Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Best Dramas of 2015

As always, I'm late with this post like all others.  In all honesty, the delayed appearance of this post had a solid reason behind it and was not due to my usual laziness.  The true reason for the delay was simply this:  It's difficult to compile a list of 10 solid dramas for a "Best Dramas of 2015" list when there were NOT 10 solid dramas in 2015.  That's the reason.  2015 had 5 fabulous dramas that I would wholeheartedly recommend, but the remaining five were sprinkled with shows that were all flawed in one way or another and I just didn't feel like they were "recommend-worthy."  2015 was seriously lacking in the "artsy" dramas, the "Bunty I Love You," "Pehchaan" and "Talkhiyan" type of shows that pulled at your heart-strings and left a lasting impact.  Therefore.....I spent the last few months binge-watching dramas that I may have missed or overlooked throughout the year to compile a thorough list.  I caught up with shows like Khuda Dekh Raha Hai (terrible), Khilona (OTT), etc.  In the end, I'm still only left with 5 quality shows for 2015.  So it is what it is and this is my list.

1) Jackson Heights

Jackson Heights is a show that I held in extremely high regard from start to finish.  There was never a moment that I lost interest or felt as though the slow were becoming repetitive/sluggish.  Most importantly, Jackson Heights did not, even for one moment, falter on quality.  The star cast comprised of some of the biggest names on Pakistani television, which made it instantly a draw, but also had Vasay Chaudhry and Mehreen Jabbar at the helm, ensuring that the show would be well-written with a solid storyline....and viewers were not disappointed.

Jackson Heights steered in the opposite direction of what we generally see on television, love stories overtaken by meddling mother-in-laws, nagging mothers, saas-bahu ke jhagray, kaala jaadu, etc.  Rather, Jackson Heights focused on the plight of Pakistani immigrants in New York City, working in the Jackson Heights area.  Each story was handled so sensitively and so naturally that the viewer felt a connection with almost every character. 

We were introduced to the world of Jamshed (Adeel), greedy, crooked and almost heartless in his quest for American citizenship, yet pushed by the lack of love and support from his extended family (barring his grandmother).  We meet Bhatti Sahab (Noman Ejaz), a man driven to work and earn for his family back home, going so far as to marry an American woman with children to get his green-card.  He is a man straddling two worlds, earning for his mother back home, yet unable to be with her due to his visa issues - and our hearts hurt for him.  We meet Salma (Aamina Sheikh), an independent woman on the outside, a battered woman at home, pushing her way through her grim life solely for her daughter.  We meet Sikandar (Ali Kazmi), a convinct and a terrible husband, but a victim of circumstances which force him to take a hard look at his life and his wayward ways.  We meet Michelle (Marina Khan), a woman burned by life, committed to now living life on her terms and away from social norms....yet still desiring and yearning for love, even when it comes from a strange option.  We meet Rizwan (Adnan Jaffar), a gem of a human being, but in love with a woman who considers him her best friend and has put him in the dreaded "friendzone."  In each of these charaters, we feel we've found a friend, a person who we'd like to put our hands on their shoulders and say "It'll be OK."  In this drama, we found real, realistic, human beings who could be out there.  People who walk beside us on the streets, going through their own problems quietly and trying to assimilate.

Jackson Heights was a beautiful show, a 10/10 and that's what makes it the #1 best show of 2015, in my opinion.

2) Diyar-E-Dil

Sky-high expectations.  Diyar-e-Dil was a show that created buzz from the moment that it was announced.  With a star-cast to die for, a great creative and directorial team, impressive locations/sets, an incredible OST,  and what promised to be a heart-felt family saga, this show created expectations for even the most occasional drama viewer.  Did it meet expecations?  YES.

Diyar-E-Dil was a story that was told in two parts:  Generation #1 and Generation #2.  The story of the first generation focused on two brothers, Sohail (Ali Rehman Khan) and Behroze (Mekaal Zulfiqar).  Behroze makes the epic mistake of falling in love with Ruhina (Sanam Saeed) despite being engaged to his cousin Arjumand (Hareem Farooqi).  Behroze fails to recognize the reaction Agha Jaan (Abid Ali), his father, will have and is thereby disowned, which has a domino effect with Suhaib and Arjumand being thrown together in marriage.  This rift between Agha Jaan and Behroze greatly impacts each and every person involved.

Cut to generation #2, the story shifts focus to Wali (Osmaan Khalid Butt) and Farah (Maya Ali), the two children of the estranged brothers.  How their lives are impacted by the rift between their families forms the true crux of the show.

