As audiences we are all fed up of the typical drama fare dished out on TV day in and day out. Same wohi kitchen politics, same wohi nashtey ki mez pe shadi kab karoge type unimaginative guftugoo, same wohi exchange of coy glances, same chaand si bahu ki talash … sab itney same 2 same ke we can all recite dialogues along with the actors.
When we complain about the sameness we are told that’s its not the channels’ fault, it’s what the audiences want to see. I, and I am sure you all as well would, disagree with such a blanket statement. But then here’s the thing. Even as we complain about the same old how many among us are willing to step out of our comfort zone, switch away from the typical go-to channels and explore something hatke?
Granted, because these kinds of out-of-the-box dramas shows are experimental in nature, they do not necessarily have that big budget masala entertainers wali feels – high on the gloss and glitz- and so need a bit of a leeway and indulgence from the audiences. What you get here is plenty of substance but no sarson ke khet or barf se dhakey pahar or a flavor of the month star.
Matlab kehney ka yeh keh if you haven’t yet tried out Dhund on TV One, you must. Written by Mohammed Ahmed and directed by Farrukh Faiz this genre-defying series should be given a serious dekho. And here’s why I can recommend this serial so very wholeheartedly:
Hatke Story √
Unlike the simple and simplistic everyday stories we are used to seeing, this is an intricately woven tapestry. It all begins with Maria, a beautiful, well-read woman with a thriving interior design business. On the surface she has it all. But appearances are deceiving. 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. As events unfold we find out she can communicate with ghosts. With Maria’s quest slowly building steam in the background, every week we meet different characters with different stories.
Intelligent Approach to Social Issues√
These are all the rage in drama world as they well should be – entertainment without meaning is pointless. But unlike so many other clunkily done dramas, Dhund addresses social issues in an informed, sensitive way, never once hitting you on the head with a preachy message. So far we have seen stories about adoption, single parenthood, honor killings, murders, sectarianism, remarriage, to name just a few. Many of these are topics are rarely addressed on TV because of their taboo nature but here they have been handled very delicately. The best part is that even though the subject is dark, there is a well-defined humorous streak that runs through each episode.
Progressive Writing √
One of my pet peeves is TV women for whom shaadi is the single most important thing. Their lives maybe less than perfect but none of the women featured here are waiting for knights in shining armors. I love how Maria, the lead, is essentially a single woman who lives alone and runs a thriving business. And its not just about the single or working woman. We see here stories of women from every phase of life and socio-economic strata. Typically a middle-aged woman has no place in our dramas except as the cranky maa or saas, but here one of my fave stories featured a young -at-heart widow who discovers her newly acquired antique chair comes with a ghost who refuses to leave.
The typical drama narrative creates a very easy dichotomy between ‘good’ vs the ‘bad’ with visual stereotyping. So the dupatta covered, shalwar kameez clad girl is always shareef whereas the jeans wearing ‘modern’ girl is more often than not the girl to stay away from. Here, all this nonsense is set aside and Maria wears her jeans just as comfortably as Humera Aunty wears her shalwar kameez or Saugandhi wears her sarees. Clothes do not define your character is a very important message here. Along similar lines, there is no judgement or comment on working mothers vs stay-at-home moms, both of whom are depicted with equal respect and empathy.
Great Actors √
No matter how good a story for it to have an impact it has to be able to connect with viewers. And this is where this series scores big time. Led by Maria Wasti, this series features a veritable who’s who of actors, included among them Marina Khan, Adil Wadia, Saba Asif Raza Mir, Sania Saeed, Savera Nadeem, Salma Hassan to name just a few. Sana Askari’s very memorable cameo still runs shivers up my spine and Almas Fidai’s classical dance was a delight. That said, though the male lead, Hasan Ahmed looks right for his part, he is a no-go in terms of his acting abilities.
So yeah, I would say that if you are looking for something different to binge watch this weekend then do give this one a shot. Check out my reviews for earlier episodes here, here, here, and here. New episodes air every Sunday on TV One.
Written by SZ