Dastaan: History on TV

Published: September 24, 2011

Dastaan did a remarkable job at transporting us to an era where a boy would give up the world to be with the girl he loved. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Dastaan reminds one of a time when girls used to lower their eyes on meeting their beau. PHOTO: PUBLICITY The drama starts off as a tender series of events between the couple, but later morphs into a saga full of blood, greed and lust. PHOTO: PUBLICITY Dastaan did a remarkable job at transporting us to an era where a boy would give up the world to be with the girl he loved. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Dastaan, a Hum TV production, is probably the most gripping modern day ode to the beauty and simplicity of  pre-partition life. Written by Razia Butt, Dastaan depicts the love story of Hasan (Fawad Khan) and Bano (Sanam Baloch) – a romance which is shred to pieces by the gruesome and gory separation of 1947.

The drama starts off as a tender series of events between the couple, but later morphs into a saga full of blood, greed and lust. This turn of events hurls Bano, the quintessential Pakistani girl,  into the arms of madness, because she is devastated by the loss of the peaceful love she once shared with Hasan.

Dastaan showcases famous actors such as Samina Peerzada, Saba Qamar, and  Bilal Khan. It primarily highlights the pathos of society and the instability that broke ties  between kin during the harsh times of partition. It depicts how India was suffering from internal turmoil; it was being ripped apart in to two pieces, and the people were bleeding with it.

Although, to the viewer, Razia Butt’s stance in Dastaan might come across as nationalistic, leaning towards Pakistan and Muslims in general. However, the writer still did a commendable job at striking a balance of both good and evil in all three religious groups,  Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism. One example is when a Hindu man tried to insult and rape Bano, simply for being a Muslim woman, another Hindu came to her rescue

Baloch and Khan did a remarkable job at transporting us to an era where the girl would lower her eyelids on meeting her beau in the veranda unexpectedly, and where a boy would give up the world to be with his lover.

All in all, the romance as well as the tragedy is a breath of fresh air in modern times where all TV dramas can focus on now is how every modern Pakistani girl is a scheming fair maiden with grey eyes, whose sole objective is to turn her mother-in-law in to an eggplant, or how every bloke around the corner finds himself a doting girl who is susceptible to his oily flattering and false promises of shadi wadi.

Kudos to Hum TV and Razia Butt for having the nerve to deviate from the norm by delving into the pandemonium of partition. They came up with a story that reminded us of our origins. Hence, Dastaan was a TV series definitely worth watching.


Taneeya Hasan

The author is a sub-editor for the Life and Style pages at Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Shahid

    What a useless article.Recommend

  • Adil Mulki

    Althought the articles is a bit late… in the sense that “daastaan” was televised a few months back and is no more on air (to the best of my knowledge), it is good that someone highlighted it here.
    I have often recommended on various forums that “daastaan” be made part of the modern Pakistani school curriculum. It reminds one of the purpose, identity and sacrifices that went in this nation’s creation.Recommend

  • Bangalore.

    nice. i love reading/watching stories about the partition. There is a very nice indian movie you guys could watch — PINJAR.. a very moving story about the partition. it is one of my favourites … i wish i could watch ” daastan ” but pakistani dramas are not aired here in india.Recommend

  • M.A.S

    No mentioning of the director, Haissam Hussain, who played his role for bringing the great novel to the screen and making it a great play. Recommend

  • Bangalore.

    @shahid – how is this a useless article ? it is stories like these that will help indians and pakistanis understand the trauma both countries went through during the partition. Such stories might help us view each other not as hindus or muslims but as fellow human beings, human being who have the same hopes , aspirations and dreams.Recommend

  • Talib Abbas

    I am not fond of dramas here but unfortunately i liked it a lot, (acting and direction was awesome) although second half of it was boring.
    And yup it’s not an article, it’s a reviewRecommend

  • http://islamabad Maryam

    the drama was good no doubt but its been quite sometime…………
    talk about some new drama now!Recommend

  • Tabish

    In early 90s, we used to get PTV in Bombay, India. But, no more… We used to get VCRs of Ankahi, tanhaiiyaan to watch at home. Now, it has been replaced by YouTube, where we can get organised episodes. Thanks for sharing, will watch the Dastaan on YouTube. Recently, finished the Aangan Terha series. Indian dramas are way decorated and extravagant. @Bangalore: We can watch on YouTube.Recommend

  • K

    LATE MUCH?????Recommend

  • shanaz Ramzi

    Better late than never! I think it was definitely a commendable effort, and worth watching on YouTube or DVD whichever is available. I know many people who are always on the lookout for good plays to watch at their leisure and this review ought to help them decide if it’s up their street or not.


  • http://aaleenshafaat.blogspot.com aaleen shafaat

    i have a post about dastan aswell which you should see


  • Javeria Mahmood

    hmmmm Would love to watch in youtube nowRecommend

  • Moniza Haq

    Dastaan was a beautiful play. I like the review u wrote, I wish you had given credit to the director, Haissam Hussain as well. In a Hum-tv interview he said they spent 2months shoothing the serial, & many many months in pre-prodution & planning. In an era where tv-plays r made within10-14 days thats commendable on behalf of cast & crew to spend so much time on only 1 play. The director has also received quite a few awards for his work in Dastaan. The screen-play adaptation was by Samira Fazal, who did a v.good job in translating Razia Butt wonderful novel for us. I wish u had given credit to where its due. But I urge everyone to watch Dastaan, it sure is a masterpeice.Recommend