This is old wine in a new bottle, but the direction, acting and treatment make for an engaging watch
Pardes, on ARY, is the story of every other household in the country. It talks about the pain and anguish that men working abroad face while all their family members at home care about is how much money they can earn. Sarmad Khoosat makes an appearance in a TV series after a long hiatus and one only wishes one could see him more often in shows, as he is a gifted actor. Shaista Lodhi, who plays his wife, also does justice to her role as a suppressed individual, who is expected to make all the sacrifices in the family while the younger brother’s wife is the exact opposite. This contrast is important because the story would have become very predictable and monotonous without it. Bushra Ansari plays the typical mother-in-law, who misses no opportunity to criticise her daughter-in-law while expecting her to make all the sacrifices and compromises required. So, you might ask, what is new? Isn’t it all déjà vu? What makes this series special?
The treatment, acting and direction capture the dynamics of a lower middle-class household extremely well. Watching this show depresses me because I can identify with the loneliness and anguish of the husband working abroad and his wife back home, who slaves day and night but can never please her in-laws. These stories tend to have more substance than those that show the elite in their palatial villas, with women all dressed up with nothing to do but gossip and hatch conspiracies.
Pardes is a story that people from all strata of society can identify with, and it resonates on so many levels. The characters are portrayed very realistically. The elder son is saddled with all the familial responsibilities, while the younger brother lives in a fantasy land and dreams of setting up his own business. Although his wife refuses to let him go abroad, Ahsan, like the proverbial lamb to the slaughter, moves to Muscat. This show is also fast paced, and a lot of the usual melodrama is not shown. This is a welcome relief, because many otherwise good shows are encumbered by needless melodrama and histrionics.
Acting is another strong suit of Pardes, with all the actors playing their parts extremely realistically. Gohar Rasheed, who plays the younger brother, is another very good actor who really sinks his teeth into every character that he plays. The best television actors are versatile and therefore, refuse to be type cast. They are open to playing all sorts of characters, in an effort to prove that they have the talent and versatility and to ensure longevity in their profession.
Bushra Ansari, needless to say, is a very accomplished and versatile actress, who does justice to every role she plays. As one of the most senior artists today, she has shown her versatility and immense talent time and again, with the wide variety of characters she has portrayed on screen. She makes every character her own and one can only marvel at how talented and accomplished she is. She brings an element of newness to every character she portrays and has tremendous screen presence.
If you can identify with the characters in a show, then it is already a winner. Pardes grips your attention and makes you identify with its characters, especially the lead couple. They are expected to make sacrifices and compromises but are taken for granted by the rest of the family. They are never appreciated for all that they do, while the other members of the family walk all over them and do not think twice about it. Their contribution and personal sacrifices are never acknowledged or appreciated. The
son working abroad is treated like an ATM.
This is old wine in a new bottle, but the direction, acting and treatment make for an engaging watch. The pain and anguish of those living and working abroad for the sake of their families is captured extremely well. The engaging dialogues also keep the viewer riveted.
The writer is an educationist and can be reached at [email protected]