My pick for ‘drama of the week’ segment was Daam. Produced by Abdullah Kadwani & Humayun Saeed’s production house 7th Sky, written by Umera Ahmed & directed by my absolute favorite Mehreen Jabbar. Before even starting, I couldn’t imagine enough about the magic that would’ve been created by this duo & after it ended, I was in an awe of the perfection.
It we put it in simple words, Daam is a story of two best friends belonging to different social classes. But as simple as it sounds, it sheds a light on an ocean of complications. Starting from those who struggled for basics to those who possessed luxuries, their journeys were covered undoubtedly with a perfection. Initially I actually struggled to get hold of the intermingled relations that the characters had with each other but the moment I got hold of everything, I was hooked to the show. The main characters were Zara, Maliha & Junaid but I must say that the supporting characters – each one of them contributed in making Daam a wholesome package. Not even once I felt that the side tracks were boring or had nothing to offer & the way they were handled brilliantly made me want to know more about them just as much as the main leads.
The list of cast & characters is:
Sanam Baloch – Zara
Amina Sheikh – Maliha
Adeel Hussain – Junaid
Nimra Bucha – Aasma
Sanam Saeed – Fiza
Behroz Sabzwari – Haji Sahab
Mohammad Yasir – Jamal
Faisal Shah – Yasir
Pari Hashmi – Mano
Lubna Aslam & Shahid Naqvi – Amna, Hidayat (Zara’s parents)
Mohammad Ahmed & Parveen Malik – Sami & Mama (Maliha’s parents)
Maliha’s life was depicted as picture perfect. With absolutely supportive parents & a brother-love Junaid. They all were like a peaceful perfect family & the wavelength Maliha & Junaid shared was the best thing to see. Maliha’s parents ran a hospital, she herself was an MBBS student & Junaid was studying in USA. Apart from her family, the only person who meant the world to Maliha was Zara, her best friend. The only good reference that I can put forward about Maliha’s character is that she was Zara’s friend & that’s all there’s to it. Sadly, other than that she hasn’t done much to be remember her by. Junaid was a very honest, clear-headed & gentle person who believed in simplifying things rather than complicating them. The best couple of this drama for me was of Maliha’s parents. I say that because after a long long time I got to see such people who were not only blessed with the luxuries of life but also were blessed with an equally big heart. The point was well-made that even though they had everything, they also had a grace to share it with the people they cared about. Their gestures & courtesy towards Zara always brought an overwhelming smile to my face.
Zara’s life was a juxtaposition to Maliha’s. Zara’s father – Hidayat was financially unstable & couldn’t provide his family with the basic necessities. Aasma was Zara’s eldest 35 y/o sister, was single & worked as a secretary. Jamal was an aspiring actor but was unlucky in getting the break. At first he came across as someone who was striving half-heartedly for his passion but he actually wanted to do good by his family & whenever he earned anything, he gave it to his mother. Mano was the youngest sibling & was mentally challenged. Aasma being the only consistent bread earner of the family had become bitter because of facing rejections in proposals & by struggling through out her life. She thought nothing good can ever happen to her & all her feelings came across very clearly. In this whole family, the only person who never complained was Zara. She accepted her life but never stopped striving for better. Zara always took care of the smallest needs of her family & for this reason she was seen doing groceries with the prize money she earned by securing 1st position in a college debate competition & giving her share of food to her siblings. Zara’s mother Amna was the only sister of well settled brothers who were financially sound but were estranged. The only brother who lived in the same vicinity & were on talking terms was Haji Sahab. Who was modest & religious in Amna’s perspective & also to some extent Amna’s hope.
Samra was Sami’s only sister & was also a single mother of two – Yasir & Fiza. Samra only had a support of her brother after she separated from her husband & Sami did all he could to keep their family afloat. Even though Sami was her elder brother & Samra’s family were the in laws of Maliha, they in literal terms were just mean relatives. They took Sami & his support for granted & even though they accepted Maliha as Yasir’s wife-to-be, each one of them had complexes of their own. Fiza was a spoiled brat who had the support of her family, she was an egoist who wanted things her way & was very good at brain feeding. Yasir was a mama’s boy to the extent of blinding unintelligence. Yasir made sure that Maliha understood that she could never have an upper hand in their family even after her father supported them because truthfully they never were grateful to Sami for all that he did for them, all these years. Despite the fact that they were the literate & enlightened ones, very nicely they depicted the pettiness people can harbour in their hearts against their own blood relations because of their own insecurities.
