Iqbal Hussain’s directorial Deewar e Shab looked promising in its teasers and we were intrigued as to what will unfold in this distinctive story. The drama’s premiere on Saturday introduced us to the nostalgic setting of the play through a monologue that explains why Sitara Mehal, a courtesan house (also the home of the lead characters) lost all his former glory through the test of times. The place is now a sanctuary for those who are still associated to the art of dance and music.
The first few minutes of the play set the tone right with a visual of the matriarch of Sitara Mehal, Bushra Ansari crooning a tune on sitar (as Sitara Jehan) and Zara Noor Abbas’ beautiful performance. It is rare these days to see an actor fitting a role so perfectly that it feels it was made for her. Feroza (played by Zara) has that quality to steal the limelight with just a smile without speaking a word. It has been shown so far that Sitara Jehan has two daughters Feroza and Nagina (played by Nausheen Shah); both of whom have polar opposite personalities. Just as Sitara’s sister Dildar (played by Asma Abbas) has an interesting and apparently despicable character in the play.
We saw that everyone from the elders to the house-help gauge the new breed on Feroza’s standard, who is not just beautiful, but naïve, innocent and celebrated after only a few performances. While Sitara feared that her daughter is still unfamiliar with worldly ways, Dildar had some conniving plan in the making. On one hand she convinced Sitara to let Feroza go with her to perform in a mehfil, whilst on the other delivered a love letter to Feroza which provoked her to elope.
Another exciting aspect of Deewar e Shab has to be its ensemble cast and attention to detail. We see Mohsin Abbas Haider (Faiz) who is an underdog craftsman, Tara Mahmood (Shaama) playing the wise maid and we have yet to see Zainab Qayyum, Sarah Khan, Shahzad Sheikh and Shahroz Sabzwari’s characters. The scenery of the play suggests that it is set in the 80s and it is commendable that the director has even managed to show old Pakistani currency. We have a feeling that Sarah, Shahzad and Shahroz will probably be from another household (we get a glimpse of one with familial tension in the first episode) or a different generation but for that we have to watch the drama.
By the end of the first episode, we get hints that Zara will leave Sitara Mehal for love (not sure with whom) and Dildar will rejoice as she has corrupted Sitara’s prodigy. With so many developments in just one episode, we are definitely hooked for the roller coaster of emotions ahead.
Watch the first episode: