Our drama serials are constantly being critiqued by audiences for all being the same. Most of them are about a damsel in distress. No wonder audiences seem to easily get tired of what our TV channels have to offer since them being more of the same.
The blame isn’t totally on the writers either since there are only so many stories one can tell considering our limited budgets and a rather strict censor board. The best that most shows can manage is at least give us dynamic characters with great dialogues.
One new addition to this category of shows is ‘Betiyaan’ which debuted its first episode this Saturday on ARY Digital. Showcasing a tale as old as time, does the show have enough originality to stand on its own? Let’s discuss.
Story & Cast
‘Betiyaan’ is directed by Meesam Naqvi and written by Asma Sayani who has also given us shows like ‘Piya Mann Bhaye’ and ‘Ghalati.’
The story revolves around Laiq Ahmed, played by veteran actor Syed Muhammad Ahmed, and his five daughters. We have Fatima Effendi as Fiza the eldest, Mah-e-Noor Haider as Ayeza, Tania Hussain as Anum, Qudsia Ali as Haniya and Emaan Khan as Komal. The supporting cast includes Beena Masrur as Laiq’s mother, Javeria Saud as Laiq’s sister, Fahad Sheikh as Fiza’s intended and Osama Tahir as Ayeza’s boyfriend.
We experience the trials and tribulations of what it takes to raise five daughters in our judgmental and harsh society, particularly for a widower with a humble background. Once again, the story isn’t new in any way shape or form having been told by numerous people in their own way.
This being the first episode is mostly spent on introducing us to this ensemble and setting up the plot. The rest of the episode is spent on the eldest daughter Fiza’s supposed engagement. The episode is low on the story but it makes up for it with the strong dynamics between each character and by every character being so well defined.
The majority of the performances are really good across the board. The only weak link amongst this cast is Javeria Saud as Laiq’s sister who looks even more ridiculous considering the subtle tone with the rest of the cast around her. One could argue that it works as a good contrast but you’d need a good actor to deliver that.
Muhammad Ahmed is as phenomenal as ever, and could play the father of daughters in his sleep. He’s asked to convey the emotions of a father who is quite progressive in his approach but is bound by societal norms and he plays that perfectly as always.
Fatima Effendi as Fiza steals some scenes in more than one instance. Fiza is the eldest and almost like a mother to her four sisters, she’s the closest to her father and the most obedient and understanding one. Fatima plays those subtle beats very well and without any dialogue in some scenes.
An example is when none of her sisters notices the concern on their father’s face but she picks up on it immediately. The title track swooping in to make it as unsubtle as possible wasn’t needed since Fatima conveys all that without a word.
The bond and one-to-one dynamics between the sisters and their father are also quite well-established and wholesome to watch. While they may look like archetypes at first, they all end up seeming like real people. Even though most of the episode focuses on Fiza, Ayeza and Haniya, they all manage to make an impression onscreen.
The rest of the supporting cast also does a fine job, particularly Osama Tahir and Fahad Sheikh.
While it’s true that ‘Betiyaan’ is adding nothing new to the conversation and isn’t revolutionizing Pakistani television whatsoever, it does offer an ensemble with some great performances and well-defined characters and a story relatable enough that you might still end up watching and enjoying.