When drama serial Bakhtawar went on air, many of us compared it to Parizaad and wondered if Bakhtawar will also be another unforgettable drama such as Parizaad. The good news is that Bakhtawar was a memorable drama in its own right; it was a story of resilience and uncharted strength. The ending of both the drama was more or less the same. However, it did not have the same impact which Parizaad had on the viewers. I re-watched the last scene from Parizaad and I must say that it was on a completely different level altogether. The dialogues, cinematography, and performances were mind-blowing. Bakhtawar’s journey stayed true to its basic theme right till the end but the execution of this last episode could have been far better. This drama and the character played by Yumna Zaidi is definitely yet another feather in her cap. The drama also ended on an apt note if not a high one. Even someone like me, who felt that the story was stretched and some elements of the drama such as the production values and the casting were not as remarkable as some of the other dramas from a similar genre were, couldn’t help but truly appreciate how the drama ended.
This review is going to be more of an overview of the entire drama since I left reviewing it weekly owing to some of my reservations with the casting and execution as well as a few of the tracks. Since the main content, theme, and track of the drama were always delivered, I did not want to rant about the things that did not work for me every single week.
Drama serial Bakhtawar had a lot going for it. The main lead definitely was the biggest strength of the drama. The premise of the story was brand new and the way Bakhtawar’s journey highlighted how difficult it was for a woman to make it on her own was the best part of the drama. Even with all the odds against her, the writer never showed Bakhtawar as a victim. She was always the hero in her story. The writer managed to show that and at the same time, the viewers got to watch the vulnerable and more human side of the character. Bakhtawar’s inner turmoil was always an important part of her story. We were ‘shown’ her ups and downs in detail and not ‘told’ what she was going through, which I feel made all the difference. Yumna Zaidi definitely made the right choice when she decided to take up this challenging role. This character had so many different sides yet Yumna Zaidi switched from one to the other effortlessly.
Another strength that might have gone unnoticed by many was Bakhtawar’s relationship with her mother. Bakhtawar’s mother was shown as a docile character; a woman who could never take a stand on her own but when her daughter decided to rewrite her story, she stood by her through thick and thin. The way her character development was shown was also interesting. In the beginning, she merely went with whatever Bakhtawar did because she had faith in her daughter. Later on, she started believing in her daughter despite all the mistakes she made and had a voice of her own. It was wonderful watching her find a voice and using it to tell Dilawar’s mother off. There was a time when this woman could not even imagine thinking on her own let alone confronting another person of such high stature.
Apart from the main lead, Bakhtawar had quite a few strong supporting characters as well. Sheeda’s character stood out because he was such an apt representation of people like him. Sunil Shankar’s performance made all the difference; he played his role exceptionally well. Naveeda’s character development made her stand out in the past few weeks in particular. The way she supported the young girl her husband married was a pleasant surprise. Mizna Waqas is an exceptional actress who always breathes life into all her characters. I absolutely loved her performance throughout and in the last episode, her expressions in particular were priceless. Mohsin played by Shamoon Abbasi was another refreshing element of the drama since we hardly ever get to see such policemen in Pakistani dramas. This was such a good way of showing how much difference a good police officer could make.
In my opinion, the production values of the drama were not up to the mark. Malik Dilawar, Hurriya, and their families were such an important part of the drama. On paper, these families represented the most affluent and influential classes of our society but their lifestyles were not depicted convincingly on-screen. Everything from their houses and workplaces looked more like that of a person belonging to the middle class. Apart from those two big cars and a handful of guards, the entire scenario was extremely unconvincing. So many scenes were shot in Dilawar’s office but the whole set-up was so lame that it was almost laughable. There was a big contradiction between what the writer had written on paper and how it was executed on-screen.
Hurriya’s character was a big put-off for me. I am honestly sick and tired of watching these rich, ‘educated’ and modern women running after men like they have nothing better to do. The way Hurriya’s entire existence centered on getting married to Dilawar made me want to forward her scenes. Things just got worse when her focus shifted to Bakhtawar. Even her father was so actively involved in helping her, it made no sense whatsoever. Even though Noureen Gulwani is a great actress, this character did not bring out the best in her. It was really difficult for me to stay interested in this particular track and one of the main reasons why I stopped reviewing the drama.
Both the male leads in the drama were disappointing, to say the least. Zaviyar Nauman complete failed at adding any kind of charm or appeal to his character. Dilawar was an impressive and likable character on paper but the execution was so bad that he came across as too sweet, too simple, too plain. The character was well written but the execution was a major disappointment. Zaviyar Nauman was not a good choice for playing the role because he failed to add substance to the character. The production values and camera work did not help either. Ahad was another well-written character but Ali Wasi Kazmi did not have the kind of screen presence which could have made this character stand out. That is the reason why the equation between Bakhtawar and Ahad or Bakhtawar and Dilawar was never the same as the one between Parizaad and Annie.
Bakhtawar’s last episode had some strong messages which were completely in line with Bakhtawar’s journey. The importance of education and the need for women to support each other were highlighted more than any other. Right till the end, I tried really hard to warm up to Dilawar and Bakhtawar’s relationship but it did not work for me at all. I am glad the romantic angle of this relationship was completely sidelined but it also makes me wonder why it was highlighted so much in the past few weeks! It was obviously a way to keep people guessing but I think it was completely unnecessary because it would have been quite strange if Dilawar and Bakhtawar ever got together in that way. The romance/infatuation element could easily have been avoided. Overall, Bakhtawar managed to stand out because of its novel content; it is always good watching dramas that are progressive and show empowered women. That particular aspect of Bakhtawar’s journey stayed on point right till the end. The final scenes showed Bakhtawar sporting a braid which means a lot of time had passed in between therefore I could not help but wonder if Bakhtawar managed to pass the competitive exams. Bakhtawar was Yumna Zaidi’s show more than any other and I must applaud her for nailing her character even though she had to work alongside actors who could not even give the right expressions!
Did you watch this last episode? Do share your thoughts about it.
I had stopped watching it long back, used to see reviews and teasers and watched last 2 episodes, this could have been another parizaad, but was not handled well. Also Zaviyar really need to work hard, he is too wooden and he is spoiling big dramas, he should get roles that are for muneeb butt, ali abbas, etc… and gain little experience then cast opposite likes of yumna, hania..etc. perfect example of nepotism.
I agree with you completely tiger, this could have been that but it was not meant to be! Yes!! Zaviyar has to be the biggest parchi on Pakistani television right now. He has ruined so many major roles. He was good in Sang-e-Mah only.