shehzadi” has an old world charm about the presentation, the soundtrack and even the story. The first episode has won viewers over and we can only hope the episodes moving forward are as well executed as the first.