The year 2020 is drawing to a close and here we are again, doing a round-up of all those dramas which we enjoyed watching the most this year. When we sat down to make a list of Pakistani dramas that aired in 2020, it did seem like this has been a really long year! This year started on a positive note but gradually there was uncertainty due to COVID. In the end, however, even with all the challenges faced by the production houses, they managed to make and air just as many dramas in 2020 as they do every year. Like every other year, in 2020 there were so many dramas that failed to impress, there were many that went downhill after a few weeks but then there were also those which were pleasantly surprising and thoroughly entertaining.
Given the circumstances, we had to change our ‘definition’ of a ‘good drama’. In our opinion, a good drama is one that entertains and keeps the viewers completely hooked at least in the first 15-17 weeks or so. We all know that Pakistani dramas tend to drag a lot therefore any drama which delivers for 15 weeks or so, slows down but picks up after a few weeks and continues to entertain can be categorized as quality entertainment. The quality of script, performances, and overall execution are some of the determining factors. Sometimes even the best scripts can fall completely flat if they are not translated on screen convincingly. At the end of the day, a drama can only be the best if it leaves a lasting impression. These best dramas don’t have to be ‘perfect’ because any drama that has been on the air for more than 20 weeks will definitely have some kind of weakness. Also, the fact is that sadly the dramas this year were not all that good therefore even the best dramas list has some dramas that came under severe criticism for some reason or the other. However, even with some shortcomings, all these dramas are a must watch and have been included. This list contains dramas that ended in 2020 and those which have been on the air for 10 weeks or more.
Here is a list of the best Pakistani dramas of 2020:
Mere Pass Tum Ho
Writer: Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar
Director: Nadeem Baig
Producer: Six Sigma Plus
Channel: ARY Digital
Main Cast: Humayun Saeed, Ayeza Khan, Adnan Siddiqui, Hira Mani, Shees Sajjad Gul, Savera Nadeem.
When 2020 started, the viewers were either hooked to Mere Pass Tum Ho or they were busy criticizing the drama because of its content. This drama got two extreme reactions from the viewers; they either loved it or hated it! Even though so many dramas went on air after Mere Pass Tum Ho ended, it is still the center of discussion whenever drama buffs and critics sit down to talk about Pakistani dramas in 2020. Mere Pass Tum Ho was engaging and hard-hitting. For those of us who thoroughly enjoyed this emotional ride, the main attraction was the fact that for once the main protagonist was the man, and the story mainly focused on him. The dialogues were powerful and the performances by the leading cast made them even more impactful. Most importantly the execution of some of the scenes left the viewers in awe of Nadeem Baig’s directorial skills. He made sure that the viewers felt every emotion the characters were going through.
Mere Pass Tum Ho’s plot was somewhat similar to many other Pakistani dramas but the treatment given to this drama definitely made all the difference. Some of the scenes from Mere Pass Tum Ho will never be forgotten. Like many other scripts written by Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar, Mere Pass Tum Ho had many dialogues that were discussed on all the platforms; they were unapologetic and bold. This drama was a completely different journey altogether and one which will never be forgotten.
Writer: Umera Ahmed
Director: Haseeb Hassan
Producers: Sana Shahnawaz & Samina Humayun (Epic Entertainment)
Channel: Geo Entertainment
Main Cast: Hamza Ali Abbasi, Sajal Aly, Ahsan Khan, Kubra Khan, Pehlaaj Hussain, Manzar Sehbai, Saleem Mairaj, and others.
The story of drama serial Alif was based on the novel written by Umera Ahmed under the same title. Usually, when the novels are widely read, the readers form their own imagination and it becomes a lot harder to exceed the expectations of such viewers because they have lived the journey of the characters through the writer’s perspective. Drama serial Alif not only met everyone’s expectations but exceeded them because right from the beginning, till the end, the drama stayed on track and told the stories just the way they deserved to be told. Each episode amalgamating the past and the present of the lead characters was nothing short of a treat to watch. One of the strengths of this drama was the to-the-point approach and the lessons that the writer Umera Ahmed imparted especially about judging others on the basis of your own perception of them.
