Ever wondered why we don’t have high-quality serials on TV as frequently as before? Because either the director is on a different wavelength or the writer isn’t comfortable with the execution.
In Dunk, Big Bang Entertainment brought its most frequent collaborators Mohsin Ali and Badar Mehmood together and the end result is a surprise hit that caters to different kinds of audiences. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that Dunk will make others realize that when the writer and the director are in sync, the viewers are the ultimate beneficiaries.
After Haider (Bilal Abbas) is kicked out of his house by his father (Shahood Alvi), he ends up at a friend’s place; Amal (Sana Javed) goes out to meet him there despite her family’s objection. However, when Haider reveals to her that he knows her secret, and had overheard her conversation with the professor (Naumaan Ijaz), she asks for forgiveness because she did it all to save him. He tells her that he is doing her a favor by not going public with the truth and then asks her to forget about him. On another front, Safeer (Fahad Sheikh) agrees to marry Amal after his parents come up with the idea, but only if she agrees to the union. After giving it a lot of thought, Amal agrees to marry the elder brother instead, but on one condition which could either be her not returning to the university, her decision to continue her education in another institution, or the possible return of Haider to his own home.
The Good – Powerful acting keeps the audience intrigued, and involved!
They said that in the last episode, Sana Javed wasn’t at par with Bilal Abbas; they never knew that she would be keeping her best for the next episode where her performance would be as memorable as the leading man. The confrontation sequence wasn’t just beautifully executed by the director, he had the full support of both the performers. When she came to meet Haider, Sana Javed’s Amal was the victim, but when he asked her to leave, she left as the guilty party. The way she begged for forgiveness, pleaded her innocence, and told him that she still loved him, she was as convincing as convincing could be.
However, the way Bilal Abbas rejected her advances, didn’t let her emotional blackmailing work and blamed himself for his own deeds showed that the two shared a perfect chemistry and would have been happy as Haider and Amal, had he not been eavesdropping. The earlier scene where he sheds a tear while thinking of the professor also gave an insight into his perfect acting, making him one of the few actors in the modern-day to make the audience cry with him. He wanted to share the truth about Amal with his friends but didn’t, and that showed that despite sending objectionable videos to a female professor, he has character and that mistake was a one-off thingy!
Talking of emotional blackmailing, this episode has that in abundance. From Shahood Alvi’s scene where he goes to meet his niece and asks her to consider marrying his elder son Safeer (Fahad Sheikh), to where he and his wife (Laila Wasti) convince their elder son Safeer of saving their family’s honor by stepping in as the groom, the viewers were instructed how emotional blackmailing could be done without looking bad. The indecisiveness of Amal’s father (Saife Hasan) also added a different touch to parenthood for he wanted to support his daughter in her decision, which was exactly the opposite of what he was expecting.
And then there were the flashbacks that wrapped up the proceedings at the end of the episode; while Bilal’s character was wondering about the professor and how his words might have hurt the late teacher, Sana Javed’s character was thinking about her plea for forgiveness, and the second rejection within a week and that might have made her plot her revenge, and agree to marry the elder brother with whom she had no connection.
The Bad – ‘What do the characters do for a living’ leaves a lot to be desired!
In classic TV dramas, every character had a backstory, meaning a life that wasn’t shown on screen, a source of income, and a routine that included going to the office, venturing into a park, or meeting friends. Sadly, the only backstory the characters have here is that they live in mansions, attend functions and meet friends. With Safeer getting married in the next episode, no one knows what he does for a living; he seems to have no friends at all and spends his time at home, waiting for his chance to speak, nod, or do nothing. Doesn’t he have a life outside the drama or will his life begin after marriage?
Similarly, Safeer’s father and uncle (Shahood Alvi and Saife Hasan) live in mansions but what do they do for a living? They are so rich that they can afford guards, luxury cars, etc., but the viewers have no clue about their livelihood. They could be smugglers posing as decent human beings, owners of a business that never attains loss or anything, but a backstory would have made it all the more interesting. After all, we still remember that Subhani Ba Yunus’ character in Tanhaiyyan was a film director, Shakeel’s Taimur Ahmed ran his father-in-law’s business in Ankahi and Dr. Ahmer in Dhoop Kinare belonged to the medical profession. A little detail would have done the viewers a favor!
The Verdict – Dunk is a Mohsin Ali – Badar Mehmood spectacle!
It might have begun as a drama on sexual harassment, but it has turned out to be a family drama, that keeps on getting better every week. If you thought that the scene where Haider overhears Amal’s confession was the ultimate twist, think again. By not protesting against the accusation after Haider reveals the reason behind his refusal to marry her, Amal sort of agrees to the deed, thus surprising those who were still supporting her. The writer Mohsin Ali must be applauded for writing the lines as per the characters, and if Haider’s narration of Amal’s lines from the conversation with the professor doesn’t hit you where it matters, then you should move on to other dramas.
For the spur-of-the-moment decision to narrate those lines and the intensity of that narration/flashback together was too hard to digest, followed by both the actors’ perfect reactions. The scene must go down as one of the best-performed sequences between two actors and should be remembered as one of the best confrontations on TV. Badar Mehmood must be praised for executing each and every scene of the tenth episode to perfection and keeping the audience engaged after so many weeks. Let’s see what the next episode brings, hoping that the return of Haider, and the arrival of Amal in the same house as his sister-in-law can result in some fireworks.