‘Tanhaiyan’ actors make a comeback with sequel

Published: October 19, 2012
‘Olper’s Tanhaiyan: Naye Silsilay’ will cast a mix of original actors along with new ones. DESIGN: SAMRA AAMIR

‘Olper’s Tanhaiyan: Naye Silsilay’ will cast a mix of original actors along with new ones. DESIGN: SAMRA AAMIR


If you grew up watching PTV or were simply part of the PTV drama hour your family was absorbed in, then “Tanhaiyan” needs no introduction.

Whether it was the combination of a bubbly Sania with an uptight and rather peculiar Qabacha which had the audience in fits of laughter, or a more serious plot where two young girls lose their parents in a tragic car accident — the ‘80s drama created treasured memories. After 27 years, the team is back with a sequel: “Olper’s Tanhaiyan: Naye Silsilay” which will air at 8pm every Saturday on PTV and ARY Digital, starting October 20.

Marina Khan and Behroz Sabzwari, who won hearts by playing two of television’s most cherished characters — Sania and Qabacha respectively — spoke to The Express Tribune about the good old days and gave an insight into the sequel.

“’Tanhaiyan’ is actually an important factor in my life; in my 45-year-career, I have done numerous plays but it was because of this one that I received such immense popularity and unimaginable love,” said Sabzwari. “When someone like Raj Kapoor messages you from India saying: ‘Qabacha when you are in Bombay, you will stay with me,’ you know you are popular and loved.”

Fresh crew and script

Marina, who will be directing this 13-episode-sequel, explained how the idea of continuing this legacy came about. “A survey was conducted recently and it showed that ‘Tanhaiyan’ was the most-watched PTV drama of its time. The Olper’s team approached us with the initiative and then after much discussion, we decided to go for it,” she said, pleased with her decision. “The characters are pretty much the same — we are playing the same roles we did back then but now, 27 years later, we are the grown-up versions.”

She admitted, however, that times have changed and amongst the 16 original cast members, six remain and the rest have passed away. Therefore, the cast will include those six with the addition of Alishba Yousuf and Shehryar Munawar in lead roles and Cyra Yousuf and Shehroz Sabzwari in supporting roles. The script, on the other hand, has been co-written by Haseena Moin and Mohammad Ahmed.

“The attachment to the characters and original plot is a binding characteristic and there’s a lot of mimicking from the old version as well — juxtaposing would be the correct term to define it,” said Khan, in regard to the new setting and actors. “It’s reminiscent of the past but is a story of today. The plot is about young kids who come back from the US and the rest you will have to see.”

In the same line of thought, Sabzwari added a little about his own role and how it might be misinterpreted in today’s time: “Qabacha was a character people always felt was nonexistent in society and in order for my performance to not come off as ‘over-acting’, I would have to justify my role. However, the truth is that such characters do exist amongst us — they are intelligent creatures in the masks of fools.”

He further elaborated on how his character will retain its essence and said: “This season was very difficult for me as I was constantly told that I was losing my original tone and attitude and I would say: ‘That was 27 years ago!’; and to be honest I haven’t enacted this role anywhere in these 27 years — talk shows, stage shows — nowhere at all.”

Marina, on the other hand, had a more direct and straightforward attitude when it comes to speculating how the audience would react — whether it was a negative response or a positive one. “If people are expecting it to be exactly like the original play, then they are slightly mistaken and would probably be disappointed,” she said. “But those who will view it as a sequel to the original will enjoy it.  Those who haven’t even seen the original, will surely be delighted.”

In conclusion, Marina added that PTV’s presence is evergreen and widespread, specifically in Swat and Gilgit: “People still recognise you even today if you were in a PTV production — it’s the only channel watched over there.” When asked whether she would like to produce more sequels of famous dramas such as “Dhoop Kinare” and “Khuhr”, she said: “Why not? I would love to be a part of that team. But Sahira Kazmi is the one to contact if you want someone to direct it.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • gp65
    Oct 19, 2012 - 9:02PM

    Dhoop Kinaare, Tanhaiyaan, Ankahi those were some wonderful dramas that came out of Pakistan. Just a cople of mnths back I saw Dhoop Kinaare on youtube and it still seems so fresh – not at all outdated.


  • Bilal
    Oct 19, 2012 - 9:16PM

    This is blasphemy.

    Tanhayian is probably the closest a PTV play ever came to perfection. Artists like Shehnaz Sheikh, Subhani Bayounis, Azra Sherwani, Qazi Wajid, etc are/were masters of their art. And of course, they were directed by that genius Shahzad Khalil who left us way before his time.

    I shudder to think of what this new generation of plastic “actors” who can’t act or portray any emotion to save their lives will do the first PTV play I saw as a kid and one that made me fall in love with PTV.

    Remaking Tanhaiyan with today’s generation of wooden “actors” is like remaking Godfather and getting Adam Sandler to fill in for Pacino. I love Marina but this is a terrible idea.


  • enu
    Oct 19, 2012 - 9:46PM

    looking forward!!! is shahnaz sheikh in the new cast?


