Dastaan (TV series)
A promotional newspaper advertisement
|Written by||Samira Fazal
Novel by Razia Butt
|Directed by||Haissam Hussain|
|Starring||Fawad Afzal Khan
|Theme music composer||Sohail Haider|
|Opening theme||"Aasmanon Se"
by Sohail Haider
|Country of origin||Pakistan|
|Original language(s)||Urdu, Punjabi|
|No. of episodes||23 (One special episode)|
|Running time||40 minutes|
|Original network||Hum TV|
|Original release||26 June– 4 December 2010|
Dastaan (Urdu: داستان) (English: A Tale) is a Pakistani drama serial dramatized by Samira Fazal, and based on the novel Bano, by Razia Butt. It is based on the partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan, and takes place between 1947 and 1956. The drama depicts the story of Bano, a girl from a close knit Muslim family living in Ludhiana (located in undivided Punjab) in the pre-1947 era. The story follows Bano and Hassan, as they face the trials and tribulations caused by the 1947 independence.
Dastaan is the first project of its kind taken up by the Pakistani media. Director Haissam Hussain stated in an interview  that production for the drama began months in advance, and that the filming itself only took a little over two months. The show was broadcast on Hum TV. The show is now airing in Middle East on channel MBC Bollywood under the title حب عبر حدود (Meaning Love Across Borders). It is one of the highest-rated Pakistani television series of all the time.
Dastaan was also aired in India on Zindagi under the title Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam from 23 March 2015 onwards. Previously, it was decided to run the show under the title Lakeerein, but the decision was later changed.
Built on the true events of partition of 1947, the series depicts the events of rioting and chaos in 1947. The series is based on the novel Bano.
Based on the novel, Bano, Dastaan begins with the wedding of Suraiya (Saba Qamar) and Saleem (Ahsan Khan). Suraiya's nephew, Hassan (Fawad Khan) and Bano (Sanam Baloch) had no relationship whatsoever prior to Suraiya and Saleem's wedding. They slowly begin to develop feelings for each other, with Hassan visiting Ludhiana every now and then. Hassan is in his final year at the Islamia College as an engineering student. He is an active supporter of the All-India Muslim League, and the leader of the Ludhiana Branch. He strongly believes in the establishment of Pakistan and is an avid follower of Qaid-E-Azam, the leader of the Muslim League and Pakistan Movement. Meanwhile, Saleem is an active supporter of the Indian National Congress, with all his friends being Hindu. He strictly believes that the establishment of Pakistan will not help, but rather lessen the position of Muslims in India. The political debate between Saleem and Hassan begins as friendly competition, but intensifies as conditions worsen throughout India for Muslims. Saleem, hot-tempered and rash, begins to bring political debates into family life and eventually forbids Suraiya to visit Hassan, her nephew. But Hassan is not dissuaded. He continues to spread the message of Pakistan throughout Saleem's family, causing Saleem's anger to explode on many occasions. Other than Saleem, his entire family become strong supporters of the Muslim League, especially Bano, who makes posters and signs for the Pakistan Movement.
Hassan and Bano eventually become engaged, and Saleem decides to leave behind his rivalry with Hassan for Bano's sake. Soon, Hassan gets a job in Rawalpindi and has to leave immediately. He leaves Ludhiana, with the promise that they will be back 5 months later for the wedding. Meanwhile, Suraiya is pregnant.
During this time tensions between Hindus and Muslims escalate dramatically, and violence breaks out all across India. Hate crimes against Muslims become common, and fighting spreads to all states, getting threateningly closer to Ludhiana every day. As the fighting becomes more pronounced, Muslims retaliate, leaving nobody safe. Saleem seems to be under the impression that his Hindu friends and their families will be able to protect his family from rioters, but upon trying to get this assurance from them, they say, "What will we say to them? Why would they listen to us?" Saleem begins sensing a cold distance his Hindu friends have developed towards him and, while on his way home, encounters a sobbing Muslim man who lost his entire family and home. He begins to realize the importance of the creation of Pakistan and rushes home, telling his family to tightly lock up their doors and gates and to be ready for any kind of attack.