What made Diyar-E-Dil so beautiful was actually in the acting. Here, the credit goes not only to the cast, but the director and writer, who created some truly great characters. Their reactions, no matter how outlandish, are so understandable that you feel as though Suhaib could be your brother, Agha Jaan your father, Farah your cousin and so on.  Even Ruhina, essentially the most-hated character on the show, had solid reasons for behaving the way she did.  While we found ourselves pulling our hair out and wanting to slap her 75% of the time, putting ourselves in her shoes, you almost understand where she's coming from and why she acts so insanely.

Leaps are usually a very tricky thing to pull off in Pakistani dramas when you suddenly see a Sanam Saeed playing mother to a Maya Ali (women essentially the same age).  However, this is where Diyar-E-Dil excelled.  Not for one moment did things seem awkward or unnatural, nor did I feel the need to laugh at Wali and Suhaib's scenes together as father-son (again, two men of the same age).  The entire cast did a phenomenal job in this show, with each and every actor contributing to the beauty Diyar-E-Dil had to offer.  Special mention needs to be given to Abid Ali, who played the patriarch Agha Jaan with the utmost conviction and gave him a lovable quality despite his stern demeanor.

Diyar-E-Dil is such a show that if you haven't seen it, you are genuinely missing out.  This show is a family drama in every way. one that the entire family can sit and enjoy together.  It's over the top at times, but still mesmerizing.

3) Sadqay Tumhare

This show marked Mahira Khan's return to television after a long gap.  In a love story that was advertised as star-crossed, almost Heer-Ranjha-esque, Sadqay Tumhare was awaited by drama lovers with baited breath.  Marking the acting debut of Adnan Malik and written by Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar, the show came with great expectations.  The expectations were only increased when Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar declared that the story was based on his real life.

Sadqay Tumhare told the story of Khalil (Adnan Malik) and Rukhsana (Mahira Khan), two cousins engaged since childhood.  While Shano's love for Khalil was pure and innocent, a part of her very existence, Khalil's love grew gradually.  The two lovers, however, faced great odds and opposition from Shano's parents.  This formed the basic premise of the show, with the opposition becoming murkier and murkier.  

Slowly the fandom of this show began questioning what the show was promoting - torrid affairs against the wishes of parents?  I don't know. Personally, I saw Sadqay Tumhare as a story of true, pure love that fought against resistance and societal norms; ultimately finding that parental approval does matter and some love stories are simply not meant to be.  I fell in love with Khalil and Rukhsana, hurt with them and fell into despair for days afterwards.  But you know what?  Sadqay Tumhare was based on Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar's real love story and it really hit home that this is real life.  That is simply how things do happen in the world and that's what made the story so beautiful.  

Mahira Khan and Adnan Malik brought their characters to life and gave us a pairing/love story worth remembering.  People may have different views on this drama, but I found it to be absolutely beautiful.

4) Alvida

2015 was Imran Abbas' year.  After missing from Pakistani television for a while, he came back with not only one, but two great shows.  While Mera Naam Yousef Hai relied on poetic dialogues and simplicity, Alvida is a fast-paced, can't-miss-an-episode sort of show with complex, conniving and unstable characters.  

Alvida told the love story of two cousins, Hayaa (Sanam Jung) and Hadi (Imran Abbas) - but this love story is so complex, even Hadi isn't aware of it.  The twists and turns in this show are what set it apart, presenting viewers with a thoroughly exciting drama after a long time (present day Maat?).  

The entire cast contributes to the success of this show, namely Sanam and Imran.  But Zahid Ahmed and Sara Khan deserve a round of applause for their performances as Rameez and Farisa, characters that really upped the entertainment quotient of this show.

If you're looking for a fast-paced, entertaining show with great characters, this is it.

5) Mera Naam Yousef Hai

Old chai in a new teabag? Definitely.  But when the chai is presented in such a beautiful kettle, who cares?!  The story of Mera Naam Yousef Hai is essentially your age-old "boy falls in love at first sight, but the love story is met with family opposition" shpiel - yet the depth with which the characters are presented, the complexity of the situations and the powerful dialogues almost immediately entrap the viewer. 

While the show starts off slowly, almost sluggishly so, it gradually picks up pace, throwing you into Yousuf and Zulekha's world.  Whether it's their family or friends, the viewer becomes invested in these characters.  Despite Yousuf and Zulekha sharing only a small handful of scenes together, the show is so well-written that their (rather Yousuf's) love carries the show.  All the supporting characters are great too, especially the older generation.

