Laa ~nafi. Laa ~ negation. Laa ~ looking beyond that which is apparent.
Laa ~ Sarmad Sehbai’s very well-written and well-knitted story of a man looking to find himself after being stripped off the identity that came with being Daniyal Malik s/o Tareen Malik. Sans the Malik family name who was Daniyal? A man who did not even know if his present name was the one given to him by his birth parents, a man who did not know when, where and to whom he was born, a man with no past and an uncertain future – where did such a man belong?
Daniyal talked big about valuing people not for their caste or creed but for who they were on the inside, but without his hasab o nasab to give him his sense of self, this man felt totally adrift, completely lost – everything he had ever held dear was now Laa. Angry/confused/pained/ lost as he might feel at this moment, it is with this negation that he has set foot on the path towards affirmation. His trip to Nawab Shah to meet Naimat Khan raised more questions than it answered: Where was his mother? Who was his father, and what did he do to earn Naimat’s Khan’s loyalty? Why did Daniyal have to be hidden away in his childhood? Who was Tayi Ma, and why had she wanted him dead? So many questions, and for a man as eager for answers as Daniyal, this promises to be one heck of an arduous journey.
While most of the episode focused on Daniyal and his disturbed state of mind we also got to see Naina and her family make it back to Karachi. Though he had rebuffed her, it was not quite as easy for Naina to forget Daniyal. Zainab, beautifully played by the ever so fabulous Simi Raheal, is not a fool and the straight shooter that she is, she asks her daughter to straighten up her act and get on with life. Oh how I wish Zainab ji had stayed back in Lahore. The Tareen’s didn’t know it but they desperately needed her patented brand of no-nonsense advice – ASAP!
Granted Daniyal is the apple of his mother’s eye, but honestly the lady needed to get a grip! What was going on with the full on filmy sighs and Aunty’s aansoos, larzti hui awaz, and I-am-going-to-wait-in-the-lounge-to-give-my-son-home-cooked-khana-no-matter-what-time-of -the-night-he-comes-home? Seriously?! The more I watch these dramas the more I am convinced ke I must be the worst mother ever. As far as can be from duniya ki khoobsurat tareen maa, I am more likely to leave this sticky note: Beta, love you tons but neend tau aakhir neend hai, aur waisey bhi microwave kis marz ki dawa hai!
But seriously all kidding aside, in my opinion all that over acting from Mikaal and Qavi sahab and Saiqa Khayyam was unwarranted, and left me unmoved. What I don’t get is when the story is so beautifully written why the need to over tell it? Yes, what Daniyal heard was shocking and it was certain to have an effect, but this much overacting, and tears and the sad music and the parents behaving like their favorite pet had died … I don’t know about you guys, but I was really turned off.
And if dealing with this ghamon ka pahar was not enough, we also had to deal with bloopers galore. Shots of Daniyal brooding were repeated from last week. We had already seen the stunning shot of him sitting on the bench and here we saw him again, same bench, same shot, same clothes, the only difference being that he received the phone call from Naimat Khan. I guess its best not to ask how he got a hold of Daniyal’s phone number, so chalein us ko chor detey hain. But even when I let that go, I still don’t get why his parents couldn’t call to check on Daniyal, cell phone ghar bhool gaya tha? Forgetting things reminds me of his backpack that went missing after he got off the train, didn’t make an appearance in Nawab Shah, but somehow made its way back with Daniyal when returned home. I was also confused about the timeline earlier in the episode. Did Daniyal leave Lahore before Naina? If so, then where were they when all this conversations between Daniyal and his parents were going on, and how did Daniyal find enough time to squeeze in one more quick trip, another recycled shot, to Hiran Minar?
Underwhelmed though I was, I have to say that I am enjoying the outdoor scenes. Loved the train station scenes and appreciated how seamlessly and naturally Sabreen’s intro was woven into the narrative. I also liked the rural, run down look of Naimat Khan’s dera and was happy to see how creatively Baray Sahab’s haveli had been transformed into Tayi Ma’s Nawab Shah residence. The haveli scene, peasant women busy with everyday chores, was nicely done, though we had seen this one in flashbacks as well. Rabia Naureen is in a very different avatar, and I am eager to see where and how she, Sabreen Hisbani fit into the larger narrative – Daniyal’s quest to find himself.
After three episodes, I am yet to be impressed by Sadia Khan. She was passably good in that one scene where she agonized over the taveez. I guess over time I will just learn to accept her as Naina, but accepting her wardrobe – nope, that ain’t happening. Mikaal disappointed me with his overacting, and I am still puzzled as to why the director, Farooq Rind, chose to go the filmy route with Daniyal’s track. I enjoyed watching Rehan Sheikh as Naimat Khan and Simi Raheal is still the actor whose scenes I wait for. Above and beyond all I am watching Laa primarily for Sehbai sahab. His original script, with its particular blend of intrigue, suspense, romance, social issues and the intriguing subtext, has me hooked, booked and cooked. So yeah, despite all my complaints I am waiting to see what comes next.
What about you guys? Kaisi lagi yeh qist? Looking forward to your take on this episode!
Written by SZ~