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Love Is...
Sep 02, 2018 03:38 PM 1264 Views
(Updated Sep 13, 2018 03:03 PM)



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When in teens, I was not much bothered about romantic novels. I am emphasising on novels because in those days modes of entertainment were very limited. It was either books or occasional movies. Internet was nowhere in the picture. Television had only just appeared in the scene. That too black and white gracing a few fortunate, and as per the then standards, well-to-do households.

So, I grew up on books of a different kind which intrigued, and still intrigues, me to no end - murder mysteries, whodunits, suspense thrillers and the likes. Agatha Christies, Satyajit Rays, James Hadly chases, Erle Stanley Gardners were a few of my favourites while my class mates guzzled Mills & Boons after Mills & Boons and Barbara Cartlands after Barbara Cartlands. Having said that, I would also like to clarify that I was not completely averse to romance. While I was an equally ardent admirer of Evelyn Anthony, Victoria Holt, Georgette Heyer, M&B, especially, I would steer clear of because of the lack of strong story line. it was always the girl meet boy situations and absolute detest blossoming into sublime love. It was, I would say, the stereotypical that bored me to no end.

Now, why after so many years, I am going down the memory lane? Of course, there is a reason which has made me take a U-turn towards mushy romance. No, I have not fallen in love. Haa! Haa! But I have recently watched a Pakistani Tele-serial on You Tube which has left me dizzy. Particularly because it has a strong narrative and a message to convey.

Those who have read my reviews on this website will know that I am an avid follower of Pakistani Serials because of their meaningful content packed in short length coupled with powerful performances. In short, a treat which never goes over board.

Coming to Dil Lagi, yes that is the name of the Serial, is based in a small town of Pakistan, named Sukkur in interior Sindh. Anmol(Mehwish Hayat) stays with her widowed mother(Asma Abbas)  and younger sister Mishal(Mariam Ansri). Anmol's father mortgaged their residential house for a loan which he repayed before his death. However, there is no documentary evidence of repayment of the loan and clearance of the mortgage on the house. Only Anmol's mother knows this for a fact but she cannot prove it on account of lack of material proof.  Kifayat Ali, to whom the house was mortgaged, takes advantage of the situation and resells the property to Mohid( Humayun Saeed) who excels in estate dealings and is a name to reckon with in the town. Mohid stays with his widowed mother Zulekha(Saba Hameed) and married but separated sister(Uzma Hassan).

Kifayat Ali tells Mohid that the property is occupied by a family illegally. Mohid deploys his right hand man Dastgir(Imran Ashraf) and a flock of goondas to evict Anmol and her family. Anmol, being the rebellious kind, puts up a valliant fight to oust the goondas led by Dastgir. Mohid witnessing Anmol's courage and outrage is suitably impressed and returns the papers of the house to Anmol's mother because he truly believes in ethical business.

It is love at first sight for Mohid. But for Anmol, it is simply hatred for the man who disrespected  her mother and sister and employed goondas to render them homeless without knowing facts of the case. From hereon starts the love-hate relationship between Mohid and Anmol. Eventually, Anmol is compelled to marry Mohid on the condition that if the man whom Anmol truly loves appears on the scene she will not think twice to leave Mohid and walk out of her marriage. It is painful for Mohid yet he agrees to marry Anmol hoping someday she will realize that he deeply loves her without any ulterior motives.

Anmol, on the other hand, tries all the tricks up her sleaves to demean Mohid and create havoc in his life. But while doing so she also unites Mohid's sister with her estranged husband(Zain Mirza). For her its only vengeance and settling of scores with Mohid, who had once tried to evict her family from their rightful place and disrupted her sister Mishaal's life.

A very interesting plot with tightly scripted direction makes the serial an edge of the seat experience. And all along the episodic narrative the only question in the reader's mind is when will Anmol be off her ego trip and accept Mohid as her soul partner.

It takes twenty four episodes and a number of twists and turns, which on hindsight appear predictable, for the story to come to its satisfactory end. Notwithstanding the twists in the tale, the story is linear and pivots around Anmol and Mohid's dysfunctional relationship/marriage.

But as I have mentioned earlier, the  narrative is strong and the other characters, limited in number, support the theme of the story and the protagonists, in every sense of the term. And the message is also lucid. Love is not an ego trip but germinates from respect, faith and loyalty towards each other.

However, predictable the story line be, the direction demanded power-packed performances which were delivered without a glitch by all - be it Mehwish as the headstrong, emotional and at times foolish Anmol, Humayun Saeed as the quiet lover,  Mohid or Saba Hameed as the upright Zulekha. While Humayun Saeed is a show stealer, Mehwish puts life into Anmol so much so that one wants to shake her by the shoulders at times seeing her giving in to her stupid ego and arrogance. It will be an unpardonable oversight, if one does not talk of Mishaal, who is an opposite of Anmol and that is why perhaps, she understands her elder sister so well. She is calm, collected, intelligent and rational. Asma Abbas is beautiful and very composed as Mishaal in contrast with the fiesty and fiery Anmol. Zulekha is another very strong character who is forthright and proud and scornful of male dominance. She is the matriarch par excellence but at the same time recognises the worth of Anmol and calls her "Khara sona" which is extremely engaglng. A special mention for Imran Ashraf as Dastgir, a comic villain, whose appearance provides relief to the audience and his love for his Master, Mohid Bhayya, makes him an endearing soul. His love interest is Mishaal. But Mishaal is, nature wise, dignified and farsighted while Dastgir is childlike and a mis-match for Mishaal in terms of cerebral capacity. Still both make a cute pair - extremely lovable yet the difference in their respective natures very prominent in their interactions. Knowing how closed the Muslim society is, it comes as a refreshing surprise that even in the backdrop of a small town, the women portrayed in the movies have such strength of character, indomitable will and rebellious(of patriarchy). At the same time, they are god fearing! Alas! How the TV soaps of our liberal and incredible India allow only social aberrations to be highlighted in full swing.

Thus, an Anmol is able to forcefully marry Mohid in the dead of the night threatening if he says no she will marry the Qazi whom she has brought to marry her off to him. Anmol's mother is ready to cut off ties with her dear daughter when she learns that she is wilfully acting as a home breaker. And Zulekha, inspite of Anmol's glaring shortcomings accepts her as her daughter-in-law.

Another fascinating feature of the narration is that all the characters grow from worse to better in the course of unfolding of the story. Mohid learns to empathise with her sister whom he until then treated just like a piece of furniture. Zulekha learns to make no distinction between daughter and daughter-in-law. Anmol's mother learns to love her elder daughter whom she, in the beginning of the serial, failed to understand. Dastgir graduates into a self-respecting individual to whom the worth of education is brought home by Mishaal. And above all, Anmol learns to reciprocate and respect Mohid's feelings for her.

Dil Lagi was aired on ARY TV in 2016. The serial is available on You Tube. Those who, after reading this review, wish to see the serial, can do so on You Tube now. An extremely engrossing watch!

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Dil Lagi