The story also revolved around the central character of Qalb e Momin and his struggles with his spirituality, his basic concepts related to his religion, and how certain misunderstandings led him to choose a path that did not give him inner peace. Husn e Jahan, Abdul Ala, Sultan, and Momina Sultan’s stories were heart-touching because of which they earned a special place in the heart of the viewers. Alif was a masterpiece that garnered its own niche of fans who absolutely loved watching the journey of these beautiful characters unfold. It definitely deserves to be on the list of best dramas that ended this year. Also, the fact that the director decided to end it just within 24 episodes kept the interest of the viewers alive and make it a lot more special. Hamza Ali Abbasi, Sajal Aly, Saleem Mairaj, Abdul Ala, Kubra Khan, Ahsan Khan, and Pehlaaj Hussain were in their element throughout the drama and gave phenomenal performances which will be remembered for a long long time.
Writer: Mustafa Afridi
Director: Saife Hassan
Producer: MD Productions, ISPR
Channel: HUM, PTV Home
Main Cast: Osman Khalid Butt, Ahmed Ali Akbar, Ahad Raza Mir, Alizeh Shah, Zara Noor Abbas, Wahaj Ali, Hajra Yamin.
Ehd-e-Wafa was another drama this year that had the viewers completely hooked when 2020 started. This was perhaps the only drama this year that had so many positive messages and characters. It was also one of those few dramas that focused on something other than romantic involvements or marital issues. The viewers got to watch some of the most inspiring characters in Ehd-e-Wafa and also the most endearing young characters. This drama, however, took off a little later therefore all those viewers who gave up on it in the first few weeks should definitely tune into it again. Since Mustafa Afridi was still penning down the script when Ehd-e-Wafa went on air, it gave him a chance to write the second half of the drama keeping in mind the sentiments and opinions of the viewers. Ehd-e-Wafa’s theme was different from all the other Pakistani dramas that aired this year.
The viewers also got to watch their favorite actors in roles which brought out the best in them and some of those actors who are rarely seen on screen were also seen performing in Ehd-e-Wafa. Saife Hassan’s skillful direction definitely made some of the scenes come alive on screen in the most realistic manner. The emotional scenes in Ehd-e-Wafa left a lasting impression on the viewers. It was also one of the few dramas this year with the perfect ending.
Dushman e Jaan
Writer: Sarwat Nazeer
Director: Amin Iqbal
Producer: Six Sigma Plus
Channel: ARY Digital
Main Cast: Mohib Mirza, Tooba Siddique, Madiha Imam, Irfan Khoosat, Kashif Mehmood, Saba Hameed, Imran Peerzada.
It took a few episodes for Dushman e Jaan to get noticed but when it started becoming popular, it was evident right from the beginning because this drama had it all to grab the attention of the viewers. Writer Sarwat Nazeer came up with a fresh idea and added her touch of simplicity, because of which such a complicated story was told in such a heartfelt manner that the viewers found themselves emotionally invested in these characters.
The story of Dushman e Jaan was all about grief and regret and every step of the way, Hatim’s regret was elaborated which became easier to understand what he was going through. In the drama serial Dushman e Jaan, through Ramsha’s character, the writer also showed how girls who are burdened with so many responsibilities end up carrying a facade of bravery that at times they come off as arrogant and are easily misunderstood. The drama serial Dushman e Jaan did have predictable tracks but what made it intriguing were the twists and turns in the initial stages of the drama which then made it a compulsion on the viewers to follow it. Dushman e Jaan was treated as an after-thought by the channel where it did not even get decent promotions before its airing but its popularity was exceptional and it did really well with the audience. Mohib Mirza was the star of the show and he showed his full potential as an actor in Dushman e Jaan and Tooba Siddique made a comeback on television after a long time and she was equally impressive as well.
Pyar Ke Sadqay
Writer: Zanjabeel Asim Shah
Director: Farooq Rind
Producer: MD Productions & Moomal Entertainment
Main Cast: Yumna Zaidi, Bilal Abbas Khan, Omair Rana, Atiqa Odho, Yashma Gill, Srha Asghar.