Simplicity and depth in dialogues makes this one worth watching.

6) Shanakht

My biggest blooper last year was just plain forgetting to put Shanakht on the list of best dramas of 2014.  The drama ended right on the tail of the new year, so I somehow just forgot!  Therefore, I'm including it in this list. 

Shanakht was such a show that could have easily become preachy - but instead, it traveled a path of acceptance. Shanakht told the story of Annie (Maya Ali), a girl from Pakistan's "high society" who decides to begin wearing hijab.  Realistically so, people in her (and her parents') social circle are horrified, with even her mother disapproving.  How she fights this mentality with love is the story of Shanakht.

Maya Ali and Fahad Mirza as Annie and Rohaan are the highlight of this drama, portraying their characters in such a pleasant way that their characters become instantly lovable.  There is a beautiful scene between Annie and Hashim (Noor Hassan) when she calls him out on his hypocrisy towards Faryal (Kanza Wayne).  That scene alone makes the show worth watching, though there isn't a single scene in the show not worth watching.

In times like today, a show like Shanakht is not only a breath of fresh air, but also entirely necessary to show the true teachings of Islam. Beautiful without being preachy and is, at the heart of it, a perfect love story.

The above shows were the best, most powerful shows of 2015.  Unfortunately, there aren't any other shows on that level.  The shows below are shows that had so much potential to make this list, but simply became too flawed in one way or another.


It hurts my heart that I'm unable to put this show on my top 10 list.  This show started off as a beautiful love story - but not just between a man and woman.  It focused on the love between mother & daughter, the controlling and then estranged relations between father and son and even loyalty between friends.  This show was flawless, so much so that even my husband watched it.....and then Mohini got sick. The show completely lost the point, lost direction and lost sense.  I wish the last 1/3 of the show had been as great as the first 2/3, but alas, a great show was reduced to nonsense.

Ishq Parast

How an exciting show about obsessive love turned into one of rape and mistrust, I will never understand.  I will not understand how a story can begin being narrated by a character as if he's been reformed when the truth is anything but that.  The cast did an outstanding job, but the second half of the show was filled with flaws and irritating scenarios.  This show should serve as proof that even if writing is great in the beginning, if a writer loses focus, this happens.


This show started off beautifully with great acting and one of the most beautiful OSTs.  This was also Zahid Ahmed's introduction to the industry, so I will always love this show for that.  The show started off nicely AND ended perfectly with things being just as they should.  So why did this show not make the cut?  Everything in between episode 5-22.  "Na Mehram Humsafar."  Why na Mehram? He was Mehram for both women!  What could've been an amazing story of innocent love between ex-Bhabi and ex-devar instead turned into a story of lies, deceit and games.  We also had to see Hamzah (Zahid) constantly yell "main Kya karoon?!", threaten suicide and attempt suicide - instead of just being honest and acknowledging the mistakes he made before marriage.  Listening to Khala blame Hamzah's rightful wife (the marriage he publicly acknowledged) was downright ridiculous.  The show became emotionally tedious, while still being a decent show.  That's why it did not make the list.

Chup Raho

What started off as a great concept turned into a messed up show about a mother encouraging her daughter to play nice with her rapist, an evil son in law causing actual physical harm to several members of his wife's family and a complete lack of love and respect from the rape victim's husband.  The episodes in between the beginning and end became too muddled and unrealistic.  However, the episodes with Yasir Nawaz actually made it worthwhile, which is why the show was even being considered.

Main Bushra

I honestly don't have much to write about this show other than it had potential, but became too dragged out to actually be enjoyable.  Mawra & Affan's chemistry was the real highlight of the show, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to make it a show u would wholeheartedly recommend.

Alright, that's it!  Only 4 months late, but I did finally manage to get this done.  2015 had some great, solid, memorable shows, but not enough to fill a top 10 list, unfortunately. 

If I've left any show off that you feel is deserving, please do let me know!!

Happy watching!

Gul E Rana's Last Episode

An egotistical man, a terrible husband has a near-fatal accident, changes his ways and learns to appreciate and love his wife.  This is what I thought GulE Rana would be.  This is what it was in the last episode.

I don't understand Pakistanj writers sometimes (Ok, most of the time).  They write a beautiful premise for a story, have great material and great actors to work with and then somehow, they end up screwing it all up, become aimless, move the plot in a direction it never needed to go in and mess up what could've seriously been a classic.  How? WHY?

