GT Drama


GT reviews the drama serial Marasim

Wata Satta is a concept whereby a brother and sister are married to another brother and sister. The authority one girl maintains in one household, the other can leverage in her own. It sounds nice to the ears — the families stay within one another and the bayzabaan bahu fears less as the saas’s own daughter could be subject to the same treatment. But where does the heart lie in all these mathematics? Does love really matter? These are the questions that A-Plus’s drama serial Marasim explores.

“Marasim touches the finer chords of human relations and its subtle dimensions,” says Owais Khan, the director. The serial features Ahsan Khan as Daud and his sister Deeba played by Sadiya Faisal. Daud and Deeba have both been “promised,” at birth, to their first cousins. We learn that the mother of their cousins, Sheher Bano (played by Naila Jaffery) along with her mother, unabashedly made life hell for the bahu, Geeti Ara — Daud and Deeba’s mother — played by the formidable Saba Hameed.

The lovers are forced to break the lifelong ties they had
held so dear

When Deeba’s engagement is summarily dismissed by her fiancé, Geeti Ara cannot find it in her to let her arch nemesis nund win once again by having her own daughter happily married while her own sits at home mourning over her lost love. It is the lovers then who are subsequently hit and forced to break the lifelong ties they had held so dear. The title song rings true here: Silsillay tor gaya woh sabhi aatay jaatay.

Ahsan & Sonya Hussain
Sonya Hussain, Sadia Faisal, Saba Hamid & Urwa
Saqib, Ahsan, Owais, Sonya, Sadia & Furqan

Even Urwa Hocane, who comes into the serial a little later and plays the very majboor Nayab, has had her share of heartbreak. Her lost love was not only forced out of her life because she was forced to marry Daud, but he also happens to die from a broken heart! Marasim‘s message seems to ring loud and clear: the more relations you make within a family, the more complicated things get. The result is endless heartache.

Saba Hameed, the thespian, was simply mesmerising
to watch 

In Owais Khan’s able hands, the repetitive and mindnumbing saga of saas and bahu is explored with subtlety. Geeti Ara’s pent-up aggression and resentment toward her saas is passed onto her own bahu. Saba Hameed’s acting is superb here, as she modulates her tone from cajoling to threatening as the situation demands. The viewer slowly picks up the change in Geeti Ara’s attitude, from humble to scheming to manipulative and, finally, power hungry. Her change is truly manifest when she, who herself was from a poorer family than the one she married into, says that girls from poorer families should be given money, love and status with serious checks and balances or else they begin to disrespect authority. To which Ahsan Khan delivers the cutting statement that his mother has taken to repeating the sayings and actions of his unreasonable dadi.

Ahsan & Urwa

“I read the script carefully before I say yes to any project. It had been quite a while since I had seen a truly great script. So when I read Marasim, I was impressed by the story line and the dialogues. I instantly said yes. Our director Owais Khan has worked very hard to create an emotionally resonant but not over-the-top drama.”

—Ahsan Khan

Marasim‘s message, bleak but firmly tethered to Pakistan’s reality, is that most people in our society are bound by a higher societal power that they cannot disobey without in some way destroying their lives. Everyone is majboor, from Nayab’s sister Almas (played by Hajira Khan) who can either uproot herself from her family and end up entirely helpless, to Momina (played by Sonya Hussain) who can either digest her mother’s embarrassment in front of Geeti Ara, or break all ties with her mother on account of her own desires.

It is in the bittersweet exploration of how to see relationships through that Marasim will break your heart. At the same time it will leave you with the elated feeling that if such strong feelings of love will not kill you, they will only make you stronger.

Sadia, Owais, Sonya, Urwa & Qasim
Urwa & Ahsan
Qasim & Urwa

“The play is written wonderfully by Zanjabeel Asim Shah. The characters are not boxed into stereotypes, but are multi-dimensional with different shades. It’s gratifying to play characters who are neither positive nor negative. But the star of the show has to be Saba [Hameed] Apa, whose character was very interesting. She was the backbone of this serial. While on set, she helped us to bring out the depth in our characters. I hope everyone enjoys watching the serial as much as I enjoyed acting in it!”

— Urwa Hocane

Owais Khan, the director, talks to us about Marasim, the cast and crew:

Marasim was an experience with its own joys and agonies. The thing that hooked me on to this project was the script. I thought it was simply brilliant, written by Zanjabeel Asim Shah who I think is the best television writer to emerge in the last five years.