On a fateful night, a group of Sikhs and Hindus attack the family's home. All of the men (which includes many other Muslims who sought refuge in their house) stay on the bottom floor with their swords and knives intending to fight. All the women (including Bano, Suraiya, and Bano's mother, Bibi) are huddled on the roof of the house. Saleem and all the men are brutally murdered in a terrible massacre. A pregnant Suraiya, upon seeing her husband stabbed, throws herself off the roof to be with her dying husband. She lays next to him, trying to move her bloodied hand to be with his, but a Sikh rioter brutally stabs her womb, killing Suraiya and her baby. Other women also throw themselves from the roof while others are carried away to be raped and killed. Bano's other brother, Faheem, before being killed, shouts to his mother: "Choke Bano!" Bibi, with Bano's tearful consent, tries to choke her to death to protect her from losing her honor, virtue, and religion from the Hindu and Sikh rapists, but two of Saleem's Hindu friends arrive claiming to save them.
Saleem's friend, Ram, tries to rape Bano, but his other friend saves her by killing Ram out of guilt. Bano, alone with Bibi, manages to escape Ludhiana, where they seek shelter in a refugee camp for Muslims. The Muslim refugees are headed by a young brave Muslim man who lost his entire family. Thirsty and hungry, they try to walk to Pakistan, encountering poisoned wells along the way. Eventually, Hindu rioters attack this caravan. Bano is separated from Bibi and raped. Bano crawls toward her mother's now lifeless body, seeing her Ta'wiz necklace next to it. Bano, grief-stricken and in shock, wears it and lays next to her body.
A Sikh man (Bilal Khan) stumbles upon Bano and her dead mother, and he helps nurse her back to health after her first rape. He then boards her on a train heading towards Lahore and leaves. It was common for trains to arrive in Lahore full of dead Muslims with only a few survivors, and this train was no exception: it is attacked by Sikh rioters. Basant Singh (Babrik Shah), a rioter, chases after Bano on the train. She turns around and shouts, "Do it! Do whatever you want to do! Your Guru (God) will never forgive you! I'll ask him myself if he taught you Sikhs to do this to girls." She then falls unconscious, and Basant Singh kidnaps her, bringing her to his home in Kapurthala. She awakens in his home where he and his mother live. At first, she refuses to tell them her name, and so Basant Singh calls her Sundar Kaur, meaning "beautiful princess" in Punjabi. He gives her the impression that he will take her to Pakistan himself once the dangers are gone. He also tells her she can write to Hassan and he'll deliver the letters. Bano believes his lies and cannot wait to go to Pakistan.
Throughout her time there, they constantly try to convert her to Sikhism. They take her to the Gurdwara to pray, but she sneaks off and prays the Muslim salat. Basant's mother also forcibly teaches her how to recite Sikh scripture and forces her to wear the silver bracelet Sikhs wear. Bano says to his mother, "I can forget everything in this world. I can forget that I am Naseeruddin's daughter, that I am the sister of Faheem and Saleem, and that I am Hassan's fiance. But I can never forget that I am first and foremost a Muslim. I will never bow down to your Guru Granth Sahib!" Nearly a year later, Basant has not lived up to his promise, claiming that the roadways are still blocked and that traveling to Pakistan is too dangerous. Eventually, Bano learns of his plans to forcibly marry her and convert her, and she attempts to run away again. This time though, when Basant catches her, he doesn't treat her gently as the first time. He tries whatever method he can to break her; beating her, raping her, forcing her to become a Sikh, marrying her, and in the end, having her give birth to his child.
After many years Basant Singh runs to the roof to go save his child, because he is about to fall off. Instead, he slips, falls, and dies. Bano immediately takes her son and leaves to go to Pakistan. Whilst this is happening, Hassan eventually falls in love with Rabia,his cousin, and they become engaged. Bano is taken in by a lady who sends a letter to Hassan to inform him that Bano has arrived.
Hassan receives the letter and takes Bano and the child home. Hassan decides to marry Bano, and wants to break off his engagement to Rabia. Rabia and her mother come to know of this and visit Hassan’s house. Rabia's mother tells Rabia to take care of Bano to please Hassan. However, one day, he overhears a conversation between his parents about Rabia taking care of Bano so Hassan can see the goodness in her. He argues with Rabia, but Rabia insists that her love is truer than Bano's. Bano overhears this and interrupts them telling them that if they truly want to do something for her, they should get married. The next day, Hassan finds out that Bano has left the house. Hassan spends many days and weeks searching for Bano. He blames Rania for this. Bano is living with a family where she does their household chores, she gets a job in a modern family where she realises that Pakistan is not how she thought it would be. She is fired of from the job. One day Hassan sees her in the mosque and he runs after her to get her back home but Bano says her friend to go to Hassan and ask him to forget Bano. Hassan then goes home and agrees to marry Rabia as Bano had wished their marriage. One day she goes to a birthday party where she meets a gentleman who has similar thoughts to those of Bano. He offers Bano to come and work in his office where they work for the welfare of people. Bano is very happy and offers his proposal. One day, Rabia comes to know about Bano and she begs to her to marry Hassan. Eventually, Bano agrees and she promises that she will come. She goes to her office where the same gentleman leads her to storage room and attempts to abuse her. She grabs hold of a scissor, and stabs hims to death. She is arressted by police. Bano is taken to a mental asylum for recovery. Later, Hassan and Rabia who are now husband and wife, visit Bano.