If what had happened in episode 19 (Adeel's accident) had happened in episode 13, Adeel's hitting Rana, doing Rana's character assassination in front of Taaya Abu....this all could've been avoided.  Instead, the show could've used a good number of episodes to acknowledge Adeel's remorse, gradually make it up to Gul E Rana, touch upon his relationship with his step-mother (completely forgotten), explaining away the situation with his "friend" Mona and even closed the chapter with Maria, clearing up all the lies.  Oh! And maybe the audience could've actually been treated to some loving, affectionate moments like we were fooled into thinking we'd see by the creatives in the OST (Ok, yes, they happened, but it was too little, too late).

Asher Bhai finally died.  Can someone explain why?  Was that necessary?  Why did Asher have to be relegated to merely a pawn in Adeel and Rana's relationship?  He had other relationships to live for, namely his mother and sister.  Yes, the illness could've taken him out of the picture for Rana, but I would've liked to see him give Adeel the same speech (MUCH earlier, in like episode 17!!!), move on to treatment, recover, get a good job, get married to a wonderful woman and give his mother and sister the happiness they've always deserved.  Why is that so hard for writers to do?

Coming back to Rana, we were treated to this tailspin of an episode where everything happened all at once.  Everything felt rushed.  Adeel tried to make amends and then suddenly goes to a party, leaving Rana hungry while waiting for him.  Why?  Why did that even happen??  It made zero sense.  Rana finds out about Asher's demise, clinging to him, hugging him, acknowledging that she now relies on him....and then leaves for Karachi.  We then see that 3 months later, Adeel is living a miserable, quiet life in the mountains, playing with kids and missing Rana while Rana is in Karachi, teaching Jack And Jill to school kids as a really irritating teacher.  WHY?

Some explanation is necessary!  There was no talk of divorce.  Ok? So they are heading for divorce?  Or are they merely living apart until Rana can learn to forgive him?  You know what could've made this more powerful?  If Rana were living separately while pursuing further graduate education and taking that time to forgive Adeel, while his repentance is in supporting her.  But NO. Instead, we just don't know what happened other than them being apart.

Feroze and Sajal deserve credit for their spectacular chemistry.

Oh Gul e Rana - I will always remember this as a show that could've been great, set an example of how people can change, how the male chauvinist mindset is outdated and how love can grow.  Instead, we were left with a show that did nothing but disappoint.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Warning, Warning, Dumb Shows Ahead.....

Currently sitting comfy with 17 shows on my watching list, there are a good handful of shows that are so ridiculous and so terrible that my brain can't really comprehend why I continue to follow them.  Today, I just want to pause to discuss those shows.  

Bay Qasoor 

Why?  That's all that runs through my head every time Hira opens her mouth.  I've stopped feeling for her, because she offers herself up like a sacrificial lamb and doesn't give a second thought about how her actions will hurt her mother and father.  She's actually the WORST daughter, just being painted out as a good one.  The rest of the show becomes inconsequential, because I just hate the "lead" so much.  I feel sorry for that family (and that poor boy who loves her despite being married to Amin) for having her in their lives to create her "innocent" havoc.


Hmmmm.....why was adoption the only solution here.  Why weren't the  Grandparents consulted??  Didn't they have any sort of right over their daughter's child before Arsalan decided to just sign over his life to another couple?  This aspect of the show is really grating on my nerves.  If Arsalan couldn't care for his son, his grandparents would've happily taken over custody until he could.....but where would the illogical story come from if they went that logical route?  Ugh.

Maana Ka Gharaana

I stopped watching this show. I really did.  I pulled the plug around episode how did this happen?!  Why am I still watching the worst show with the worst premise and the worst characters EVER?!

Khizer is a gem. Maana is a materialistic, egotistical jerk who thinks Shehryar is an angel, despite seeing how mean he is to Happy and Khizer.  But why blame her when she has a witch for a mother? Chachi raised Khizer, she loves Malik like a son and brought Zari to their home to watch out for her.....but all it takes is a snarky word from Gul Bahar and Sheharyar and suddenly she goes against her entire family, even her husband, just for Maana's happiness. What about the happiness of the rest of the family?

Oh and pray tell, what kind of PSYCHOPATHIC people get their daughter engaged to the nephew of their nephew's soon-to-be ex wife?!?! It doesn't make any sense!  There IS something called family loyalty!

