Laa ~ Episodes 4-6 Review

laa 1

[Good] stories alone do not a drama make….

Six weeks in, faint fault lines have turned into fissures so deep that I am not sure if Sarmad Sehbai’s still engaging story can hold Laa together for me for the next 15 or so weeks. By now it is pretty obvious that the producers, director Farooq Rind, and the editors  have a very dim view of theirs viewers’ intelligence.

Not only are the scenes disjointed but pretty much any and every moment which so much as hints at dramatic tension/subtext is overplayed to the hilt. If, by any remote chance, you don’t get the point via the actors’ way-over-the-top performances then the handy dandy once-interesting-but-now-migraine-inducing OST and the over-loud background score are liberally employed to hammer the point home, and if all these issues did not do you in then there are bloopers galore.

I had not been able to watch Laa properly baith ke for the past three weeks, and after watching these last three episodes together all I can do is wonder … is the same producer who brought us serials like Shehr-e Zaat (I mention this one in particular because it falls roughly in the same genre), and is this the same director who gave us Sanjha? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I ask again: Why o why is the story not being allowed to play itself out  … why this need to over-tell it?

With this rant out of the way, let me get to the reason I am still watching this – the story. Three episodes ago Daniyal had made his initial rendezvous with Naimat Khan, and their the brief meeting had left him drowning in questions with no easy answers in sight. Three weeks later, Daniyal, though over the initial shock, is still struggling to come to terms with his unknown past, the pain of the present and the undetermined future. In this quest, to discover his identity, his path has once again crossed with the mysterious Laila and she in turn introduces him to her “friend” Dilawar.

Dilawar turns out to be the guy with the just right pedigree, and her parents see in him the perfect match for their daughter, Naina. What they don’t realize that hasb nasb is not the way to measure a man’s character, other qualities are equally necessary if not more so. This is a lesson they will gradually learn as the story unfolds. For his part, Dilawar the feudal is as cliched as they come. With his roving eye and decadent lifestyle this man agreed to the match only for the jaidad that will become his after marriage. As he finds out, however, marriage was not the only requirement he had to fulfill, his mother expects him to also step in his father’s shoes and oversee the affairs of the family’s ancestral dargah.  Yes, his mother is a shrewd one.

The Naina we see now is a far cry from the one we met in the first couple of episodes. This one is a more subdued Naina, and she agreed to the marriage only to please her parents. She says she’s madly in love with Daniyal and he claims to reciprocate her feelings as well. This intense love that seems to have sprung up miraculously between the two, has transformed Naina in many ways, and she now aspires to lead a simpler lifestyle . All these overnight changes are attributed to the taveez that the pir in Lahore had given her.

Even as I write this quick synopsis I see the potential for a riveting serial, but sadly all we are given is a badly translated narrative. There are so many scenes that could’ve made so much more sense had they been handled properly. Apart from my biggest issue, how and when did Naina and Daniyal fall so madly in ishq, I had many other what-the-heck moments as well.

In the 6th episode Laila takes Daniyal to the orphanage, and while his subsequent outburst makes sense on paper, onscreen this moment came out nowhere, and Mikaal’s OTT theatrics and the poorly placed loud OST taan did not help matters any. Later, the scene with the hotel manager was also ridiculous. Did Daniyal not know how much the room cost? Did he think he was staying there for free? How old is he, five? The subsequent phone call to his father was equally lame. So much for his angst about not being their “real” son…  jab paisey ki zaroorat pari tab all his issues were conveniently set aside. And, in the previous episode we saw a poorly edited scene of Daniyal running all the way from Nawab Shah to Karachi to confront Naina.

I get that there is dramatic license and that’s why in Humsafar, for instance, Khirad never texting/messaging Ashar to tell him about her pregnancy was never really questioned and accepted at face value, but this is precisely the point where Laa fails and big time at that. It is up to the creative team, including director and his actors, to narrate the story in a way that we viewers have no time to question the hows and whys, so engrossed should we be in the drama playing out on screen. Sadly this is not the case here at all. Farooq Rind is no Sarmad Khoosat and Mikaal Zulfiqar and Sadia Khan are no Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan, and so every loophole every WTH moment gets magnified that much more.

I had started watching this one with lot of expectations, but as I look back and read my earlier reviews I see the problems were evident from day one and rather than getting better, as I had hoped, this serial is going steadily downhill, and watching three back to back episodes did not help matters. Amidst this mess the people who stand out are the DOP, and four actors. Seemi Raheal, fabulous, Naeem Tahir, making his character relatable, Sabreen Hisbani, her experience standing her in good stead here, and Khalid Malik, who after quite a few insipid roles, Mere Humrahi for one, is relishing this opportunity to play a meatier character.

At this point I am watching this one for the story alone, here’s to hoping that we see some improvement in its presentation in the weeks to come. Aap ka kya khayal hai? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Written by SZ~

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17 replies

  1. You put it all right.The story definitely is intriguing but director’s mishandling is somehow ruining the whole show.I have never been a fan of Sadia khan and I still say that she needs to improve but i am glad her character has somewhat become subdued so she “to some extent’ pulled it pretty well.The man playing Dilawar is amzing;he’s got every thing right his body language his expressions.I agree with you about the loopholes too letsee what is upcoming episode offering us though now i dont have much expectations but i think i will be watching this because the story has me intrigued.

