Fans of Alpha Bravo Charlie (1998), one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed PTV drama series made on life at the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) and beyond, had a major deja vu recently when they saw the promos of Ehd e Wafa, Hum TV’s latest offering.
Apparently, because the teasers flashed extensive shots of the country’s prestigious institution and the gentlemen cadets attempting tough obstacles as part of the drill, everyone thought it might be a sequel to ABC.
And when Osman Khalid Butt, one of Ehd e Wafas’ (which translates to The Promise of Loyalty) main leads, Instagrammed a picture of him at the shoot with co-actors Ahad Raza Mir, Wahaj Ali and Ahmed Ali Akbar all dressed in college uniform, and used “#SSG” in the caption, it set some media persons thinking that the proceedings concerned Pak Army’s Special Service Group (SSG).
In an exclusive chat with Gulf News tabloid!, scriptwriter Mustafa Afridi rejects the popular view. He reveals that the series is about childhood friends Shariq, Shehryar, Shahzain and Saad, who are a fun-loving bunch and whose lives are changed once they leave college and enter the practical world.
“Since their names start with the letter ‘S,’ they call themselves the SS gang, or SSG,” he adds.
A misunderstanding causes them to split, and they leave college as strangers. They keep running into each other, but can’t reconcile.
One interesting fact about Ehd e Wafa is that the four boys are shown to opt for the distinct fields of military, politics, media and civil service each.
In the words of Afridi, “Their stories run parallel [to each other], but are also intertwined.”
The writer of such mega serials as ‘Yeh Raha Dil’ and ‘Aangan’ claims that the play does not stereotype or malign any state institution. “Nor is it a propaganda play,” he declares. “I was given the creative freedom I wanted.”
However, the play required Afridi to study life at PMA from close quarters. So, he went to Kakool and stayed at the Academy for two weeks. “There was a lot that I needed to learn about the armed forces,” he says, modestly. “For instance, the hierarchy in ranks.”
He also confirms that the play has nothing to do with ABC, “It’s a fresh story, and is set in 2019, the present.”
Ehd e Wafa is a collaboration of ISPR — the public relations wing of the armed forces of Pakistan — and Momina & Duraid (MD) Productions.
The 24-episode serial is directed by Saife Hassan, and has a stellar supporting cast that includes Zara Noor Abbas, Vaneeza Ahmad, and Alizeh Shah.
Judging from the promos, the play boasts superior production values. It goes on air starting next week.