Diyar-e Dil ~ Episode 1 Review

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Diyar-e Dil as the name suggests is the story of a world where emotions reign supreme, where dictates of the heart more often than not trump rationale presented by the mind. Jo dil ki baazi kheltey hain woh kabhi hartey nahin. Be it something as mundane as planning his next move on the chessboard or a matter as important as arranging his older son’s nikah, Bakhtiyar Khan is a man who has always followed that which his heart tells him is right.  That his decisions might not be quite as easily or unquestioningly accepted by others is not something he loses sleep over, at least not yet.

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When the head of the family is as intransigent as Agha sahab is, frictions are bound to arise, and arise they do with a bang when Behroze refuses to marry Arjumand. She is not only his father’s choice but also his first cousin, Bakhtiyar’s younger brother Dilawar Khan’s daughter, and bachpan ki mangetar to boot. Dismissive of the fact that his refusal, would not only mean breaking a young girl’s heart and going against his father, but would also cause a serious rift in what is a very close knit family, Behroze is very much Bakhtiyar’s son. For him, it is his love for Ruhina that matters most, other considerations be damned. It is this love that causes him to question his father stranglehold over their lives – if not, where then is the difference between puppets and living beings, he inquires angrily of his younger brother.

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Caught in the crossfire, between Bakhtiyar and Behroze, is Suhaib. Less uptight and more even-tempered than either his father or older brother, Suhaib is the kind of man who is happy going with the flow of things. Underneath the charming demeanor though is a man not as unaware of the stakes as it might seem, hence we see him trying to talk his brother out of taking a rash step in the heat of the moment, but Behroze is very much carved out of the same mold as his father.

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Ruhina, the girl at the center of this maelstrom is someone who Behroze met while studying in Lahore. Having lost her parents she lives with her brother and bhabhi and young nephew Moiz. Where Arjumand is a ghabreeli sharmeeli larki, Ruhina is confident and self-assured, respectful and hesitant but not unafraid to tell her brother about Behroze’s proposal; looking him in the eye and assuring him of her suitor’s fidelity and commitment when her banker brother makes a valid argument against this rich guy’s proposal.

The calm with which Ruhina discusses Behroze with her brother in Lahore is nowhere to be found in the angry exchange of words between the father in son in Skardu. The episode ended on a dhamakedar note as all hell breaks 11081376_10153696057293662_144715899_nloose when Behroze refuses to marry Arjumand and tries to tell his father about Ruhina.

From Wali’s quiet reflection to the heightened drama of the final scene I enjoyed the emotional graphing of this opening installment. Haseeb Hasan demonstrated his experience as the shift from the present to the past and then distant past was handled very fluently; nuances of various characters and their intricate web of relationships, all were introduced really well. The pace was good as events unfolded in a rapid but unhurried manner. I like how Farhat has expanded on the original novella and the characters appear to be better fleshed out here.

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But where all that was good, I did feel at times the narrative lacked smoothness. Acting particularly among the 11007432_10153696057138662_533940294_nyounger lot was inconsistent and the editing lacked finesse. Of the actors, Abid Ali, Rashid Naz, Azra Mansoor and Behroze Sabzwari are all senior actors and they delivered as was expected of them. Although I must say Behroze Sabzwari as Sanam’s brother, despite the dye, is quite a stretch. Abid Ali seems to thrive in these kinds of roles and I was reminded of Haseeb and Abid sahab’s very successful pairing in Tum Ho Ke Chuplooking forward to another equally engaging collaboration.

Among the younger lot, Sanam Saeed looked good in the little we saw of her today, looking forward to seeing 10653930_10153696057363662_1338182328_nRuhi’s arc as the serial progresses. For her sake and ours I sincerely hope this one stays the course and does not go haywire like her Shukk and Firaaq. Mikaal looked and acted a lot better here than in his last few serials, Muhabbat Subh Ka Sitara Hai and Laa. His look reminded me of Durr-e Shehwar. Ali Rehman appeared to be trying too hard here; his jovial Suhaib seemed forced, particularly in scenes with Hareem, but then there were the emotional scenes with Mikaal where he looked more comfortable. The regional accent is a nice touch but it would have been a lot more effective had it not seemed to come and go at will. Also, didn’t quite get why he had an accent when Mikaal’s character did not.11076798_10153696057203662_1603754011_n

After a rough start as the overly sharmeeli, living-her-life-in-a-bubble Arjumand, Hareem Farooq was much better in the scene where Arjumand was explaining her equation with Behroze to Laila. Eshita Mahboob seems to be cast in a role she has played many times over. That said, I enjoyed her scenes with Ali Rehman, their lighthearted banter provided a nice respite in an otherwise high on emotions episode.

