History texts tell us that Pakistan was formed in the name of religion. Seventy some years after, we find ourselves in a society severely fragmented, highly divisive, excessively polarized and stubbornly intolerant. There are problems galore, but sectarianism has to be among the more pressing ones, tearing away as it is at the fabric of Pakistani society.
But all this is not news, in fact this is the dirty little secret that we as a society prefer to sweep under the rug. Out of sight out of mind. In any case what good is talking about such inflammatory stuff? Why risk invoking the wrath of powers that be? Willing or unwilling we are all participants in this conspiracy of silence.
And to bring up such stuff on TV? Never! So much easier to pretend that shaadis and talaqs and extra marital affairs are Pakistan’s biggest problems, hence dramas upon dramas with stories featuring the saas-beta-bahu triangle.
Given this context, I must begin with a huge round of applause to Team Dhund for daring to go where few have dared before. Ahmed and Sakina know their relationship will never be accepted by their respective families therefore they elope. For Sakina’s family the magnitude of this crime is such that their honor can only be restored if they kidnap Ahmed’s sister, Rida.
As the story plays out there are tracks nested within tracks. Sakina and Ahmed’s story is used as a lead in to Saugandhi and Mehmood’s story. Theirs was a love that was never destined to be. Their families had been friends forever but times changed and with it people’s attitudes. In a brilliant piece of writing the two love stories are compared and contrasted, different but exactly the same, underscoring the inanity of violence perpetrated in the name of difference. What purpose did Saugandhi’s death serve? What does Rida’s murder resolve? Violence to what end?
Weighty issues these, but such is the story telling that it never gets too dark or heavy. Nasreen Apa’s is a character that I now find myself looking forward to watching. She injects a much-needed dose of levity in each episode – last time it was the missing gulab jamuns and this week disappearing pakoras. Given that these are two of my favorite foods I wonder if I should be worried about ghosts with tastes like mine?!?
This latest episode also shed light on Maria’s track. Arjumand’s entry introduced quite a few unexpected twists and I am now even more invested in this track. For once I have no clue as to how Imran’s disappearance dilemma will be resolved. Looking forward to more of the mystery and please more thrills and chills!
Where writing had me totally hooked, loved the nods to Manto, Amrita Pritam and other classic writers of the period, overall this episode was not upto the standard of the previous two. The reason, in my opinion, was the less than stellar acting. So much of what was being said between Rida and Zain ended up sounding flat, lines being read rather than delivered. Christina was a delight as Saugandhi, but her accent seemed to come and go and Mehmood did not leave an impression. Angeline Malik, on the other hand had no such problems and she was very good as Arjumand. Her entire persona has caught my attention and I have a ton of questions about her character. I hope we continue seeing more of her.
All in all, week after week Dhund raises the bar in terms of choice of issues, the writing is sharp and pointed, without being in your face preachy. So much is said in each episode with the various tracks stitched together with a lot of finesses. My only concern here is whether the acting can stay on par/do justice to the written word.
Here’s hoping for a better episode next week. What did you all think?
Written by SZ~