Green Entertainment has made a significant effort since its launch in July last year to try and tell fresh and diverse stories. The channel has already made a name for itself for tackling important topics and bringing exciting new stories which we haven’t seen much of in the past.
‘Akhara’ is the latest entry in their stellar portfolio. A rich tapestry set in the testosterone world of wrestlers; we were highly anticipating it from the moment we saw the trailers. A story about vengeance and power dynamics set on the backdrop of an akhara, filled with buff men all around, who wouldn’t be excited. Penned by Shahid Dogar, directed by Anjum Shahzad and produced by Multiverse Entertainment.
So, how did the first episode fare? Let’s see.
The Story & Cast
As mentioned above, the story is set against the backdrop of an akhara where Waseem Abbas plays a former wrestler who now serves as a trainer for his wrestler son Sultan, played by Faraz Farooqui.
Feroze Khan plays Sultan’s younger brother Dilsher. This role feels all over the place with the writing. The episode opens with Dilsher seeming like a mama’s boy who has no interest or skill to be involved with his family’s wrestling lifestyle.
He is seen being babied by his mother, played by Nida Mumtaz and his twin sister, played by Hina Afridi. However, at one point, his character seems to take a complete turn as he showcases his hot-tempered attitude which feels out of character after what we had established.
This doesn’t stop there, as in the next few scenes he’s back to being the carefree guy he is. It also doesn’t help Feroze’s case that Faraz Farooqui fits so perfectly into his role as Sultan. The actor not only looks the part and has done the physical work for it but is also incredibly charming and endearing in the romantic interactions with his fiancé played by Searha Asghar.
In Feroze’s defense, the trailers hint at a major turning point for his character which will set him on the path of vengeance, but in this debut episode, the character seems the most pointless to the story considering he is the lead.
This first episode primarily focuses on father and son Waseem Abbas and Faraz Farooqui and their rivalry with fellow wrestler Dastgir and his benefactor Chaudhry Sahab, a landlord played by Nazar ul Hassan. Chaudhry also has a son Rustam, played by Kashif Hussain. Rustam is a hot-tempered man who lives in the city for his studies.
This is where we get to meet Sonya Hussain’s Satara, who has barely anything to do in the episode besides setting up Rustam’s character. Rustam is introduced to us in a rather overdramatic action scene, as he rescues Satara from a guy at their university who’s harassing her.
Waseem Abbas and Faraz Farooqui steal the episode. Both are completely lost in their respective roles and bring a level of authenticity that is needed for the world-building of this show. Nazar ul Hassan also stands out as a puny and vengeful man who clearly has a history with Waseem Abbas’ character that is yet to be revealed.
Feroze Khan is as good as ever here but is brought down a little due to choppy writing for his character. Hopefully, as the story progresses, his character comes into focus.
Nida Mumtaz has some key scenes near the end of the episode, as she plays a concerned mother trying to stop this violence before it goes too far. These scenes are also clear foreshadowing for what’s to come as her concerns are dismissed by her family.
Hina Afridi as Ramsha is also great. She and Feroze Khan get to play a very fun and loving sibling dynamic throughout the episode. Srha Asghar plays a firecracker as Sultan’s fiancé and is the only person who keeps him on his toes, creating an adorable dynamic.
The world-building in this show is already stellar. You feel instantly transported to this world of akharas and wrestlers. The show’s use of wrestling commentator’s announcements also adds to the vibe of the show.
All the wrestlers featured in the show also seem authentic and those scenes are easily the most fun to watch, as these are things we don’t always see on the small screen, certainly not in our shows.
So, while ‘Akhara’ does weirdly overshadow its two leads in the pilot episode, it does showcase incredible world-building and some great set pieces that are sure to feature action scenes in later episodes. The episode also has great performances from the likes of Waseem Abbas, Faraz Farooqui and Nida Mumtaz.
The show certainly needs another episode or two for its story and characters to fully come into focus, but it is already firing on all cylinders with the titular Akhara.