Pyar Ke Sadqay was another entertaining drama this year that had a different storyline. The writer Zanjabeel Asim Shah gave the viewers a complete package by penning down a drama that made the viewers laugh and cry at the same time. Pyar Ke Sadqay had the most unusual protagonists, an aspect which appealed to the viewers. It was more than just another love story, the writer highlighted important social issues through this drama and the characters were etched-out brilliantly. The drama offered a variety of characters and tracks, each one of them had a story to tell which was relatable and heart-warming.
Yumna Zaidi and Bilal Abbass Khan mesmerized the viewers with their remarkable performances. Srha Asghar’s performance and character was also the center of attention for weeks. This was another drama that had the most unexpected twists and turns presented on screen in the most convincing manner. Pyar Ke Sadqay did go off track clearly because there must have been pressure on the writer to stretch the story further, however, the ending was convincing and it made up for the lack of consistency in between.
Writer: Sadia Akhtar
Director: Zeeshan Ahmed
Producer: 7th Sky Entertainment
Channel: Geo Entertainment
Main Cast: Danish Taimoor, Hiba Bukhari, Ali Abbas, Mehmood Aslam, Ismat Zaidi, Faiza Gillani, Zoya Nasir.
Drama serial Deewangi was yet another project this year that became immensely popular. In the initial stages of the drama, the plot, as well as the character development, reminded a lot of the Korean dramas where the girl comes from a lower middle class and is trying her best to live life on her own terms. She is doing what it takes to fend for herself without anyone’s help and that is what sets her apart from everyone. The guy belongs to an affluent background and is a wealthy businessman who also has stepped into politics. He then takes revenge on the girl only to find out that he actually loved her madly. Deewangi deserves a spot on the list because of the different story that the writer came up with. Although it did have certain typical tracks like Nageen getting mistreated by her mother in law but to see her husband standing by her side through thick and thin was refreshing.
In Pakistani dramas, it definitely is a rarity to see such husbands who take a stand for their wives every step of the way. The ending of the drama serial Deewangi also showed Nageen as a strong individual who did not really cave in and used the situation to her advantage. It was unfortunate that the drama was prolonged and stretched a bit too far but the overall execution, characters, and story definitely make it one of the best dramas of this year. After a long time, it was probably the first drama of Danish Taimoor where he got to showcase his talent as an actor because he actually portrayed the twisted character of Sultan Durrani to perfection. He conveyed all the layers of his personality skillfully and made it a treat to see his antics. Hiba Bukhari was impressive as Nageen and Ali Abbas also played his part well. It won’t be wrong to say that Danish Taimoor was the star of Deewangi and he ran the show completely.
Writer: Naila Ansari
Director: Rubina Ashraf
Producer: Six Sigma Plus
Channel: ARY Digital
Main Cast: Sana Javed, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Seemi Raheel, Syed Mohmmad Ahmed, Irsa Ghazal, Usman Peerzada, Osama Tahir, Minna Tariq.
Ruswai was one of the most talked-about and watched dramas this year. The story of the drama was based on a true story and it showed the trials and tribulations of a rape victim. Ruswai was one of the most emotional dramas this year which made the viewers feel for the victim and definitely helped raise some really important issues. Apart from this, Ruswai also showed how the tradition of watta satta affects families. Ruswai’s pace slowed down and the overall treatment given to the drama made it frustrating to watch at times.
Overall, however, Ruswai had some really powerful messages and outstanding performances to its credit. Sana Javed’s performance in particular was applauded by the viewers and the critics. Many issue-based dramas were shown on different channels this year and Ruswai was the best among them since it stayed true to the issues it attempted to highlight right till the end. Mukhtaran Mai’s guest appearance in the last episode gave this drama the kind of powerful ending it deserved.
Writer: Imran Nazeer
Director: Danish Nawaz
Producer: Momina Duraid Production
Channel: Hum TV
Main Cast: Hira Mani, Junaid Khan, Waseem Abbas, Tanya Hussain, Sabeena Farooq, Munazzah Arif, Lubna Aslam, Samina Ahmed.
