Even as this latest episode was a study in contrasts – the funereal atmosphere at Suhaib and Arjumand shaadi juxtaposed against the palpable sense of joy at Behroze and Ruhina’s wedding – what stood out for me was the similarity in the expectations and approach of the older generation.
Ostensibly Agha jan and Tajammul have nothing in common, but a closer look reveals many similarities. Both pushed as hard as they could, hoping and wishing their threats to disown would work, but cut through all the blubber and you see the immense affection they have for their younger charges. Their love is unquestionable but its the way the elders chose to show their love that has the younger generation protesting. Had there been an attempt from either Agha jan or Tajjamul to reason and deliberate, things might have turned out differently, but the my-way-or-the-highway approach has hackles rising.
For their part, Behroze and Ruhina held their ground. Suhaib and Arjumand, on the other hand, could not find the wherewithal to stand up to their elders. Despite their hearts not being in it, they gave in to familial pressure and went ahead and signed the nikah papers. Had the elders been more accommodating and less stubborn would things have turned out differently? Is Behroze wrong or is Suhaib right?
Farhat Ishtiaq and Haseeb Hasan’s Diyar-e Dil is an exploration of all that goes in the realm of the heart, where logic and rationale are secondary to that which emotions rule as right. Both brothers are following the dictates of their heart, the difference lies in what they hold more important – for Behroze it is the right to live life on his terms, for Suhaib, family and traditions trump everything else.
What is lost in this story of preserving patriarchal honor and valuing traditions is the voice of the individual. Behroze protested for his right to choose but was summarily dismissed, which gave rise to his rebellion. Suhaib’s admittedly weak pleas fell on deaf ears. Arjumand protested as best as she could but ultimately the will of her elders prevailed, even her protests to Suhaib fell on deaf ears. Ruhina, too, though she may seem as guilty as Behroze, in many ways is as much a victim of circumstances. From the minute Behroze announced he had left all for her, she has found herself pulled in two different directions. Her brother’s intransigence pushing all the wrong buttons for her entitled lover.
For her part, writer Farhat gets full marks for essaying the various facets of human nature, and as a director Haseeb does complete justice to her writing, where we see discernible shades of grey in every character. Even Agha jan, the most iron-willed of them all has a softer side. That said, I have to say this full on melodramatic approach is not cutting it for me. At a time when even movies are moving towards subtlety and nuance, this choice to return to circa ’70’s Lollywood, complete with loud music, is incomprehensible.
As an episode this was as predictable as they come, we knew from last week where the story was headed so there were no real surprises in all that unfolded here. What did surprise me was the relatively slower pace of the narrative and the long scenes. Behroze and Ruhi’s scenes though insightful in terms of Behroze’s khuddar nature were devoid of any chemistry and that hug was as awkward as can be. The final sequence with Mikaal and Sanam in white laying in bed, brought up way too many unflattering comparisons with the iconic Ashar-Khirad and Zaroon-Kashaf scenes. Given that they had only known each other for the length of one car journey Laila and Suhaib’s emotional farewell scene left me totally bewildered.
What did make a strong impression was Abid Ali’s performance as a despot with a heart. In a character that could easily come across as one note, Haseeb and Abid bring us many layers. He may appear unfeeling and callous and expect other’s to unquestioningly comply with his wishes, but underneath it all he’s also a father. That scene where Agha jan waited for his ladla bara beta to return was beautifully done.
Among the younger lot, Hareem is doing well as Arjumand, a dutiful daughter but with a mind of her own. Ali Rehman’s Suhaib is a softer, easily pliable man, and while I can understand the character I find the filmi emotional atyachar approach a bit too in your face. Given their contrasting personalities I am interested to see how this pair evolves as a couple. Sanam and Mikaal are good individually, but as a pair they lack the sizzle that one would expect from their characters.
The precap promises a more happening installment next week so am looking forward to what happens next…
Written by SZ~