The drama serial Grey opens with a promising first episode, setting the bar and raising expectations for a promising suspense thriller. “There is a difference between a criminal and the accused,” says Noreen Gulwani’s character in the drama, establishing the pivotal question around which the narrative revolves.
The opening scene of the drama follows Salaar Khan (Sami Khan), who is a well-established actor married with children. There is trouble in paradise when the news breaks on television that Salaar is accused of harassment on national television by his co-star and another well-established actress Imaan Mansoor (played by Sabeena Farooq). The entire episode billed on this premise, establishing different characters and sub-plots in the show.
Grey: An exact mirror of the Ali Zafar-Meesha Shafi case?
The audience could not help but instantly draw parallels between the plot with the real-life case in which Meesha Shafi accused Ali Zafar of sexual harassment on 19th April 2018. The case received a lot of media attention and went on for several years. After nearly four years, following media scandals and accusations, the Lahore High Court announced in 2022 that the plea of Mesha Shafi had been dismissed by the court. This was eventually followed by a lot of discussions on the outcome of the case.
We could not help but feel Déjà vu seeing the first episode. While it is not new for storytellers or drama makers to take inspiration from real-life stories, there were certain elements which we felt were worth addressing.
Considering the fact that the Mesha Shafi and Ali Zafar case is relatively new and has only reached a conclusion after the Lahore High Court’s decision, which was passed only last year, makes this a sensitive topic to address. More challenging than this is the way the makers will decide how to conclude the drama considering the sentiments of several people involved.
Moreover, during the case development, the public has been exposed to the opinions of both sides. Ali Zafar has vocally expressed how Meesha Shafi’s accusations have disrupted his personal and professional life and have resulted in him losing several contracts over the years. The actor openly challenged Meesha Shafi.
On the other hand, the public has also sensitively heard Meesha’s perspective. Due to several controversies that surrounded, the public always remained undecided and torn between both the public figures, unable to comprehend which side was telling the truth.
While the case may have been closed, we cannot help but think how a drama depicting this case might affect Mesha Shafi and Ali Zafar’s personal life and their families who are being made to relive the trauma again, following the discussion that followed after the release of the first episode. The intention of the makers might be only to highlight a social message through this drama, however, taking one side in the plot might only reignite a debate and affect the concerned parties.
While it is too soon to jump to conclusions, we do hope that the makers do justice to the sensitive topic.
Diving into the first episode
Green Entertainment’s new drama Grey has been penned by Rida Bilal and has been directed by Sohail Javed.
After the opening scene in which Salaar is accused by Iman, we see a situation of complete anarchy and chaos. The first episode aptly builds the element of intrigue and mystery. Both Sabeena Farooq and Sami Khan have done justice to their characters by expressing feelings of uncertainty in their emotions and not giving away to who is in the wrong.
Sabeena’s character Iman is shown to be in complete control of the entire situation. We do not get to see how she truly feels about the accusation. On the other hand, Sami Khan denies any truth in the allegations against him and continues with his life.
The first episode also introduced us to Noreen Gulwani’s character who is playing the role of a journalist. The viewers are also introduced to the dynamics of the workplace on the news channel, where Noreen’s character works.
The drama repeatedly iterates the idea of women’s harassment at various places. In the news channel’s office, they have established that the boss is abusing his power dynamics and is harassing the women working for him. Meanwhile, we also see the housemaid working at Sabeena’s home getting harassed repeatedly as she travels to Sabeena’s home.
Lastly, the drama also explores how media and bloggers play a pivotal role in presenting the news to the public and how their words and actions can influence the public’s actions.
Alongside the main leads, the drama casts Saleem Mairaj, Zoha Rehman, Paras Masroor, Faizan Sheikh, Irfan Motiwala, Noreen Gulwani, Mahenur Haider, Mustafa Baloch, Fajr Sheikh, Nadeem Kazmi, Peerzada Salman, Salma Zafar, Shazia Gohar, Khalid Anum and Saifi Hasan.
Undoubtedly, Grey has managed to keep us hooked till the very last minute of the first episode. However, the introduction of several subplots in less than forty minutes took away time from the development of lead characters and resulted in haphazard changes in frames.
Nevertheless, Grey is certainly a drama we will be watching out for.