Do you ever watch a show and think “I really wish I could reach into the screen and give this character a good whack across the head”? This is not saying the character is a “bad” one necessarily (though sometimes they are), rather it’s their choices and behavior that cause the viewer to scream at their television screens. There seem to be a vast variety of such characters in Pakistani dramas at the moment, so let’s take a moment to discuss the most frustrating individuals on these blood-pressure raising shows.
“Fitrat” is a show that can be classified as a guilty pleasure. It’s a show that cannot be missed and one waits for excitedly despite the fact that it comes on every single day. The story is just that entertaining to watch. One could even call it an unexpected gem. But along with the entertainment quotient comes a slew of frustrating-beyond-belief characters.
Of course, there’s Faria, played convincingly by Saboor Aly, a woman who is void of a value system and thinks only about herself. This is a character who will do anything for money, but she also has a skewed idea of “love” and does not understand the concept of loyalty. She’s a character one loves to hate. There’s simply no telling how she’ll react to any given situation, which is what makes Faria fun to watch. But that doesn’t mean the good characters are any less frustrating.
On the flip side is Rafia, a character who is so good, she’s an angel. Her focus in life has always been school and her brother – and later, her mother. Her world revolves around being independent and so, despite all her life experience, she repeatedly makes blunder after blunder in simply protecting herself. Whether it be obsessing over a man she cannot have (her brother-in-law) or confiding in loved ones to take care of her own safety, Rafia is a piece of work. She may be “good,” but she’s also not particularly smart. But can we also take a moment to admire how beautiful Zubab Rana is?
Of course, this brings us to the dimmest character of them all – Arbaaz. Played by the much-loved Mirza Zain Baig, Arbaaz is a character who is so “saadha,” it’s mind-boggling! This man fell for Faria because he liked her “bold” and “straight-forward” nature. But at this point, her bold and straightforward nature is causing her to spew hatred towards him, insult his family, neglect her marriage, blow all his money and even hold hands with strange men in restaurants – all which Arbaaz has seen with his own eyes. So how much will it take for Arbaaz to recognize that his wife is simply a bad person? Even at present, she knowingly left her sister outside on the road to be attacked by Khalid simply because she didn’t want her in the house. What will it take, Arbaaz? What will it take?
And yet, all these characters are so entertaining and amusing to watch, it’s difficult to wait even 24 hours for a new episode – so due credit to the entire team!
There’s only one character in “Jalan” who makes the cut. This is an infuriating show that manages to evoke all sorts of feelings from the viewer – but there’s no character on this show that brings out the sort of anger that Nisha does. Played by Minal Khan, Nisha is a character that thinks only about herself. She’s a narcissistic character, but there’s so much more that’s wrong with her. She lacks empathy and emotion towards anyone and anything – even her family. She does not value the concept of marriage, rather thinks men are objects to be “won” simply because she wants them. They belong to her because she wants them to – this is how her mind works. And so, of course, she lives her life in a way where chaos follows her wherever she goes. Destruction is her middle name. At this point, one only wants to see Nisha get punished in the worst way, a way that doesn’t involve her losing her sense of sanity, because let’s be real – that would just be a cop-out.
Bandhay Ek Dour Se
Some shows start off with such promise, but slowly get dragged out to the point where viewers are left begging for the show to end and for something terrible to happen to certain characters. “Bandhay Ek Dour Se” has reached that point. This is a show with an incredible ensemble cast that is doing a brilliant job. Samina Ahmed, Madiha Rizvi, Saba Hameed, Saba Faisal, Saima Qureshi and others are all doing a brilliant job. But the main lead characters of the show have gone on a path where they have become anxiety-inducing.
Roshni, played by Hina Altaf, is the world’s most delusional, selfish woman. She’s a woman who made her own choice to leave her boyfriend, Umar, for another man. But when she was rejected by that same man, she came back expecting Umar to be waiting for her as her backup. Unfortunately, when she found that he was now married to her best friend, she refused to back down. Her “backup” would remain her backup. Roshni does not love Umar and makes it clear that she will leave him when she wants to leave him – not when he wants to leave her. In this ego, she is destroying her best friend’s life and Umar’s entire family in the process. If “toxic” had a face, it would be Roshni.
But if a married man continues pursuing his ex-girlfriend, is he any less toxic? Umar, played by Ahsan Khan, is a man who is married to his best friend and yet, he spends all his time mooning over “betraying” Roshni, not aware that she was cheating on him and pursing another man under his nose. In his depression, he mistreats his wife and openly cheats on Maheen with Roshni right under her nose. He also feels guilty and so, he expects Maheen to carry out all his dirty work for him, hiding behind Maheen as she takes the fall from the entire family. What sort of man is this? Is this a man who deserves a relationship? The only thing one is left wishing for Umar and Roshni is that they get married and spend the rest of their lives miserable together, living ostracized from their families and in dire conditions. That’s what they deserve.
Tumse Kehna Tha
Does it get more repulsive than a man who goes to propose for one sister and then, after spotting the younger sister, retracts his proposal and proposes for the younger one? Well, meet Faris, played by Azfar Rehman. There is no redemption for this character. He’s actually a horrible person. Infatuated with Rabi, he pursues her relentlessly, even visiting Yusra (the woman he rejected) at work, begging her to convince her younger sister to marry him. It’s actually pretty sick, particularly because he has seen Rabi outside holding hands with another man. Why does he think she doesn’t have other options? Rabi, on her part, has rejected him openly several times. This is harassment and the character of Faris is downright sick. It’s not clear yet if he’s supposed to be a “good guy” exactly, but that is what it appears to be. There isn’t anything good about Faris – except Afzar Rehman’s pretty face.
Mohabbat Tujhe Alvida
Ulfat and Shafaq, played by Sonya Hussyn and Mansha Pasha, are two ex-best friends now married to the same man. Recently my parents decided to catch an episode of the show and were confused. “Who is the good girl?” they asked curiously. I stared at them and then slowly replied “There isn’t a good girl on this show. They are both bad women.” This is the truth of “Mohabbat Tujhe Alvida.” While Ulfat was initially the “heroine,” married to the doting Shayaan, she decided to let her happy life go in exchange for money. And Shafaq decided to pay money to buy her best friend’s husband. Is there really any character here who could be described as “good”? Certainly not. And yet, Ulfat’s antics still continue to be entertaining, if only because they are so over-the-top and unbelievable.
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Last, but certainly not least, is our beloved Aayat, played by Zainab Shabbir. This is the perfect example of bad writing turning a once lovable and endearing character into a completely demented, looney basket case. Aayat receives the award for “worst sister” – yes, she is actually worse than Nisha (Jalan). Aayat believes every bad word about her sister, purposely bad-mouths her sister to other people, plots against her sister and, finally, even poisons her sister. Why? All for a man, a man who doesn’t even love her! There’s a limit to illogical lunacy in shows and Aayat has gone far beyond that point. She is absolutely detestable. There are some characters viewers love to hate – Aayat is not one that viewers love to hate. Viewers just hate Aayat. Zainab Shabbir will have to take another role like her role in Malaal-E-Yaar to make viewers forget about this one.
Frustrating or not, these characters do bring the viewer back for more week after week, particularly in the case of “Fitrat” – if you’re not watching this show already, you’re missing out on your new guilty pleasure!