In the mega episode aired on Monday, Mehreen Jabbar’s Dil Kya Kare took a turn for the tragic. One has to say that tragedy is part and parcel of most Pakistani TV dramas but it is almost always presented in a loud and mind numbing way; death in the average Pakistani TV play makes you cringe and want to change the channel because there is wailing, shrieking, shouting and misery in its most exaggerated form. It’s usually so overdone that it becomes a caricature of the situation. This episode was next level for its delicate storytelling and the absolutely brilliant performances of the entire cast, Shamim Hilaly especially. When she sobbed at the loss of her son, I’m sure that every single viewer must have cried with her. One saw this woman, usually so bright, optimistic and strong, bent over under the loss of her son and daughter in law; one saw Bibi aging in an instant. Her body language changed. It was an extremely powerful scene.
But that’s not all that made Episodes 3 and 4 of Dil Kya Kare so compelling.
The story so far brought Ayman, raised for the last 12 years in San Francisco, back to Pakistan for her cousin Feryal’s wedding. Her parents were to follow in a week or two, returning years after an unfortunate incident had torn the family apart. This was to be a grand reunion of Bibi’s family: her two sons and their wives, Usman and Sira (Ayman’s parents) and Salman and Romaissa (Armaan and Feryal’s parents) and Rabia (the third son Umar’s widow; he died in a car crash 12 years ago). This was the premise that would allow Armaan to express his love for Ayman; it’s a love he’d been silently cradling all his life. Unfortunately, many dreams were shattered this week.
First of all, Ayman’s parents die in an air crash and she’s left in the guardianship of Bibi, her paternal grandmother. It’s a traumatic time for her and Yumna Zaidi, as Ayman, delivers on emotions quite sufficiently. The tragedy, however, and as mentioned before is mastered by Shamim Hilaly in that funeral scene.
Secondly, Armaan – ready to express his love to Ayman – realizes that she’s in love with his best friend, Saadi. He walks in to a moment they’re sharing and is shattered. I have to say that Feroze Khan – until now an actor who has epitomized the bad boy image to perfection – aces this scene. The hurt and heartbreak on his face is priceless and one’s heart goes out to this earnest young man who has been nurturing his love for Ayman all his life, only to see his heart shatter into a million pieces. In this one scene Feroze proves his diversity and matures as an actor.
One cannot appreciate Dil Kya Kare – for it’s stellar cast and Mehreen Jabbar’s direction – without appreciating the story and its script. Asma Nabeel is generally a progressive writer and she challenges stereotypes in her stories, but she goes beyond expectations in DKK.
The character of Romaissa – portrayed by Marina Khan – is, in a way, the voice of society at large. She’s a controlling woman, guided by pettiness, convention and superstitions. But she is countered at every instance by Bibi, her mother in law and matriarch of the house. And it is a household where women call the shots. One particular incident in the last episode shows Feryal’s prospective in-laws calling off the wedding as they feel – in a nutshell – that she may bring bad luck to them as there have been two major deaths in Feryal’s family before the wedding. It’s the whole ‘manhoos’ angle, that we’re all too familiar with seeing in our culture. Feryal (Maryam Nafees), instead of being devastated at the break-up of her rishta, is relieved to have dodged the bullet of getting married into such a regressive family. This scene was refreshing and very welcome. The entire cast played a role in delivering it well.
While Dil Kya Kare may have taken off to a slow start, the story has taken a very interesting turn now and one looks forward to the next episode and the development of the Armaan-Ayman-Saad love triangle.