Reel 2 Real ~ Memorable Dramas & Why

Kal subah uthtay saath hi main ne socha ke barey din ho gaye hain I have been over-using and abusing my laptop not showing it much TLC,  so josh mein aa ke I decided ke chalo ab I shall go through the purani files wala folder and do some much needed safai there. So bas waheen ke waheen just like that youm-e safai ki zordar declaration ki gayi.

Four hours and two cups of coffee and umpteen Farida Khanam and Nayyara Nooor ghazals later safai wafai ka tau door door tak koi naam-o nishan nahin tha. What I had ended up doing instead was taking a long-winded side trip down memory lane reading through pieces I had written when I had started blogging about dramas.

Reading older reviews and comments reminded me that so much of what makes a drama memorable may not necessarily be the drama itself but the memories associated with it. Nummfor instance, was one of the most aggravating dramas ever but watching it with you all made it an experience none of us at DRNR are likely to forget anytime soon.

And so… kyonke mahol tau set hua hi hua hai  aur mood bhi bana hua hai tau phir allow me to share some of my personal fave dramas and tell you why they will always be special to me.

Ankahi & Tanhaiyan: These two are forever associated in my mind with Karachi, cousins, lazy long summer days, no responsibilities no worries, never-ending gup shup sessions with friends, and discussions about every second of our favorite dialogues and scenes and then the interminable wait for the next installment.

Dhoop Kinarey: No cerebral reasons for this one, at least not then. Tab tau it was all about the drool-worthy Dr. Ahmed and Dr. Zoya pairing. Marina Khan’s short hair was the reason for my first ever true-blue fight with my mother. I insisted on chopping off my hip-length hair because all of a sudden I felt like a total paindu with my long choti. To this day my mother rues the day when dramas turned her hitherto seedhi sadhi beti into a rebel… and life’s never been the same again!

Sitara Aur Mehrunnisa: This one was special ’cause of Sania Saeed. Watching it as my impressionable younger self I remember being zapped by Sania’s genuine girl next door quality. There was something very refreshing about watching someone so relatable, someone who normalized intelligence with such simplicity, charm and grace. Atiqa Odho was stunning as Sitara but how many of us could ever come close to such beauty? Mehrunnisa on the other hand was a true inspiration.

Talking of these dramas brings to mind memories of watching with family, the 8 o’clock drama followed by the 9 o’clock khabarnama eating dinner together and lights out at 10. Now with family dispersed all over and many who have since passed away, each re-watch brings to mind a happy precious moment.

After I moved to the US drama watching required a lot more of an effort. This was the time when dramas came those bulky VHS tapes and it was well nigh impossible to get Pakistani dramas in the pardesi gaons where I lived. Back then trips home entailed not just buying masalas and clothes but also dramas.

Shashlik: Comedies are not my thing. Bas, no reason… they are just not. So on one of my trips back home I asked my rapidly dwindling circle of drama watching friends ke bibiyo batao naya kya dekhoon? After the usual: you are crazy, nobody watches these dramas anymore, they are all StarPlus copies etc… one friend suggested Shashlik. Now it was my turn to return the lecture: main aisi fazool cheezain nahin dekhti types. Long story short I watched and Sarmad acquired himself a lifelong stalker. He and Nadia make the best pair ever and after watching them together in Baghi I so wish they would come back in a telefilm ~ Shashlik Reloaded: Hua Kuch Youn.

Kahaniyan: Many things have changed over the years, but was hasn’t changed is the importance of the role media – film and dramas – play in mediating the diaspora’s relationship with the homeland. This amazing series kept the fires of my drama love stoked. Mehreen introduced a particular brand of realism to story telling wherein while she didn’t shy away from showing the truth but she didn’t turn her narrative into misery porn either, a fact I appreciate more with each passing year.

Humsafar: This was special because it introduced me to the world of online dramas and review forums and blogging! It was also the first time I engaged with dramas as more than just entertainment and began to think of them in intellectual terms and viewing them through a very different analytical lens.

Shehr-e Zaat: This one is a no-brainer – gold star for those who figure this one out!

