By Sarah Shaukat
Today’s TV-watching audience doesn’t get wooed easily. Give them a single-track love story where the hero saves the day and proceeds to a happily ever after and they’re likely to yawn and switch the channel. With changing times the audience has become very fickle and in an attempt to keep it gripped, our drama stories have changed as well.
Whether this is for better or for worse, we will leave that for you to decide.
Pakistani dramas have always kept the focus on their female leads throwing the weight of their misery on the vile demeanor of the male counterpart and their families. These women, bravely fighting the odds, may deserve this limelight but in the process, some male characters are often neglected despite being pivotal to the plot. In fact, the men in a drama are often the grayest characters of the show who influence the course of the narrative, often with the aid of some deeply problematic character arcs and misogynist traits.
And yet, the ladies tend to face most of the scrutiny. In an about-turn, here’s a list of some male characters that deserved applause for their impact on the story. The list includes characters from recent ‘popular dramas’ and by zeroing in on them we attempt to deconstruct the typical hero formula of Pakistani dramas and why it must be changed.
Emmad Irfani’s Asfand
Anti-hero narratives are becoming extremely common and they certainly bring an interesting spin to traditional storytelling. With Jalan, we had one such story that made the audience hate the main leads, be it Nisha (Minal Khan) or Asfand (Emmad Irfani).
Irfani took a character that was a complete 180 degrees turn to his previous perfect husband avatar in Cheekh and we applaud his choice. His portrayal of Afsand was impeccable, completely personifying the weak and terrible husband. The drama was based on a series of poor choices that were made by him for what could only be characterized as lust.
With no remorse or better judgment whatsoever, Asfand certainly gets 2 out of 5 from us. Regardless, he did present a different face to the typical hero.
Full marks to Emmad Irfani for making us hate Asfandyar; a BTS from Jalan
Imran Ashraf’s Adam and Musa
Is there anything this man can’t do? Not only did Imran Ashraf write Mushk, he created a lovable character like Adam for the world to see. A stand-up guy, honest to the bone, full of love and macho, Adam was too good to be true. His character was a straight arrow but never over the top. We finally got a rational guy who didn’t let his emotions get the best of him or got blinded by a hidden agenda.
The many shades that personified the exemplary Adam is a case in point on how drama characters should be crafted. For all these reasons and many more Adam gets 5 out of 5.
We are also loving Imran’s Moosa who unlike Adam does have some grays areas. The two heroes do have one overriding factor in common: the ability to fall in love wholeheartedly. The filmy treatment of Raqs-e-Bismil has made it a much-talked drama of recent times. We are dreadng where Moosa’s path of self-destruction will lead him as the tale unfolds. Moosa definitely has our attention and for that he gets 4 out of 5.
One thing common about Imran Ashraf’s Adam and Musa – they are both deeply committed to the women they love
Naumaan Ijaz’s Maqsood Sahab
Raqeeb Se has come as a breath of fresh air, with a rather mellow and unconventional story. Naumaan Ijaz is seen playing a complex character who doesn’t say much but does what is necessary. He is not the stand-up father Insha wishes him to be and is far from being the loving husband that Hajra deserves. His intentions towards Sakina are uncertain and his calmness around the whole situation keeps us guessing.
There is an aura of mystique to Maqsood Sahab. He is completely unpredictable which makes us curious to see how the story unfolds: will prove his loyalty to Sakina after all these years or will he finally value Hajra by making her feel seen?
Maqsood Sahab may not have the typical hero qualities but he is surely a character that has our curiosity piqued. We will give him 4 out of 5.
Maqsood Sahab, man of mystery
Sheharyar Munawar’s Aslam
Aslam in the drama Pehli Si Muhabbat marks the return of Sheharyar Munawar to small screens opposite his Parey Hut Love co-star Maya Ali. Aslam is your typical boy next door, head over heels in love with Rakshi (Maya Ali). He’s a jobless gali ka larka, a little rough around the edges but also gullible. He’s prone to floating up to cloud nine but he’s also sincere to his principles. For all these reasons, we’re cheering for Aslam and want him to win the girl and drive off into the sunset happily.
But like all love stories – in TV dramas – this old school terrace romance will not reach its happy ending all that easily. We will give Aslam a 3 out of 5.
Fireworks! The first time Aslam and Rakshi make eye contact
Feroze Khan’s Feedi
Ruling the TRPs these days is the uber hit Khuda Aur Muhabbat 3 starring Iqra Aziz and Feroze Khan. Feroze plays a reckless daredevil of a boy Feedi who has fallen for Mahi who is nothing short of an heiress in Bhalwalpur and not to mention way out of his league. The ultimate lover boy is on a mission to win her over and we have a feeling that like many of Feroze’s previous characters, this one will also meet a sad fate.
Feedi imbues life and romance on screen making us root for his unrequited love. He is a character that one quite enjoys and for that, we will give him 4 out of 5.
Heartbreak and unrequited love – Farhad’s journey seems to be a very sad one
With multiple dramas churning the same old bewafa husband or mama’s boy, we quite like what these six heroes bring to the table. Writers should take cues and add versatility to our drama heroes more often.
Which male character is your favorite and which one do you hate?