Any drama with Faisal Qureshi is a foolproof recipe for success and for good reason: impeccable acting and never failing to pick a project that falls short of impressive. Hence, his debut production series “Baba Jaani” has a lot to live up to. Add in seasoned actors such as Saba Hamid as well as a younger generation of talented actors and one can only expect a high quality of entertainment.
Perhaps what is shocking is, that it is not the cast that stands out the most in this new series of family conflict and values. The plot does seem like a recycled version of the same overplayed trope we have seen on television: a simple family man, cunning female relatives and a victimized woman. In fact, many times the scenes with the sisters become almost tiring and repetitive. But it is not in these clichés that the drama shines. When Faisal Qureshi’s character, Asfand, interacts with his sister Nabila or his cousin Mehwish’s mother, the dialogue between them urges the viewer to delve deeper into the way family and society functions. Simply put, it is thought provoking.
The dialogues of course would not have such an impact if not for the actors themselves. The small nuances embedded in the actions of each individual character is a delight to watch and something we rarely see in the bland acting in most series. With the camera angles focusing on individual frames of each actor’s face, the audience get an in-depth gaze into their psyche. Each twitch, each shielded look downwards, each clenched muscle of the face is well depicted by the very talented cast members. However, this falls short when certain characters like Naila and her husband are written so obviously one dimensional. The villainous way in which they are portrayed with no particular objective seems like lazy writing, but then in other cases such as Asfand or Najiba (played by Saba Hamid) the characters are deeply intricate.
Despite the inconsistencies, the two characters that really stand out in terms of development are Nimrah and Nabila. On one hand, the way Nimrah’s attitude towards her new father changes from hesitance to affection is heartwarming to see. On the other hand, Nabila’s development is interesting to watch just for the struggle she goes through, trying to find a balance between loyalty to her sisters and doing what is right. Her nature gives her motive to act the way she does. Yet the influence of her sisters is ever-present like a shadow. In these two cases, the progress is certainly something to look forward to.
Perhaps the one dimensional villains can be written off as necessary for any family drama. Even the repetitive scenes of the sisters conniving are made more bearable by Saba Hamid’s highly riveting performance. In the end, “Baba Jaani” proves that well written dialogue and characters trump everything else. The drama knows its audience, and that is something very rare yet delightful.