ARY Digital’s new drama Shehnai kicked off after much hype about its ensemble cast and met all our expectations; it is indeed a family drama full of usual entertainment tropes. Interestingly, the channel is airing back-to-back double episodes which set the tone right for a drama like this where viewers have to be introduced with each and every character.
Starring Affan Waheed and Ramsha Khan (playing Meerab and Bakht respectively) as the lead couple, the drama is based on a joint family where the eldest son Absar (Javed Sheikh) is worried sick because every suitor rejects his daughter, Bakht, who in fact an educated and pretty girl. Little did he know that Bakht is in love with an MBA graduate, looking for a job slacker Hunain (Hammad Shoaib). Now her father has decided to tie the knot with his old neighbour and friend’s son Meerab (Affan) who is a chartered accountant, visiting from London only to get married. The twist in the tale is that even he doesn’t want to get engaged or married because he loves Samreen (Maham Amir).
Along with all this emotional mess happening inside the villa, the drama also gave us our essential dose of melodrama with stereotypical characters that are often shown as part of big family dramas: a strict and reserved brother Absar, who has two sisters Munni (Javeria Abbasi) and Tooba (Salma Hassan). While the former is a divorcee who lives in the house, the latter is married to a good-for-nothing husband Kifayat (Saleem Mairaj) and depends on her brother for finances. The second brother Azhar (Behroz Sabzwari) is loyal but his wife Maliha (Zainab Qayoom) is a tattletale who wants the inheritance. And then there are a lot of children involved besides Bakht, but regrettably, mentioning their names will only confuse the readers because, believe me, the list is long.
Shehnai is the kind of drama where we know the ending from the beginning; Meerab and Bakht are forcefully engaged and will help each other to get married to their respective lovers. However, on their way to meet their Mr and Mrs Right, they will realize that they are a perfect match. The exciting part of the drama is how these eccentric and somewhat predictable characters will help them or become a hindrance.
The performances are up to par as majority of the actors are renowned names. It is a refreshing change to watch Affan and Ramsha as a new pair in lighthearted roles. I will continue to watch it with the hope to see less stereotypical and manipulative women and more feel-good scenes. After all, the drama is worth it if it detoxifies our minds from nagging storylines.
Shehnai is written by Radain Shah and directed by Ahmad Bhatti. You can watch the first two episodes here: