Pakistani drama serials are often criticized for weak scripts, regressive themes and for portraying women in submissive roles. Then there are stories that start off well but lose track somewhere in between; they lose strength and consequently, the viewers’ attention. However, every now and then there comes along a drama serial – like Dar Si Jati Hai Sila, Khaani, Nibah and Khudgarz – that manages to keep the audience’s interest sustained throughout, thanks to intriguing storylines and the credit goes to writers behind the scripts.
It is very important to give credit where it is due and it’s good to see several strong writers emerging to the limelight. We saw Rida Bilal winning the Best Emerging Talent trophy at the recently held Lux Style Awards 2019 for Khudgarz. Bee Gul, who penned the script for socially relevant drama serial, Dar Si Jati Hai Sila, won an award for Best Writer. Both awards were extremely deserving and well lauded.
Here is a little acknowledgement for writers whose work impressed in the last one year, with a focus on dramas that have come to an end.
Zafar Mairaj (Inkaar)
The most recently concluded drama serial Inkaar that explored the theme of consent and ‘no means no’ was written by Zafar Mairaj, who has penned over 50 scripts. The award winning playwright maintained the sensitivity of the subject, without being too preachy about it, and beautifully sketched all of the characters. Character development was a plus in Inkaar, something that is missing in most of our dramas. Featuring Yumna Zaidi, Imran Ashraf and Sami Khan in key roles, the drama serial had a smooth run, with interesting twists and significant social themes, before it concluded last week. The story did appear to be loosely based on the Khadijah Siddiqui stabbing case, which was also eventually served justice, and it was refreshing to see a drama serial reflect a real-life situation so effectively.
(Ranjha Ranjha Kardi)
Iqra Aziz and Imran Ashraf starrer Ranjha Ranjha Kardi is undoubtedly one of the most-talked about drama serial of 2019 so far. Penned by Faiza Iftikhar, who has a lot of acclaimed projects such as Dillagi, Mein Sitara, Baba Jani and others to her credit, Ranjha Ranjha Kardi boldly tackled multiple social issues, some that many shy away from talking about in our part of the world.
The drama followed the life of Noori, who ends up marrying a mentally challenged person, Bhola, due to her circumstances that left her with no other option. Faiza tactfully handled the progress of their relationship and how the two accept each other wholeheartedly after learning true colours of people around them. Presently, the writer is gearing up for her next TV serial that will feature Farhan Saeed and Sohai Ali Abro in lead roles.
(Dil Kiya Karey)
Starring Feroze Khan and Yumna Zaidi, alongside an ensemble cast including multiple industry veterans, Dil Kiya Karey was light on the heart and mind. Written by the dynamic Asma Nabeel, it broke away from saas-bahu conflicts and treated several important themes within and outside the confines of a household very naturally. It displayed many progressive themes and characters as opposed to usual customs and traditions.
“I really wanted to experiment with a love story; very melodramatic sort of a thing. But when I began working on it, I realized that amidst a love story I can knit a lot of other themes in an interesting way,” the writer shared with Instep in an earlier interview.
Asma is known for penning socially relevant scripts such as Khuda Mera Bhi Hai, Khaani and Surkh Chandni that is presently on-air while she is also gearing up for her next, called Damsa, that will tackle the issue of child trafficking.
Zanjabeel Asim Shah (Balaa)
Drama serial Balaa, written by Zanjabeel Asim Shah, had a unique storyline, with characters that weren’t black or white. With Bilal Abbas Khan and Ushna Shah in lead roles, the drama introduced how someone’s ill intentions can destroy households and how circumstances can turn a person evil. The script, for which the writer was also nominated as ‘Best Writer’ at the Lux Style Awards 2019, was twisted yet captivating, leaving viewers curious.
Zanjabeel Shah is also behind the script of Faysal Qureshi starrer Bashar Momin that went on to become one of the most popular projects in the history of Pakistani television. Most recently, she penned Cheekh that was also one of the most talked about dramas this year; it started off really well but got a little haywire after the first few episodes and concluded on an unconvincing end.
Saira Raza for
(Dil Mom Ka Diya)
One drama that generated great reviews throughout its run last year, along with high ratings, was Neelam Muneer and Yasir Nawaz starrer Dil Mom Ka Diya. With the script by Saira Raza, it was more of a moral commentary on our society and people, who can get selfish to the extent of ruining others’ lives. Writing since 1995, the playwright has few but interesting drama serials such as Ab Kar Meri Rafugari, Ghamand and others to her credit.
Dil Mom Ka Diya revolved around the lives of siblings after their parents’ death and how their lives change when they make new relationships. Saira Raza brought a very simple yet intriguing story to life without being too heavy on the mind and we would like to see more of that on the small screen.