The writer of drama serial Kashf Imran Nazeer definitely should take a bow for bringing something entirely new to the table. The story of Kashf was unique and the concept was fresh, the kind that was never seen before on Pakistani television. Although the life journey of Kashf was full of trials, the viewers just wanted to learn more about her, they were intrigued and there was an element of mystery that played to the success of this drama as well. Drama serial Kashf was a perfect example of intelligent writing coupled with mindful direction. Every step of the way, Danish Nawaz showed his grip on the script as well as the vision that he had. It was no easy feat to make this story believable but the way Imran Nazeer added the subject of exploitation that happens under the garb of religiosity and piety was commendable.
The viewers definitely were left broken-hearted because they wished to see Kashf happy but as the drama progressed and her life story unfolded, it became clear that it was impossible for Kashf to find peace and happiness especially when she was surrounded by such people who only knew how to mooch off of her. Drama serial Kashf was a perfect blend of mystery, mysticism, melodrama along with some comic relief. This year in Kashf, the Pakistani drama viewers came across some of the phenomenal performances and the credit definitely goes to the director as well as the actors especially Hira Mani, Waseem Abbas, and Junaid Khan for doing complete justice to the script that was so unique, demanding, and challenging at the same time. Kashf definitely was one of the best dramas of 2020.
Writer: Imran Ashraf
Director: Aehsun Talish
Producer: MD Productions
Main Cast: Imran Ashraf, Urwa Hocane, Momal Sheikh, Osama Tahir, Raja Haider, Zara Tareen, Hassan Ahmed, Hassan Ahmed, Manzoor Qureshi, Sehar Khan.
Mushk has an intriguing storyline, characters that keep you guessing, and the most unpredictable plot twists. The writer Imran Ashraf’s well-thought-out script has reminded the viewers of all those PTV classics which did not bank on simple storylines and star power alone. The flawed characters of the drama have an appeal and each track has enough substance to hold the interest of the viewers.
Even though Mushk has multiple tracks, you never feel that any one of these tracks is ignored or is half-baked. Urwa Hocane and Imran Ashraf stand out due to their phenomenal performances and appealing characters. The pace of the drama is another reason why it keeps the viewers thoroughly entertained. Mushk is a complete package, definitely something different from what we usually see on screen and should not be missed. This drama will definitely give producers and writers incentive to come up with unique storylines instead of focusing on the kind of plots which have been done-to-death.
Writer: Faiza Iftikhar
Director: Qasim Ali Mureed
Producer: Six Sigma Plus
Channel: ARY Digital
Main Cast: Farhan Saeed, Sohai Ali Abro, Waseem Abbas, Saba Hameed, Shamim Hilali, Qavi Khan, Uzma Hassan.
Prem Gali is one of the light-hearted & entertaining shows that the Pakistani drama viewers came across this year. It is a perfect blend of societal issues told in a comic manner while still doing justice to the emotions felt by the characters. One of the best aspects of Prem Gali is that each and every character has lived through its fair share of struggles, but none of them is a quitter. They all have their own ways of dealing with their pains and sufferings, but as a whole, they rely on each other and come together in the hour of need.
Prem Gali has highlighted a lot of issues along the way and has shown a different approach which forces one to think about how they can change their perspective as well. One of the most heart-warming aspects of this story is seeing how each and every resident of Prem Gali actively participate in any matter concerning their neighbors. In recent times, the drama viewers rarely get to see dramas like Prem Gali that address serious issues in a light-hearted manner. Writer Faiza Iftikhar has also made sure to impart some great messages and lessons throughout the journey and the fact that the comic quotient is still intact makes it one of the best dramas of 2020. Waseem Abbas and Saba Hameed are running the show and all the actors have done complete justice to the characters assigned to them. Farhan Saeed and Sohai Ali Abro are absolutely sweet and make a great on-screen pair in Prem Gali.
Do share your views about the best Pakistani dramas this year. Which one was your favorite?
Fatima Awan & Zahra Mirza