Tara11077910_10153696131138662_566457593_n Mahmood’s Zohra comes across as drama world’s standard nasty bhabhi, hopefully this character will grow into something more substantial as we move forward. As a character, Wali has not been formally introduced but I enjoyed Osman Khalid Butt’s very effective voice over as it set the stage for all that is to be unfolded over the period of next six or so months.

Shining the brightest though, among all, was the stunning Gilgit Baltistan setting and the superb cinematography 10374204_10153696057558662_863412328_nby the DOP Zaib Rao. The very fresh locations are the one big factor that set this yet-another-social-drama apart from all the others out there, and it is to the director and DOP’s credit for capturing the magnificent vistas, making ever outdoor shot look like an exquisite painting. The interior shots of the family haveli and the lighting and framing of scenes were a visual delight.

The OST, beautifully sung by Zeb Bangash and Momin Durrani is another huge plus factor that adds to the overall ambiance. The editing seemed a bit slapdash, but one big complain has to be about the loud background score. 10585669_10153696131148662_10809900_nWhy does it need to be so loud and so omnipresent? I highly recommend that sound people watch Mehreen Jabbar’s Mera Naam Yousuf Hai and see how to do background sound right. The way it is now, the music detracts rather than adding to the onscreen narrative.

Overall, give or take a few rough patches, though not yet bowled over, I enjoyed this opening installment. While there is nothing new in terms of the basic plot, I like the way Farhat knits her story together and enjoy how she crafts her characters, but then again her stories are easier to read than translate onscreen and tend to flail when in the hands of an inexperienced director as we saw in the case11078006_10153696131133662_681096476_n of Mere Humdum Mere Dost. Here’s to hoping that with an experienced director like Haseeb Hasan at the helm we will not be disappointed, and the narrative fluency and the smooth transitioning between past and present will continue to hold as the serial unfolds.

So yes, all in all this MD Productions’ serial is off to a good start … looking forward to the second episode.

Written by SZ

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29 replies

  1. Thanks for beautiful review on first episode of yet another drama on ” same” type of emotions. I loved G-B scenery no doubt, but I’m getting bit tired of same faces showing same expressions, delivering same type of dialoges AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. After a while one feels bit bored to say the least.
    Actually masses don’t have much of a choice here. Either you watch a stale drama or or get irritated by political chat show. There is no third option between 8-9 pm.

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    • @Farah S: I completely agree with you, thats why called it yet another social drama with the location being the big draw. It is honesly getting beyond repetitive and this is the same complain I have with Mera Naam Yousaf Hai as well …I really wish channels and producers would start thinking of something more out of the box .. I love love stories as much as the next person but there has to be a limit and we as audiences need variety ..5/6 channels all churning the same story in various formulations is really off putting … :/

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  2. SZ wonderful review in detail. I like the drama ,I saw tum ho ke chup drama and abid ali was so good . The scenery is a treat to watch . It reminds me of Northern part of India kedar and baderinath by China border. ( I went to the northen part of india and it’s same )
    The accent is different , is this the northen part of pakistan ? And do they have different way of dressing like we do have in India. Besides the story I am also interested about how they dress , their food habit and rules of the family . It is so much to learn . And you help me to understand this by writing the review in detail . Thanks SZ.

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    • @Ranjan: Hi, thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed the review .. I am always struggling with how much detail to add in, so Im happy to know it helped you find more context 🙂

      Yes, Gilgit Baltistan areas are to commonly referred to as the northern areas of Pakistan. You can find more geographic details here ….
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilgit%E2%80%93Baltistan

      I’m not sure as to how much of the local flavor we will be able to get here, lets wait and see. If you want to see another serial based in the area and with more local color than I think we will see here, you should check out Rok Lo Aaj Ki Raat Ko, which aired on Express a few years back and is available in bits and pieces on YT, on the Express TV channel …

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  3. Thanks for your wonderful review khuch hosla bndha ha mera to watch it…. After Mata e jaan ha tu and mera hum mera dost I had decided not to watch drama based on my favorite novels. Both these drama’s spoiled my takhliki kardaar’s and I can’t afford to happen with dayar e dil… But now I think I can muster up the courage to watch it from 3rd or 4th episode obviously after reading your review :p

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    • @Asma: LOL! I dont blame you for MHMD, MeJ I actually liked the way they added in Sanam’s track and the way MJ handled Abi’s death, but yes the romance between the lead pair was totally non-existent. and the story worked only after Abi died… so yeah, I can see where you’re coming from… but I think this one is gonna stay the track, and I say this because we know OKB and Maya have great chemistry and from the promos it seems that their scenes work … so hosla pakro and dekh lo … axha nahin hua tau hum sab mila kar ek dafa phir se Salma Baji ki ghazal gaa lengey – dil ke armaan is a particular fave of ours here! 😉

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  4. So far so good. I’ve read this novel but liking all the new twists added by FI. The only peeve for me was Durreshehwar’s background score. Like really, did MD Productions think we wouldn’t recognize it?

