Dhund ~ Episode 1 Review

Dhund is the tele-series I had been waiting for since the first promo aired a few weeks ago. Experience has taught me, however, that highly anticipated projects rarely live up to expectations, hence I sat down to watch with consciously low expectations – best be surprised than disappointed is my mantra these days. Well…

40+ minutes later I walked away a very happy camper – the first episode of Dhund had delivered and how!

This hatke series opened with an introduction to Maria, a beautiful, well-read woman with a thriving interior design business. On the surface she has it all. But appearances are decieving. Despite the bright colors that surround her, Maria’s personal life is very dark. She is grieving her missing husband and son both of whom have disappeared without a trace. With passage of time even the police have stopped looking and she cannot help but wonder if she is deluding herself with false hope.

When Maria questions her faith Nana Syed steps in to bolster her falling spirits. He tells her they are safe. Who is he and how does he know this? who is Jahan Ara, this lady he asks Maria to talk to? What does Waqas, a TV drama editor, have to do with Jahan Ara, and why does he come to Maria?

Maria is no ordinary woman. We find out she is a medium, someone with the special ability to see things that lay beyond the ordinary eye and can communicate with those no longer among the living. It is these supernatural abilities that draw the attention of Uzair, an officer of the Special Investigative Branch, and he requests her help in solving his cases. Will she agree?

I loved how the series opened with Maria’s story and then the gradual weaving in of Uzair, Waqas and Jahan Ara’s tracks, all done so very organically, almost effortlessly. In addition to all that we saw I particularly appreciate the subtlety and intelligence with which the trail of bread crumbs is being laid out for us for the future – we now know that Maria’s troubles had started way before Imran’s disappearance.

Mohammed Ahmed sahab is a brilliant storyteller and this first episode was a testament to his abilities. I wasn’t sure how the supernatural aspect would be handled visually and had wondered if it would be as tacky as Woh, another supernatural serial from recent times, but Farrukh Faiz has delivered fabulously. I particularly loved the shot where Uzair’s face is reflected in the child’s photograph.

The overall ambiance and feeling for Dhund is very well done. From the posters to Almas Fidai’s dance number in the promos, the OST, and the attention to detailing in the episode itself has all been done really well. That said, I didn’t care much for the all blue color palette in the scene when Uzair came to meet Maria for the first time. The one thing I must applaud the team for is the judicious use of background music. Loved that my ears were spared – thank you!

The casting of actors is spot on. Maria Wasti is excellent, just wish she had gone easy with her hair and makeup. Sana Askari gave me the chills today and I was reminded of Dareecha and how much I enjoyed it. Asad Siddiqui was very good as Waqas, and Ahmed sahab is as always a delight to watch. And finally, Hasan Ahmed, after watching him flail and flounder hopelessly in Pinjra I had zero expectations here, but I am very pleasantly surprised, he made for a very believable police officer. Casting well indeed is the key.

Team Dhund has hit the ball out of the park with its first episode. Here’s to hoping that it stays the course and we have ourselves a winner of a series. Looking forward to the next installment.

What about you guys? What did you all think?

Written by SZ~

Dhund ~ Episode 1 on TVOne

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10 replies

  1. Wow!!! Im speechless! This proper freaked me out – in a good way. I was glued throughout and the story telling was so brill that for once I wasn’t paying attention to things like decor and etc. Maria’s hair did annoy me though.. And like Pinjra I found Ahmed Hasan the weakest link – found him boring.

    It reminded me a bit of Sixth Sense (the movie) which was freaky but not wha I would call scary .. Spot on abt paranormal activities – they were handled really well, which can end up looking comical if not executed properly.

    Mohammed Ahmed Sahab is always a delight to watch, and his writing is top-notch! The hatke project is indeed hatke!

    Acha tou will we get different stories every week? Is this the end of Jahan Ara and Waqar’s track?

    Finally we have a series that’s worth watching! I was wondering why is it that we hardly get good series on our desi screens whereas that’s the most popular format in the west? @SZ Would love to hear your insight.. Actually thinking about it, apart from some sitcoms, I can’t remember any – esp in recent times..

    Thank you MAS, Tv one and team Dhund for giving us something hatke – something that’s actually worth watching on our Tv screens after quite some time! – I’m well and truly hooked!

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    • @FA: Haina!!! Im so so glad that Im not the only one who so enjoyed this one! Honestly wasnt expecting anything of this sort at all. This is way beyond my expectations. You know Im not typically a a fan of this genre. amd most definitely not the PK TV kind of supernaturals, but this one had me properly hooked – think I even screamed out a couple of times. How spooky was Sana Askari!

      Yes, from what I understand, Maria and Uzair and Nan Syed are permanent characters and then we have different stories every week. Not sure if we’ve seen the last of Sana and Asad. But then I guess they are ghosts so beyond time and space, and can therefore appear anytime? Waisey I ain’t gonna say anything abt Jahan Ara .. Man! woh tau peeche hi par jati hai!

