“Parizaad” has been a journey, the journey of a man who faced hardships throughout his life from childhood to adulthood due to his appearance, his shy nature and his socioeconomic circumstances. The reason Parizaad, as a character, managed to connect to so many viewers was not only due to Ahmed Ali Akbar’s extraordinary performance, but also because audiences were able to connect with Parizaad in different ways. He has been a relatable character, whether it be his inability to express himself at the right time, being taken advantage of or his insecurities and flaws. Starring Ahmed Ali Akbar, Yumna Zaidi, Mashal Khan, Nauman Ejaz, Urwa Hocane, Saboor Ali, Ushna Shah and many others, the story has been written by Hashim Nadeem Khan and directed by Shehzad Kashmiri.
In the finale, the audience is treated to a 37-minute recap of the show up until now, followed by a 37 minute finale. In that finale, we see how Parizaad (Ahmed Ali Akbar) is now thriving in this small hill station town where he has happily taken over the responsibility of teaching (in Urdu) to the young population there. When his star student comes first in his division, it becomes a source of national pride and Annie (Yumna Zaidi) and Sharjeel (Fahad Mirza) arrive. The finale is essentially comprised of two major sequences, the first being Parizaad’s encounter with Sharjeel. Parizaad asks Sharjeel to remain quiet when he questions Parizaad’s disappearance. This moment truly shows what a great guy Sharjeel is. While he may have been seen as a third wheel, a man who disrupted Parizaad’s love life, he is gracious with his praise of Parizaad, while also perplexed at how Parizaad simply walked away from Annie’s love. This is a clean-hearted man who certainly harbored feelings for Annie, but never acted upon them without her consent and remained a true friend. Fahad Mirza has portrayed this role with sincerity and a likability.
The second sequence focuses on Annie and Parizaad’s reunion. This “moment” is essentially half the episode and it is everything the audience could have wanted in a reunion. Annie recognizes Parizaad from his voice when he speaks at the award ceremony for his students and she is shocked to discover “Ahmed” is Parizaad. The two share a beautiful, heartfelt “confrontation” of sorts when Annie realizes Parizaad does love her, but his faith in love is so broken that he cannot fulfill her desires at this moment. Her reaction and determination to win his trust not only wins Parizaad over, but also the audience. This is reality – we cannot move past our insecurities right away and Annie understands this, especially after realizing the extent to which Parizaad felt jealousy towards Sharjeel. And yet, she stands firmly by Parizaad’s side, choosing to work with him towards bettering the education system in this small valley and being his faithful companion until he decides to make it something more.
This is such a beautiful scene that ties up all loose ends and encompasses everything about “Parizaad” that has worked for it from start to finish – simplicity, emphasis on dialogues and exchange of conversation and beautiful cinematography true to Pakistan’s landscape. Yumna Zaidi and Ahmed Ali Akbar prove, once again, why they are one of Pakistani television’s most beloved couples. Their chemistry is wonderful, as always and their characters have found a place in the hearts of the audience. Parizaad, in particular, has been one of the most lovable, down to earth characters we’ve seen in Pakistani dramas in a while. He is a character that we can empathize with, understand and even relate to. This is Ahmed Ali Akbar’s best role to date (and he has many) and cements his place as one of our best actors. Overall, “Parizaad” has been the journey of a common man, the underdog, and the team has taken viewers on this journey that has left us hooked from start to finish. It’s rare that a show maintains the same level of quality from beginning to end, but “Parizaad” has accomplished this and the entire crew deserves a round of applause. “Parizaad” will go down as a classic – and will be missed dearly.