Deewar E Shab garnered interest as soon as it was announced, not only due to the star-studded cast, but also because this drama is a family reunion of sorts on-screen. Bushra Ansari, Asma Abbas and Zara Noor Abbas star in this drama together as mother, daughter and Khala. Aside from these names, the drama also stars great actors and several big names like Mohsin Abbas Haider, Syed Mohammad Ahmed, Shehzad Sheikh, Shehroze Sabzwari, Kinza Hashmi, Sarah Khan, Nausheen Shah and Tara Mehmood (amongst others). The drama is based on a novel of the same name, written by Aliya Bukhari and is a Momina Duraid production, which always brings expectations along with it. I have not read the novel, so I will be watching the show as a viewer, not a reader.
Right away, the viewer is entranced by Zara Noor Abbas and her presentation. She’s a beautiful girl, but her appearance in this drama is flawless, which seems to be exactly what is expected of her character – though the choreography of her dance moves could certainly use some work. The show opens with a montage of what is yet to come before shifting to a dancing Firoza (Zara Noor Abbas) and finally settling on Shamma (Tara Mahmood) and the women in the house – women living in the “red light district” (Heera Mandi?). Sitara Jahaan (Bushra Ansari) and Ustaad Faraghat (Syed Mohammad Ahmed) seem to run a tight ship with a soft hand. Trouble is almost immediately sensed when Dildar Begum (Asma Abbas), Sitara Jahaan’s sister, makes her entrance and asks Sitara Jahaan to take Firoza to a big event for a performance. SItaara Jahaan is weary, but she ultimately relents, though she sends Shamma along as a second chaperone. This foils Dildar Begum’s plan, as she earlier provided Firoza with a letter from Firoza’s lover in which he asks her, it seems, to run away with him after the event.
How Islam (Kamran Jilani), his wife and Shakra (Shaheen Khan) figure into the story is not clear as of yet – as of episode one, we deduce that Shakra is Islam’s sister-in-law and does not agree with the way he runs his household. She also feels undervalued and resents Islam’s wife in regards to respect in the household. How this story will join in with the “tawaif culture” is to be seen.
Shamma and Nagina are seen in conversation – this is where it becomes clear that Nagina does not agree with the rules and regulations within her home. The elder daughter, she wishes for a life different than what her family has indulged in, hoping for a more modern way of living. We also see Nagina’s banter with Faiz (Mohsin Abbas Haider), where the affection Faiz feels for Nagina is evident. However, a simple man living on the good graces of Nagina’s family, Faiz is not an option Nagina would consider.
At the end of the episode, we see Dildar Begum return from the event as a shocked Sitara Jahaan looks on. Did Firoza run away? Or did Dildar Begum have more sinister plans? We will find out next week! Overall, the show opened on an interesting note and served to build a basis for the show moving forward. The “tawaif” story has been done several times over the years, most recently by Hum TV in Alif Allah Aur Insaan. One could say that the story has been done to death. However, as this show is based on a novel and boasts of a spectacular cast, viewers can assume that this one will offer something new and worthwhile. We’ll have to wait and watch!