      Re: the serial vs the series, not quite sure why this kind of a series format is deemed unworthy of Pk TV. My guess would be that it has to do with competition, TRPs and advertisers .. with a serial you have an audience who is vested in the characters and their stories and hence assured to return week after week to see how they fare.. but with the series you tend to lose out on that and I guess audiences are considered too dumb to keep track of two stories, the frame story and the weekly story… Also, I would imagine such a series would be more complicated to write, because it is like keeping track of two different things .. a lot harder than our track gharelu dramas..

      Another series format is that of Kitni Girhain and MJ’s older Kahaniyan. where it is a completely new story every week, but again it is a matter of how to hook audiences to keep them coming back. I know even I watch Kitni Girhain very selectively because not all stories are of a similar standard.

      Also, while our audiences ask for different stuff, I sometimes do wonder how much different are they asking for … lets see how this is received .. abhi tak tau lag raha hai only you and are interested!

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      • lol @Jahan Ara – haina how freakin good was she lol

        Re serial vs series : I was also thinking maybe it’s the effort that goes into writing and managing this format with new characters and situations every week.. whereas with serial they can apply their trademark elastic to a basic plot and add twists and turns and viola!
        In terms of audience vested in characters : thats’ true.. but I guess we followed Alicia & co, and Rachael, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, Feobe just as intently.. Perhaps our audience aren’t given that chance?

        Kahaniyan and KGBH are more like telefilms.. that would be more tricky to keep the audience coming back because there is no connection whatsoever..

        Did we ever have such serials ? I can’t remember any right now except some sitcoms.. I remember family front.. If it can work for comedy, why not more serious genre?

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  2. This was a very interesting and mysterious opening.. loved it.. the suspense and mystery kept with 2 parallel scenarios was spot on.. watching sana askari as jahan araa made me reminded of her fabulous acting in Dareecha and her dialogue delivery with such fluency reminded me of Firdous ki Dozakh.. talking of Dareecha.. which was by same writer and director..the mystery quotient there too was brilliant and great writing and thus here too we see no disappointments .. totally hooked..

    Maria wasti hairs were annoying but theek he as along as we are offered something different and exciting.. i think Jahan ara’s issue hasnt been resolved yet so it will continue in next episode.. but anyhow i am looking forward

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    • I haven’t watched Dareecha – Is it worth watching then?

      Re Jahan Ara : yes her issue isn’t resolved that why I was wondering if that was the end of her story.. Im a bit confuse about her issue actually – What was her issue btw?

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      • Dareecha was really good till may be mid or even us ke bad kuch epis.. but then dragged.. it had HKB as well as Shamshad Bibi.. superb character .. so yes you can watch till you enjoy lol

        reg issue: tht wasnt clear actually.. when she said i want ek namaz ek dua ek fateha.. i thought she want someone to do all these for her ( yea i know pretty much straight forward) but think maybe thts not the case then.. n seems like she was giving hints from start hie.. like maid was complaining abt things not being at their place.. so lets see..

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        • Jahan Ara’s issue was actually very interesting in a very intelligent subtle kind of a way. She died in 1857, the year of the uprising and she apparently commited suicide, but listen to her again with the context of the date and you wonder under what circumstances was she forced to commit suicide, if it was indeed that .. this could be read much like the cases of women during Partition, the many who jumped in wells fearing for their honor.. now would that be suicide or would that be a justified death .. wonder how many of thise roohs are now bhatkoing asking their men why they were forced to die in the name of saving patriarchal honor ..

          Rehmat: the maid’s saying abt bartans etc, could just refer to other ghosts in and around her house wanting to make themselves heard .. since she didnt want to hear them..

          All in all, Im glad that at least three of us are watching . i have a feeling we will have a lot to discuss and Ahmed sb’s writing will give us plenty of food for thought ..

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      • I loved it when it began .. but it was a soap that went beyond its expiry date. Also changing the leading man from Imran Aslam to Asad Siddiqui did not work at all.

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  3. I watched this last night, but I think that was a bad idea, because I was genuinely freaked out and scared a couple of times!

    I’m fascinated by the plot here. It’s like The Sixth Sense meets The Mentalist, with maybe a bit of True Detective thrown in.

    I’m not sure I understand the plot totally. The ghost woman (Jahan Ara?) dies in 1857, which is interesting in itself. All she seems to want is to get the proper last rites she was deprived of then, right?

    Maria Wasti is a good actress, but I find her hair and makeup here sort of distracting. I hope she has a different look in the rest of the series.

    Finally, I have to compliment the showrunners for the excellent editing in this episode. All the Waqas scenes in particular were perfect (which is fascinatingly meta because Waqas is also a film editor, lol).

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    • Me too!! And I watched during the day!
      Re: JA, not sure whether she’s a recurring character, I could ask Ahmed sb, but given that this is one show where I genuinely don’t know what’s happening I don’t want any spoilers.
      Yes! Good take on the meta stuff .. this is what is brill abt Ahmed sb’s writing, when he is given the opportunity to write material of his own choice. If you watch his and MJ’s Coke Kahani you will see tons of similar layers there too. He and Mehreen J have done a lot of great stuff together.
      Glad that we are building up a group here – it’s so much more fun this way.

      Like

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