Talkhiyan: This one I would have not watched, review tau baad ki baat hai, had it not been for our beloved Hina Bayat. When I looked it up it sounded quite depressing and up until that point as a viewer I had steered clear of such stuff. But because Hina had suggested it I thought to give the promos a dekho. Rest is history. Importantly, with Talkhiyan I learned the crucial difference between a viewer and a reviewer, and thus started the process of carving out a distinct voice for Desi Rants N Raves.

Aunn Zara: The first episode had aired earlier that morning and I had absolutely loved it. But mushkil yeh thi ke I was leaving for an overseas trip that afternoon and  flight ka time ho raha tha. I basically wrote that review somewhere over the Atlantic and thought I hit publish on one of my stopovers. But when is life that easy. Something got messed up and I ended up having to re-write the review and almost missing my connection in my efforts to ensure that the review got published properly this time around.

So… yeh tau thi ek sampling un dramon ki jo mere liye bohot memorable hain. Ab aap share karein. What are some of the dramas that hold meaning for you? Any fun memories associated with a particular drama? A school/college incident? A particular dialogue from a drama that you guys remember using in your everyday life?

Looking forward to hearing from all you guys, even the silent readers!

Written by SZ~

34 replies

  1. You are amazing ! Such a wonderful topic , even though we discussed it still want to read more …. So many nice drama , Pehchan , Thalkhiya , and dhoop kinary . You so right about all that drama . But “Num “I would not have survived without all DRNR friends . Lol
    Thinking about you . Sending some warm weather . Take care .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ranjan: Thank you for reading and commenting ❤

      Would love to have you share a particulr drama related memory – how abt a DRNR related memory? Do you remember how you found us? The first drama you commented on here?

      LOL! Numm was a crazy drama but so much fun with the gang! And our convos – hahahaha!!!


  2. Well no memories attached to tanhaiyan and dhoop kinare but I watched these plays when I heard abt them from my elders and loved these.. The first dramas I watched are mehndi, daam, meray aas pass.. still remember while watching the last episode of mehndi the light wehnt as usual.. me with my cousins started playing outside and when the light came drama was still there and we saw how humayun died in the laps of aisha khan while the whole family was having dinner.. watched mehndi after that many times.. so many memories are attached to our dramas.


    • Ooh! Mehndi is a good one! If we ever do a post abt the best death scenes or most memorable scenes that final scene will def rate very high up there .. it is pretty amazing now to think that that Aisha Khan’s first ever serial! She was so heartbreakingly lovely 😢
      Haina! As I was writing this post it was really hard to pick out a few memories .. amazing how much of a part of our lives these dramas are!


  3. Thanks SZ . As far as I remember first drama I commented was On Num (Lol ). And you always help me to understand the Urdu words . ( thanks for that ) . And cultura , the food and the geography of the place . I was looking for Pakistani drama online and I found you and read the discussion but I was hesitate to coment and one day I did write it and your response were the most sweetest of all. And still you are so sweet to me . And ever since I am glue to DRNR .
    My first drama I watched was Dhoop kinary . Best drama , loved Marina khan and then I saw her all dramas . So many memories . Thanks Again .


    • Arrey wah! I didn’t realize you had joined the DRNR family during Numm. You are such an essential part of the gang that it seems like you’ve been here since the beginning 😘
      Yes! Dhoop Kinarey is hands down the best drama of all times, I think. And Ms. Marina is the real deal. I have not had the good fortune of meeting her – imagine itney saalon ka pyar and living in the same city at one point in time – but I honestly don’t even know what I would even say to her if I ever met her. Probably be tongue tied and behave like a complete idiot 🙈


  4. Loveed. This post and how you have written it so beautifully.. maza agaya..

    The very first drama that came to my mind while reading your post was Uljhan that used to come every Tuesday on Ptv.. I was in maybe 6 or 7 grade and used to wait for Tuesdays like anything.. I think it was Sadia Imam’s first drama not sure though.. she played a rebellious daughter and i used to love her .. and drama as well..

