Tarap Episode 1: Babar Ali’s Return to Television Has Potential
TV/Streaming Reviews

Tarap Episode 1: Babar Ali’s Return to Television Has Potential

Hum TV’s “Tarap” stars Babar Ali, Syed Jibran and Hiba Bukhari in the lead roles and seems to highlight the injustices in society

When the “Tarap” promos went on air, it appeared to be yet another story of an older man becoming obsessed with a younger woman, determined to “get” her.  Sound familiar?  It should, it sounds a lot like “Muqaddar” airing on Geo.  However, after the first episode, it seems to have some different layers to it.  Starring Syed Jibran, Hiba Bukhari, Babar Ali, Laiba Khan, Saleem Mairaj and others, Tarap has been written by Nadeem Siddiqui and directed by Misbah Syed.

Episode one begins on a strong note.  The opening scene is a great moment to pull the audience in.  This is how opening sequences should be done.  The image of the young boy stealing the paratha and then beating beaten to death for it highlights an important issue in Pakistan (and in the world) – living is  a game of survival and sometimes people have to do questionable things in order to get basic necessities (like food) to simply survive. We see Syed Arez’s character witness this beating and he quickly calls Aadil (Syed Jibran), who works on the police force.  Aadil’s character is seen being strict and principled, a man of honor, as he disciplines the mob and takes the young boy to the hospital himself.  Later, when the boy dies, he makes it clear to Syed Arez’s character that he does not believe he did enough to save him, showing the high level of expectations he has for those around him.

Aadil’s behavior isn’t any less at home and his family runs in circles trying to please him.  Zunaira (Hiba Bukhari) and Hania (Laiba Khan) are his sisters, two women that find themselves at his mercy regarding his rigid schedule.  Even his wife and son are unable to put up with his punctuality, leaving only their grandmother to encourage and enforce his ideas.  Zunaira is seen as a “good,” obedient sister while Hania seems to have the rebellious streak.  Zunaira and Syed Arez’s character are seen as a couple, waiting for Syed Arez’s character to get a job before approaching Aadil for Zunaira’s proposal.  However, it’s clear that both are scared of Aadil and fear his rejection.

Last, viewers are introduced to Babar Ali’s character, a man who is deeply in love with his wife and even writes novels for her.  He is seen heading home to give a gift to Faiqa (Nausheen Shah), but is disappointed and angry when he arrives and she’s out shopping.  Viewers see his anger as he discards the present and storms off, leaving Faiqa and his daughter to find the gift and flowers on the floor.

The high points of the show are Syed Jibran’s character, who is clearly a male chauvinist and overbearing for his entire family.  He doesn’t believe in women going to university and receiving further education and also makes it clear to his wife that he doesn’t enjoy mingling with her family.  It’ll be interesting to see how his attitude affects his sisters later on, which is assumedly the point of the show.  Babar Ali is another high point, as he hasn’t been in a drama since “Laal Ishq.” 

It remains to be seen what this role has to offer him in terms of performance.  It’s also great to see Laiba Khan, a talented young actress, in another role. This show seems to have promise, but it remains to be seen how the story will shape up.  It could either be something unique or fall into the trap of the same old obsessive lover, conservative family cliché.

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By Sophia Qureshi
Pakistani Drama enthusiast, Bollywood fan, elementary school teacher, writer, reader, photographer, lifelong student and mother