Ehd-e-Wafa was no Alpha Bravo Charlie but it didn’t have to be

This was a not a serial about introspection, rather, a call for unity and inspiration for a better tomorrow
Updated 20 Mar, 2020

At first, Ehd-e-Wafa didn't exactly get off on the right foot with fans of the previous ISPR sponsored serial Alpha Bravo Charlie.

But with a new generation, the makers had to appeal to new sensibilities in a more digitally and visually diverse world.

However, after a few episodes, that disappointment turned into an acceptance; the hard truth that there is only one Shoaib Mansoor (writer and director of Alpha Bravo Charlie), and that everyone needed to calm down and accept the new serial on its own merits.

Though an ISPR sponsored serial is a heavy burden to carry, director Saife Hassan and writer Mustafa Afridi brought magic to our screens with four diverse characters that worked their way into our hearts over the course of 25 episodes.

Related: Ehd-e-Wafa is a rare drama about friendship

Afridi has written more thoughtful serials in the past and his other collaboration with Saife Hassan, Sange Mar Mar, is still fresh in our memory for its stark realism and unrelenting tension. Ehd-e-Wafa on the other hand, gave us a completely different vibe —young, fresh and optimistic.

This was a not a serial about introspection or critical analysis, rather, a call for unity and inspiration for a better tomorrow.

A coming-of-age story

At the heart of the story lies the wonderfully depicted relationship dynamics between four friends; Afridi’s script focused heavily on Saad (Ahad Mir), the soldier’s life and Shahzain (Osman Khalid Butt), the feudal politician.

It’s one of the few shortcomings of this serial that Shehryar (Ahmad Ali Akbar), the civil servant and Shariq (Wahaj Ali), the journalist were not given the kind of attention or nuance their characters deserved. Though credit goes to both actors for still making their mark with what they were given.

A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

But as far as acting credits go, Shahzain was the most complicated role, with a lot of grey shades that Butt played with consummate skill, wheedling the audience on to his character's side despite all his faults.

While Shahzain and Saad might argue for the majority of the serial, their affection never dies despite the angry rhetoric. It is just as well, Ahad Raza Mir can charm the birds of the trees, otherwise “Saada” would have been unbearable because he is so superhumanly perfect, with no goal he cannot achieve.

Read: Saad and Shahzain's reunion in Ehd-e-Wafa's latest episode was an emotional rollercoaster

Perhaps we can slip in a reminder here, telling drama makers that it is our flaws that make us human and relatable.

Yet, the chemistry between all four friends was fantastic and their off the cuff banter a huge part of this serial’s success.

While Saad and Shahzain fought, Shariq and Shehryar got on with their lives, worked hard and moved up and on like reasonable men.

Their characters had none of the need to dominate like the other two, their humility and compassion were great examples without turning them into saints.

Ahmad Ali Akbar played the group’s conscience with command and depth, which made his character Shehryar such a favourite with viewers.

Though an ISPR sponsored serial is a heavy burden to carry, however, director Saife Hassan and writer Mustafa Afridi brought magic to our screens with four diverse characters that worked their way into our hearts over the course of 25 episodes.

But perhaps the best takeaway from this serial has been a new level of understanding about the sacrifices ordinary soldiers make to keep the country safe.

While Saad the overachieving, privileged son of a Brigadier was one end of the spectrum, Gulzar Hussain, from Basti Malook, Dera Ghazi Khan, showed us what the average man can achieve with sheer determination and an adorable sense of humour.

Adnan Samad Khan may just give Ahad Raza Mir a run for his money on the charm quotient, but this welcome new addition to our screens stood his ground against all the more experienced actors and seems to be an absolute natural for comedy or the serious stuff, as required.

Shouldn't women be more than love-interests?

Of the female characters, Zara Noor Abbas gave a spectacular performance as Rani. Shahzain’s supportive but never unquestioning wife provided a lot of the light to her screen husband's negativity.

A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

Alizeh Shah put in a great effort as Dr Dua, but her best came out less as Mrs Saad and more as the adopted daughter who at her weakest moments heard her father’s voice, telling her not to be afraid.

