Besharam episode 1 review
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this serial is the way it seems to lift its story straight form recent headlines .The title Besharam refers to the occupation of the heroine Mishi (Saba Qamar), a beautiful and very successful fashion model. The hero, Haider (Zahid Ahmed) is a strangely familiar character, who deals in absolutes, quotes the Quran and is a a man on a mission to make a better Pakistan. Sound familiar ? If it reminds you of Hamza Ali Abbasi …well me too .. The resemblance only grows when Haider uses the actor’s now signature “Izzat aur zillat sirf Allah kay haath main hai “pronouncement mid episode. It may just be a coincidence but it’s not unusual for writers to use elements from real people to create their characters As a hero , Haider seems firmly rooted in the angry young man tropes of the 1970’s who fought injustice with confrontation and backed their idealism with their fists. Such populist characters are not new to politics or our screens , capturing the common man’s frustration with an indifferent system .
Writer Sarwat Nazir, (whose previous work includes Main Abdul Qadir Hoon , Shikwa and Daagh) is known for thoughtful , well written serials exploring the realities of middleclass life without falling prey to the usual stereotypes or the need for a happy ending every time. Her writing is filled with the minutiae of everyday lives of everyday people but manages to avoid the usual black and white moralizing so favored by channels and audiences alike. Her heroine, Mishi is a model, but she is neither the typical “bad girl” in need of reform nor is she a victim waiting to be rescued. On the contrary, she is a sensible, strong woman who worries about her narcissistic mother, cares for her servant’s wellbeing and is not available to every admirer sending flowers.
This serial promises some good performances. Saba Qamar is in great form as Mishi and plays her with restraint and quiet power, a welcome relief from the wounded women she has played of late. Zahid Ahmed is one of those actors who find it hard to resist overplaying their hand but for a first episode his take on Haider is good enough and even manages to shine in parts. He hasn’t brought out the innocence or vulnerability behind his character’s idealism as yet but his easy, authentic scenes with his on screen family are worth watching. While it is true his role may require a certain swagger, it will lose authenticity if Ahmed plays it like “a rebel without a cause” and doesn’t mix in the odd shalwar qamees with the leather jackets..I have to say I am not a fan of Zahid Ahmed after Sangat and the way that drama glamourised the rapist but this serial looks so interesting I am willing to give it a chance.
The writer has given the audience a range of individuals to compare and contrast: such as Haider’s ditzy, drama obsessed cousin who wants to be model and her soap opera watching mother. Both are safely inoculated from the harsh realities of lives they watch on screen but live in the colorful fantasies they see TV. Then there is Mishi’s family: Atiqa Odho as Mishi’s childish self-absorbed mother and Rehan Shaikh as the powerful politician as Mishi’s estranged father. Reflecting the strange contradictions of Pakistani society .Mishi is born into a political family that she wants no part of, while Haider’s middleclass family shuns politics as a luxury for wealthy elites and concerns itself with the usual web of rishtas and inheritances.
Besharam provides a great opportunity to explore attitudes towards certain professions be it politicians or models and how differently we judge men and women in our culture. Hopefully the writer has resisted the urge to follow the usual stereotypes and routes taken by such stories. From the teasers at least it seems she has challenged some of these notions allowing her heroine both intelligence and strength of character. This serial is directed by Farooq Rind whose credits include the mess that was Gul e Rana as well as the excellent Jugnoo. While the first episode was easy to watch for the most part some of it was choppy. The intermittent scenes of Haider fighting or Mishi modelling were gimmicky and badly edited