Of all the serials on air at this point in time, Diyar-e Dil is probably one of the few with a well-plotted story and richly nuanced characters. Farhat Ishtiaq’s story is not new per se, and I have my share of yeh kyon aisa hai aur waisa kyon nahin hai, but what makes this one a good watch is her study of human behavior, her in depth understanding of emotions and their complexity, hence while we see 50 shades of grey (actually literally as well, but more on that below), there is not one black or white character to be found here, all are equally flawed. Moreover, as a writer, she gives her characters the luxury of telling their own story, allowing her audience to see things from the vantage point of each particular character. So yes, two thumbs up for Farhat and her writing here.
Picking up from Wali’s last week’s phata poster nikla hero entry, we were introduced to the rest of the younger generation in this latest episode. Zarminey, Mariyam Nafees, is Wali’s laadli younger sister. Fara is Behroze and Ruhi’s only daughter, and her cousin, Moiz, Ahmed Zeb, now has two younger siblings as well. What was interesting was even with the younger generation around this is still a story very much about the older generation. Checking in with the two brothers it was remarkable how similar their lives were, at least from the outside.
Twenty years down the road, both are leading happy married lives, both financially successful, share the same chichora romantic genes, both proud parents, and both remarkably indulgent when it comes to their daughters. Behroze more so than Suhaib. The two wives, Ruhi and Arjumand, despite what Ruhi told her daughter, appear to share remarkably similar views on parenting, reprimanding their daughters whenever and wherever they sensed excessive behavior, and pushing them to do well academically. Also, similar was the fact that both seem to have nothing else to do in life other than wait on their husbands and children. Arjumand and her Suhaib ko coat pehnana and Ruhi’s waiting around to order chai, nashta for her husband, both wives looked like they had walked out of some 1960’s Lollywood movie.
But look a little deeper and there were differences galore. Arjumand, once rejected and humiliated, seemed to have come to terms with her past and moved on, or so it seemed today. Ruhi, on the other hand is still stuck where she was all those years. With the incidents of the past left undiscussed between them, both she and Behroze find themselves standing exactly where they were twenty years ago, on the issue of his family. While both are happy and honest with with each other in all other ways that count, Behroze is unable to look Ruhi in the eye and come clean about Suhaib’s visit, and Ruhi too is unable to stem the flow of venom that spills out of her mouth when Fara asks about her paternal family (took her 17 years to ask?).
More than anything else though, it is Suhaib’s visit to his office that offers insight into how complicated a man Behroze is, and how difficult it must be for him to not reach out and clasp his brother’s extended hand. The difference between this more controlled meeting and the explosion we saw the last time was remarkable. Had Behroze been as hard-hearted and cold as he pretends to be, this meeting would not have gone as long as it did, and neither would he have accepted Suhaib’s present for Fara. His stricken expression at Suhaib’s mention of his death said a lot more than words ever could. So yes, there’s been a lot of change over time, but for a man like Behroze, I don’t think Suhaib’s invitation to return is what he’s waiting for…. it’s the sound of his father forgiving him that he really needs/wants to hear. This, though it ran on forever, was the best scene in an otherwise very average episode.
Acting wise, Mikaal and Ali Rehman were the show-stealers, and Sanam a very close second. Her scenes with Maya in particular were fabulous. Maya Ali has come a long way since her one-note Aik Nayee Cindrella and Aunn Zara days, but there is plenty of work still to be done. Her Fara was flirting with overacting throughout, actually crossing the line in quite a few places. If Maya is really serious about working on her craft then I would highly recommend she think about elocution/enunciation, voice modulation lessons. Here, and in Zid and Mera Naam Yousuf Hai, her lisp, flat dialogue delivery and pronunciations are severely hampering her performance. Maya’s partner-in-crime, since their Aik Nayee Cinderella, Osman’s was an entry that many were waiting for, and while I thought he had Wali’s body language down pat, the respectful youngster looking for his elders’ approval, overall his two/three scenes left no impact at all. I hope with time Wali perks up a bit and Fara can tone it down a notch or two, otherwise we might well be left with a khoda pahar nikla chuha type situation.
Despite the fact that the all important story box is checked off here and I am intellectually engaged, emotionally, however, I am yet to connect with the visual narrative, underwhelmed is perhaps a better word choice here. Uneven division of the story between the two tracks and slap dash editing is becoming a regular issue. Even as I enjoyed the scene between the two brothers, and Mikaal and Ali Rehman gave it their all, all I could think of was how terribly long that scene was, and this despite the fact that it was broken up into parts. The Ruhi and Fara scene, though important and necessary, seemed randomly sandwiched in-between the two halves and did not look like it belonged there organically. The continuously playing back ground score continues to be a huge turn off and the way the way the actors have been aged adds another check in the cons column.
As a production house MD is well-known for their attention to detailing, and for them to not have invested as yet in proper theatrical makeup, choosing instead to go the cheap route and adding tons of whitener and handing out eyeglasses to age their characters is quite ridiculous. Likewise for their earlier overuse of Kala Kola. Mikaal and Ali both looked like they were in their 60’s, Ali’s wardrobe in particular looked like Suhaib had raided his grandfather’s closet. Similarly Hareem too seemed all out of sorts as the old aunty. Sanam was the only one who had aged well, but she too couldn’t escape the bane of eye glasses, and I can’t think of any ladies who automatically start wearing sarees the minute they hit forty. The younger generation, on the other hand, had it relatively easy, although Osman did not look like the 19 year old he was supposed to be, similarly Maya, though she looked young with her fresh scrubbed look, definitely did not look 17. Ahmed Zeb too did not look 24 or so. In short, the age math was all really off.
Overall an average episode, with a couple of great scenes, but nothing that I am planing to go rewatch again.
Finally, before I sign off, a quick question for you all: What did Zarminey want for her birthday? Was that a white mare (or mayr as it sounded) she wanted? If so then why refer to a she as a he? Or was this white mare an exotic bird, because Arjumand referred to her daughter’s love for birds?
Written by SZ~