Once in a while, a show with a great cast and a promising storyline comes along, piquing the interest of viewers and raising expectations in hopes of a novel show. Darr Khuda Se, initially titled Inaam, is one such show. The pairing of Imran Abbas and Sana Javed is reason enough for audiences to be excited for this show. Last seen together in Aitraaz in 2015, this repeat casting held promise – until the show actually began. Like Aitraaz, the show follows a mildly similar premise with Sana Javed playing Afreen, an innocent, kind-hearted girl and Imran Abbas playing Shahvaiz, who is not only Afreen’s boss, but also married to an older woman. However, it’s here where the similarities do end, as Shahvaiz is not a positive character in any regard. An openly flirtatious man, Shahvaiz enjoys the attention of women and enjoys showering women with attention – whether that attention is desired or not. He is a predator, sniffing out his prey and then pursuing them in an unapologetic fashion. And while the casting and story together sounds like Darr Khuda Se should be a breakout, riveting show, the first two episodes have been anything but interesting.
While episode 1 also fell into an overall “dull’ category, the negative spark between Afreen and Shahvaiz made the show mildly interesting, viewers excited to see how Afreen will ward off and fight against Shahvaiz. However, in episode 2, the show does not progress quickly, presenting what could have been the edited bits from episode 1. Few scenes of interest actually pop out and remain memorable, which is unusual for a brand new show that should be building interest and viewership with the initial episodes.
Episode 2 opens with a continuation from episode 1 when Afreen arrives home from work, having taken a ride from her coworker Junaid. Azhar (Ali Ansari), Afreen’s brother, begins to berate her over indecency until Afreen exposes his behavior, telling the family that it’s hypocritical to judge her for riding with a brother-like coworker when Azhar himself is riding around town with a girl. This turns into a heated argument and Afreen decides to resign from her job, handing Azhar her resignation letter and asking him to drop it off.
Shahvaiz dreams of romantic moments with Afreen, only to wake up, angry that Afreen is now invading his dreams. This scene felt rather unnatural, as we’ve only seen Shahvaiz lust after Afreen, so where have feelings of romance and affection come from suddenly? Otherwise, we are made privy to Shahvaiz and his “chakkar” (affair) with his housemaid, as it seems he will throw his glances towards any female that moves.
Azhar is involved with a work colleague whose mother is pushing for her wedding to occur as quickly as possible. Under this pressure, Azhar begins to feel underappreciated at home and disrespected, causing fights in the house. He decides it’s in his best interest to convince Afreen to work, as this will relieve his burden and allow his marriage to happen sooner. Alongside this drama, Tamkeen (Kiran Haq), Afreen’s divorced sister, begins to feel inferior to Afreen in every way and begins causing trouble. This is an exasperating story arc – once again, sisters are depicted as unsupportive, warring creatures who cannot look past their own pain to support their family members.
Quite honestly, this is the summary for episode 2 of Darr Khuda Ke Liye. Little of interest happens, making for a dull, mildly uninteresting episode. The uninteresting factor can also be attributed to the similarities between this show and a Star Plus drama, complete with overdramatizations and intense expressions where least needed. While overdramatic situations and characterizations can be amusing at times, it feels out of place when dealing with a storyline like this. Sexual harassment is an ongoing issue for women in the workplace and handling the story with subtlety would have been in the writer/director’s best interest. Will episode 3 pick up? It’s possible, we will wait and watch.