Nadeem Baig and Faisal Qureshi come together for a three-episode series that tackles the subject in a light-hearted manner.
The past three months have exposed us to an ambush of information on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. While the myths and realities are numerous and vary from person to person, the one undisputed advice coming from every expert is the importance of hygiene and social distancing in the prevention and control of the infectious disease.
Amidst this chaos, a recently published three-episode YouTube series titled Dastak Na Do, directed by Nadeem Baig and produced by Faisal Qureshi, comes across as a light hearted and enjoyable public service message. With Adnan Siddiqui, Saba Hamid and Arjumand Rahim headlining the project alongside two child artists, it has been created to raise awareness around the subject of coronavirus in a way that is easier for the masses to digest. It has drama, comedy, and above all, actions that need to be demonstrated rather than just told or imposed.
As Nadeem Baig shared in an interview with Instep, prior to the release of the series, “It is short, light-hearted and family-oriented with dramatic elements.”
Adnan and Arjumand play husband and wife, with two kids in their early teens, while Saba Hamid plays the role of Adnan Siddiqui’s aunt who visits them despite the lockdown. As the title of the series hints, the family – observing strict lockdown measures – is averse to visitors and even have an unwelcoming sign on their front door that says, Dastak Na Do (Do Not Knock). The family is very cautious and the mother especially makes sure nobody comes in or leaves the house in this situation. And when it is essential to step out, they take all the preventive measures including wearing a mask and gloves while the kids are also guided and explained things accordingly.
Once the aunt comes, instead of creating an unpleasant scenario or being mean to her, the couple tries to make her understand the severity of the situation with respect. The kids follow suit too. Whether it is about the importance of wearing a mask, washing her hands, or maintaining distance, they gradually make her realize that prevention is better than cure. Besides, if there is any symptom hinting at coronavirus, it does not necessarily have to be the case and the best way is to isolate oneself for a few days instead of panicking.
It is important to note that in Pakistan (especially), it is challenging to maintain social distance with relatives, especially the elderly. They often feel offended. The series offers one way to deal with it by showing that it is not just about oneself but also the person they come in close contact with that can lead to transmission of the virus. It is not about pushing people away willingly; one does not have a choice otherwise.
Dastak Na Do deserves appreciation because it conveys several important messages within the three episodes that are each less than 10 minutes long. In addition to maintaining social distance and staying indoors, it highlights the importance of taking care of relatives and friends who are struggling to make both ends meet. Meanwhile, the series also points out how well one can manage days during lockdown by dividing important tasks among themselves so that the burden doesn’t fall on one person. It stresses on the need to limit excessive news consumption for one’s clarity and peace while also keeping oneself informed about important details that are needed to understand the seriousness of the virus and its spread.
One cannot deny that post-pandemic our lives have changed and people really need to understand how and why they need to play an active role in flattening the curve. Dastak Na Do highlights the roles and responsibilities we all need to recognize. Though the writing does get a little preachy at times, it is, nonetheless, a simple and polite attempt at providing necessary information about Covid-19 with a fair share of entertainment. Those who haven’t watched it yet can stream all three episodes on YouTube or on the online portal, Deikho as well.