All men are created equal, so goes a popular saying. When born a baby has no name no past and no future, it exists only in the present. With a name come trappings of family, lineage, expectations of a future path, and most importantly a sense of self – a right to stake a social claim. Take away the name and all you have is a lost soul. All roads leading up to this moments seem to disappear and the future appears bleak, all that remains is a murky rudderless present. Mere moments, that’s all it took for Daniyal’s world to be turned upside down. Stripped off all that he thought was rightfully his Daniyal was left reeling with shock . Gone was the laid back, happy-go-lucky young man we met earlier, in his stead now stood a bewildered man, with no identity, even his name was perhaps not his own. Where had he come from and where was he to go from thereon forward? If not Daniyal Malik then who was he?
Gravity set off by levity, profound questions overlaid with a veneer of lighthearted banter make Laa an easy watch. Seamlessly picking up from last week, Daniyal continued his efforts to charm Naina. Though he was effective as the attentive charming guide, I did not quite expect Naina to give in so easily. But just a few smiles, a taveez, nau nau chooriyaan, and some never-drying mehndi, and hamari heroine was ready to stand up to her parents and declare she loved this man. Main ne yeh faisla bohot soch samajh kar kiya hai! Say what?!? Forget about her parents, even the man she was claiming to love was shocked. When had he ever thought ke us ka chota sa mazaq would turn into a zindagi bhar ka tension. How fabulous were everybody’s expressions at Naina’s idiotic declaration! I have to applaud her parents’ sabar, if she were my daughter, and had done such tamasha, Naina would’ve been on the next flight home – cheeti or not!
Khair, since her parents are bigger and better people than I could ever aspire to be, Naina gets off with a mild daant, by my standards at least. Magar, just because the beti gets off easy does not mean ke shohar ki bhi chutti ho gayi. In one of my favorite scenes of the episode, bechare Razi sahab gets quite an earful from his wife. I have say I agree with pretty much everything Aunty ji says. But obviously after so many years together, Razi sahab knows how to deal with his wife and he promises to take care of matters. Here I have to say ever since their Khuda ke Liye Naeem Tahir and Simi Raheal have been one my all time favorite onscreen couples.
It is this conversation, between his dad and Naina’s, that changes Daniyal forever. Forgotten are the silly bets with friends and the dreams of education abroad, all that mattered was to try and make sense of what he had overheard. This was no longer about having the right hasab o nasab, this was way beyond all that – this was about coming to terms with the realization that his entire life had been based on a lie. He never was and never could be Tareen Malik’s son. Who was he?
From here, the story takes on a very different turn and I expect the third episode to be a continuation of this thrill ride. Yes, this was another good installment. I was pleasantly surprised with the narrative pace and the editing too was much better than in the previous one. I particularly enjoyed how smoothly the one rural scene was slipped in to the narrative, and liked the way in which fun and games gradually gave way to the darker side of the story, and enjoyed the ease with which one scene flowed into the other. Each and every character has a distinct personality and the scenes are judiciously divided up between the various characters. Sarmad Sehbai or not, I don’t think I could have sat through the episode if it was just Daniyal and Naina.
While Mikaal is easing into his character – his expressions when Naina dropped her bombshell, and later when he overheard the truth about his background were excellent – his co-star is faltering. To be fair to her, she has a kooky character to begin with but Sadia Khan is unable to bring even a semblance of relatability to Naina. Here the director is equally to blame as well. Even if the scenes were written in a particular way, a few changes here and there would’ve made a world of difference. I cannot fathom any girl talking so casually to her parents, that too with their friends sitting there, about meeting prospective grooms at restaurants or talking to them on the phone. If that was the case, then why come all the way to Lahore, Karachi se ghar baithey phone par baat kar leti.
These peeves aside, I appreciate the director, Farooq Rind, for opting for so many outdoor shots. But I do wonder why Daniyal loves the Hiran Minar so much- so far he’s been there at least three times! No, but seriously, the hustle and bustle of the bazars, colorful shops, street scenes, all added a much needed breath of fresh air to the tired old living room/bedroom shots we usually see. And yes, talking about interiors, what was up with Daniyal’s red, black and white bedroom?! Are mismatched side lamps the new trend in Pakistan? And finally, how many sofa sets does this house have?
As Zainab put it … ghar bara ajeeb sa hai , namoon[a] kahin k[a]... well said Aunty ji, well said! Simi Raheal’s Zainab is hands down my favorite character so far.
All in all, despite some shortcomings here and there, I enjoyed this latest episode. So far it seems like Sarmad Sehbai has penned yet another winner and I am loving the text and the subtext. The direction remains shaky, but overall I felt this was a technically better episode than last week’s. The DOP Nadeem Kashmiri has done a wonderful job – loved the shot of Mikaal on the bench. From the precap it seems like we are in for quite a happening third episode and I, for one, am eagerly looking forward to it!
Written by SZ~
Laa ~ OST