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The Ten Best Ever

Omair Ahmed . 39

The other day i was just wondering that how many Pakistani dramas i have watched and the list was humongous to say the least.Among the list was “Nazrana” the very first play on PTV and ended on durr e shehwar(both the plays have one thing in common “Muhammad Qavi Khan”). So i came up with this idea of listing the ten best ever that I liked. Its not that i am some super intellectual critic but just because I have the unique honour of “been there and seen it all”. My list will obviously be predominantly old and unseen . I think this will also serve the purpose to introduce to the young lot some of the brilliant works of our past. I will ask my fellow regular bloggers SZ and Drama buff to come up with similar lists too, so you can get their take on most recent plays. I will include all the formats i.e series, serial,soap, tele theatre, long plays . Unfortunately none of the soap was good enough to make it to my list.

10.           NIJAAT- A multi faceted beauty

Nijaat was a true stellar cast. Noman Ijaz, Atiqa Odha, Marina Khan, Huma Nawab,Sajid Hasan and Latif Kapadia.I think  it was probably a very difficult serial to direct. There was so much that could go wrong, so many tracks and issues simultaneously revolving around each other, but the serial was fortunate to have sahira kazmi one of the best directress and she utterly nailed it. Asghar nadeem syed was at his best and he brought almost the complete society of Pakistan in it. Starting from family planning, child abuse, human trafficking and continuing to the issue of doctors doing C.S.S there were so many issues I can’t list them all yet it was altogether so absorbing. there is not a single lose end and it boasted perhaps the best punch line ever to feature in a Pakistani play

“47 mein meri behan aghwaa hui, 87 mein meri poti , main paagal nahin hun, main bandaa zara sarkaari hun”

9.          Taleem e Balighan – Sattire at its best

 

Once charles dickens wrote about Hemlet ” it was not a play but a legend which has acquired a life of its own”. I think you can associate this credit with taleem e balighan so easily. It was a political satire and it was written in 1956 but even today if you watch it there is not a single thing which doesn’t fit. Not only is this a commendable effort on behalf of our politicians to persist with their blunders but it is also the sheer brilliance of this script. It was by far the best Tele theatre ever on Pakistani screens. Comedy is a very difficult field to be expert at but Kh. Moin Uddin in this play was true maestro. Who can forget the three pitchers scene where Ittihad, Tanzeem and Yakeen e muhkam is written on  them and how the teacher (mehmood ali) explains their relevance. Even today when you hear the students doing that thing with the Filmi songs you burst in to uncontrollable laughter. Such a master piece it was .

8.            Andhera Ujala – A unique format

I think Andhera Ujaala was the closest Paksitani dram ever got to a traditional western style drama. In west we normally see seasons where the same character and same main track follows but each episode has a stand alone value of its own(i.e prison break or Lost).Andhera ujaala was a unique venture by ptv on those lines. Its other distinction was that it portrayed our police system so accurately that has been never done again. Even the real “police Waalas” were astonished at the remarkable accuracy of the play. This play was specially memorable for the unique pair of Jamil Fakhri and Irfan Khoosat whose performance in both thier roles was so marvellous . It became synonymous to their names. For this reason i think andhera ujaala definitley desrves a place among the top.

7.           Ankahi – A wonderful family

This was a real tough one because i decided first that there is no way both An kahi and Tanhaiyaan are coming in here. Eventually i chose ankahi over tanhaiyaan because of two characters Jibraan and Mamun (Saleem Nasir). Ankahi was a trully memorable play . The whole family of Shehnaz Shiekh was a collection of jewels. and I think shehnaz shiekh presented a unique performance because she paires in three memorable on-screen cheemistries in this play i.e Shehnaz and shakeel, Shehnaz and jamshed ansari, Shehnaz and Saleem Nasir. Strangely the main pair Shehnaz and Javed was a bit devoid of chemistry. The duo of Saleem nasir and Jamshed ansaari truly acted thier hearts out  and the boy who played jibraan was match less. i have never seen such finesse in an actor of that age. It was the first play of Shoaib Mansoor which gave us the true news that a legend has been born.

