But shows such as Dastaan, Humsafar and Akbari and Asghari have created such a huge fan base for Pakistani dramas that people still cannot stop talking about them! Period pieces have always been popular yet difficult to portray in any industry. The drama Dastaan, however, was able to pull off such a feat and did justice to the historic romance novel Bano by Razia Butt.
The story follows Bano and Hassan, as they face the trials and tribulations caused by the 1947 independence. We take for granted what our ancestors endured to achieve a separate nation. Dastan not only portrays a realistic love story, but it also shows the struggle of women during the partition.
When we hear stories about the partition it truly makes us realize the hardships our ancestors had to go through. Dastaan was one of the first Pakistani television dramas I watched, and it set a standard high for the local market in my opinion. One of the biggest draws to the show is the amazing writing by Samira Fazal. I still remember the innocent flirting between Bano and Hassan, played by Fawad Khan, and the tear-jerking abuse Bano had to go through time and time again. It takes a great writer to be able to make scenes that stick with you through the passage of time.
Bano, played by Sanam Baloch, was the epitome of power and resilience. She faced problems many would’ve been broken by. She’s my favorite character of the entire drama. Through Sanam’s tremendous acting, I was taken along on a journey through the struggles of womanhood during the chaotic birth of our nation. Throughout the show, I couldn’t wait for Bani to reach Pakistan, so she could get her fairy-tale ending with Hasaan. This may have been an unrealistic goal but one the audience held throughout the drama. That’s how good she was.
The most enticing part of the drama were the serious issues not commonly touched upon by dramas. They showed how dowry is an ugly practice that makes many parents keep their daughters unmarried. How the elite have always crushed the poor under their feet and how partition was no different.
Dataan reminded us of those who sacrificed everything were forgotten by the passage of time. How the fixation on the Englishman is a disease that plague’s the sub-continent to this day and knowing English is a measure of class and intelligence is society.
What shocks me is that whenever the story of Dastaan comes under discussion it is centered on the love story between Bano and Hassan. While an amazing yet heartbreaking story for sure, it overshadows many important issues highlighted in the drama.
Dastan was a journey from India to Pakistan, and as a result it was not meant to be a love story. It was meant to televise the message of independence and the luxuries we modern day Pakistanis take for granted. The message of the story is to highlight the forget plight of our ancestors. From a drama like Dastaan, I feel I am taken in by the stories of hope & sacrifices made by the people to get their homeland. The love story just served as context more than anything else.
Dramas such as Dataan and Angan are historical pieces which audiences have enjoyed and praised. These are incredibly important for making a more aware society, by giving us a visual of what the partition was like for lovers, parents and family members. However, they may sometimes get too lost in showing expected story lines of love. and ignore the best parts of their show as a result.