It’s that time again when I bash (read review) my favorite Pakistani soaps. This time, however, I’ve decided to opine on the men in the lead in said soaps. We have a bevy of new stars, few oldies too but mostly new, really sparkly ones and here’s my take on each one I’ve seen recently.

Agha Ali

You look at this guy, the droopy mouth and midnight stubbles, and foresee impending doom and bad news in everyone’s future. You know he isn’t the villain because he’s too fortunate looking for that. He is hardly ever the hero as well because he plays too negative a character. So…he is the anti-hero. He is the idiot husband (Rukhsaar, Mere Mehrbaan, Mere Khuda, slight variation in Mamta) who screws up immensely all throughout the 300 episodes and only realizes his mistakes via gruesome nightmare or voiceover (hello beta, Aunty Conscience and Uncle Zameer here) in the second last episode. In the last episode, he regrets/cries/repents until every character around him is in tears and regretting/crying/repenting as well. Then, it is group hug time. The end.

Osman Khalid Butt

The pretty boy of the hilarious YouTube video fame. Or at least that’s how he got on my radar (the Hamsafar parody was spot on, man! So was Maya Khan’s!). I suggest he sticks to those alone as acting isn’t really his thing unless he’s playing a comical character. I loved him as Zara’s Aunn and Cinderella’s pretty step-sister’s Prince but if I have to take one more scene of ‘O yoo shaaatttup, I hattttt you, Wali the Khan!’ and ‘But I lowe you now only in 24 hours, Farrah the Khan!’ in Diyar-e-Dil, I’ll shoot somebody. I really tried to get the hots on for his immaculate Estee Lauder skin and crispy frame but sorry jani, I couldn’t. I tried, jani, I tried!

Emmad Irfani

There are those who are shadi-shuda. Then, there are those like Irfani who are shadi-zada. This is just as intense as being sailab-zada, faqa-zada or museebat-zada but only in terms of matrimony. If you’ve even seen a three-second clip of Dil Nahi Maanta, you’ll get an idea of what I mean. I really want to know what kick his agent got out of it when he told Irfani to sign up for this role. I mean the guy looks okay even with black rimmed eye-glasses on. If he sits still for two seconds, without frowning over wife #2 and pining for wife #1, he looks quite reasonable. If he smiles, and he does for maybe five times in 40 episodes, he looks handsome too. However, the toll of polygamy on his frail brow is quite evident. He is the dulha every woman dreams of and eventually gets as well…much to his dismay. Next time, I suppose, we’ll see him as the business-zada Abba of a 16 year old who wants nothing but love of a pauper who happens to be Abba’s driver.

Faisal Qureshi

He is the superstar. Undoubtedly. There is no role that he messes up even when it’s a messed up role (cue: Bashar Momin). I find absolutely nothing wrong with his acting skills, and since we know exactly how he absolutely detests being compared to Bollywood actors purely for reasons that don’t make sense to me, I’ll aptly compare him to Shah Rukh Khan. A king for a king. While SRK often annoys with his dramatic howls and growls and songs, FQ just acts his way into the hearts of his viewers whether it’s the spineless son/husband in Jahez or the unyielding one in his current Mol.

Affan Waheed

I didn’t know this one’s name until he caught my eye only recently. It’s not like I hadn’t seen him on TV before – Roshan Sitara, Mein Bushra – but never found him interesting enough. But I must say, that tear fest in Aye Zindagi where he professes his love to girlie really tugged at my heart. Oh, how cute a grown man looks whilst crying and being slapped incessantly and dragged out of the house! Awful foster parents, though. I think Affan has played that role really well. He also has that Waheed Murad old hero charm so I was all ready for him to go die on ‘pahar pe’ coughing blood and pining for his love, voluminous shawl sprawled over his frail shoulders. Hai! Unfortunately that didn’t happen. But what did happen wasn’t bad either so yeah, we’re okay. I just have one complaint. Could we please go easy on the lipstick? I mean seriously. He is quite gora gora as is but must he paint his lips red too? Or is he the ultimate depiction of Snow White’s face?

Noor Hassan Rizvi

I’m not sure what his face looks like because I’m seriously too busy looking at the rest of him. He might as well wear that face mask from Muqaddas in all his plays and I wouldn’t complain one bit. Okay fine, he isn’t too bad an actor and I think he may finally have found what he was born to do – be a villain! You know he isn’t sincere, that he’ll screw up, that he’s lying. Might as well make Meghan Trainor’s Lips Are Moving his theme song – play it every time he enters a scene. But that sporty physique! I think Pakistan TV might’ve found its guy for its version of the Headless Hunkman, I mean Horseman. A headless one. Because he doesn’t need a head to look nice. Because…okay…you get the point.

Junaid Khan

He reminds me of a cute little handgun that’s ready to blow up in somebody’s face. Be it Rasam or Inteha or Mumkin, he will turn from Mr. Nice Guy to Mr. Mega Jerk with one blink of an eye, and every time he machos up to his wife/fiancée/girlfriend, I have a strong urge for her to hand him a cookie and tell him to shush, fiercely. I wouldn’t have googled his name if not for this article because Munna is what I’ll be calling him from now on. It suits him to the hilt! So…Munnay…how you doin’?

Ahsan Khan

Helloooo hairstyle! Now, Ahsan is cute but ever since he did his hair (and us all) a favor in Mausam by being Hashir and unlocking the charms of his locks by growing them longer and waving them freer into the twilight, there has been none comparable unto him. I even watched Zid that was a total waste of my screen time since neither the story made sense nor was there any foreign soil appeal for me since I already live in the US, I watched it for Ahsan’s hair. Don’t you dare cut it now! Don’t!

Zahid Ahmed

This one reminds you there's water shortage in the country, in case you already didn't remember it. (Seriously, no showers? Shampoo? Shaving creams?) But no fear, Zahid got tears. By the gallons, too. And his voice when he cries is squeaky enough to rival any freshly mopped floor. But hang on, the guy has one thing going for him if not all – he looks like Fawad Khan. I mean after appropriate edit/Photoshop/imagination, you'd agree that he does. In fact, the two should be cast together in our own version of Sita Aur Gita. Besides, he pulled off a nice psychopath in Alvida so yeah, another villain here.

Sami Khan

He has grown much since Tere Pehlu Mein. I’m talking physically here. I think aside from a few pounds to his weight, he must’ve added a few dozen inches to his height as well. (Heels?) Anyhow, I was nearly happy to see him in Bashar Momin until he went ahead and ruined it with his obsessive-compulsive-control-freak fiancé gestures topped off with abusive-mentally-disturbed-idiot husband aura. Other than that, he is okay. He’ll be more okay if he trimmed his beard that’s been growing quite vertically since Sultanat-e-Dil and looks like by the end of Ishqa Waay, it’ll be sweeping the floor while he gets ready to play an ancient Chinese sage in his next project.

So, that’s it for the gentlemen. In my next piece, I’ll blog about the leading ladies. Maybe. I’m making a list anyways. Got any names?