    Mehndi.. I started watching because of it Song.. Jawad Ahmed sung that and i liked the song and 4 couples and their issues and like wise for Kabhi Pyar Pyar Me.. with Mahnoor Baloch,His Ali, AS and HS.. Faakhir sang the song loved it n start watching it..

    Ptv classics like Dhoop Kinarey, Tanhaaiyan, Ankahi.. I didnt watch when the were first aired.(maybe was too small 😂🙈) my best friend recommended me DK when i was in first year of uni.. that was first drama i binge watched.. Dr Ahmar and Zoya were just love.. and tab tou internet bhi slow hota tha .. but witg slow speed bhi i was glued to DK and kabhi light chali jaati thi i used to watch on with generator ka connection.. and obviously with computer ka load.. my baba and amaa used to tell who is using computer 🤣🤣 shut it off.. those days. wah..

    Oh i remember watching Dhuwan.. with my brother and rooting for Asher and his friends. Crying on daoud’s death and how they were killed in last..

    Then HS happened.. all going gaga and getting blush on their amazingchemistry.. But it was You and your reviews after my perception of drama changed and i will remain grateful to you always ..

    Loved SeZ but your blog and reviews were a must for me to look beyond the words..

    Talkhiyan u suggested and i was actually sad for first time on drama being end.. that how i much loved and enjoyed watching..


    • Rehmat: you are too generous with your praise and always kind with words – thank you 😘
      Loved your comment – maza aya parh ke because it took me back to the days of slow internet and dramas in parts. Uff!! Kiya din thay woh bhi! But still we used to have so much patience.. now even with streaming and all that jazz we can barely make it through a whole episode — jab facility nahin thi tab dramey achey thay ab we have all the high tech stuff but quality is down the drain.
      I remember Kabhi Kabhi Pyar Mein .. Mahnoor Baloch always stuns me with her stunning face.

      So going on a tangent, but I don’t know if anyone remembers this drama .. it was Mahnoor with a hero I don’t remember but it was the first halala drama I remember .. she and her beloved husband have a silly fight and problems escalate and he divorces her. He repents later but it’s too late .. so they decide on a halala marriage and she marries Qaiser Khan who is a middle class journalist .. and by the end she eventually falls in love with him .. it seems like a very typical story now but I remember being transfixed then and couldn’t wait to find out what happens at the end .. anyone remember that drama?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes yes It was He Zindagi.. used to watch that every week with my amaa and dadi.. it was Nauman Ijaz Mb and Qaiser.. n I start liking Qaiser aftet that used to root for their couple.. loved that drama.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Haan! Thank you! I remember that suhag raat scene so well where mahnoor and Nauman looked sooo fab together .. and poor Qaiser looked like such a bechara in front of them .. but by the end my opinion had completely changed .. what a drama and what a casting!
          And bhai wah! You were watching talaq and halala dramas with Amma and dadi?🤪


  5. Aww I still want to meet dr zoya and ahmer in real life. They were so_______ drool worthy. and I love zara in tanhaiyan. Why did they kill her in the sequel!!!( cries) but bibi in talkhiyan in my favourite character


    • It’s a conundrum. Too many dramas and too little time. And if I continue writing old ones then the new ones get left behind so I try to keep a mix going. Also these dramas last forever and start dragging so there’s not much to write abt and I don’t like writing summaries. That said, Piyari Bitto ended today, I think, so I’ll write up an overview ..

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello SZ,

    I don’t know many of these dramas, just came to know about DK when was in London through friends, and then was hooked with it! Love DK – Dr Zoya and Dr Ahmer. Baba’s dialogues regarding life and children.

    In my distant memory – the only drama which I remember from PTV is Dhuwan, loved Ashar Azeem and Nabeel in that.

    I was hooked with youtube Pakistani dramas when my one friend was watching Daam on our trip to Europe. There I learned about these different channels and dramas on youtube, the relationship seems a life long, now!

    I still remember your commentary on drama pehchaan- YAAD KI RAH GUZAR …, though never commented, but used to read it as a silent reader.

    My first comment was about drama Yakeen ka Safar, since then I am frequent here on your blogs!

    Keep posting and will keep commenting.

    Love DRNR.

