THE WEEK THAT WAS

Raqeeb Se | Hum TV, Wednesdays 8.00pm

The unpredictability of the last episode left television audiences spellbound. As the sluggish story around the unconventional return of an ex-flame looking for help and shelter from a man who belongs to her past progressed, one connected to the realistic and unpretentious characters that the actors owned with power-packed performances. Bee Gul’s off-beat story directed by Kashif Nisar will be remembered for a long time to come, just the way one cannot forget a good book or a film. The audiences who are blamed for loving glamour, tacky sets, saazish on the sofa and saas-bahu shenanigans loved RS, reiterating yet again that beyond TRPs, our audiences are ripe and ready for way better content. YouTube this one for Faryal Mahmood, Hadiqa Kiani, Iqra Aziz, Saba Faisal and Sania Saeed in milestone performances.

Mohlat | Geo TV, Daily 9.00pm

Either step-families are trending or scripts got mysteriously mixed up or stolen, because this quarter is mostly about daily-running serials where Cinderellas are being mistreated by their real or step-families. Nawera (Komal Aziz) is the third consecutive daughter in her family, who is considered unlucky at birth. Hence her mother Zahida (Asma Abbas), sisters Maham (Kinza Hashmi in an over-the-top negative role) and Rida (Sabeena Farooq) are mean as hell to Nawera since her childhood, which doesn’t make any sense. Dawar (Sami Khan) is Maham’s love interest and vice-versa but he is strangely drawn to Nawera, out of sympathy for her, and later begins to discover that she is a nicer person than her sisters. Nawera likes Dawar because he is the only person who talks to her nicely. Even after the big flop that Zebaish was, real-life sisters Asma Abbas and Bushra Ansari appear together again as though they are a package deal. So far, Mohlat is nothing like the kind of stuff Samira Fazal has dished out to us previously in blockbusters such as Dastaan, Vasal and Khamoshiyan.

What To Watch Out For

Shehnai | ARY, Thursdays 9.00pm

As Shehnai continues to seamlessly entertain, it proves that Ahmed Bhatti is better at directing lively storylines (Ghisi Piti Mohabbat) than tragic ones (Kaisa Hai Naseeban). In this story around a big, fat wedding, writer Radain Shah has many clever surprises up his sleeve by having his main characters — the boy Meerab (Affan Khan), girl Bakht (Ramsha Khan), the boy’s ex Samreen (Maham Amir) and the girl’s ex Hunain (Hammad Shoaib) — say “yes” and “no” to each other, in turn, so that you never know if the wedding is on or off, and the twists and turns are deliciously unforeseeable and intriguing. Maham Amir, who made her debut in 2014 and was mostly known for playing a ghost in the 2018 horror play Saaya, has finally carved a niche for herself as the stylish, confident, polished and gutsy Samreen. Sadly, our talented female actors are usually wasted in sloshy tear contests.

Published in Dawn, ICON, June 6th, 2021

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