Sans the OTT waterworks and a much welcome muted filminess this was the first time an episode of Diyar-e Dil really worked for me. Done with the hurried pace of story telling in the first three weeks, this one was a relatively mellow installment where we zoomed in to see the aftereffects of the jhat nikah and pat rukhsati on the two couples. They might’ve gotten married on the same day, but the two brothers’ lives are as different as can be. The palpable love and warmth that marks Behroze and Ruhi’s new life is markedly absent in Subaib and Arjumand’s cold and distant marriage. Money flows abundantly for the younger brother and his wife whereas the older sibling starts off his marital life worried about tending to ghum-e- rozgar. As dissimilar as their lives are, however, a closer look reveals that superficial differences aside, a big similarity that underlies both these marriages is the brothers’ troubled relationship with their father – Bakhtiyar Khan.
The patriarch is stern, khandani izzat and waqar are his be-all and end-all, but underlying all that bluster is a father’s heart, a warm loving heart that refuses to heed the dictates of the rational mind. The most moving scene of the episode had to be the one where Agha jan dreams of his now-estranged son; this was Abid Ali at his best, doing full justice to Farhat’s written word and Haseeb’s directorial vision.
The internal struggle between the patriarch and the father is further forefronted when Behroze comes home looking for forgiveness and acceptance. Relatively lower pitched as compared to the full-on-in-your-face filmi treatment given to earlier similar confrontations, I found this one to be an effective scene, but one that went on too long as we got multiple closeups of each characters’ expressions.
That said, kudos to Haseeb Hasan for getting the best out of his actors and making this moment come alive with the appropriate tension and drama. Abid Ali was fabulous in his flat out refusal to even entertain Behroze’s plea – not even a glimpse here of the distraught father we saw earlier – and matching him every step of the way were Sanam Saeed, Mikaal, Ali Rehman, Hareem Farooq, no mean feat when all they had to rely upon were their facial expressions and body language. The scene with Behroze dragging Ruhi behind him as he rushed to leave the suddenly claustrophobic haveli behind him was beautifully shot and an excellent cliffhanger on which to end the episode.
Before all this though, we had some lovely moments with Behroze and Ruhi as they sat up their own ghardari. These few scenes filled in a lot of blanks in terns of explaining these two characters. Away from the angry glare of her brother, Ruhi seems to glow from the inside out. I don’t know what it is but I have never seen Sanam look as lovely as she does here. For his part, Mikaal ain’t that bad either and its easy to see them as a couple in love. The bit about the entitled khan sahab unknowingly volunteering for maro-ing jharoo was a great insight into the kinds of adjustments this young man will have to make from hereon forwards.
For her part Ruhi, too has happily given up a relatively comfortable, to say nothing of secure, life to begin a new chapter with her lover. She is the perfect mate as she encourages Behroze to reconcile with his father and despite her trepidation she accompanies him to the haveli. Her greeting there, however, is sure to have left a bitter taste in her mouth. It will be interesting to see what, if any, impact such a zabardast munh dikhai will have on the way Ruhi remembers her first visit to her susral.
As for the younger couple, the longing looks on Arjumand’s face, when she sees Behroze walk in, betray her lingering feelings for her bachpan ka mangetar. That momentary slip aside, I am enjoying the way Arjumand has decided to deal with this forced marriage. Unlike her filmi hero of a shohar sahab she is no roti dhoti heroine and has no qualms in calling out her wimpy hubby. Ab jab shaadi kar hi li hai tau nibhao … what is the point in all those thandi aahen and lambi saansen? For better or for worse they are a couple so might as well accept that reality and move on.
Now that she has more to do rather than merely shed tears Hareem is doing an excellent job as not-quite-as-seedhi-as-she-appeared Arjumand. Suhaib, though, definitely needs to borrow a bit of spunk from his wife. As for Ali Rehman, I’m sure he’s doing a good job as well, but I can’t stand the woe-is- me’ing and am waiting to see something more from his character.
Above and beyond all Diyar-e Dil is Farhat back to doing what she does best – creating recognizable characters and weaving them into relatable stories, the kind that highlight the importance of family, uphold the value of relationships, and illustrate both sides of love – destructive and invigorative. Haseeb does full justice to the beautiful script and its his understanding of the subtle nuances that makes for a great viewing experience.
DOP Zaib Rao does a fabulous job in giving a visual context to the story unfolding on screen. The shot from the window, looking down on Ruhi and Behroze, as she talked about feeling dwarfed by the magnificence of the surroundings, the panning of the length of the walkway as they made their metaphorical long walk to the haveli, the shot of Behrioze dragging Ruhi behind him as he walked away, the shots of their humble abode, all added much to the visual experience which is now becoming a hallmark of this serial.
Tying all these threads together is Osman Khalid Butt’s very effective voiceover. So often we do things in the present without thinking of the long term consequences; Behroze was not wrong in doing what he did, Suhaib was perhaps not to be faulted as well, Tajammul thought he was looking out for his sister’s best interests, and Agha jan was a product of his times – all acted as they deemed appropriate at that particular point in time. Wali’s reflections, however, serve as a stark reminder of consequences that none had stopped to think about … the burden of atonement is now on this young man’s shoulder … will he be able to succeed in bringing his family back together again?
Looking forward to the next installment!
Written by SZ~