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TV plays to watch this season

Television is home to more than just misogynist commercials; it’s a place where one can find several interesting stories worth noting. Instep takes a look

TV plays to watch this season
Based on Samra Bukhari’s novel Hasti Ke Ahang, Gul-e-Rana centers on the hate-fueled relationship between its protagonists, played by Sajjal Ali and Feroze Khan. Pakeezah, on the other hand, marks the return of Hamza Ali Abbasi to the small screen.

Though the number of films we make each year is small and growing gradually, there is a long list of TV plays that continue to entertain audiences in and across Pakistan as well as across the border. This year is no exception as there are several plays currently on-air as well as in the pipeline that command our collective attention because of their strong messages.

Then there is the added bonus of several high profile stars returning to the small screen. Names like Hamza Ali Abbasi and Aamina Sheikh, who were missed last year, are set to sizzle on the small screen with their upcoming projects. Instep takes a closer look…

Gul-e-Rana

Based on Samra Bukhari’s novel Hasti Ke Ahang and directed by Farooq Rind, Gul-e-Rana stars Sajjal Ali as Gul-e-Rana and Feroze Khan as Adeel in lead roles, with Mehmood Akhtar, Rubina Ashraf, Sudas Tariq and others featuring as supporting characters.

The play centers upon Gul-e-Rana and Adeel whose on-screen chemistry is evident even in their hate-fueled relationship that is spiced up by themes of anger, frustration and revenge.

Sajjal Ali and Feroze Khan were last seen together in Chup Raho, a play that topped the rating chart of TV plays this past year.

As the play begins, we learn that Gul-e-Rana’s father has passed away and the family moves to her uncle’s house. Adeel, her uncle’s only son, is a borderline narcissist who objectifies women and is an obnoxious flirt. Unlike other girls who spend time with him constantly and wish to marry him, Gul-e-Rana maintains a considerable distance from Adeel. In turn, he creates a situation where she is forced to marry him.

From here the story is a battle of egos as the two protagonists create trouble for each other and embarrass each other for greater glory in front of their families.

Whether Adeel changes for Gul-e-Rana or continues to torture her remains to be seen. Only time will tell if Gul-e-Rana can rid herself from this relationship with Adeel or alternatively fall in love with him. These and many other questions will hopefully get answered as the play proceeds.

Tere Baghair

Starring Hareem Farooq and Azfar Rehman as a blissful married couple, Tere Baghair is based on the story of a woman Rabia (Hareem) who is left isolated when her husband Salman (Azfar) is unexpectedly shot and lands in a coma.

Prior to this incident, things were going well for this couple. A loving family is transformed by a violent reality. Relationships distort and diminish as Rabia is dealt a hard blow and is forced to shift homes. Constantly attacked by her remaining relatives who allow her to stay in their home, Rabia eventually moves out and takes the kids with her

Directed by Owais Khan, the play also features Farhan Ali Agha and Saleem Sheikh as Rabia’s brothers and Shamil Khan as her brother-in-law.

While initially the play may comes across as regressive by endorsing the idea of a society where a woman is unable to progress without the support of a male counterpart, it changes tack and the story evolves in a positive manner.

Not only does it paint an accurate picture of Rabia’s struggles and how she confronts it, it also evolves when Rabia fights back against atrocities and files a case against her brothers for denying her a share of their property.

One hopes that as the play moves forward, it presents women as empowered and strong beings, not just as the proverbial damsel in distress.

Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai

Written by Nusrat Jabeen, Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai features Sabreen Isbahani, Anwar Iqbal, Meera Sethi, Areesha Razi, and several others in key roles and is directed by Shahood Alvi, who is also playing the male lead.

It tells the story of a happy family, a couple with two daughters, whose lives undergo a radical change when the father falls in love with someone other than his wife.

The man in question, as it turns out, is not really happy and calls his marriage a convenient compromise while reiterating the idea that he wants to marry the other woman. His wife, Shazma, is torn apart as her only priority has been her family. As the couple head veer towards divorce, Shazma adapts to the changing reality and turns the breadwinner for her family.  Shazma’s courage in the face of a daunting reality is a positive depiction.

That said, the other woman is a liberal, working woman and comes across as a terrible cliché that is not only done to death but one that reeks of devolution, not progression.

Mann Mayal

Mann Mayal marks the comeback of Hamza Ali Abbasi to the small screen after Pyare Afzal.

Directed by Haseeb Hasan, whose last project Diyar-e-Dil was an enormous hit, Mann Mayal brings together Hamza Ali Abbasi and Gohar Rasheed for the first time. What is even more exciting is the fact that the play stars Maya Ali of Diyar-e-Dil fame as well as Aisha Khan in pivotal roles.

The writer of the play Sameera Fazal, while talking to HIP, revealed that it is the story of eternal love – a man’s true love for a woman. She also said that the play doesn’t involve any doosri shadi, extra-marital affairs, or sister rivalries.

Hamza, who is still remembered for his role in Pyare Afzal, plays the role of Salahuddin in Mann Mayal who looks like a serious but decent guy.

Talking to HIP, he shared, “I have done this serial after giving a hit film because I don’t want to leave television and it is my moral commitment to myself to do one serial a year. Other than this, the story is not a typical saazishi aurto wali kahani and has room for me to come out as a better actor.”

The supporting characters are played by veteran actors like Atiqa Odho and Javed Sheikh among others. Based on 24 episodes, Mann Mayal is shot in Hyderabad and Karachi and is slated to hit TV screens by the end of this month.

Pakeezah

Directed by Misbah Khalid, Pakeezah is produced by Moomal Shunaid and is scripted by Bushra Ansari and features Aamina Sheikh, Adnan Siddiqui and Alyy Khan in lead roles. Pakeezah brings Aamina back to small screen after a gap of almost one year. She was last seen in Mehreen Jabbar’s Jackson Heights in the role of a domestically-abused wife.

Aamina will be seen as a painter in the play. Revealing her role to Instep in a quick conversation recently, Aamina revealed: “She is an artist, she is married. There is love, tragedy and lots of drama.”

The play tells the story of a married female artist, which is not that common on television. Through the trailer, one learns that this is an intense story and the artist is in a state of despair as she struggles between her passion and her relationship with her husband (played by Alyy Khan).

Pakeezah is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2016.

Buraq Shabbir

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