Haji Sahab was the most interesting character for me in this drama because he highlighted the true nature of people who on one hand pose to the world that they only know the art of helping others but on the other hand ignore the actual responsibilities they have towards their relatives. Haji Sahab preached a lot about being a good & God fearing Muslim but in reality but when it came to practicing, he mended the rules & teachings of Islam. When it came to his sister’s family, her son’s role in a drama was prohibited, but when it came to his family, giving a brand new car in dowry was permissible. He was one of those who condemned if a male friend gave a lift to some girl in need but would ignore the fact that the very same girl has to face all sorts of molestation while waiting for a bus at a bus stand. As Islamic he posed to be, he was a pompous gossip monger & lacked a wisdom that people may attain if in true sense they understand the teachings of Islam. For himself just because he had money, he thought he was authorized to do anything he wished for. Haji Sahab & his wife were just the faces to actually portray how harsh & selfish relatives can be. Haji Sahab depicted those Muslims perfectly who believe offering 5 obligatory prayers would earn them Jannah. Just because he couldn’t relate to his sister’s problems, all he could do was to lecture them, when he couldn’t help them, he only ended up complaining every single time.
The drama begins at a note where Maliha & Zara are how friends should be like – totally supportive of each other. Their friendship isn’t confined to themselves only but their families are involved too. Maliha’s family endears Zara & likewise everyone in Zara’s family knows about Maliha & respects her because of the timely helping gestures Maliha does for her. One thing that stood out for me the most about Zara’s character was that she was never seen hopeless about the situations in life. Even though Maliha knew about Zara’s background but she wasn’t exposed to the actual problems Zara & her family faced because despite the fact that how much Zara was engulfed in the miseries, she believed in keeping her problems to herself because she wanted a sympathy-free friendship in a dignified manner.
Fiza being their class fellow, Maliha’s first cousin & her SIL-to-be thought she could control everything that Maliha did therefore Fiza took it as her responsibility to keep reminding Maliha of what sort of a liability Zara was being on her. Fiza had issues with every single person she ever got in contact with, therefore due to her complaining nature she becomes a major reason for Maliha’s problem pre & post marital life. Amna has to face derogation every single time from her brother or his wife because they think of themselves as the higher beings while Amna’s family did every thing objectionable as per them. Junaid & Zara even though never promised each other anything but knew they had a compatibility & spark to become a perfect couple. It’s the time of Maliha’s hurried wedding when she finds out about Junaid’s liking towards Zara. This is the moment when she starts having baseless prejudices against her best friend. In the mean time oblivious of Maliha’s feelings, Zara keeps Junaid’s proposal on hold because she herself has Aasma’s wedding to take care of.
This is where everything changes when Maliha starts discussing her personal issues with Fiza. Fiza who is clearly interested in Junaid after her own breakup, grabs the opportunity & brainfeeds Maliha about how she must get rid of Zara. Despite the fact that she knew how much Junaid loved her & how convinced their parents were to make Zara their daughter in law, Maliha never actually shows her detest but within herself she starts harbouring the feelings that no one ever finds out about & starts manipulating the situations against Zara very tactfully. Things actually go wrong just before Aasma’s wedding when their father is imprisoned & Zara is forced by her family to ask for some monetary help from Maliha. Maliha lost in her rage & blinded by Fiza’s influence asks her to pay the price by walking out of Junaid’s life. Zara – having no other option agrees & this is where their friendship ends.
Zara goes to UK on a scholarship & things start shaping up in their family. Maliha, suffering in her own guilt now starts experiencing a difficult time in her in-laws where they pressurize her family for Fiza & Junaid’s wedding. Maliha, selfish to the core & just in order to save her marriage makes a decision for Junaid’s life. 7 years pass & even though Junaid marries Fiza, nothing in Maliha’s life changes because Fiza was still unhappy & every single time Maliha faced the consequences. In Zara’s family, she becomes a cardiac surgeon, Jamal is now an award-winning director, Aasma’s well-settled & Mano passes away. In a brief encounter with Zara, Junaid finds out about things he was oblivious of & then decides to divorce Fiza & get married to Zara as he always loved her. Maliha tries to earn the apology by undoing the mess she created, walks out of her own marriage, confesses everything to Junaid & convinces Zara on getting married to her brother but Zara parts her way again & moves on in life & gets married to her colleague Hassan & settles in the UK.
