THE WEEK THAT WAS
Dilawaiz | Geo TV, Daily 9.00pm
After the runaway success of ARY’s Mere Humsafar, here’s another story about an innocent, naïve girl abused and constantly belittled by her family. Kinza Hashmi plays the blinking heroine, Dilawaiz, who is constantly seeking the approval of relatives who despise and demean her. When her spoiled half-sister Faria (Sabeena Farooq) elopes with a manipulative boyfriend on the day of her wedding, Dilawaiz is forced to take her place and marry Affan Waheed’s character to maintain the family honour.
Black-and-white characters with no nuance, a cartoonish “nawabi” household and flashbacks that seem to be set in mediaeval times should make this melodrama unbearable, but the crisp pace and daily plot twists might make it watchable. Director Mazhar Moin and reliable actors in key roles make this easy entertainment for fans of melodrama, and perhaps some unintentional comedy for the more sceptical.
Warning: Dilawaiz is such a silly, annoying character who goes out of her way to virtue-signal, and courts each new humiliation with such relish, that you might end up rooting for the villains.
Aik Sitam Aur | ARY, Mon-Thurs 9.00pm
Underneath the soapy style and low production values, this is actually a well-plotted drama with believable, layered characters. Shehroz (Usama Khan) holds his father’s workaholic nature and neglect responsible for his mother’s ill health. His mother, played by Rubina Ashraf, wants her family taken care of before she dies, so she sets about looking for a second wife for her husband, played by Sajid Hassan.
In a parallel track, Zunayra (Maria Wasti) has lost her husband to cancer and is struggling to survive with her daughter Ushna (Anmol Baloch), in her brother’s hostile family. Will Zunayra accept becoming a second wife to gain some security and independence? Ushna and Shehroz hate each other on sight. Will their relationship ever improve?
Solid performances from veterans such as Sajid Hassan, Rubina Ashraf, Javeria Abbasi and, especially, Maria Wasti make up for the slow pace and repetition. On a side note, Baloch’s character would benefit from a more restrained, more considered style of dialogue delivery and actually look more empowered and educated.
What To Watch Out For (Or Not)
Fraud | ARY, Coming Soon
New teasers confirm that this drama will focus on the terrible phenomenon of marriage scams. The latest teaser-trailer shows a devastated Saba Qamar screaming with pain and indignation when she learns that the man her parents married her to (Ahsan Khan) is a well-known trickster from the inner, walled city of Lahore.
Qamar’s character is just the latest victim of this man, who has abandoned many brides and stolen their dowry. Another intriguing teaser shows Mikaal Zulfikar as a father, comforting his daughter over the loss of her mother. Will this be the usual emotional melodrama, or dare we hope for an actual thriller from director Saqib Khan and writer Zanjabeel Asim?
Dushman | PTV, Coming Soon
Apparently a dark tale of revenge, Dushman’s teasers show us two feuding matriarchs who refuse to let go of the darkness of the past. Nadia Afghan and Saman Ansari plot out a battle of violence and cruelty that spares no one. Slick, well-edited trailers suggest a quality production that captures the harsh beauty of the landscape that inspires the feud between two powerful families. Are the scenes of romance between the characters played by Hassan Niazi and Sabika Imam a promise of love or just another deceit? This drama is dedicated to veteran actress Naila Jaffry who recently passed away.
Published in Dawn, ICON, May 15th, 2022