That kind of iconic writing is what sets this story miles apart from the usual zulm ki dastan on our screens. A woman in a difficult situation like Dua, picks up the pieces of her life and turns her situation around, instead of looking for Saad or anyone else to save her.

Dr Dua and Saad
Dr Dua and Saad

Yet, anyone who has seen Pinky Memsaab will tell you Hajra Yamin is a fantastic actress, and it's really disappointing she was so underutilized here.

Similarly, Momina Iqbal, who played Masooma, was another character missing in action. Like Shazain and Rani, Masooma and Shehryar were a couple with fabulous on-screen chemistry, and I for one was hoping to see much more of them.

Read: Vaneeza Ahmed is playing Ahad Raza Mir's mother in Ehd-e-Wafa

Obviously, every serial has constraints but for next time let us hope ISPR understands that women are not just “love interests”.

For a show that is promoting national unity, to leave 50% of the population behind as accessories is a tragedy in 2020.

"How is the tea?" Exploring the Pakistan-India dynamic

Overall, this serial had successfully focused on domestic issues, like land mafias, political corruption, media manipulation, however, the last episode took a much different tone.

Although a fan of the show, I found the teasers for the last episode—that showed the captured Indian Air Force pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, being questioned —a little distasteful and unnecessary.

Apparently, this scene was so important that Pakistani superstar Humayun Saeed was called in to sit opposite and ridicule the prisoner of war.

Thankfully, the actual episode showed a lot more restraint and the focus remained on the gentlemanly and honourable way the Pakistan Army had treated the man who supposedly came to wreak havoc in Azad Kashmir.

In fact, after the iconic and obligatory lines about “How was the tea?“, the scene cut to Captain Saad detailing the rules of how to treat prisoners of war.

Now compare these few scenes to the way the Indian film industry has allowed itself to be used as an openly biased propaganda tool by India’s extreme right-wing nationalist government.

Not just vilifying Pakistan but also reducing its own Muslim countrymen (an already vulnerable minority) to outsiders and “others’ in their own country, facilitating and normalizing the communal violence and prejudice against them.

Ehd-e-Wafa gave us a completely different vibe —young, fresh and optimistic. This was not a serial about introspection or critical analysis, rather, a call for unity and inspiration for a better tomorrow.

I often complain as a critic that Pakistani minorities are underrepresented on our screens, the challenges they face often ignored with platitudes about equal treatment — yet the one thing we can be proud of still is that Pakistani media has not crossed the line into communal baiting ….yet.

Shahzain Malik’s mock interview with an incredibly subdued version of India’s hate-spewing anchor, Arnab Goswami, might have been funny if it were less true.

But a quiet word of warning to Pakistani media, it is a slippery slope from making an amusing skit to churning out propaganda that brainwashes audiences against reality, as India has been blinded by its complicit media.

India still has good journalists but their voices are increasingly being drowned out by theatrical propagandists. Pakistani media has for the most part stubbornly avoided such obsessions pointing out the truth even when it hurt, no matter how good the tea.

Team Ehd-e-Wafa seemed aware of this precarious balance and the finale was a great ending to one of the best serials I have seen.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s wonderful rendering of the OST and the clever use of the song at different tempos to highlight the changing emotions of each scene was another plus.

ISPR, producer Momina Duraid, director Saife Hassan, author Mustafa Afridi and the entire team of Ehd-e-Wafa should take a bow for such a heartwarming show that gave the next generation some beautiful, iconic characters and scenes to remember.


