Radd could redefine what we expect from TV dramas altogether

The new drama starring Sheheryar Munawar, Hiba Bukhari, and Arsalan Naseer is turning heads but will it live up to its promises?
Updated 30 Apr, 2024

Promising a gripping tale and spectacle that will keep viewers hooked, ARY Digital’s latest offering Radd is definitely turning heads. Six episodes in, the drama produced by Abdullah Seja unfolds around three central characters played by Sheheryar Munawar, Hiba Bukhari, and Arsalan Naseer. Directed by Ahmed Bhatti and penned by writer Sanam Mehdi Zaryab, this drama narrates a tale of romance, heartbreak, and transformative traumas, all the while highlighting stereotypes that plague our society.

At the heart of Radd is Emaan, portrayed by the talented Hiba Bukhari. She essays a fearless, independent woman with a mind of her own. Raised by a dedicated single dad, Emaan grew up being a pillar of support for her father, aiding with the finances and standing by him through thick and thin as her sisters navigate their own married lives.

Emaan is the female character we crave to see in our dramas — a woman with a strong voice who channels her independence with grace rather than rudeness, maintaining her poise as a true class act. Characters like her are a crucial aspect that our dramas need to integrate more often into their plots, which Radd is currently doing impeccably.

Then there’s Zain, portrayed by the charming Arsalan Naseer. He’s your classic prince charming straight from the pages of a fairytale, returning home from abroad to a warm welcome from his family. As the only child and the apple of his aunt’s eye, Zain holds a special place in his family’s heart, who are eager to see him married upon his return. The plot progresses as Zain meets a girl, at his aunt’s insistence, who turns out to be Emaan.

The interactions between Zain and Emaan unfold with logical precision and charming realism, offering a delightful viewing experience, particularly as we see Emaan’s initial reluctance to marry slowly transform into affection for a genuinely decent man. While I constantly sniff about for a red flag in Zain — don’t blame me for I’ve been stung several times by our own dramas — he consistently proves himself as ideal husband material.

He is the gentleman who conscientiously walks nearest the curb to shield Emaan from harm, whips up gourmet meals, and goes out of his way to help her when a storm hits. Zain is the antidote to the toxic male heroes that have long dominated our screens.

But brace yourselves, dear readers, for Radd has chosen the route of classic villainous mothers-in-law over toxic heroes. Zain’s mother, portrayed by Asma Abbas, emerges as the formidable antagonist in this family drama. She shows little enthusiasm for Zain’s union with Emaan and is determined to thwart their marriage. It feels as though we’re caught in a continuous cycle of recycled clichés that the plot insists on perpetuating.

On the other end of the spectrum is Salaar, our unconventional hero, brought to life by the talented Sheheryar Munawar. Unlike the typical hero, Salaar’s character complexity keeps all eyes glued to him. Though he was raised in luxury, Salaar lives a starkly different life. He’s haunted by childhood trauma involving a fire for which he is blamed. Think of him as a modern-day Cinderella, living under the thumb of his overbearing older brother and cut off from the wealth and comfort he was born into.

Salaar runs a shop next to Emaan’s father’s, becoming the unsung hero to their family. He’s always there, offering help without ever revealing his true origins. Beyond running his shop, Salaar is a passionate painter and has a soft spot for Emaan.

Radd manages to stand out among the other offerings — from the get-go, it grabs your attention by digging into the secret layers of each character. That’s especially true for Salaar, whose complex past unfolds like a finely crafted mystery, making each episode a revelation.

The storyline flows effortlessly, connecting the dots with such precision that you can’t help but get pulled into the story. Even the intense, thought-provoking conversations are executed with ease, even if they are about hefty topics like dowry or post-marriage careers for women.

Not shying away from the tough stuff, Radd continues to stand out as it tackles the gritty issues of domestic violence and self-harm with a grace that’s both touching and respectful. The show opts for subtlety over shock value, gently guiding us through these heavy themes and focusing more on solutions and resilience rather than just the problems. It’s this careful handling that makes Radd not just a drama but a crucial conversation starter.

Radd has arrived with high expectations, but there are concerns that the storyline might just be reduced to a love triangle with all those clichés that — truth be told — leave us cringing.

Just as Radd promises to tread new ground, it occasionally stumbles, retracing its steps back into the well-trodden paths of saas-bahu conflicts. In its quieter moments, the drama threatens to buckle under the weight of conventional storylines, as the narrative takes us into the lives of Emaan’s sisters who navigate a controlling matriarch wielding her power with familiar ferocity.

Even the plot involving Emaan and Zain falls into the trap of stereotypical narratives — rich boy, hardworking girl, they fall in love, and then an evil mother-in-law is hell-bent on tearing them apart.

While Bukhari and Munawar deliver brilliant performances individually, I have reservations about their on-screen chemistry and how it will unfold. For me, the sparks are missing, and I’m eager to see some palpable chemistry.

All in all, if you’re scouting for a drama that’s really worth the screen time, Radd is a safe bet. While there may be occasional flaws here and there, it is trying to weave together a compelling plot with shock value that hooks viewers. What has my attention is the upcoming twists that I am hoping will reroute the drama onto a different tangent.

With a stellar supporting cast like Naumaan Ijaz, Dania Enwer, Adnan Jaffar, Nadia Afgan, Asma Abbas, and Yasmin Peerzada, I’m betting big on Radd to shake up the usual drama playbook and maybe even redefine what we expect from TV dramas altogether.

Radd is currently airing on ARY Digital on Wednesdays and Thursdays.


Taj Ahmad Apr 30, 2024 02:33pm
Today’s TV drama are not upto standard compared to back in the 1980s and 1990s, let’s try back to PTV drama series again with current living actors and actresses, producers and directors etc etc.
Amir Apr 30, 2024 10:30pm
Our dramas quality are going down and down due to immature direction and making ton of dramas.
Shakil Khan Apr 30, 2024 11:37pm
Culture evolves with times. Styles of dramas has progressed with it. Sadly styled of clothing has stayed static. Fashion designers should progress with it . Baggy trousers (Shalwar, long scarves Dopatta should change with times
Jamil Soomro May 01, 2024 03:54pm
The great Dilip Kumar was right when he said in order to have good Movies and Dramas you ought to have good indigenous literature and not foreign. So Pakistan needs good Writers.
NYS May 01, 2024 11:46pm
Another day another storyline evolves around single damsel and two lads trio——
Masood Zaidi May 06, 2024 12:09pm
Ghoom pher kay jo 2-3 rah gaye bar bar aatay hein - aur koe chara nahein - monoply - new faces be given chance
Asif Naim May 07, 2024 10:03am
The story seems to be a love triangle which has been done to death. We need new ideas for storylines.