The Brilliance of Daam:
I loved to-the-point & simple dialogues of the drama. No doubt the conversations were really simple but they weren’t short on the meaning. I loved how easily such beautiful thoughts were shared that too with ease but my favorite dialogue has to be when Aasma asks her Mamu ‘Mamu App Thakte Nahi Hain, Naikiyaan Kar Kar Ke, Mai Hoti To Thakk Jati’. :) Even though each & every episode was based on the daily struggles & issues of all the families, I never got bored & thought they were executed brilliantly. I loved Daam for the fact the smallest of small details like sadnesses, taunts, sacrifices, understandings, misunderstandings, generosity, happiness that people experience in their daily routine were highlighted with the help of all the characters & nothing was left for us to fill in the blanks. All the characters were established with such a perfection that they embodied the strengths & the weaknesses of a human nature with perfection.
I think Nimra Bucha has done a phenomenal job, I was never so impressed by her but she as Aasma had me & just because of Nimra’s acting, I felt the most for Aasma’s character because apart from her family, no one ever appreciated her & thought she was too headstrong. The relationship Zara & Aasma shared was actually nice to see because they depicted how sisters become eachothers strength in the time of need. I also enjoyed the chemistry Zara’s family shared because they actually came across as a family that stood by each other during the hard times & a small success of any one of them came as an opportunity for all to rejoice. Zara & Junaid’s relationship was another brilliant aspect portrayed beautifully where they never promised one another anything but still knew what sort of feelings they possessed. It was a beauty of their relationship that nothing was ever said but a certain understanding always bound them together.
My least favorite character was of Maliha, I really didn’t get why she turned against her best friend & what blinded her. Even though she thoroughly confesses & apologizes & to make things right she even walks out of her marriage, I still believe it wasn’t enough because she never had the right to spoil anyone’s life to shape her own. Haji Sahab & his wife were a picture perfect depiction of how selfish people can get when they themselves have nothing to worry about & give themselves a pat on their egos when they see other’s suffering. They depicted those certain relatives everyone actually come across in real lives, who just love to complain & are always in some sort of a competition marathon with their dear ones. They were the ones who loved bragging but never actually tried bringing a change in their blood-relative’s lives.
I actually waited to see if the ending of Daam will grow on me & if I will come to terms with it but as I thought about it, yes, Zara’s decision made sense, even though she paid back every single penny she owed to Maliha once & if she wanted she could’ve turned things her way but she moves on & finds her share of happiness. But after all this, I feel the most for Junaid because he could never get what he deserved. He could never be happy in his life because he loved Zara. He was never the one who put anyone else in a difficult situation, he wasn’t responsible for what happened & how unreasonably his sister reacted but after all that what he had to accept because of his sister – he didn’t deserve it. So, for this & for the sake of my favorite characters Zara & Junaid, I wish that the ending was a bit different. Zara always had an upper hand because she wasn’t guilty & nor was she responsible for breaking Fiza’s marriage because she wasn’t even in the picture when Junaid & Fiza got married & started having issues, so for this even if Zara had gotten married to Junaid, for me Daam would’ve been a bit more complete, some other way.
All the actors did their jobs really well. Special mention goes to Pari Hashmi as Mano because it was definitely a challenging role which she did effortlessly. I am glad that the script like Daam was directed by Mehreen Jabbar because her approach is phenomenal. I loved the fact that nothing was overdone & her aesthetics were precise. Things that needed to be explained were in detail but things which weren’t important never made it to the screen. I actually want to know what sort of a pep talk Mehreen Jabbar gives to her actors before she starts off with the direction because each one of the actor looks effortless & they seem to be breathing the characters assigned to them. Behroz Sabzwari, Sanam Baloch, Amina Sheikh, Adeel Hussain, Lubna Aslam, Nimra Bucha, Sanam Saeed, Mohammad Ahmed & all the other actors were just simply brilliant & I don’t think anyone else would’ve done justice to these characters like these phenomenal actors did. I have always been a fan of Mehreen Jabbar’s direction & Daam definitely gives me another reason to be.
I loved watching this drama because it was like a rollercoaster ride of emotions which provided an overwhelming experience, a few reality checks, a change in the perspective & a lot of heart-warming moments.Share your experience of watching Daam with us.
Until the next overview of ‘Akbari Asghari’ by me.