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  2. Hey SZ! How have you been? The drama world has been rather barren of late. I can’t even recall the last good drama in recent times. I managed to finish Shukk and even MSKSH but I must admit I skipped entire episodes. Both were quite disappointing.

    I am watching Marasim these days. I’m sure you know of it. I started watching 6-7 episodes in, but I must admit I am enjoying it. The thing that sticks out the most about it is definitely the pace. It does not feel like it’s dragging at all. I think Ahsan Khan, Sonya Hussain, Urwa Hocane, are really doing it justice; Saba Hameed and Naila Jaffery are supporting brilliantly. I’m enjoying the writing too! Maybe you should check it out if you haven’t already seen it.

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    • @Nur watching Marasim too on Sadaf’s recommendation (DP site) and yeah it’s a same old story told very well to keep us engaged. I would have to give the director a lot of credit for telling the same old tale just a tad bit differently to keep our interest.

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      • @annie: ok. So there is something there! 🙂 it’s not just me desperately trying to find something in nothing.

        I like the writing a lot and although I am by no means an authority on recent dramas, I feel the treatment of Marasim is a little bit unique. I’m thinking it might conclude soon, and I guess the real cliffhanger is whether Daud survives or not.

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    • @Nur: Hey!! Long time! Kaisi hain kahan hai? You know Ive been re-sharing the ZGH reviews, on FB for our Indian friends who are watching it for the first time, and in doing so I re-read some of our conversations and so was thinking abt you just the other day! Bari lambi umar hai aap ki 🙂

      Haan Shukk was a real disappointment towards the end due to the draffing, but with MSKH the problems were quite evident so I actually stopped watching it after the 7th or so ep… not even Adeel H could convince me to watch ….

      Haan, dramas have been pretty mediocre, but I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying Pehchan, and was actually surprised to not hear from you on that thread .. you didn’t care for it?

      I watched Marasim in the begining, and then tried recently to rewatch, but I honestly cant sit through yet another saas bahu saga, no matter how exceptionally its done .. and also I have decided to stay away from Ahsan’s serials till his new one, penned by Bee Gul, airs in a few months .. that said I know many are liking it and have a lot of good things to say abt it …

      The one drama, which has actually surprised me, is Ahista Ahista.. again a done to death story, but like you and @Annie say, its the execution that makes a world of difference 🙂

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      • @SZ: Arey yaar!! Life has kept me so busy, waqt hi nahin milta – na kuch zyada dekhne keliye aur post karna to bohat hi mushkil hogaya hai. Woh to shaid Fawad aur Sanam ki kashish thi ke ZGH ke zamaane mein din raat post karte the.

        I watched the first 2 episodes of Pehchan and couldn’t get into it. I didn’t like Mansoor at all and the conservative/naive part of me couldn’t justify, Kuku’s extramarital affair. I understood that Khurram was a complete loser, but I think she should have ditched him. I can’t speak for the rest of it because I barely watched pass intros.

        I don’t know if it was just me, but I didn’t care for the dark lighting in the first few episodes. Funny thing is I have been reading te reviews on DRnR and DP.

        Can I say, I miss Fawad. I didn’t miss him initially, but what with this dry spell of dramas I am definitely missing Mr. FAK.

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        • @Nur: A belated eid mubarak and lol is dafa tau aap ki eid kaafi meethi guzri hogi … so much FK all around! Have you caught up with all his Khoobsurat promo interviews n all? Ab tau bas isi par hi guzara kar lo, doesnt seem like hes doing any TV any time soon 🙂

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  3. oh man this one was the only good story I was looking forward to catching up on after Ramadan but both yours and Sadaf’s reviews are clear indicators to keep me away 😦 I am sure Sehbai sahab is banging his head against some pakoras and samosas right now wondering what happened to his script.

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    • @Annie: Exactly, I would love to know if Sehbai sahab is actually watching the hashar nashar they are making of this one …. I am following this for the story and Seemi R, Khalid M, and Sabeen.. baqi the rest should just erase this one from their resumes.. 😦

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    • @Lucky: Naimat Khan had told Daniyal abt his father when he had gone to meet him for the first time .. yaad hai jab woh jungle main miley they? I think ep 3 mein.. did you watch today’s ep?
      Kaisi lagi?

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        • @Lucky: I just re-watched eps 3 & 4 and you are right, Naimat Khan never actually tells Daniyal his father’s name, but in the next ep we have Daniyal asking Laila if she knows Peer Murtaza Shah … so I’m assuming that Naimat Khan told him the name… just another thing that either wasn’t handled properly or edited out … Ab what to say … ek itni acchi story ka ajeeb hashar kar diya hai 😦

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          • true..there are too many loop holes!!! e.g. Danial runs after naina’s car and direct reached to her house from nawab shah to Karachi LOL…

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    • @Annie:A potentially fab story has been cruelly robbed of all nuance and meaning and turned into a complete joke, and a bad one at that! I seriously had never expected such utter nonsense from Farooq Rind and Momina Duraid.

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