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.