THE WEEK THAT WAS
Habs | ARY, Tuesdays 8.00pm
Just when you think Pakistani dramas are sinking into mediocrity, along comes a wonderful surprise such as Habs, reminding us that even an old story can be fresh and compelling if told well.
Feroze Khan finally flips his usual intense persona to take on a more restrained, internalised character, Basit. Raised by a loving father (Javed Shaikh) but estranged from his mother, Sadia (Irsa Ghazal), Basit is a cold, disconnected personality who does not fit the usual raging misogynist mould. An intelligent, calm man, his childhood trauma manifests in his inability to trust or form emotional bonds.
Ayesha (Ushna Shah) is also missing a parent. With no father and four other women in the family, life has been a constant struggle, only made worse by her mother’s (Saba Faisal) abrasive and insecure nature.
Basit needs a wife to inherit his much-loved father’s legacy and Ayesha is desperate for quick but respectable employment so that her elder sister can finally get married. A marriage of convenience is in the air. Crisp scenes, taut, meaningful dialogues and some slick editing, reminiscent of classics such as Doraha and Daam make this a not-to-be-missed show. Full credit to Feroze Khan, Ushna Shah and director Musaddiq Malik for this good piece of work.
Mor Moharan | TVOne, Tuesdays 8.00pm
This much-heralded serial starts with a lecture about water scarcity in Cholistan before winding up in what looks like a photoshoot for a summer lawn campaign starring Soniya Hussyn (Roohi). Thankfully, the action switches back to drama mode, with some beautiful shots of Bahawalpur and its surroundings.
This show offers a much-needed break from the usual Lahore/Karachi-centric family dramas, and resists the usual “oppressed rural woman” stereotype by showing an empowered heroine with a liberal father supportive of her education. Sikander (Mustafa Changezi) is the returning scion of an elite family who has spent his life distanced from his mother (Samiya Mumtaz), with little connection to the culture or land. Zahid Ahmed completes the triangle as a powerful local landlord. Despite a patchy start, a powerful star cast including Firdous Jamal, Babar Ali and Samiya Mumtaz make this a good viewing option.
What To Watch Out For (Or Not)
Nehar | Hum TV, Mon-Tues 9.00pm
The first episode starts with the suspicious death of a young bride and her murderous in-laws planning an escape. Starring Saboor Aly, Usama Tahir and Areeba Habib, this show is a sad reminder that stories about dowry abuse never seem to become less relevant.
Published in Dawn, ICON, May 22nd, 2022