AGHA PASHA Mar 20, 2020 11:41am
Overall acting, scenery, dialogue expression and story was good with message for countrymen's unity and welfare. Heroine was missing in last episode and was shown just sleeping while her hero was on death bed. Long scene around Hero's hospital bed and then long and un impressive speeches in school . So last episode was just drab and un impressive . There was no need to keep hero masked in bed for such along scene. It could have been better . After Hero is shown in sick bed , in next scene he is standing for a long time in school function . It could have been much better. As the saying goes, there is always next time.
Aamir Khan Mar 20, 2020 11:45am
Not Agreed with the heading!!!! ABC was one of its own, infact every drama of that era was remarkable.. Just for example, I bet after 2, 3 years no one will remember the character of Saad, shahzain or anyone!!!! but after 15 years yet each person of that era know's the character of Gul sher, Faraz, Kashif and shehnaz!!! Don't compare this ehd e wafa with ABC
Javed Nazir Mar 20, 2020 12:11pm
As expected Was a Army show To remind us Army’s sacrifices are unparalleled No doubt it They are experts of everything
Goshi Mar 20, 2020 12:16pm
Who paid for this review? It was such a torture to watch this drama.
Indian Mar 20, 2020 01:23pm
Beautiful. You have a big fan in India.
Fastrack Mar 20, 2020 01:24pm
Easily the most beautiful and inspiring drama on Pakistan television. Has a huge global fan following on YouTube.
Fastrack Mar 20, 2020 01:26pm
Kudos to my Pukhtoon friend Afridi for writing this Mega Hit serial. Excellent, beyond words. And had four strong women too.
M. Saeed Mar 20, 2020 01:27pm
I still consider Alpha Bravo Charlie, as the Titanic of Urdu Dramas. Ahad e Wafa has acknowledged that by taking Faraz from ABC as a token of good omen in Ahad e Wafa.
Fastrack Mar 20, 2020 02:04pm
The four women leads: a doctor and Army captain, a self-made 17 grade lecturer, a courageous journalist and a guiding, in-control Mrs Minster. Credit where due, please.
Xub Mar 20, 2020 02:16pm
Agreed with Aamir Khan. Ehad e Wafa has no comparison with ABC. Shoaib Mansoor, was successful to drain out talent from non actors and real figures whereas the essence of reality was missing in EWF. Story, direction and acting were average. Plot was unnecessarily expanded. Gulzar (Adnan) stood out the most polished actor in his naive projects. Ahmad was good. Wahaj and Ahad were Ok. Zara and OKB were completely useless.
Syed Raza Mar 20, 2020 02:39pm
Dont compare this serial with ABC. Its of no match. Ehd e Wafa gain much hype. No offense but just ok & below par serial.
Kulsoom Mar 20, 2020 02:46pm
It was one of the best drama of this eea...a must watched drama
Sameer Mar 20, 2020 03:44pm
EhdeWafa didnt even come close to ABC
Hussein zafar Mar 20, 2020 04:20pm
Like the author correctly points out, the serial needs to be seen in isolation and not compared with ABC which definitely was in a class of its own. The character that I admired was Gulzar from Basti Malook. As for the four main characters, all of them did a great job..However, having been a Boarding School person myself, one common oversight was the haircut during the characters' days at Ghora Gali. In my humble opinion they didn't go that well as 12th graders and a team of younger actors was probably in order. Overall, it was a good effort..
Sehrish Maqsood Qureshi Mar 20, 2020 04:23pm
There is no comparison of Alpha Bravo Charli and it was far far far better than this serial.the only thing I liked is the part and role of army only. Story was OK. Ahmed Ali Akbar perform his character very well and with confidence put all his effort honestly . one more thing I would like to add and plz convey it to HUM TV pllzzz plllzzzz stop copying ARY digital in every matter, as the channel on air its drama in cinema HUM TV immediately follow it and decided to on Air Ehd e wafa Cinema. As the Drama was not much remarkable to be on aired in Cinema. thank you. :)
Mani Mar 20, 2020 04:25pm
Nowhere close to ABC. This show was not even good. Most of the time it was just cringe. Please stop underestimating audiences.
Hina Mar 20, 2020 04:43pm
I really liked the drama and especially the climax and the ending. There is no need to die to be remembered as the legend. The four main characters were all legends and all showed the people of Pakistan the path to be followed in order to make our country strong. Children and youth took the strong msg it convaied. this drama will not be easily forgotten.
