Phaans began with a bang a few months back and carried on the ‘thrill’ in the story for a few weeks. But as is the case with most TV dramas, it seems to have lost its way with delaying tactics that producers use to extend the drama’s duration. From a well-executed mystery thriller, it has come to the point that the audience finds the drama on thin ice, and one wrong move could take them away to something better on their weekend.
Zeba (Zara Noor Abbas) was sexually assaulted on the eve of a function at the place where her mother (Kinza Malik) worked as a housemaid. While everyone was suspecting Samad (Sami Khan) and her fiancé Hashim (Zain Afzal), she accuses the mentally-disturbed Sahil (Shahzad Sheikh), the son of her mother’s employers (Ali Tahir and Arjumand Rahim). Despite being faced with opposition from the rich people, the corrupt police, and her own sister Farah (Hira Khan), Zeba decides to file and FIR against Sahil, which makes the other party very angry. They arrest Samad for standing by her, while her mother poisons her unborn baby to end the matter once and for all. Nobody believes Samad who decides that in order to prove his innocence, he will have to stand with the innocent.
When all seems lost, Zeba makes a video where she addresses social media users and tells the truth. When Sahil’s sister and Samad’s ex-fiancée Hafsa (Yashma Gill) drops in at Zeba’s place, she loses her cool on seeing Samad stand by her. Meanwhile, Hashim (Zain Afzal) decides to marry Farah who stood by him when he was in jail, but regrets it all after getting married. Sahil, on the other hand, wants to marry Zeba despite her blaming him for everything bad that has happened to her. The suspicious attitude of Siraj (Ali Tahir) with both the police officer (Tahir Jatoi) and the new maid do shift the focus on him, but the other suspects are also there.
The Good – Well-executed performances manage to keep Phaans afloat
One must commend Zara Noor Abbas for leading the cast at a time when Sami Khan is flying high as the falsely accused, and Shahzad Sheikh is playing a mentally challenged man with a brain of a child. Everyone is giving their very best to keep the story relevant, and the credit must go to the director Ahmed Kamran for that. The way Zara Noor Abbas displays her anger, Sami Khan his innocence, and Shahzad Sheikh his unstableness makes you want to keep on watching the drama and wait till the climax.
One must also mention the powerful performance of Kinza Malik who convincingly plays a housemaid despite being too beautiful for that; Zain Afzal for gaining the audience’s sympathy that comes naturally to a poor man who has grown up in poverty, and doesn’t have the courage to stand for what’s right. Veterans Arjumand Rahim and Ali Tahir look like the elite couple most middle-class people usually avoid because of the trouble they attract; the ‘suspicious’ wife who loves her son gives Arjumand’s character the dimension that is usually missing from our dramas, while Ali Tahir makes the mystery revolves around him, with his well-executed shady performance.
The Bad – Never underestimate the power of background score!
What if I told you that there is something even worse than Hira Khan and Yashma Gill’s performances in Phaans? And that has nothing to do with the acting front but with something we usually take for granted. Yes, I am talking about the blatant plagiarism in the background score that is a mixture of two famous themes. At times the background features ‘The Flash’ theme and on other occasions, the extremely popular ‘The X-Files’ theme.
If the Kalyan Music Production team thought that the TV audience was stupid, they were way off the mark. The TV-loving audience in Pakistan is one of the most intelligent audiences in the region, and have diverse tastes. They are well-versed in The Flash kind of superhero shows as well as ‘The X-Files’ and they would term this copying as an act of treason!
As for the story, had Phaans been one-of-its-kind-thriller, the audience would have loved to stay glued to their screens till ‘the case is solved’ situation. But sadly, it comes after Cheekh and Naqab Zan where the mystery was delayed for so long that some of the audience lost interest. The makers have to take decisive action if they want to save the play otherwise the unnecessary introduction of the new maid, the delaying tactics regarding the mystery’s solution, the unneeded angle of Farah and Hashim, and Yashma Gill’s continued hysterical performance will not do the makers any favor. Solve the case, so that the surprise ending remains shocking!
The Verdict – What could have been a Netflix series, suffers from local TV syndrome!
Like most of the dramas on HUM TV, Phaans suffers from the unable-to-handle-the-middle syndrome, where a good story is easily turned into a boring one. Be it Tarap, Saraab, Dulhan, or even the dramas currently on air, the makers seem to be content with the way things are moving when they should have worried about losing the audience. The more they delay the solution, the more they lose the audience; the sooner they realize that the better. Otherwise, when the year is over, people will not remember Zara Noor Abbas’ ability to play the lead, Shahzad Sheikh’s exceptional performance, and Sami Khan’s priceless expressions but the delayed conclusion. Not only will that harm the lead actors, the writer, the director but also the supporting cast members who have so far done an amazing job. God save Phaans from becoming one for the audience’s eyes!