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Laaj – Episode 6 – Film Wali Kuri!

Uff-ho! Just a dream, rather a nightmare! With the cliffhanger-ish ending we were given to the previous episode, I thought Bari Sahab was to finally learn of the romance between Mannat and Shahmeer but it was only a bad dream. Bari Sahab is still in the dark but Ms. Busybody Alisha sees Mannat and Shahmeer together and has Mannat confide in her.

This episode focused more on Shahzeb and Alisha than my liking. Sorry mein itnay sawaal kar rahi hoon but mein iss ko apna ghar samajhti hoon. That being Alisha’s pet line, she learns more and more about Shahzeb and his family and I could see the strikes build up in her mind which is why I was not surprised when she suggested to Shahzeb that they live in Islamabad and that she could not live in this haveli. Rewind a bit, and a gleeful, skipping Alisha seemed to be in love with Shahzeb’s village. Cringe, cringe, cringe – that’s what I felt in all the scenes covering Alisha’s exploration of the village. Playing with the children, playing with the goats, hugging the children and hugging the goats – I mean, really?! I guess the green grass, children and goats were not enough to make Shahzeb’s village alluring enough for her to want to stay.

Mannat’s husband’s murder – Strike 1, Zainab telling Alisha that if a woman expresses her love for a man here it can lead to death – Strike 2, and Shahzeb’s conversation with her when he tells her that women are not encouraged to express their likes and dislikes and the long standing quarrel between Bari Sahab and Sikander – Strike 3. Out – goes Alisha’s fantasy of living in the village. Alisha did make sense though when she questioned that when Bari Sahab has so many lands then why not forego the school for due to the tussle between her and Sikander, it is the village children who suffer. What Shahzeb said in reply is the sad reality that it is not about how many lands they own but about their izzat.

Bari Sahab is not thrilled with Alisha’s presence at the haveli. Kaun kurri hai, kithun chuk laya hai had me cracking up. Waaqayi, kithun chuk laya hai, pray tell! Seeing how Shahzeb stands up to Bari Sahab for Alisha and then pondering over her friend’s words, Bari Sahab is beginning to warm to the idea of a match between Shahzeb and Zainab. I wonder why there is the constant reminder of the age difference between Zainab and Jahanzeb? True she does not look much older than Mannat but then she does not look much younger than Jahanzeb either so what is the deal here?! Given how much Bari Sahab loves Zainab and as both are her sons I am hoping she will mention both sons to Zainab and even if she presents Shahzeb as a potential husband, I hope Zainab is able to say it is Jahanzeb she wants to marry but nahin! Zainab ki umar nikalti ja rahi hai, so I suppose Bari Sahab will broach the topic of marriage soon again and if Zainab can get wed to Jahanzeb – then the drama is over. Sigh.

Rafiq is arrested and despite being beaten up by the police, his lips are sealed. Bari Sahab is ruthless when she suggests that Rafiq be killed so he can not rat out Jahanzeb. I liked how the suggestion shocked Jahanzeb (momentarily – but still!) but then he warms to the idea too. Rafiq’s wife’s statement to the police leads to Jahanzeb’s arrest and it remains to be seen whether he will be found guilty or let free soon. Sikander does not believe in striking when the iron is hot which would have been the chance to kill Shahzeb when he came to their house to offer his condolences rather he seems to be waiting very patiently for an opportunity to truly harm Bari Sahab and her family.

I had binge watched the first 5 episodes and while they were interesting, there were moments when my interest wavered. I enjoyed watching today’s episode and was surprised when I realized it had ended. The promos had sort of laid out the story to me till this point but I am waiting to see what happens post Jahanzeb’s arrest. Even though Zainab seems a bit too comfortable barging into Jahanzeb’s room and thoughts, I do like the chemistry between the two and hope they end up together soon but that does not seem likely. Zarnish Khan, Kamran Jillani and Asma Abbas continued to impress me with their acting in this episode. Love seeing Asma Abbas in this role – she truly does come across as the headstrong,ruthless Bari Sahab who presents one side to the world and a more loving, doting side to her own. I did find the whole frolicking in the village scenes between Shahzeb and Alisha extremely forced and noticeably so since both Zain’s and Sabeeka’s acting is really mediocre at best!

I knew you were trouble, trouble, trouble! – not to steal Taylor Swift’s words but seems like film wali Alisha is going to cause trouble at the haveli, going by the promo for next week’s episode. Wonder where Zainab and Jahanzeb’s track will lead from now and how soon before Jahanzeb is released. I am finding Laaj a decent watch so far – what about you? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Kunwal Javid

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