    Best regards


    • @Saadia: Hello hello! Sorry! I thought i had responded to all the comments on this thread – thank you for reminding me – my bad!

      Ohh! I thought you had watched DK way back when! So you never watched PK TV growing up?
      But yeah PK dramas are like that, once you get sucked in by an excellent one then you keep searching for that next fab one … Pehchan being one of those excellent ones.

      And no secret that Im not a fan of YKS, but am grateful for it because it introduced us to each other – glad to have you as a DRNR family member now 🙂


      • Hahaha, you again forgot to reply on Aakhri station comments.

        I dont remember much Pakistani dramas, as I used to watch Cricket or sport dramas with my father and my mom used to watch all Star Plus’s K dramas. Otherwise, was happy with my computers, since childhood!

        Its hard to find good dramas in all these dragged serials. All we want crisp and clear stories with meaning in them.

        Best regards


  7. Heres my list:
    1. Zindagi Gulzar Hai
    2. Daam
    3. Durre Shehwar
    4. Rehai
    5. Piya Mann Bhaye
    6. Sirate Mustaqeem
    7. Dastan – especially the beginning was love


      • Hey sorry for the late reply!
        Special kioon?
        For Daam and Durre Shehwar it was the story acting and direction. I cried whenever shehwar wrote her letters to her father!
        Love Rehai for its social issues and then a happy ending!
        Sirate mustaqeem is pure love! I loved mustaqeems journey from an irresponsible man to one who understood the honor of a woman, came home to mend ties and made things right where he left off. At the train station! Plus Samis acting was amazing!
        Piya Mann Bhaye because I love men who have a dark past, are somewhat cold from outside and then transform! It’s just my thing lol! Sami and Rabab had awesome chemistry too! Sami’s portrayal was brilliant, he became Shaheer! Looks, outfits everything!
        Zindagi Gulzar Hai – again I love when boy and girl hate each other and then fall in love stories. Plus it was super cute, way better than humsafar in my opinion. Lol I’m probably in the minority! I loved Kashaf!
        And Dastan because of Hassan and Bano 🙂


  8. I don’t watch TV all that often, so I don’t watch dramas much. My ammi has stopped watching them, verna ,I secretly want to watch them with her ;). I kinda regret dismissing them back when she wanted to watch them with me. Anyhow, I follow this blog since I really like how you express your thoughts here, haha. You have some really insightful interpretations.

    The ones from this list I have watched are Dhoop Kinarey and Humsafar. I don’t remember much of the first one except I really liked it, but I did see similarities between Yaqeen Ka Safar and Dhoop Kinarey when people went crazy over the pairing. Unpopular opinion, but Zoya was a much more stronger character and interesting than the heroine of YQS. I browse social media from time and it’s a shame how people seem to be favouring “pairings” over actual plot and characters.

    As for Humsafar, watched it a bit and stopped it a few episodes after they got married. Nothing was happening much except for the scorned cousin plotting and fighting with her mom. I also got the plot twist spoiled and Im on the fence about whether its worth still watching or not. Yet again another unpopular opinion, but I didn’t care much for Mahira’s character. I liked Fawad’s acting though.

    So yeah, I don’t think I can contribute on the childhood drama bit, since those were the “dark days” when StarPlus dramas were popular. I did watch Alpha Bravo Charlie when I was around 12 and I really liked it.


    • @June: Hey! Lovely to hear from you – thanks for reading and commenting even though you’re not an active watcher – much appreciated!

      Haww! Ammi ne kyon dekhna band kar diya? Hope all’s well with her?

      I so agree with you re: this trend of shipping pairings or even fandoms of indiv stars and how that takes precedence over and above everything – its like you dare not even critique a character because it is perceived as a personal attack on the entire fandom!

      Re: Humsafar: Im guilty of loving it but if you were around at the time you know how it was an absolute rage and really the first of its kind to strike a chord globally and connect desis across time and space. That said, I too was not a fan of Khirad and got toms of flak for saying that even way back when .. but then I didnt care for ZGH either so I guess diff strokes for diff folks – sab chalta hai .. I dont get why ppl get personally offended over such stuff … its art its open to diff interpretations ..

