Green Entertainment’s new project, ‘Standup Girl,‘ presents the tale of a young woman on a quest to discover her inner identity and pursue an unconventional career by societal standards, taking the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions.
Written by Awais Ahmad and Adeel Afzal, under the script supervision of none other than Bee Gul and a directorial venture of Kashif Nisar, ‘Standup Girl’ is a romantic dramedy that marks many firsts. The drama will follow Zara Noor Abbas Siddiqui’s character Zara who dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian and a charismatic rap singer, played by Danyal Zafar.
Diving into the first episode:
Kashif Nisar’s brilliance in direction lies in his ability to craft a unique world for each project he undertakes, where his characters reside. This delicately stitched-together universe instantly transports the audience into the lives of the characters, and ‘Standup Girl‘ is no exception.
The drama opens with the female protagonist Zara’s monologue as she talks to the camera. There are various instants in the drama in which we see her doing this piece-to-camera (PTC) technique, which hooks our interest. A bold and confident Zara takes on the stage for an annual day performance at her university, where she presents a set, she has prepared for her standup comedy. The brutally honest and comic set leads to Zara’s expulsion as she underlines the flaws in the education system and her university in front of the chief guest.
We also see a glimpse of Danyal Zafar’s character, standing in the corner of the auditorium, thoroughly enjoying Zara’s performance. It is later in the drama that we are introduced to his character.
The character Zara embodies is unapologetic and bold, with her sole vulnerability perhaps being her relationship with her mother. The narrative unfolds, portraying Zara as an only child caring for her mother, especially after the loss of her father. Zara’s attentive demeanour towards her mother, who battles cancer, shines through as she strives to provide the best care. Asma Abbas — who is Zara Noor Abbas’ mother in real life as well — takes on the role of Zara’s mother on-screen. Their chemistry is undoubtedly magical, a testament to their real-life bond. The tender moments, like Zara gently kissing her mother’s forehead and their delightful exchanges, beautifully captured the essence of their heartfelt connection. The authenticity and comfort they share is reflected vividly on the screen, instantly captivating and touching the audience’s hearts.
The drama does not, however, continue on a cheerful note as it progresses. We see Zara constantly lying to her mother about her standup comedy performances until her lies catch up and her mother is distressed over the entire situation.
What we liked about ‘Standup Girl’ was that instead of having a static momentum the drama kept us hooked till the last second. The first episode not only established the central characters but built well on the conflict around which the entire drama is going to be centred around.
In the later half of the episode, Zara’s mother confesses to lying to Zara about the origin of her family. Zara discovers, on her mother’s deathbed, that she in fact has a family. We are introduced to Zara’s maternal grandfather and uncle, who takes her home after Zara’s mother’s death.
An element worth appreciating is that Kashif Nisar executed the scene of Zara’s mother’s death with brilliance and sensitivity. It was indeed a pivotal scene in the drama which was executed to perfection. There was no bawling or unnecessary screaming and yet as the audience we could perceive the pain and turmoil of Zara.
The pursuit of showing the lives of artists
What spiked our curiosity to watch ‘Standup Girl’ was of course the novel storyline. The drama ventures into an entirely new territory which has not been explored in the context of Pakistani television dramas or films. Essentially the story is about two creative artists and the challenges they face in pursuing their passions.
While the character of Zara, as established before, is a standup comedian. Her brutal remarks leave her in trouble often, so much so, that we see her getting disinvited from her best friend’s wedding. What remains to see is that following her mother’s death how does she channel her inner pain to pursue her talent and will her newly discovered family support her in following her dreams?
As for Danyal Zafar’s character, who is a rapper and is shown striving to make a name for himself, Danyal essays the character’s frustration aptly well as we see him feeling dejected for going through a creative block and not being able to compose good songs. In a few minutes, the audience can gauge the pain of the character as he sits in a cafe, questioning his decision to make art. Although a character’s background remains a mystery to the audience, we are left intrigued.
What to look forward to?
‘Standup Girl’ promises to give an unforgettable tale that will make you laugh and cry as the story progresses. We are already excited to see Danyal Zafar and Zara Noor Abbas in one frame, who have paired for the first time in this project.
The entire cast also guarantees to do justice to their roles. Zara Noor Abbas has convinced us with her performance in this drama as she delivers a very natural performance. Even throughout the episode, we could see the range of her performance from the confident girl on the stage to a crushed human mourning the loss of her mother.
What we hoped was that the sets were written better. Since the character’s comic timing is a central theme of the drama, it suits best if her dialogues and her performance are a reflection of the praise she garners as an artist. This makes the entire plot more realistic and engaging to watch.
All in all, ‘Standup Girl’ is truly a unique offering and we hope that the drama continues to impress as the story progresses.