With the support of Sadia Jabbar, the production house Six Sigma, its team headed by Humayun Saeed and Nadeem Baig, and my incredible DOP Qasim Ali, Marasim is enjoying extremely favourable reviews. Qasim turned out to be a blessing not just for the talent of his work with lights and visuals but also in terms of his positive energy that swept through the whole project. When I look back,  it is hard for me to imagine Marasim without Qasim Ali Mureed.

I was fortunate with the set of actors that I got to work with. As it seldom happens, all the major actors were people I was working with for the first time, despite being a veteran of fifteen years. Ahsan khan was a revelation. He is an actor to learn from as far as supremacy in acting is concerned. Other than this, he remained a great support in my high and low moments during the project. This, too, is important.

Saba Hameed, the thespian, was simply mesmerizing. To watch her play this character, and to direct her, was a treat.

Sonya Hussain, in the spectrum of her emotional ability, is the finest actor of the new generation. She actually stunned me at times with her depth of feeling. Urwa was a surprise to me in her own self: she proved that she is not just a pretty face but a confident performer as well. With her beauty and brains she added to the charm of the serial.

As director, I tried to stay true to the content and to bring the emotion of the whole serial in its entirety. How well I have been able to do, viewers will decide!

Saba Ahmed reviews the drama serial ‘Bashar Momin’

A truly grand undertaking, the drama serial “Bashar Momin” (BM), is being billed as Pakistan’s most expensive production yet. Faisal Qureshi plays the immoral and ill-tempered lead, along with a host of other talented actors. I sat down with Faisal to talk about BM, a serial packed with twists, and laden with bad-boy appeal.

Faisal tells me it was the desire for perfection of director Ali Raza Usama (of Shahid Afridi fame) that just the initialisation of serial, fine tuning the script, casting, etc., took over five months to complete. The look and wardrobe for each character was carefully hashed out. The team was expanded to feature specialist superstars including Nabila, TT Baji (the makeup artist extraordinaire), Ahmed Bham for exquisite suits, Rani Siddiqui for  women’s wardrobe, Samia Azmay for women’s accessories, Humayun Alamgir for menswear, Cotton & Cotton and Nadia Chhotani, premium jeweler, to name just a few!

“We took our time and did not rush shooting,” says Faisal, adding, “the culture of conducting acting workshops on set prior to shooting — something that has become rare in television productions nowadays — was revisited for BM.” They had script readings and the actors took time conducting workshops to discuss the shades and hues of their characters.


Faisal Qureshi & Ushna Shah
Mahin Rizvi


“I receive many messages that say, ‘I hate you, Bashar,'” Faisal laughs, to which my response is always, “It’s a drama!”

“Along the way,” laughs Faisal, “it was revealed to me that my character is a terribly angry dude. Truth be told, I was a bit anxious after this piece of news!” Bashar, an bitter, angry alcoholic, has a complicated back story that will be revealed much later and — spoiler! — may make everyone hate him less. “Playing Bashar was very new for me and I personally do not get angry as he does,” Faisal told me. “I have not played a particularly villainous role before.” Bashar’s character uses anger and intimidation to cover up his insecurities, which makes for very enjoyable cliffhangers along the way. For example, he will just have yelled at someone and will come sit quietly and calmly with his sisters. “I receive many messages that say, ‘I hate you, Bashar,’” Faisal laughs, to which my response is always, “It’s a drama! And you may not feel the same after episode 20!” Certainly, our audiences are much less receptive to a character that is grey, and not categorically a villain, or a hero.

I found Bashar’s character callous, terrorising Rudaba, his sister’s nand at whim, and using brute force to convince those close to him. Rudaba and those around him are shown as subjugated by his moody behavior, with no way out. His character in these early few episodes is portrayed as possessing no redeemable human qualities.

Yasir Mazhar


Ushna Shah

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Once, while shooting a basant scene, they were scheduled to start at 8 am sharp and just before everything was just ready, a great wind blew down the whole set

The cast and crew came together as a family, Faisal tells me; everyone lent a helping hand. Once, while shooting a basant scene, they were scheduled to start at 8 am sharp and just before everything was just ready, a great wind blew down the whole set. “But everyone struggled to put back the set — every crew member, every technician, and all the girls in full hair and makeup!” says Faisal. “I was running around doing something or the other and Sami too was running around putting out fires.”


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