6.            Aik Muhabbat Sau Afsaane – A literature genious at work

I think the greatest honour i have had in my life is to be a student of ashfaq ahmed. He was I think thee greatest writer of his generation. Unfortunately, his intellect laden plays were never very popular hits but this series was an exception. These plays had a unique mass appeal. the first in the line was “Qurat al Ain” and it was by far one of the most memorable one episode flicks we have ever seen. ” Sakina and Cinderella” was a remarkable story of two women while “Nasoor”  and “dedae e dil” were both truly majestic love affairs between mismatched couples. All the stories have a tinge of spirituality and mysticism which is again a unique feature of ashfaq sahab’s plays. The acting was also wonderful in all of them and the various facets of love we saw were so beautiful that this series can be accredited as the best visual manifestation of the emotion of love on tv screens.

5.         Khuda Ki Basti – Mother of all serials

Khuda ki basti was dramatized twice . First in 1969 and then in 1974 . Both the times it was a true smash hit. The first play which used to have streets deserted and political parties used to reschedule their rallies to allow for the airing of its episodes. Both the serials featured zaheen tahira and qazi wajid in the lead roles and both of them gave breath taking performances. The characters of” Raja” and “Naushah” were immortalized forever. The 1974 run saw the first major performance by Behroz Sabzwari and it was a true indication of the hieghts he was going to achieve. The subject matter of the play was so unconventional yet it proved to be the greatest success and brought laurels internationally when it was included on the syllabus of drama acadmeies in Pune and all around Europe.

4.            Dhoop Kinaare – A majestic Love story

A true romance on screen , the best presentation of love on Tv screen. Rahat Kazmi and marina khan was perhaps the most loveable couple of all times. Sajid hassan produced one of the best comic performances. The deal was sealed by Sahira who did her best job as director in this play. Hasina Moin carved the most memorable script of her career, her crown was already full of many jewels but dhoop kinaare certainly came along as the Koh i Noor. It was the best play of the 80’s and perhaps should be preserved as a living example of the culture of that era. (for more you can see my recently added review)

 

3.           Alpha Bravo Charlie – A tale of love and honour

This one had to be in the top three , it is as best as they come. A true master piece of the SHOMAN of Pakistan Shoaib Mansoor. All the four leads did a splendid job especially Shehnaz who became the darling of everyone with this single play. The story was as gripping as it can get, the flow so smooth you never get bored even watching it for umpteenth times and the humour so well placed that you never have a burden on your mind. It conveyed a very strong message yet it was so well cloaked in the story that it never hammered on people’s minds(for more again see the detailed review)

2.              Afshaan – the twilight of a civilisation

This play had a unique distinction, it was by far the best visual adaptation of a novel. It is a pity that A.R Khatoon never lived to see her characters transcend on the screen. If there was ever a play which captured a whole civilization it was this one. the Hyderabad Deccan civilization was gloriously presented on the pages by A.R Khatoon and Bajiya certainly did it justice when scripting it. The whole cast was inch perfect but two characters Zartaaj (beenish hassan) and Najam us sehar (Tahira wasti) were the most intriguing contrast of old and new culture that has been presented on screen. Afshaan was  characterized by crisp dialogues, lovely and scenic shots and specifically the best ever visualization of an eastern family life. The story of two houses which are struggling to keep their values was wonderfully presented and brilliantly acted.

1.          Waaris – Top Spot 

Well it was again a very tough call to give the  top spot to Waaris, but i think at the end it is one it deserved. Waaris represents all  the unique distinctions of a Pakistani drama. a powerful story, wonderful direction, strong meessage, memorable dialogues and mesmerizing acting. The story was fairly simple . A Pakistani feudal village lord or, Chaudhry Hashmat (Mehboob Alam), with his son (Munawwar Saeed) and two nephews, struggle to keep hold on his power and land which is under threat of compulsory purchase for a new dam. The two nephews are continually at loggerheads: Chaudhry Anwer (Firdaus Jamal) is afflicted with greed and lust; his brother Chaudhry Niaz Ali wishes to escape to the big city, Lahore, but is trapped in the feudal web.

The best thing about this play was it was a PAKISTANI play . All the issues and all the techniques used were all specific to pakistan . thats why i think it is safe to declare that waris represtes the hieght of glory that has ever been reached by paksitani drama.