Munir Ahmad Mar 20, 2020 06:04pm
Nicely written and well executed drama serial.
SS Mar 20, 2020 06:12pm
Although a very good drama. But several scenes in the last episode were superfluous and the drama focused too much only on the Hero. Showing scene by scene how the Hero got entangled with the enemy prolonged the last episode. The Indian pilot scene was quite unnecessary and sends the wrong message. Is defence against India the only reason for our Army ?? Drama would be more realistic if Hero got Shaheed. Reality is not always happy endings. Overall drama is male oriented and may include more scenes on women empowerment, independent struggle and practical sacrifices made like Shariq's sister.
Robby Mar 20, 2020 07:53pm
Amazing drama n beautiful ending
Saad Mar 20, 2020 08:02pm
They could have made it season wise..! It would have been great.. As Pakistan market is well educated now and watches seasons on different platforms now..
Kam Mar 20, 2020 08:19pm
Overall bad acting, childish and unnecessary scenes created for drama purpose. It was all about army. Only they are perfect, disciplined and loyal to country.
Maria Mar 20, 2020 09:54pm
All valid points. Additionally I thought Saad's mom and Dua's mother both did a great job. I really felt the love between Saad and his mother. It was similar to the chemistry between Saba Hameed and Humayun Saeed in Dil Lagi.
reality Mar 20, 2020 10:04pm
It’s not even near ABC
Fahad Rizvi Mar 21, 2020 01:46am
Gulzar and Rani were the star of the show and Dada. Saad should have died. There were so many indications that he will die, like his letter to his wife saying that he may not come back, his dialogues with Gulzar just before leaving for the rescue mission. But I am not the director nor the writer. The tea is fantastic was not necessary and not even funny. This cant be compared to ABC or even Sunhairay din.
Ali Mar 21, 2020 02:42am
That’s why I barely managed to watch half of an episode
Khan Mar 21, 2020 03:19am
Extremely lousy cast and drama! ABC was out of this world! Cast hairs were long in military.. get the basics right first
Jawaad Khan Mar 21, 2020 07:11am
First few episodes were remarkable but after that it became really a distasteful effort. Few characters really lost the charm in the middle. Anyway, keeping in view the picturisation, it was really a good effort.
Mansoor Mar 21, 2020 09:48am
I am usually fan of dramas made on war specially involve role of special group/army. Story of Ed e wafa was very weak in the sense that it focus on only four institution army, civil democracy, politicians and journalists. there is no doubt on the sacrifices made by soldiers during wars. But it's also shows that civilians were corrupt. The role of civilian should also be highlighted in positive way. It was also rush end to drama and unnecessarily gossip scene added. however it was good drama to watch.
Asim Mar 21, 2020 09:51am
Yes, there is only one Shoaib Mansoor. It wasn't even 10% of ABC. With unrealistic events while depicting military training and life, it was an average drama.
Taj Mar 21, 2020 11:14am
Absolutely useless
Ubaid ullah Mar 21, 2020 12:07pm
Good darma
Ubaid ullah Mar 21, 2020 12:07pm
Good nice
Muhammd Nouman Mar 21, 2020 01:09pm
I am not agree with that alpha bravo chalie is one of the fablous drama and i don't think so that it can't be compare with alpha bravo chalie drama its just a simple drama with a good touch of friendship and now its showing more which is not deserving
M. Saeed Mar 21, 2020 02:16pm
ABC is still the Titanic of Dramas.
Umair Mar 21, 2020 02:31pm
Well a very biased analysis by Sadaf Haider. This drama is no way near ABC. Why ehd e wafa gained so much viewership was tag of "ISPR" & " Army". It's story line, concept, direction, theme was not at all at par with ABC. Whatever shown in ABC was reality, in Ehd e Wafa it's all larger than life kind of stuff. In ABC , Alpha lost many emotional & personal battles, whole Charlie won my despite being at lower ladder. Bravo showed his real self of valor & sacrifice. Characters in Ehd e Wafa are mostly flat, not round, less Politician. Body language , expressions, dialogue delivery of all Uniformed military persons was pretty ordinary & lousy. Don't know how ISPR selected them. Comparing them to ABC their performance was just artificial. This piece of writing by Sadaf couldn't justify the title. Sorry.
