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HUM TV’s latest offering, Parizaad starring Ahmed Ali Akbar as the titular character was caught into a controversy as soon as the teasers were released. Many viewers and critics shared their discomfort and displeasure with the black face stating it is highly offensive. While that is a debate for another day, one has to commend Ahmed’s brilliant and convincing performance in the first two episodes.

The drama premiered last week and two episodes later, we’re convinced with Ahmed’s portrayal of Parizaad. So far it seems like an interesting watch, different from the typical stories that we usually get to see these days.

“Parizaad, a drama that perfectly encompasses the struggles faced by a man through different phases of life,” reads the description on YouTube.

The opening scene takes us back to the time when Parizaad was born in a lower-middle-class family. His father played by Saleem Mairaj is least interested in his arrival and thinks he is added burden (another mouth to feed). No one celebrates Parizaad’s existence, in fact, even the name his mother gives him becomes a source of lifelong humiliation considering he doesn’t fit society’s mould of beauty. Despite having a heart of gold, he’s judged by his skin colour and labelled unfit and ugly.

Parizaad is sensitive and poetic in nature, different from his own family that consists of two older brothers (Tipu Shah and Paras Masroor), their wives and his older sister (Kiran Tabeer). The only relationship that warms the heart is to see the unconditional and motherly love his sister has for him.


Parizaad with his sister


We are then introduced to Shoki Bhai and his immoral friends who also treat Ahmed as a harmless person who cannot be a source of danger for anyone due to his below-average looks. When Shoki falls in love with a girl (Naheed played by Ushna Shah) from a respectful family in the neighbourhood, he asks Parizaad to pen a love note for her and that is when things get even more uncomfortable for him.


Parizaad and Shoki


To make ends meet and to feed his family’s greed, Pari gives several tuitions during the day after college. He also tutors Naheed, who is Mirza Sahab’s (Syed Muhammad Ahmed) daughter. Without knowing who he has written the letter for, Parizaad does as Shoki asks. However, Shoki accidentally drops the letter on Naheed’s roof while escaping, which later gets found by Mirza Sahab who recognizes the handwriting.

Infuriated, the father takes the entire neighbourhood to Pari’s house to confront him. He stays quiet to safeguard Naheed’s reputation and takes the blame. Humiliated and disturbed by the accusation, Pari then starts to isolate himself even more than before. However, what follows the incident reveals the real ugliness and hypocrisy of society.

Shoki knew Naheed saw him but chose to stay quiet since someone else was also on the roof with her that night. Impressed and touched by Pari’s morals, he tells him that maybe who he’s trying to save isn’t worth saving at all. Why did Naheed not share that it wasn’t Parizaad and save him from the humiliation?

That day Pari decides to follow Naheed after college and discovers what Shoki said was actually true. He sees Naheed at a restaurant with Majid Bhai who is known for a pious reputation in the neighbourhood as well as in the eyes of Mirza Sahab. He is the same Majid Bhai his own sister has feelings for.

To save themselves Naheed and Majid let Parizaad suffer and the hardest blow comes when Naheed says it was easy to let people think it was Pari and prove her innocence since no one would believe someone as beautiful as Naheed could be interested or related to someone who looked like him.


Ushna Shah as Naheed


While society might consider Pari the ugly beast, it just goes on to show the ugliness within those who think they are above others. The OST makes the scenes even more impactful.

Ahmed has completely transformed his look for the drama; he plays the character of a dark-skinned guy with a pure heart, however, he does not meet society’s standard of beauty and acceptance.

He is completely in character in every frame and it feels like he has lived Parizaad through this drama. The clenched fist, one arm hanging loose, no or very little eye contact are the little details that add depth to the character and Ahmed has brilliantly portrayed it all. Over all, a beautiful execution of emotions!



The story has been penned by Hashim Nadeem and is based on his novel by the same name. Those who have read the novel, know how the story will unfold and for those who haven’t, keep watching to find out what happens next in Parizaad’s life as several other characters will be introduced in the upcoming episodes.