NOTE WORTHY OMISSIONS:

I think in Pakistani media one forma that truly reached highness have been the Pakistani drama . Therefore, there are many dramas that despite being top notch had to be ommited because at the end it was only 10.

first Humsafar, i admit that it has been the greatest hit of recent times but i think giving it a place among established legends would be rather too early’

second Umera ahmed. It is a pity that we dont have any of Umera’s plays. I again admit that umera is the best writer of our generation. but her bad luck is that she came in dramas at a time when the standard of acting and direction was on the lowest ebb so despite her wonderful scripts none of her plays can count in this list. I am really hoping durr e shahwar will provide her with what she desrves as a drama writer.

In the end many plays like Aangan tehra, Sona Chandi, Din, Raat, Shehzori, Tanhaiyaan, Kashkol,Marvi, Hawaein, Raahien,Half plate , Rozie,Dhuwaan,Perchayaan, Kiran Kahaani, Fehmida ki kahaani ustaani rahat ki zubaani,Uncle urfi and Zer zabar Pesh were all close calls but had to be dropped eventually.

  • Where is rahain, hawain, kajal ghar, bandhan, laag, dhuwan, ansu, the castle where are all of them?
    http://dramaonline.pk/

  • Junaid

    I really appreciative your post since you shared all the information perfectly. I found another blogpost on Top Pakistani Comedy Dramas. I am sharing the link in case you might want to take a look at this …http://blog.vidpk.com/top-5-pakistani-comedy-dramas-of-all-time/

  • Umer Saleem

    100% agree with the list. A very fair ranking.Many people did not watch the old dramas and are making their opinions basing on the modern tv series.I watched all these dramas from internet and after that I never liked any recent on-air drama.Old dramas had such powerful language,dialogues,acting and direction that I never experienced before. The main reason behind it is that those plays were written by the legends of urdu literature and nobody can surpass them.No matter how old are they but they can easily fit to any era.

  • ali

    in my opinion 1 sassi 2 shama 3 hamsafar 4 dillagi 5 haqeeqat should be included and why mosam and dhuan not included i have no idea

  • USMAN

    where is Duwan???

  • waleedraza

    One of the best is pyaray afzal ……………… One should wonder lead male and female character have share very less screen time together yet it is one of the best romantic drama

    • farrukh

      agree bro totally agree best ever romantic drama

  • Pingback: Best Pakistani Dramas Facebook | Real Estate()

  • Rifat ullah Khan

    All Time Blockboster Dramas
    Khuda aur Muhabbat, Mera Naam Yousaf Hai, Mera Naseeb, Dayar e Dil, Meri zaat Zara e Benishan, Dastaan

  • papas doll

    the best dramma in my point of view is zindagi gulzar haiii

  • abdullah bhojani

    the best drama in my point of view is AIK PAL the best drama ever

  • ahmed hassan

    humsafar created a magical environment on drama lovers after a long long time and truly deserves to be in the list ,as ppl had lost interest in dramas and it was humsafar that brought that 8 : pm drama culture back it was flawless

    • mehwi

      zindagi gulzar hai,,was also best drama

  • humsafar

    humsafar to be there

    • rafia

      I agree

  • Amir Khan

    why dont they make drama like jangloos > The most favorite drama for me

  • Danish

    Agreed but ALPHA BRAVO CHARLIE should be NO 1.
    Beutiful darama.

  • Muhamad Raheel

    Rahein, Bandhan, Tanhayaan, Matti, Hawa'ain, choti si dunya all are worthy serials but not in top list y?

  • Zuklu Mehmet

    Thank you Faraz, Maria, and Shama for your recommendations. I have already acquired an official (not a boot-legged!) copy of Humsafar and from what I have read about it from various sources, it should be the right time and mood to start on with it. I have a tendency of getting hooked on serials so easily.. LoL. :)

    (PS: Yes, I can make psense out of Urdu conversation among two people; depending on how much mix of Farsi, Arabic, and English words which, I believe, is the common way of communication among many Pakistanis… but that may just be be my assumption/ stereotype…?)

  • Dil lagi and Betti both are the best dramas of Ptv home

  • shama

    Great list. At the risk of being snowballed for this, i'm also not sure despite its immense popularity and despite the fact that i liked it and enjoyed watching it, i would include humsafar either. Good direction etc but the story and message was not as powerful as others here.

