Rest in Peace – a commonplace phrase used when one hears of someone’s death. But what of those whose time on this earth is cruelly cut short? Those who are wrongfully murdered? Can their souls really ever rest in peace? And that too when those connected to their murders are walking around scot-free?
Written by Enam Hasan, directed by Saife Hasan and produced by Momina Duraid, HUM TV’s new project Belapur Ki Dayan offers a much needed respite from the routine pyar shadi aur phir barbadi type stories.
The serial kicks off with Aziz sahab regaining possession of his ancestral home, a fact which seems to make only him happy. His wife, Raeesa, and grown children, Rameez and his wife Aliya and college-going daughter Tasha, are wary about making the move but Aziz sahab remains unmoved. Hence the family relocates to Karamat House, a huge property with trees that seem to attract the noisiest birds in town.
Almost immediately there is a sense that things are off-kilter somewhere somehow. A sound here a creak there, it’s all a little too spooky for the family members’ particularly the women’s comfort but live here they must. So they dismiss the disquieting thoughts and move on. But all too soon it becomes evident that it’s not just imaginations working overtime. Things do start happening. An unexplained fire, a reflection of a woman not there, children hearing voices, a picture that refuses to hang straight… it’s not quite that easy to shrug off things now.
As the story continues to unfold new characters and tracks are being introduced, adding in more complexity to the narrative giving it more depth and the shading existing characters in interesting shades of grey. Aziz sahab, for instance, is now shaping up to be a lot more complicated than he had appeared to be at first glance.
It is is now clear that Aziz is the bridge between the past and the present of Karamat House; it is he who holds the key which unlocks the mysteries of the past and provides answers in the present. Who and why is the elderly man following him around? What is Aziz’s connection to the elderly ghost who watches over, almost protecting, his family? How is he related to the youger ghost? Why is she so angry with him and so bent on hurting his family?
That a story can reel in viewers, leaving them with so many questions and having them eagerly looking forward to answers says a lot for the tight writing and the narrative skills of the director. Enam Hasan and Saife Hasan are both on the same page here and it shows. The writing is enhanced by way in which the story translates on to the screen, and the sound, lighting and camerawork by DOP Azhar Ali adds that much more life to this story. The editing is on-point for most part, although at times some scenes do seem like they are being stretched to fill time.
Among the actors, the seniors are such a brilliant lot. Shakeel, Irfan Khoosat, Sajida Syed, Rashid Farooqi are fabulous. Among the younger lot, Sarah Khan has come such a long way since her début with Saife Hasan in Bari Apa. It is good to Osama Tahir in a very different role than his outing in Dar Si Jati Hai Sila. I am looking forward to seeing Amar Khan’s character arc in the forthcoming episodes, she has me intrigued. Rayyan is good as Aliya. It is a pleasure to see Nazar Ul Hasan doing more on TV and I hope he has more to do here.
All in all, despite the fact that I am not a fan of this trifecta of horror, thriller, and ghost stories I had a great time with these first five episodes. Now if only the producers and channel owners would keep this one short and sweet! If you haven’t yet checked this one out I would recommend you give this Dayan a shot. Makes a fun change from the same old.
And speaking of the same old, I would typically end my review here, but I must take a minute and give the team a pat on the back for the fact that for once we actually see a married woman with children studying for a private degree. The fact that she is being supported by her entire family in this attempt is such a huge deal in terms of our portrayal of women on TV. It may be that nobody noticed it, but I for one am so so glad to see such role models being quietly slipped into the narrative – every teeny tiny step counts.
Along similar lines, it is heartening to see the positive relationships in Aziz sahab’s family. Raeesa and her daughter-in-law Aliya have a healthy relationship. Aliya and Tasha have no bhabhi-nand issues, there are no phupho issues either and the two grown siblings – Tasha and Rameez – too share a warm bond. Also, the fact that this family actually talks and discusses issues with each other is such a positive thing. That Aziz doesn’t heed anybody’s advice is a whole other story, but it’s so good to see a positive portrayal of families for a change.
So yeah, I enjoyed these first five episodes and am hoping that this Dayan stays the course. What about you all? Looking forward to hearing from you all!
Written by SZ~
Belapur Ki Dayan ~ OST ~ Faiza Mujahid