On the other end, why is this family so stupid as to not realize Sheharyar's so obvious attempts to frame Khizer? And his store being vandalized the same night? No one can put two and two together??? Ridiculous.  And why doesn't Khizer ever defend himself and call out Sheharyar for being a psychopath ABD tell Maana to go to hell?

This show is terrible and the only way to rectify it is for everyone else to suffer, Malik & Zari to get together and Khizer & Laila to get together - NOT Maana, because Maana is rotten and doesn't deserve such a good guy.

That's all! There are some beautiful shows that I'd like to discuss like Dillagi, Tum Kon Piya, Pakeeza and Zara Yaad Kar, but I somehow always end up ranting. Haha.

Until next time, happy watching! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016


As usual, I'm lagging behind on writing.  I apologize!  

My thoughts on dramas are all over the place these days - I'm loving some, hating others and indifferent to most.  I won't be doing a Dramas I'm currently Watching post until April (and still have to work on my best of 2015 post!), but I did want to talk about a few shows now, some not deserving more than a line.

Ab Kar Meri Rafugari

I don't know what to say about this show, except that I don't know what world these people are living in, being well off but willing to marry their kids off to "nalaik" nephews instead of into a decent family.  Coming to said decent family, Daniyal Raheel's role....that's not love. That's being a legitimate psychopath stalker. This love story is not romantic, but actually uncomfortable, because it's sending a very bad message to guys and girls.  If the point is to show that he's a stalker, then by all means, I'll be glad to see how the show progresses.  But if not.....this show makes me squeamish with this supposed innocent in love lead hero.

Preet Na Kariyo Koi

This show had its highs and lows, but I loved what was shown - love does not always conquer all, family is important and the demons that haunt your past will affect your future.  It was so interesting to see Shams jealous of Shagufta's success, to the point that he turned to Zarina for support.  Likewise, it was eye-opening to see how Shagufta was so well-aware that her daughter could move on the same path that she did - and was doing everything to prevent that, realizing that her love for Shams did not give her a happy life.  

The ending for this show was very "comfortable."  Loose ends were wrapped up almost completely and, most importantly, realistically.  It was refreshing to see that once Shagufta realized Noori was in love with her nephew, all her complaints vanished.  Likewise, despite Shams being a less than ideal father, it was nice to see that he was, in fact, a father and supported his daughter's happiness.  

The only thing that felt sudden was Sulehri Sahab's 180 - how did such a conniving man end up being so good??  That was a little strange, but not strange enough to ruin the show.  This is one that started off interesting and remained interesting until the end.  I'd recommend this show. 


The end. This show deserves very little from me in the form of words.  This show featured some of Pakistan's most talented artists - and consisted of the worst characters written for TV in a long time.  I would take a saas-Bahu drama over the brain-melting mush that this show fed the audience with inconsistent characters that changed their minds and moods at the snap of a finger, the bat of a eyelash. I genuinely would recommend that everyone stay away from this show and not touch it with a 10-foot pole.  Good riddance.

Ali Ki Ami

Despite being a beautiful show, this does have its share of annoying quirks.  I feel it's time that shows move with the times. In an age when certain mentalities in South Asian society should let up, shows like Ali Ki Ami seem to pedal backwards. Yes, this woman has given her life to her son and wants him to make her proud.  Ali has spent his whole youth studying in order to make his mother proud, forgoing a normal childhood.  Why then are we constantly subjected to Mariyam and her neighbor friends taunting Ali and telling him how he has let her down?  He lets her down by having friends, not wanting to speak to his father and, oh no, even wanting to choose his own bride!  

In what world do mothers still think it's ok to arrange a marriage for their son without asking him?  It's almost ridiculous to watch.  Yes, she gave birth to and raised Ali with a lot of hardships, but....he's still a human being.  

These small things bother me about this show, but overall, it is refreshingly different.

Mann Mayal

A perfect show in every regard, so far at least.  I have nothing but praise for it.  Yes, the character of Manu is too naive and almost stupidly so, her actions always seeming ridiculous, but Salahuddin's sweet worldliness makes up for it.  It's to be seen how the story progresses now that the family is catching on to Manu's unhappy marriage and Salahuddin may be coming in to some money soon. 

Gul E Rana

Oh how I waited....waited for this show to be the great love story I wanted it to be.  However, with only two episodes to go and absolutely zero sign of romance, I don't have hopes for anything but a rushed ending that will be everything I did not want this show to be.  It looks set to be a let-down.  I did predict that accident though.

Ok, that's enough for now.  Looking forward to Tum Kon Piya starting this week! Until next time, happy watching!