  • Maria

    @ Zuklu Mehmet I am not sure if you can understand urdu but there are very few dramas that are subtitled. In recent times Humsafar (soulmate) has been one of the biggest hits, but its only subtitled till episode 11. I would however recommend 4 dramas that are subtitled and are really a great introduction to Pakistani television.

    Coke Kahani: its a fresh comedy directed by one Pakistan’s most prominent female directors. Each episode is 20 mins long and I think it only had 12 episodes or so. Here is a link to English subtitles.


    Talkhiyan (Bitterness): has been applauded by critics as one of the best dramas of our generation. It also is uploaded on youtube with English subtitles.

    Reehai (freedom) is a poignant drama produced with help of Kashaf Foundation that gives a bitter and disturbing insight into atrocities with regards to child marriage.

    Behad (endless) was a short telefilm featuring some powerhouse actors of our TV industry

    Dhoop Kinare (edge of sunshine) is a classic Pakistani television production and is still timeless with audience today! It can also be found subtitled here as well:

    and last but not least Humsafar (soulmate).


    Let us know if you need more suggestions or you want to watch something of subject matter. Most of these dramas mentioned are reviewed here and you are welcome to ask explanation or questions regarding particular cultural norms, vocabulary etc.

    enjoy!

  • Faraz

    Hello Zuklu

    you should check our post of the serials recommendation article written by sadaf a while back,, this will let you decide few interesting dramas.. :)

    http://www.dramapakistani.net/my-favorite-dramas-

  • Zuklu Mehmet

    Hi, what would you recommend for the uninitiated? I never lived in Pakistan but quite interested in watching some soap operas or mini-series depicting their social cultural intricacies and general interactives among leads. I've heard they make great TV plays there… (supposedly, better than India's..?).

    I sometimes watch local Turkish series and also some Japanese, Korean, Lebanese, Egyptian, Farsi, Italian and Latin (Spanish-language) TV dramas and many of those are actuaaly quite cheezy…except for one or two. I am ho ping something on the caliber of Roots, Shogan, The Thorne Birds, Rome, Sopranos, etc.

  • Khuda or muhabbat must be in top list.it is such a nice and intresting drama i can't explain with the words

  • khuda aut mohabat and meri zaat zarra e be nishaan should be in this list

  • Asad

    Khoda aur mohabbat and Humsafar must have been in the list

  • Naila

    Dastaan should be on the list as well. It really is one of the best! Also the music and characters in Humsafar were just amazing. still…. oh and the drama overall :)

  • shahbaz

    Humsafar should be included in this list

  • Sadaf

    Try Humsafar Eric or Kuch Pyaar Ka pagalpan as your previous fave seem to be Haissem Hussain directed.

  • Eric

    I'm from Paris France. I living with one Pakistani classmate. We both agree DASTAAN is one of the best DRAMA EVER. AKBARI ASGHARI also good.

  • Anwar Suhail

    Nice compilation. But Afshaan on the list?!!! That seems bit too subjective if not unfair.

  • AH

    "Hamsafar" should be in this list…

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  • maryum

    dhuwan should be in top 10 list.. whenever i watched last episode i cry:( but there is huge list of successful dramas so your list is acceptable:) drama serial Aahan was also great…

  • Annie

    Great list Omair! thanks for bringing back some old memories :-) I remember enjoying Nijaat. Ankahi I think I watched on video or youtube and mainly watched the Jibran and Salim Nasir parts for the most part. They were hilarious!! I was too young when Andhera Ujala came on but I remember it was very popular. I watched the 2000 version of Aik Muhabat sau afsanay not the original one. Never could get into Khuda ki basti or Waaris. I guess I couldn't really relate to them on any level.

  • omair

    @ jazz blasphemy is a very harsh word!

    actually i even explained it in the post that ankahi and tanhaiyaan depict the same school of art and if you observe the list carefully it is ordered in such a way that all tpes of plays are represented. and even then tanhaiyan was mentioned as a close call and included in the ommisions

  • Jazz

    Tanhayaan not being on this list is sheer blasphemy! The buzz that that drama had here in the states at a time when there was no instant gratification with the Internet makes it legendary..the local desi stores used to get one video a month with multiple episodes, and families gathered to watch!

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