    On a fun note, Haseeb Hasan’s name ALWAYS reminds me of that awful soap serial called Koi To Ho starring Nadia Khan, Mohib Mirza and Ijaz Aslam. LOL!

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    • @DB.. Lol.. And before i watched Nanhi.. Haseeb Hassan reminds me of his PAF serial Sher Dil.. I actually watched the launch show even and was so excited for that.. But oh bouy..

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    • @DB: LOL! We’ve all gotten so jaded and cynical and wary, no?
      Haha! I actually was so busy trying to ignore the bgs that I missed the DeS score.. but tumhara tau fave serial tha, so not surprised ke you would catch it!

      LOL, since I don’t watch soaps so thankfully have no such references in mind ,…. thank god for small mercies! 🙂

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  5. Thanks for the review SZ. Enjoyed the ep. The locations are spectacular…still haven’t visited these parts- must do.
    Yes, Ali R’s accent was a good touch but I also noticed that it comes ‘n goes. And for the brother not to have it is strange – the father doesn’t have it either but the chacha has it for real 🙂
    SS was as real as ever- superb.
    Liked the way the two bros were dressed in all white (farmabardar beta) and all black (nafarmaan beta).
    The novel starts v differently…I suppose they have decided to follow the timeline ala Humsafar.
    Looking forward to more!

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    • @Afia: Arrey wah! Yaar, ab mujhe lag raha hai main ne dekha hi nahin ghaur se! I didnt notice the color coded clothes at all – clearly slipping big time .. lets see if this color thing continues!

      Haan, I noticed they started in a linear, after that quick intro . so lets see what they do for the next few weeks .. but yaad hai the confusion that MeJ’s back abd forth caused after Abi’s death .. I remember so many people being so confused and angry actually .. and then from that we went to that very clunky transition in MHMD, and after seeing that, I actually would rather have a linear story .. Humsafar is a good example of how imp the director is in making a simple story work … dekhtey hain kya hota hai aagey ..

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  6. Thank you for the review SZ. To me, Farhat Ishtiaq’s stories are straight-forward and not too nuanced. But there is a simplicity and sincerity in her dialogues and characters that appeals to me. But you are right, it does need a certain type of director to handle her stories, otherwise they come out as really mundane. In the play MeJ, Hania-Ibad never appealed to me as a couple (until Ibad passed away!), MHMD had its moments but not the wow factor, but Humsafar was cleverly directed inspite of the routine story.

    The dialogues and situations we met in episode 1 were nothing, but It was a very good move to shoot in Skardu – just imagine the same setting in Karachi and it all falls a bit flat 🙂

    There were a few minor irritants – especially the period when this episode is set- is it now (2015) or twenty years ago? If it’s the latter then we didn’t really have luggage trolleys (like Ishita carries) then, if it is 2015, then I hardly see any mobile phones around which appears strange. So some confusion about the era in which these characters are moving around. Behroze Sabzwari, how much ever he is a good actor, appears ill-fitted in his role. Once the story moves on to the next gen, these kind of details won’t really matter. Or may be then I’ll have a problem with Mikaal/Ali playing older men!

    To me, at the moment, the plus points are – the locale, the simplicity of the characterisations, a decent show to watch on an otherwise dry Tuesday. I will stick with this play unless the poor direction puts me off.

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    • @VZ: Re: Farhat’s stories being simple, I agree, but her real talent is in the way she makes it all work with her non-linear writing and her dialogues, as you rightly pointed out.
      Re: her characters, no they are not layered I agree, but they do have nuance, I think, as in they are all not black and white … In Humsafar Ashar had his faults as much as the next guy, similarly Khirad was somebody who grew throughout the story, as did all other characters, so I think they are interesting in the way she writes them…. her MHMD was a mes, IMO, in the way it was translated for tv, but then again there were many who enjoyed that serial as well. So lets wait and see what we get here .. although the promos do promise a lot .. lets see,

      I completely agree abt the lack of attn to detailing .. this is the older period, the story then moves to the next generation – Maya and OKB are in 2015. I get the feeling that a lot of attention was devoted to getting the locations right and in getting the various characters and their stories right, that quite a few things escaped notice … and I dont think the past is going anywhere fast, because there is quite a bit of Sanam and Mikall’s story yet to come..

      LOL! I agree and said as much Behroze Sabzwari is so not looking like her brother…. but, as I was telling a friend earlier today, we hardly have any actors in their mid to late 30s or early 40s who would want to play such a character … our 40+ yr old men are still busy playing heroes, Humayun, Adnan S, Faysal Qureshi .. and look at the sharp contrast .. a woman in her thirties (I think?) Tara Mahmood is easily relegated to playing Behroze’s wife here or Usman P’s wife in Goya .. quite ridiculous if you ask me!

