The greatest criticism of “Anaa” is that it is slow – but this slow progression, for viewers who have chosen to stick with it, has had an unexpected outcome in viewer loyalty towards the characters. The characters have been written in such a way that the audience has emotionally bonded with them, getting to know their faults, kindness, loyalties and weaknesses over time in a way that is rarely depicted in shows. At the base level, what “Anaa” is depicting is a very complicated extramarital affair – yet somehow, viewers find themselves rooting for Daneen, hoping for her to find her happy ending.
In episode 24, the plot becomes more convoluted, as Areesh (Shehzad Sheikh) has slowly been realizing his feelings for Anya (Areeba Shahood). Areesh is frazzled when he realizes Daneen (Hania Amir) is not in their shared flat and sets out looking for him. Altamash (Usman Mukhtar) confirms that she’s at the hospital when Anya frantically calls. Zahid (Raju Jamil) remains in critical condition as Izza (Naimal Khawar), Altamash, Daneen, Areesh and Anya sit together and discuss Areesh and Daneen’s future. While Daneen insists on staying with her father, Altamash tells her it’s necessary to get her out of the country as Saif (Alamdar Khan) is searching for her. Izza is put in charge of getting Daneen’s passport.
Daneen and Anya have a few uncomfortable exchanges essentially discussing who loves Areesh more – strange to watch two women discuss a man who has no real loyalty towards either one of them. After Zahid’s recovery, Izza and Nazia (Tara Mehmood) visit to discuss Daneen and bringing her back home. Zahid makes it clear that if Saif’s family were to kill Daneen, he would not stop them and that he has to sacrifice Daneen so no one ever repeats her and Nazia’s mistakes. He calls for Nazia to rip Daneen’s passport, but when Nazia goes to retrieve it, they find that someone has already ripped it. After this discovery, Daneen and Areesh are in a predicament.
The episode ends with Kabir (Muqeet Khan) angry with Izza and frustrated that she continues to meet Altamash. In his childish anger, he instigates Azam (Farhan Ali Agha) against Izza, telling him that his daughter does whatever she likes. This triggers Azam, hurting his already injured ego and he lashes out at Izza. Kabir almost immediately realizes his mistake, but the trust Izza had in him has clearly been completely broken.
Logically speaking, this Areesh and Anya track is usually one that the audience supports. However, the way “Anaa” has been written with so much depth and focus on characters, the viewer has no choice but to sympathize with Daneen and support her. The emotional crime committed by Areesh cannot be overlooked by viewers. While Areesh and Daneen are married to different people, their reasons for being in this situation are complicated. Anya and Areesh were put in a difficult position and chose their families instead of each other – a decision they regretted almost immediately. It’s difficult to root for Anya as Areesh’s wife, because she knowingly put herself in this situation, which in theory is conniving. Her demeanor continues to irk not only Daneen, but viewers as well. Knowing that Daneen is now dependent on Areesh, she sympathetically “supports” the two; but does so while constantly making herself available to Areesh and makes her love for him known, which is softening his heart towards her. In a way, the phrase “Rab ne bana di jodi” (A match made in heaven) actually suits Areesh and Anya, they are such irritating characters and they deserve each other. But this makes it more difficult for Daneen. Ultimately, it seems that Daneen will have a tragic end, as after this episode, it’s clear that there is no place for her in her father’s home. With Saif on the hunt for her and Areesh falling for Anya, Daneen will soon be left out in the cold to fend for herself.