THE WEEK THAT WAS
Yaar Na Bichhrray | Hum TV, Mon-Thurs 9.00pm
For the first time since his debut in Dillagi (2016), emerging star Mirza Zain Baig appears in an appealing new avatar sporting a swag, a heavy moustache and a chest-baring open collar as the macho Aazar. The first episode bagged one million views on YouTube. Aazar falls for Palwasha (Zainab Shabbir) at first sight but she hates him for being a thug. Saving Palwasha from Bashiruddin (Adnan Shah Tipu), who was buying Palwasha from her slimy father Zafar (Noor-ul-Hassan) for his son Sami (Hamaad Farooqi), Aazar buys her and marries her. Bad boy meets good girl and becomes a good boy, but Palwasha has to deal with nasty in-laws. Zainab Shabbir either weeps or mopes, Hamaad Farooqi shines in his negative role but Aazar is a four-days-a-week treat for Zain Baig fans.
Neeli Zinda Hai | ARY, Thursdays 8.00pm
Horror is a slowly but steadily developing genre on TV and the latest offering, directed by Qasim Ali Mureed and written by Adeel Razaq, is way better than previous attempts at the scary stuff. Getting away from his obsessive mother Mehrbano (Kinza Malik), Amaan (Mohib Mirza), his wife Sumbul (Sonia Mishal) and their mute daughter Minal (Tehreem) move into what they don’t realise is a haunted house. The new house with a piano is mysteriously well-decorated and well-kept. Flickering lights, a doll, a missing man, broken glasses, doors opening and shutting, creepy paintings, a mute child smiling into space in the middle of the night, and Neeli (Urwa Hocane), a blue-lensed ghost staring into your soul, set a pretty eerie tone. Mehrbano doesn’t like Sumbul and Minal, so she indulges in black magic and encounters the paranormal. Sumbul gets slapped by Neeli, who probably has a story for being in this house and being fond of Minal. Little Tehreem is amazing with expressions. NZH is not for the faint-hearted but exciting for those who love goosebumps.
What To Watch Out For
Aakhir Kab Tak Hum | TV, Sundays 8.00pm
Threatening to upload some inappropriate videos of his student/ previous victim Bushra (Sara Asim) on social media, predator teacher Sir Zafar (Azfar Rehman) coerces her to bring the new timid, and nervous student Fajar (Srha Asghar) to him. As the clueless Fajar trustingly accompanies her newly-made friend Bushra to a strange, vacant building that is supposedly a tuition centre, she falls into Zafar’s ruthless trap. Prior to the rape, Zafar had rapidly made inroads into Fajar’s heart by being nice to her, and making her feel confident about herself. Fajar’s shock and trauma is misconstrued as depression by her family and her wedding is being planned. Things start coming to light when her outspoken sister Noor (Ushna Shah) decides to tell Zafar about her sister’s unfortunate incident. Sunday nights get tense with this gripping story by Radain Shah.
Published in Dawn, ICON, June 13th, 2021