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Writer: Nadia Akhtar
Director: Shahid Shafaat
Producer: Momina Duraid Productions
Channel: Hum TV
Cast: Yumna Zaidi, Zaviyar Nauman Ejaz, Saqib Sameer, Mizna Waqas, Naureen Gulbani, Sunil Shankar, Huma Nawab, Adnan Shah (Tipu), and others.
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It’s a man’s world and the struggle women living without male support face, especially in this part of the world, is an ugly reality, which is brilliantly portrayed in the drama serial, Bakhtawar currently being aired. The versatile Yumna Zaidi is the main protagonist, Bakhtawar or Bakhtu; the drama has been penned by Nadia Akhtar, directed by Shahid Shafaat and produced by Momina Duraid. The cast also includes Zaviyar Nauman Ejaz, Saqib Sameer, Mizna Waqas, Noreen Gulwani, Shamoon Abbasi, Sunil Shankar, Huma Nawab and Adnan Shah in key roles.
The first episode of the show was aired on Sunday, July 17. According to its official description by HUM TV, the drama narrates the journey of a “young headstrong girl trying to escape her troubled home, the difficulties and pain that she encounters, and how she creates a better tomorrow for herself.” Bukhtawar’s character is inspired from the life of a Lahori woman, Farheen Ishtiaq Naqvi. The first episode begins by showing two young girls (Bakhtawar and her older sister) with dreams and ambitions, which are crushed by their father’s (Noor ul Hassan), drug addiction and love for gambling. He loses his elder daughter in a bet, and marries her off to an unsuitable spouse, scarring young Bakhtawar who vows to save herself and her family from a similar fate.
As the story moves forward, we find that the father goes missing leaving behind Guddu, a bedridden son, Bakhtawar and her mom (Huma Nawab) alone to fight poverty as well as the society that will take every opportunity to exploit them. They are financially dependent on their maternal uncle (mamu). The story takes a twist when her uncle suggests that Bakhtwar marry his mentally unstable son, in exchange of all the favours.
Things get even worse for Bakhtwar and her mother after Guddu’s death, as the only option left was to leave the village. With the help of a friend’s brother, Bakhtawar, along with her mother, takes a bus ride to Karachi, only to find more hardships and hurdles. From street harassment to discriminating workplaces and backstabbing relatives, Bakhtarwar experiences it all.
After several job rejections, she manages to secure a well-paying job as a conductor at a bus company, and despite being dissatisfied with the nature of the job, she settles for it. However, things take an ugly turn when her coworker, Parveen, is shot by their boss for rejecting his proposal. Bakhtawar loses her job, and as a result, also loses the only place she thought was a safe place to stay in Karachi. She overhears her greedy maternal aunt (khala) and her husband (khalu) , their only contact in the city, planning to leak their details in exchange for money from the vengeful mamu.
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The mother and daughter escape once again, but fail to find a place to live without a male family member. That is when Bakhtawar, who strongly believed that she could be her mother’s support as a daughter, has no other option, but to adopt the appearance of a son. She lies to the landlord (Saqib Sameer) about having a twin brother who will accompany them. She then disguises herself as Bakhtu and begins to live a dual life.