To classify Anaa as a messy web of relationships would be most apt. However, this messy web is becoming more and more tangled with each episode. Relationships that should have been relatable with shades of grey have slowly turned into grim, tangled weaves of immorality. Are viewers supposed to root for the main lead? Are we supposed to root for Daneen and Areesh to make their marriages work with their respective shady spouses? At this point, the direction of the show has reached a point where viewers are slowly losing their patience not only with the pace of the show, but also with the overly confused characters.
The anger that the sight of Areesh induces is the sort of anger one shouldn’t feel towards a fictional character. That being said, he is written in such a way that the audience cannot feel anything but disdain for him. At the beginning of the show, he was a character to sympathize with. Deeply in love with Daneen, his life was turned upside down when family politics caused their engagement to be called off, their families at odds with one another. While Areesh was too weak to speak against his family, his situation was pitiable. His love for Daneen was temporarily overshadowed by his love and respect for his family. When he finally realized his mistake in marrying Anya, it was the day after his marriage. At this point, he confessed his mistake to her, informing her outright that he will never love her and that she should seek a divorce. Anya refusing is an entirely different matter, but here is where Areesh faltered as a character. Keeping his wife by his side, going so far to have intimate relations with her, Areesh openly carries on an affair with Daneen – an affair he pursued openly in front of his wife. While encouraging Daneen to seek a divorce from her husband in order to marry him, the promo for the next episode shows Areesh and Anya discussing Anya’s pregnancy. To call Areesh a disgusting character would not be unfair.
On the other end, Anya is developing into a highly unlikable character. She forcibly enters a man’s life, knowing that he loves someone else and yet continues pursuing a relationship with him, going so far to get a taveez in order to “trap” him. This character is way more negative than positive. Quite honestly, this is the very definition of a toxic partner.
Coming to Daneen, while it’s refreshing to see a female character this headstrong and confident on television. She makes her own decisions and lives life on her own terms. Daneen should have been a pathbreaking character – instead, she’s developed into seemingly another to-be jilted woman. After her marriage, Daneen did her best to be loyal to her husband and his family. While he was not a man easily pleased, it was visible to the viewer that she was trying. At some illogical point, she suddenly stopped trying when Areesh began pursuing her. While this transition felt unnatural, the trust Daneen placed in Areesh did not. It’s natural to fall into old habits, especially when in an emotionally weak place. Daneen’s unhappy marriage opens the doors for her to seek happiness in her only love, one who actively encourages her to seek a divorce. This character will face a heartbreaking downfall when Areesh deceives her and is untrue to his word. That being said, one does wish the writing had been stronger regarding Daneen’s decisions and the justification for them.
The highlight of Anaa remains to be Altamash and Izza’s relationship. That being said, there’s a flaw here as well – there isn’t any development. Altamash and Izza generally meet under forced, unnatural occasions and 17 episodes into the show, Izza still does not realize that she has any feelings for Altamash. Episode 17, for the first time, showed some progress, but of course at this point, Altamash is on the verge of getting engaged. What should have been a beautiful love story has been stretched beyond capacity and one hopes there’s a chance for salvation. Usman Mukhtar and Naimal Khawar share brilliant chemistry that should have been better utilized.
With a handful of episodes remaining, here’s to hoping that the show picks up to a pace that makes it worthwhile.