Solid performances from Sami Khan, Faizan Khawaja, Mashal Khan and others have managed to keep Dulhan away from going down in the last two weeks. With elements of Saas-Bahu and Zaalim Amma – Behen creeping into the screenplay, the promising drama has started to lose its charm over the audience. However, the stellar performances, intelligent execution, and a few acceptable twists and turns manage to keep the show afloat, and the audience engaged. The play enters the tricky third month where it is the make-or-break situation, and if the performances are there to make it, the careless handling is doing damage in its own way.
Mikaal (Sami Khan) takes Zoobi (Hina Shahid) to her mother’s boutique so that she can come clean about her lie, but seeing Amal (Sumbul Iqbal) there for a job interview, he forgets about Zoobi and goes back. Before Mikaal can take Zoobi back to his mother again, Ainy (Mashal Khan) slaps her in a restaurant and derails the whole patch up process. Shameer (Faizan Khawaja) then pressurizes Zoobi into meeting her father but he has his own motive – if Mikaal and Ainy get married, he could have Amal for himself. Zoobi tells Shameer and Ainy’s father (Shehryar Zaidi) that she lied because she wanted his daughter to suffer, but added that she doesn’t think Mikaal loves her the way he should, which irritates all those present in the room. On the other hand, Amal’s sister Noshaba (Laiba Khan) hatches a plan to trap her in such a way that she and her lover can meet each other freely, but the guy who helps them wants a reward – to meet Noshaba alone. She confesses to Amal who approaches their mother (Nida Mumtaz) for a solution, who apologizes to Amal and wishes that had their father been alive, no one would have had the guts to blackmail them like this. Meanwhile, at Amal’s old workplace, Shameer shows up to make life hell for her but Mikaal intervenes and makes him go away!
Mashal Khan steals the show as the drama progresses; as Ainy, she manages to stand her ground in front of much experienced Sami Khan and Faizan Khawaja. The way she stares or delivers a dialogue without giving it a thought is exactly how a rich brat would react when cornered. The two boys however set the screen on fire whenever they are together and that’s because they are deep into their characters, owning up to their roles. The question the audience would be asking themselves is about Shameer and how big a loser he would turn out to be. It seems that both the boys have nothing else to do except venture out on the road chasing and saving girls in the process, making them look both cool and rich. Senior actors Nida Mumtaz make you want to hate her, which is exactly what she intends to do after playing the good mother in so many dramas. The authority with which Shehryar Zaidi plays the head of the family is what’s missing in other dramas; both Shaheen Khan and Ainy Zaidi as mothers of troubled kids stick to their characters well, as does the underrated Sonia Nazir who helps the story move forward with her well-intended character.
Three weeks back Zoobi (Hina Shahid) claimed that Mikaal (Sami Khan) proposed to her; for two weeks the matter remained unresolved until her mother (Rubina Alavi) threatened to inform her father. In the era of Netflix and Amazon Prime, this two-week delay is criminal and would only be accepted if the producers claim that their editor was on leave. Making a mountain out of a molehill has never done well for a TV drama or a film, and the same theory applies here. Also, Hina Shahid needs to control her emotions because she may be acting to exact revenge from Mashal Khan’s Ainy, but she is overdoing it with her reactions. The same goes for Laiba Khan’s Noshaba who began the serial as a neglected sister but setting up the trap, celebrating her success, and then her follow-up reactions have done no wonders for the play.
It is about time that Sumbul Iqbal throws away the bechari tag and does something different because whatever is happening to her in the play is not the worst thing to happen to a girl. Yes, she lost her father, her stepmother is demanding and her stepsister doesn’t trust her, but she still has a job, a caring friend (Sonia Nazir), an understanding boss, and a roof over her head. Instead of promoting a strong woman, we are celebrating the wronged one, and that sends a bad signal out there to those people who get inspiration from a TV drama. And yes, the supporting cast including the owner of the boutique (looks more like an owner of a saloon), Noshaba’s lover and his friend must be marked as ‘No No’ for future projects as their acting was enough to make the viewer switch the channel.
The Verdict – Dulhan must stage a comeback before it derails completely!
The eighth and ninth episodes of Dulhan were the weakest of the show so far; the story sidetracked from the real issue (Amal-Shameer-Mikaal story) and explored new avenues for no reason. No one is interested in Noshaba’s story because a) she doesn’t matter and b) nobody cares. They want to see how Amal’s story moves forward, how she handles herself in the office of her ‘mother-in-law’ and how Mikaal reacts when and if she visits his home to meet his mother. Also, Ainy and her brother Shameer need to calm down and decide whether they want Mikaal in their lives or not; if they do then Ainy and Mikaal should get married as soon as possible and if they don’t, then they should go on with their lives instead of moving in a circle.
Many questions arise as the drama moves ahead – if Shameer wasn’t behind Zoobi’s fake proposal act, then how did he know she would lie while on speakerphone? Why Mikaal is double-minded about marrying Ainy now; he should have thought about that when he was going through the ‘fake’ Nikaah with Amal. Why wasn’t he driving the Yellow Sports Car when he saved Amal from Shameer the first time or arrived at the boutique in the last episode? And which boutique doesn’t ask for advance payment and lets a customer place an order, humiliate their staff in broad daylight and then leave without the dress? All these questions need to be addressed in future episodes otherwise Dulhan might literally lose the plot. It had the potential to become the perfect thriller when it was aired, but with so many tracks coming in and going out for no reason, it is not doing itself any favors. It is never too late to stage a comeback and I ‘bet’ (like Shameer and Mikaal) that writer Adeel Razzaq and director Adeel Siddiqui will steer the drama back to where it should have been.