      Alpha Bravo Charlie is a good one and I appreciate it even more so now because even though it was about the armed forces and was produced by the ISPR it managed to walk that fine line and not become hyper jingoistic and kept its focus on the characters and their stories. A feat that would be impossible to manage today even without the ISPR involvement.


      • Ammi stopped because she thinks most plays are repetitive, fazool stories and not worth the time. She didn’t say this directly, but she doesn’t like how so many plays that point out “social issues” just tend to make a bechari out of the heroine and show some uncomfortable scenes. Maybe a friend or someone might convince her to watch something so I can watch something with her, but nothing since the past three years or so.

        As for the shipping, it’s so annoying at times. I’ll be watching for the story and characters. I usually won’t give two hoots about the cast, unless they’re seriously bad, but it’s telling when the reveals of plays nowadays are the main couple or lead, rather than the plot. I feel like (esp. on Twitter and some forums), I agree that fandoms can get intense to the point of not accepting criticisms, though I think its a thing happening in all sorts of media around the world.

        Humsafar came out when I was in my “romance is gross” teenage phase. I remember the girls in my class raving about ZGH, but they only talked about how the lead couple was “cute,” which was a turnoff- I mean, kuch aur bhi to hona chaiye?. Same thing with Humsafar, though hype was a bit less there, surprisingly. I might have made some friends had I watched them, haha! Mum didn’t show me those two dramas, but instead we watched this play with this girl who was obsessed with stars and garbage, and said weird things like wanting to be a goat or something? That one left some bad memories and turned me off Pakistani dramas for a bit lol. I was considering watching ZGH, since I have some time on my hands, but your opinion has me curious about why you didn’t like it.


        • @June: A huge jhappi (not a pappi because i dont know her – yet.. kuch tau lihaz hona chahiye 😉 ) for your mom – now thats my kind of a woman! Smart cookie she is!

          Re: ZGH: Dekh lo … I have reviewed pretty much all the episodes and so you can read along as you watch and do read the battles of the comments too.. we started off on an optimistic note then it all went downhill … its fun in hindsight but it was quite the task to wake up to so many angry comments each day …. each angry because I dared to diss a masterpiece (majaal kaisey hui?!?). Would love to read your take once you’re done with it. It is different tho when you watch it later, having heard so much about it, and you have the ffwd button in hand and know exactly when it ends …

          Ufff!!! Kiya yaad dila diya! That was Muhabbat Subh Ka Sitara Hai … I think that one I let myself go … the reviews and comments are much fun to read … what a dumb-pan ki inteha that serial was?!


  9. What a fun post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, SZ!

    Even though it was problematic on several levels, I think Zindagi Gulzar Hai will always be a bit special for me, because it was my (re)introduction to the Pakistani drama world. I stumbled into it entirely by accident on Netflix one night, and a whole weekend of binge-watching later, I was hooked. It was, on some level, the “gateway drug,” lol. I remember having that same sense of joyful discovery I had when I first discovered BBC dramas in the late 90s: here’s something in a language you already understand from a culture that’s already pretty familiar, and yet it’s all new and different. The possibilities seemed endless, and I wish I could bottle that feeling and sell it as a cure for all forms of boredom, lol.

    I will restrain myself and not go on and on about Numm (obviously the best show ever made, and you will never convince me otherwise, lol). I will say only that I’m sorry I didn’t get to watch it with all of you.

    Oh, and there’s Pinjra of course. What would our lives be without Mubashir, eh? 😉


    • @RK: Haha! Pinjra was again of those that became special because watched as a gp and Mubashir became like the code word for a character that defies any explanation and/or rationalization.

      Numm and ZGH were both journeys that you missed on the blog .. ZGH was one I’d rather erase from my mind but Numm was such crazy fun! Hopefully we’ll get something big along similar lines soon that brings a big group together – its so much fun then. #FromMyLipsToGodsEars


  10. I love watching selective Pakistan dramas. I also blog about them. I want more related blogs to follow who still posts. Leave a comment on my Pdrama post/follow and I will checkout your blog. Thanks.


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