Umair Mar 21, 2020 02:41pm
Well a total biased analysis. ABC is way ahead & mortal as compared to ehd e wafa. Script, theme, storyline, direction & concept of Ehd e Wafa was pretty ordinary. Ehd e Wafa gained viewership because of two reasons. 1. Made under tag of "ISPR" & "Army" 2. After a long time viewers got a chance to see a military based drama. Characters & Story line of ABC was very realistic & engaging. Ehd e wafa, characters & storyline was larger than life. In ABC, despite being best, Alpha lost many emotional battles, while Charlie won many. Bravo came out to show his valour from a casual not interested officers. Characters in Ehd e wafa were pretty flat. Uniform persons acted in Ehd e Wafa had lousy body language, poor expressions & artificial dialogue delivery. I don't know who selected them. Over all I rate ABC ahead of even MASH 4077. Writer could not justify the canvas of Ehd e Wafa. It seems like it's storyline was inspired from the book "India Checkmates America - 2020".
Nauman Khan Mar 21, 2020 03:03pm
Absolutely not agreed with the statement that the drama was ahead of Alpha, Bravo n Charlie. Talked to considerable no of my friends from Armed Forces. As per their collective n clear opinion, it was a Drama far from facts. The glamour shown in the drama is far from reality existing in profession of Arms. Half of them didn't watch the drama due to its oblivious plot n general resentment against it, amidst army ranks. Shoab Mansoor vs the writer/ producer of this drama is no comparison. So please have a heart. A conclusive remark by one of my friend from ranks., Yeah a high rated glamorous drama for the civilians, a dud drama yeah a mere drama for uniformed person. Probably an item song was missing.
Fayzee Mar 21, 2020 03:12pm
Everything was excellent in EeW. I used to anxiously wait for each next episode. The acting that I loved most was of Gulzar Hussain, from Basti Malook, Dera Ghazi Khan. Adnan has a good future in the industry.
Arif Kaderbhoy Mar 21, 2020 03:24pm
Would consider this an average play..a lot of patriotism and lots of sheer propaganda..this in the final ep..a few of the cast are simply least one of them..only a fool would talk to the enemy whilst on a weak..
Javed Nazir Mar 21, 2020 03:25pm
Do every country make such dramas for their armies ?
Maham Mar 21, 2020 04:51pm
Drama was not that good totally based on fantasy. if they wanted to make drama on friendship so they can do better. Although zara Noor acting was really good
Maham Mar 21, 2020 04:51pm
Mani Mar 21, 2020 05:26pm
This show was so cheesy. No more faith in reviews. Just peddling propaganda.
M. Saeed Mar 21, 2020 05:59pm
Gosh, still you endured the whole torture?
M. Saeed Mar 21, 2020 06:02pm
ABC was the top most drama that Pakistan ever produced. Imagine the cameras used in -40 degree C cold temperature, in the actual fronts.
SUK Mar 21, 2020 10:14pm
I did not watch but the people who watched this Drama say that the drama motivate us very much.
Calderon DeJesus Mar 21, 2020 10:15pm
Ehd e Wafa was Definitely far superior in every aspect.
Zainab Mar 21, 2020 10:56pm
I love this drama I am a big fan of dua and Saad and shariq and I love all of them we bow for their hard work I love the last episode we have to salute our Pakistan army soldiers.
Dr.. Mar 22, 2020 03:26am
It was very refreshing drama...acting superb although last episode cud have been more interesting.
Dr uzair zahir Mar 22, 2020 10:02am
The review is just average for a below average drama .. Saad father was brigadier promoted to Maj General .. Rest ABC is and always will be in every youngster of that time ABC was an actual Drama and thriller .. Every scene was real time .. And the cast was out of this world.. ABC 9/10 .... Ahde wafa 5/10 ...
Masoos Mar 22, 2020 10:56am
Disagree - it was no way near to ABC
Amna Mar 24, 2020 12:16pm
This drama is better than all other dramas going onscreen these days which are just full of glamour with no story line. Pakistani Drama has declined. Therefore this drama as compared to others is quite better. But it cannot be compared with ABC, which was a class of its own and was among the evergreen of PTV. We might forget Ehd-e-Wafa in a year or two but ABC will always be remembered.
Salman Javed Mar 26, 2020 06:26am
very basic drama, okay for rural people of Islamabad. One of the worst drama I have ever watched.