We are all familiar with the token Pakistani drama formulae: boy meets girl, romance begins, saas intervenes, marriage, fights, divorce, forgiveness and then happily ever after. It’s such a prevalent formula that it’s no wonder that audiences crave a change with complex stories that can draw them in.
However, once in a blue moon we have gotten interesting stories that deviated from the stereotypical shaadi drama to give us a heart-wrenching love story and left their audience completely devastated. Despite the ever-standing belief among drama creators that audiences need to keep being fed the same ‘Humsafar’ formulae, these dramas elevated themselves among the rest because they remind us that despite all our efforts, we never get the happy ending we crave and that is what life is all about. After a lot of careful searching, here are the five Pakistani dramas that deviated from the expected ‘happy ending’ and gave us a heart-wrenching love story audiences will never forget!

1 Daastan

Bano and Hassan’s love story was the epitome of what made Dastaan the timeless drama it remains today. Both fell in love when they met at Suraiya’s wedding. Both are engaged and Hassan immediately leaves for Rawalpindi to begin his job, promising that he would bring Bano along. However, this love story is torn apart by the violence of partition, after which Bano is forcibly married and Hassan believes her to be dead. When they meet up after years, Bano has a child, and because of the trauma of the violence she underwent and then at the hands of her abuser at her workplace, she gets admitted in a mental assylum.


2 Ye Dil Mera

Sajal Aly and Ahad Raza Mir broke hearts across the country when they chose to part ways, but real fans know that the couple had already been breaking hearts with this tragic drama about family trauma and long lost secrets. Aly plays Noor-ul-Ain, a student who starts interning at AK Oil Industry, whose CEO is Aman-Ullah Khan (Mir). Both get closer and are married in a few days, but are driven apart after Khan realizes that it was Noor’s father who had murdered his family. By the end of the drama, the couple decide to part ways in order to heal from their own wounds, and leave us unsure on whether they would come back together or not.

3 Pehli Si Muhabbat

Rakshi (played by Maya Ali) and Aslam (played by Shehryar Munawar) are childhood friends who start getting closer, but tragedy strikes when Rakshi’s father get’s married for the second time to Nargis, who was a former sex worker. Aslam’s elder brother, Akram, is the one who opposes this relation the most and orders the entire community to ostracize Rakshi and her family. Despite their efforts to convince their families to let them get married, Rakshi and Aslam are married off to other people. When they meet up years later at the marriage of their children, both reminisce their times together and say they were happy being each other’s first love.

4 Ishq-e-Laa

Shanaya (played by Sajal Aly) is a dedicated journalist who seeks to empower oppressed voices through her work, but her husband Azlan (played by Azaan Sami Khan) is unable to understand her passion for social issues and asks her to quit her job after marriage. However, when Shayana is killed while investigating a murder committed by the son of a rich man, Azlan is heartbroken and decides to fulfil her wish to fund Azka’s medical education. By the end of the series, when Azka and Azlaan are married, he goes to Shayana’s grave to tell her how much he loved her for influencing him to change his mindset.

5 Mata-e-Jaan Hai Tu

Haniya (played by Sarwar Gilani) and Ibad Uzar (played by Adnan Sami) are college students in America who fall in love and want to get married Ibad’s parents oppose the marriage. When Haniya’s grandmother passes away and she is distraught, Ibad decides to marry her. To convince his parents, Ibad flies back to Pakistan ten days after his wedding, but is killed on the day he is flying back. Haniya is distraught but decides to go back to Pakistan herself to start working for Ibad’s parents office. By the end of the drama, his parents and Haniya are incredibly close and are able to grieve together over the loss of their loved one.