Other cast and characters
- Ahsan Khan as Saleem (Bano's elder brother)
- Saba Qamar as Suraiyyah (Saleem's Wife)
- Saba Hameed as Rasheeda (Hassan's Mother)
- Qavi Khan as Naseeb Bhai (Bano's Father)
- Samina Peerzada as Saliha or "Bibi" (Bano's Mother)
- Affan Waheed as Nadir (Hassan's Friend)
- Babrik Shah as Basant Singh
- Seemi Raheel as Sakeena (Hassan's Maami)
- Asma Abbas as Sultana (Rabia's Mother)
- Naeem Tahir as Rabia's Father
- Daniyal Raheel as Faheem (Bano's younger Brother)
- Anita Fatima Camphor as Jameela (Hassan's Aunt)
- Humaira Abbasi as Kaamini
- Samina Ahmad
- Shazia Afgan
- Khayyam Sarhadi
- Bilal Khan
- Sangeeta as Basanta's mom
- Nasreen Qureshi as Basanta's aunt
- Azra Mansoor
- Farooq Zameer
The serial takes place at a number of locations. It starts out at a neighborhood of Lahore, which was shown as Ludhiana, India. The locations changed with every couple of episodes as the story corresponds. Other locations include Karachi, Rawalpindi, and Kapurthala. Notable locations include the Islamia College and the famous Badshahi Masjid in Lahore, as well as the Pakistan Railways Station.
The Dastaan theme "Aasmanon Se" was composed and sung by Sohail Haider, who also composed the theme to fellow Hum TV production, Parsa, and was written by Sahir Altaf. A frequent background music on the show, played during scenes asserting Pakistani independence or Pakistani pride is based after the tune of Aye Watan Pyare Watan by Ustad Amanat Ali Khan.
Dastaan was very widely appreciated. In a poll by Dawn News, Dastaan was rated as the second best drama of 2010, after Dolly ki Ayegi Baraat, that aired on Geo TV, and Sanam Baloch was voted best actress for Dastaan, with Mehreen Raheel in third place, while Samira Fazal was voted third best writer, also for Dastaan.  Veteran actress Badar Khalil named Dastaan as her favourite drama for 2010. It ranks among one of the highest-rated Pakistani television series of all time.
It is also among the few dramas to have received 4.5 stars from TVKahani. The review said: "Please, do yourself a favor and watch this one. You will learn and be entertained at the same time."
Awards and nominations
|2nd Pakistan Media Awards||Best Drama||Won|
|Haissam Hussain for Best Drama Director|
|Sanam Baloch for Best Actress|
|Fawad Khan for Best TV Actor|
|Saba Qamar for Best Supporting Actress|
|Ahsan Khan for Best Supporting Actor|
|10th Annual Lux Style Awards||Best TV Serial (Satellite)||Nominated|
|Fawad Khan for Best TV Actor (Satellite)|
|Sanam Baloch for Best TV Actress (Satellite)|
|Haissam Hussain for Best TV Director||Won|
|1st Hum Awards||Razia Butt for Most Challenging Subject.|
|Momina Duraid for Most Challenging Subject.|
|Haissam Hussain for Most Challenging Subject.|
|Samira Fazal for Most Challenging Subject.|
Reactions from India
A notice was issued by Justice Mukul Mudgal against Zindagi on account of complaints received by the Indian Ministry of Broadcasting and Information. It stated that the show had depicted Indians in bad light.
- Official Dastaan Facebook Page - Managed by Haissam Hussain
- Morning With Hum - Haissam Hussain and Momina Duraid discuss "Dastaan"/
- Dastaan Title Track
- Dawn News Opinion Poll: Who Ruled 2010?
- TVKahani Reviews: Dastaan HUM TV Review
- Notice to Zindagi channel on ‘pro-Pak’ serial. Himanshi Dhawan. Times of India. May 10, 2015