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  7. i missed first 10 minutes … I don’t know what to make of the start . I have read the novel so this is certainly different from it . Let’s see how it moves forward . Location is amazing , so amazing that I didn’t pay attention to the characters in it . Next time theek say dhaikoon gee . Main reason to watch is SS ! Novel was Okey types so not very excited , but certainly excited to see Sanam in a semi bady role , if she is playing the same mother from the novel . Enjoyed the review .

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    • @Sheema: You didn’t miss much apart from OKB’s quick opening voiceover .. baqi tau everything else was as was to be expected. Yes, I too am looking fwd to seeing how Sanam deals with this young to old arc…

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  8. Lovely review. 🙂 Liked the first epi which introduced us to the main players, especially of the extended Agha Jaan family and their standing and equations with each other. Watching this especially for Sanam, and hopefully this drama will not disappoint. Am actually quite intrigued by Sanam’s character and lets see how it unfolds. And lastly the setting was such a visual treat, the breathtaking scenery just took me back to my childhood memories of summer holidays to such places in India. 🙂

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    • @Radiant: Hey! Glad you enjoyed the ep and the review .. and yeah I think we all are really hoping and praying that this one doesn’t disappoint… I seriously think I will quit reviewing if we keep getting one useless serial after another – there has to be a limit to how much torture we as viewers are expected to bear!

      Yes, the settings are stunning and will go a long way, I think, in keeping viewers interested.. but eventually the story has to work … so finger and toes crossed!

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  9. I always love your first episode reviews.. You start very differently:)
    This drama as mentioned by many has one edge of having some stunning locations… Upar se stellar cast and director tou you are bound to have expectations and be excited..first episode was good and as you aptly put that it was rightly paced but unhurried.. Though it was weird to see Agha jaan when fixing the nikkah date..he was actually mukhatib to his friend rather than his brother.. Jawab pehle dost sahab ne dya k haan ye sahi he then chote bhaisahab says jaise apko theek lage.. N I was like hadd he.. Bhai bilkul sidey lagraha he..
    Ss was terrific and so were the other main leads.. Though i have the read the novel and i knows whats next coming up but regardless i am still anticipating:)

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    • @Rehmat: Thank you 🙂
      You are so so right about that particular scene.. I wondered about that too .. actually when the serial started and the way Agha Jan greeted his younger brother I thought he he was the trusted family munshi or something .. but it was later clarified .. but yeah its in scenes like that, and the chess scene and where the two brothers were arguing where I thought the editing could’ve been better.. but khair dekhtey hain kya hota hai .. abhi tau a long way ahead of us!

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  10. Thans for the review SZ !I agree with most you of what you wrote;about Ali Regman accents that comes and goes;Ishita again playing what she usually plays ;and of course about the scenery;I am glad they shot it in Skardu werna tou if not Karachi they shoot in Murree;scenery was breathtaking;it was a treat to watch I am glad the cameraman is doing his job perfectly showing the natural beauty of Pakistan especially when.Behroze was on his way and he stopped his car for a while.Hareem Farooq was good too;I so agree with background score it is torture for our ears.I too have read the.novel but so for I am liking the elaboration of the characters.SS was fab as expected;SS and MZ i think is a first time pair at least for me:would be a delight.I am looking forward to watch SS partcicularly because she wouldn’t be as bad as she was in Kadoorat but not as good and bholi she was in firaq.So far all good but as you say we have a long way ahead let us see

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    • @Ruba: Hey! Glad to have you on board with this serial 🙂 Yes, I too am looking to see how Sanam tackles this role, which is deceptively simple, and great examples of the two extremes that Sanam has played in Kadoorat and Firaaq….

      yes, that particular shot on the bridge was lovely .. full marks to cinematographer!

      Ab miltey hain dobara Yousuf par in a bit 🙂

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  11. I enjoyed it also:) beautifully shot, loved the northern areas. Have find memories of visiting there, Pakistan has it’s own stunning Alps equivalent, so much natural beauty in the north!
    Anyways I am hoping the story keeps us attracted, FI has simple but full of emotion story lines so hope it is executed nicely:)
    Everyone seems to be doing well so far, have heard a lot about character of Wali so looking forward to OKB appearing. I don’t really know story as havent read novel but promos gave away some stuff, hopefully it’s not too typical lol
    Great review SZ, let’s hope can go full course with this one!

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    • @SK: Yes! Like you hoping and praying this one can compel all of us to stick with it all the way through ,… I miss our great weekly discussions and the fiery arguments from both sides of the fence .keeping my fingers crossed for this one!

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  12. Hope this is a good one but have read that it is 30 plus episodes and not stretched (comments from writer and director so take with a pinch of salt).

    Love the location 🙂

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