The Pakistani drama industry is unique and popular for its exceptional storylines that often center around social issues. These dramas are relatable and reality-based, making them popular not only in Pakistan but also internationally. Pakistani dramas have been productive in many ways, portraying cultural aspects of the country and inspiring the youth to contribute to national development.
However, there has been a transformation in the industry with a shift towards glamour and looks in new-age dramas. Some critics believe that older dramas from the 80s and 90s were more logical and entertaining, while others favor dramas of the recent period.
To rank the best Pakistani dramas of all time, we can use Television Rating Points (TRPs) and IMDb ratings. TRPs are calculated by estimating the viewership of TV programs and give an idea about the popularity of a particular show. On the other hand, IMDb ratings are given by users and accurately survey a show’s fame among the masses.
Top 10 Pakistani Dramas of All Time (IMDb):
Dhuwan is without a doubt, one of the most popular Pakistani TV series that first aired on the Pakistan Television Corporation channel in 1994. The show revolves around the story of five friends who bravely fight against terrorists and drug dealers. One of the main reasons for the show’s popularity is its realistic outdoor shooting and use of ammunition. As of now, the drama serial holds an impressive 9.4 rating on IMDb.
Dhoop Kinare (9.4):
Dhoop Kinare, a Pakistani TV series that aired on PTV in 1987, has now become a beloved show in Pakistan, earning a whopping 9.4 IMDb rating and securing the second spot on our list. The series focuses on a group of doctors at a hospital in Karachi, depicting their daily routines and personal lives. The show’s lead roles were played by Rahat Kazmi and Marina Khan, with Sahira Kazmi directing and Haseena Moin writing the script.
During PTV’s early days, drama serials were widely appreciated for their diverse plots and direction, garnering admiration in both Pakistan and India. Dhoop Kinare is one of the dramas that tops this list, having remained a success for two decades after its initial airing. The series is credited with propelling Rahat Kazmi and Marina Khan’s careers to stardom in the Pakistani television industry.
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This Pakistani TV drama series was produced by PTV, written by Amjad Islam Amjad, and directed by Ghazanfer Ali and Nusrat Thakur. The first episode was broadcast on PTV-Lahore on December 29, 1979, with the final episode airing on March 22, 1980. The show comprised of 13 episodes, following the traditional PTV drama serial format, with each episode lasting approximately an hour. The series was a critically acclaimed mega-hit.
Parizaad is another one of the most famous Pakistani TV series based on the novel of the same name by Hashim Nadeem, was directed by Shahzad Kashmiri and produced by Momina Duraid Productions. Starring Ahmed Ali Akbar in the lead role, alongside Yumna Zaidi, Ushna Shah, Saboor Aly, Urwa Hocane, Nauman Ijaz and Mashal Khan, the series premiered on Hum Television on July 20, 2021.
The final episode of the show aired on January 28, 2022, in cinemas and on February 1, 2022, on television. Reports suggest that a second season is currently in development. Parizaad received critical acclaim, particularly for its storyline and Ahmed Ali Akbar’s performance, which earned him the Best Actor and Best Actor Popular awards at the 8th Hum Awards and the Best TV Actor-Critics’ choice at the 21st Lux Style Awards. The show also won the Best TV Play and Best TV Writer awards at the latter.
Tere Bin (9.1):
Tere Bin is a Pakistani romantic drama television series produced by Abdullah Kadwani and Asad Qureshi under the banner of 7th Sky Entertainment. Directed by Siral ul Haq, the show premiered on Geo TV on December 28, 2022. Starring Wahaj Ali and Yumna Zaidi, the series quickly gained popularity due to the lead couple’s chemistry and its captivating storyline.
The show features a complex plot that revolves around serious social issues, and fans of the couple were eagerly anticipating a romantic project from them. Meerab’s life takes an unexpected turn when she learns of her family’s decision regarding her and Murtasim’s future. As a family secret from the past resurfaces, Meerab’s hatred towards Murtasim continues to intensify. However, as Murtasim comes to understand Meerab’s stubborn and arrogant behavior, he begins to view her as a challenge for himself. Meanwhile, Meerab, who is accustomed to living life on her own terms, refuses to accept Murtasim’s family traditions and social barriers that are unnecessary.
Meri Zaat Zarrae Benishan (9.1):
Meri Zaat Zarra-e-Benishan is produced by Abdullah Kadwani and Humayun Saeed and directed by Babar Javed. The show is based on Umera Ahmad’s novel of the same name and follows the story of Saba, a woman caught between her faith, fidelity, and forgiveness. The plot spans two generations and later shifts its focus to Saba’s daughter, Sara. The series boasts an ensemble cast featuring Samiya Mumtaz, Samina Peerzada, Sarwat Gillani, Mehreen Raheel, Faisal Qureshi, Adnan Siddiqui, Imran Abbas, Ismat Zaidi, and Humayun Saeed.
Mera Rab Waris (9.1):
Mera Rab Waris is a Pakistani television drama series produced by Abdullah Kadwani and Asad Qureshi under the banner of 7th Sky Entertainment. Written by Jahanzeb Qamar, it stars Danish Taimoor and Madiha Imam in lead roles.
The story is about Ayesha, a young woman with strong religious beliefs and respect for traditional values. She marries Haris, who has a more modern outlook. Ayesha’s sister-in-law marries Haris’s friend Faizan, who has been in love with Ayesha since childhood. Ayla, Haris’s classmate, falls in love with him and attempts suicide when he rejects her. Ayla lies to Ayesha about Haris having an affair, causing a rift in their marriage. Ayesha becomes pregnant but loses the baby after a car accident. Despite conflicts with her liberal in-laws, Ayesha and Haris reconcile and find happiness.
Alif is a Pakistani TV series that aired in 2019, created by Sana Shahnawaz and Samina Humayun Saeed. It is based on a novel by Umera Ahmad and directed by Haseeb Hassan. The show stars Hamza Ali Abbasi, Sajal Aly, Kubra Khan, and Ahsan Khan. The story follows Momin and Momina on their journeys, with Momin rediscovering his roots and choosing the right path while Momina works to maintain her family’s livelihood. The show received critical acclaim for its direction, writing, location, performance, and cinematography. It also won Best Television Writer at the 20th Lux Style Awards. The show explores the bond between an individual and their God through the experiences of a film-maker and an actress with troubled pasts.
Sunehray Din (9.1):
Sunehray Din is a Pakistani TV show that aired in 1991. The series was produced and directed by Shoaib Mansoor and Mohsin Ali under Shoman Productions, and co-produced by ISPR. It features Saleem Sheikh, Mumtaz Musharraf, and Alia Kazmi in lead roles and focuses on the lives of young cadets at Pakistan Military Academy. The series was followed by a sequel in 1998 called Alpha Bravo Charlie, also directed by Mansoor.
Diyar-e-Dil is a Pakistani TV show that aired on Hum TV from March to October 2015. The show tells the story of a family led by Agha Jaan and his grandchildren, Wali and Faarah. The two are forced to marry each other to reunite their family, which fell apart when Agha Jaan’s eldest son Behroze broke off his engagement to marry his late love interest. The show is set in Skardo, Gilgit-Baltistan and Karachi, Sindh. It features an ensemble cast and was created by Momina Duraid. The show was a critical and commercial success, receiving praise for its direction, cinematography, and visuals. It won several awards, including Best Drama Serial – Jury and Best Drama Serial – Popular.