  • Gullible Nomore
    Oct 19, 2012 - 10:54PM

    I guess the 6 surviving cast members she mentioned are Bahroz, Marina, Shahnaz, Qazi Wajid, Asif Raza and Badar Khalil


  • Abid Khan
    Oct 19, 2012 - 11:30PM

    Made my day


  • Fahad Raza
    Oct 19, 2012 - 11:49PM

    Our very Own Grey’s Anatomy….Recommend

  • aa
    Oct 20, 2012 - 12:27AM

    two grown up to be part of the cast…!!!!!


  • Saad Durrani
    Oct 20, 2012 - 1:08AM

    Sadly, Shahnaz Sheikh died ages ago. The newer, younger cast are quite nice in my opinion.


  • Saad Aziz
    Oct 20, 2012 - 1:11AM

    who is playing marina khan character?syra or alishbaRecommend

  • Danish Shah
    Oct 20, 2012 - 1:44AM

    Read the article one more time, Marina said it’s a “sequel” not a remake.


  • Bilal
    Oct 20, 2012 - 5:02AM

    @Saad Durrani

    Shehnaz is alive and well. Please don’t spread rumors. Shehnaz lives in Lahore and teaches now.


  • Bilal
    Oct 20, 2012 - 5:02AM

    @Danish Shah

    “Sequel” or whatever it is – it will be a mistake and nowhere close to the original.


  • R
    Oct 20, 2012 - 7:41AM

    @Fahad Raza

    Our very own Grey’s Anatomy was Dhoop Kinaray – not Tanhaiyan


  • irfan
    Oct 20, 2012 - 11:55AM

    froim where can i download the song of this drama


  • adi
    Oct 20, 2012 - 1:54PM

    Tanhaiyaan would have been a massive flop if made in 2012


  • Faisal
    Oct 20, 2012 - 2:05PM

    Well, “Unkahi” was better than “Tanhayian”


  • Parvez
    Oct 20, 2012 - 3:12PM

    With Marinna Khan directing it stand a great chance of being a hit all over again.
    I hope they don’t just make a copy of the original but bring it into today’s world, keeping the the original story line, nuances and energy.


    Oct 20, 2012 - 7:15PM

    @Saad Durrani: Nooo she did not! Tauba. She’s very much alive. You gave me goosebumps, my hair stood up and I re-searched. She’s very much alive and teaches French now (or so the internet research came up with). Tauba, Tauba. Allah give her a long life.


  • Oedipust
    Oct 20, 2012 - 9:57PM

    @Gullible Nomore

    Durdana Butt is also there. So the six are: Bahroz Sabzwari, Marina Khan, Qazi Wajid, Asif Raza Meer, Badar Khalil & Durdana Butt.

    I don’t think Shehnaz Sheikh will appear in this serial. She has refrained from being on TV for ages now. I haven’t watched much TV over the past decade or so, but I last remember seeing her in early 1990s when she did some episodes of “Kaliyan” with “Uncle Sargam.”


  • Lala Gee
    Oct 20, 2012 - 10:26PM


    “Shehnaz is alive and well. Please don’t spread rumors. Shehnaz lives in Lahore and teaches now.”

    I’m guessing, you’re probably Bilal of Jupiter’s group. Anyway, you reminded me a function that was held in German Cultural Center in Lahore long time ago, 1979, where Jupiter group performed and Ali Azmat sang ‘Yaro Yahi Dosti Hay’ hit. Shehnaz Sheikh was also there. Tanhaiyan was just completed and SS and Marina were like dream girls. A few of us sat around SS in a semi-circle and chatted for quite some time, although it was little disappointing that she was not as beautiful as she looked in the serial.

    If I have to make a list PTV drama’s of my choice, it would be like this.

    1- Dhoop Kinaaray
    2- Tanhaiyan
    3- Alpha, Bravo, Charlie
    4- Waris
    5- Drama series based on Muslim history.(unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the series, but it was so impressive and well captured, especially the costumes, battle scenes, and the royal set-ups).


  • Lala Gee
    Oct 20, 2012 - 11:38PM

    A minor correction, the year I mentioned in earlier comment was 1989, or perhaps 1990, not 1979.


    Oct 28, 2012 - 6:56PM




  • MA
    Nov 4, 2012 - 5:12PM

    I wasn’t even born when Dhoop Kinaray was aired on TV.
    But it was such a blockbuster that it used be recorded on video cassettes at home and I have watched it unlimited number of times since childhood. Recently, also got the DVD’s.

    It is my all-time favorite drama and i remember innumerable dialogues from it. Would love a sequel for that. and re-live the moments!


  • habib
    Nov 4, 2012 - 11:51PM


    Does anyone know for sure if Shehnaz Sheikh has passed away or not?
    I especially request the source from Express Tribune to confirm.



  • Mariam Mehdi
    Nov 11, 2012 - 12:26AM

    Salaamu’Alaikum to all the fellow muslim/ahs! I hope you are in the best of health and Imaan Insha’Allah!

    I have been doing a lot of research and as far as I know, Shehnaz Sheikh is fit and well – if anyone has different information, please be kind enough to share it with us, if she has passed away, what was the cause of her death?!



  • Kadir
    Dec 5, 2012 - 12:09PM

    Tribute to those who passed away and were part of the original cast.

    Jamshed Ansari, Azra Sherwani, Mohammad Yusuf, Subhani Bayunis, Imtiaz Ali, Yasmeen Ismail and the genius Shahzad khalil (director).

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