“Faces don’t always reveal themselves. Stories too are not always those which get told… every knot of thread contains a mystery, and in the belly of every mystery…is another story? No, another secret.”
This eloquent monologue, waxed philosophically by Mai Maalki (Samiya Mumtaz) in “Qaatil Haseenaon Ke Naam” pithily describes the essence of this Meenu Gaur-directed show. The six-part miniseries is an anthology of interconnected narratives where women, or rather femme fatales, are the forces that push forward the noire storylines, often acting with ulterior motives to get what they want or to free themselves from a challenging situation.
We have decided to keep things simple, so here’s a list of why we feel you should (or should not) check out the show:
1. QHKN is very atmospheric and employs all sorts of artistic devices, including music (the show’s score is noteworthy), photography, and poetry, quite effectively to establish its haunting, dream-like tapestry. If you are fond of expressive, meaningful dialogues and moving Urdu poetry, this mini-series will appeal to you. Poetry even plays a central part in an entire episode’s plotline (the one with Sarwat Gilani and Ahsan Khan), which is something we rarely see anymore…which brings us to point two…
2. …that is, the show in many ways pays homage to the best traditions of Pakistani entertainment. The characters (such as Mai Malki and her disciples) might dwell in a fantasy realm, but they remain realistic and relevant to contemporary times. And while the show attempts to push the envelope when it deals with somewhat risque themes, it does so without offending local sensibilities. The proceedings remain very much grounded in local culture and do not appear alien or out of place. There’s even a nod to Pakistan’s golden era superstars — a cafe where some of the action takes place is named after Deeba Begum.
3. You will find the creme-de-la-creme of Pakistani film and television showcasing their talents and the performances by and large are laudable.
4. The show is very women-centric and might even be considered by some to be feminist in its leanings.
1. The avant-garde treatment might put some people off. The show’s setting is difficult to attribute to a particular era or a single city in Pakistan, and besides that, it employs many fantastical, supernatural plot devices — such as Maai Malki and her troupe magically appearing out of nowhere.
2. The pace, at times, slackens. The narratives of the six parts are interconnected, and the plethora of characters presented to the audience might confuse some.
3. The feminist streak in the storylines (and their culmination) might not go down well with those who prefer women in the ‘bechari’ avatar in local soaps.
4. Quite Importantly: if you’re looking for family-friendly content, this is not for you. There is much violence and graphic depiction of gore, and the series deals with quite a broad range of adult themes.
Have you watched “Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam”? Let us know what you think in the comments below!