The good the bad and the ugly of Pakistani dramas

After spending hours watching and analysing local dramas, I have finally figured out the best ones.

Sadaf Haider December 27, 2012
What makes a drama last a lifetime in our memories? Is it stories that reflect our own lives or the ones which allow us to step into a whole new world through a looking glass? The very best ones make us love the characters, argue their dilemmas and root for their success- no matter how far removed they are from our own experience.

2012, has been a good year and we have seen some of the best productions of recent times.

My insincere apologies if I missed out on some of the staggering work of a creative genius but I think we got most of the (good) stuff covered at least.

Note: in the reviewers/critics’ (main categories) choice Humsafar, is deliberately excluded because it has already won everything bar a Nobel Prize, and people need something else to talk about at parties.

The team at dramapakistani conducted two sets of public polling online. One for nominations from each channel’s best dramas and performers, while, the Best of 2012 was chosen from the most popular nominees in another set of public polls.

The results were fairly predictable but surely well deserved. The reviewer’s choice awards were not easily made. After spending literally hundreds of hours watching, and analysing dramas with blog readers across three continents, I’m sure you can tell we take our dramas very seriously!

Best serial

People’s Choice: Humsafar

Reviewer’s Choice: Bilqees Kaur and Durr-e-Shahwar

Our nominations reflect the diversity of our reviewers; the younger crowd rooting for Sirat E Mustaqeem and married ladies, for the poignant journey of Durr-e-Shahwar. Bilqees Kaur was unforgettable because of its unsentimental realism, laugh-out-loud humour and seamlessly blended story track- from Faisalabad to Lahore to New York.

We could not decide, so we have combined our winners!

Best Director
People’s Choice: Sarmad Sultan Khoosat

Reviewer’s Choice: Haissem Hussain

Three nominations were made: Sultan Sarmad Khoosat for Sheher-e-Zaat, Adnan Ahmed for Bilqees Kaur and Haissem Hussain for Durr-e-Shahwar. The winner was an easy choice, Haissem Hussain by a landslide.

Haissem Hussain wove magic into this well-worn story, bringing out strong performances from his entire cast. At times Haissem Hussain and Sarmad Khoosat simply surpass their medium, carrying their work above the level of a humble drama to a renowned movie at a cinematic level.

Best writer

People’s Choice: Farhat Ishtiaq

Reviewer’s Choice: Samira Fazal

The backbone of Pakistani dramas is their highly talented writers, who manage to raise even the most mundane stories to masterful interpretations of the current human condition. Farhat Ishtiaq’s simple yet beautifully written story could not have failed to touch anyone’s heart.

It was a difficult decision between Faiza Ifthikhar for Bilqees Kaur and Roag; Sarwat Nazir for Sirat E Musteqeem; Umera Ahmed for Durr-e-Shahwar and Sheher-e-Zaat; and Samira Fazal for Kuch Pyar Ka Pagalpan.

The winner was Samira Fazal. The sheer brilliance of her script was able to overcome production and editing flaws.

Best actress
People’s Choice: Sanam Baloch

Reviewer’s choice: Sanam Baloch

Saba Qamer’s amazing portrayal of the selfish Saman in Maath had us screaming at our television screens. While Mahira Khan, was a close runner up in the people’s choice for her popular performance as Khirad in Humsafar.

However, Sanam Baloch’s unmatched portrayal of a younger and passively aggressive female in Durr-e-Shahwar proved to be popular and widely appreciated.

Best actor

People’s Choice: Fawad Afzal Khan

Reviewer’s Choice: Mikaal Zulfikaar

Fawad Khan nuanced portrayal of Mujtaba in Kuch Pyar Ka Pagalpan. There was intense competition from Faysal Qureshi, whom we loved as the hapless Shaikhoo in Jahaiz. Sheheryaar Munawar’s outstanding job as the mute Arooj in merey Dard Ko Jo Awaz Miley, did not go unnoticed nor did Sami Khan for excellent work as Mustaqeem.

However, the winner simply had to be Mikaal who surprised us by his performance as the archetypal Mummy’s boy, Mansoor. Let us just say we fell off our chairs with a collective “hain??”
Reviewer’s Choice Best Soap: Nikher Gaaey Ghulab Sarey

We hate soaps; the very word makes us shudder. However, two of them impressed us so much that we were glued to our television screens, reluctant to blink just in case we missed something.

The clever story of Dareechey, combining psychology and superstition, served as a great canvass for Imran Aslam’s magnetic portrayal of Faizan Shah. However, the winner had to be NGGS; the story of this dysfunctional family had its viewers riveted. We cannot forget Sabreen Hasbani as pure bad luck- cursed by fate, Saima Bhabi

Surprisingly good serials

Ek Nazar Meri Taraf, this particular serial turned shaky beginnings into highly recommended endings.

Kaffir…… We still don’t know why.


Some fun awards from the reviewers…

Most adorable couple:

Mikaal Zulfikar and Sanam Baloch as Mansoor and Durr-e-Shahwar.

Ahsan Khan and Syra Yusef as Sultan and Soha from Bilqees Kaur.

Sheheyar Munawar and Sarwat Gilani as Arooj and Amna from Merey Dard Ko Jo Zuban Miley.

Most heartstoppingly beautiful couple:

Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan as Khirad and Asher in Humsafar.

Mahirah Khan and Mikaal Zulfikaar as Falak and Salman in Sheher E Zaat.

Best ABCD (American Born Confused Desi):

Ahsan Khan as Sultan in Bilqees Kaur (nobody does it better).

Most awesome heroine:

Aisha Khan’s unforgettable Izzat from Kaffir.

Villain from hell:

Humayoon Saeed’s Shahan from Kaffir.

Girlfriend from hell:

Mehreen Raheel’s Madiha from Ashk.

Best friend we all want:

Mohib Mirza as Humza from Sheher E Zaat.

Most memorable dialogue:
'Saboot tho iss baat ka bhi nahin hai ke mein Baseerat Hussain ka beta hoon…” (There is no proof about this either, that I am Baseerat Hussain’s son.) Asher, from Humsafar.

Let us say farewell and adieu to 2012, it was fun while it lasted!


This post originally appeared here

Read more by Sadaf here or follow her on @Tomtomatoe
Sadaf Haider The author is a free lance writer, an unserious fan of dramas and films but most of all an observer . She is always looking for an amusing diversion and luckily other people are always willing to provide one. She tweets as @Tomtomatoe ( She blogs at
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


uzma ausaf | 11 years ago | Reply I nominate Humsafar for the category Most Over rated drama
Iftekhar Khokhar | 11 years ago | Reply Shehr e Zaat was a marvellous drama, full of learning & romance.
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