I remember, as a teenage girl, accompanying some friends to the Shah Jamal mazar in Lahore to experience the magic of Pappu Saeen. I remember being hit by the strong cloud of marijuana that hovers in the air every Thursday night when the dhamaal is in full session; it’s so intense that it gets one light headed within moments.
So here’s the thing. I refuse to believe that Samira Fazal, someone who wrote Dastaan and the award-winning Mera Naseeb, could possibly have penned Anaa. It seems more likely that several different writers were appointed to write separate storylines for different characters and that they were locked up at Shah Jamal while doing it; the writing is definitely not a sane or sober person’s piece of work. The last episode of Anaa, which aired Sunday night, is living proof of it.
Areesh and Daneen: These two cousins, in love since episode one, struggled to be together for 29 episodes. They kept at it, through their separate marriages to different people, through sickness and health, elopements, runaways and kidnappings, through accidents and shootings and what not. But in the last episode, taking a split second decision keeping Areesh’s best interest in mind, Daneen takes off and leaves for New York. In the blink of a chameleon’s eyelid. This was senseless plot one.
Areesh and Ania: These two cousins were forcefully tied in matrimony against Areesh’s will, even though Areesh loved Daneen there developed some misunderstanding between them; he gradually developed a liking for the sweet and seemingly benign Ania. Infact, he liked her enough to have a baby with her, which complicated his exit plan. Areesh obviously missed all the birth control and family planning campaigns. Anyway, he continued to swing between resenting and admiring Ania (also reflecting on his spinelessness) until the last episode, when Daneen leaves for NY and Areesh and Ania are seen flirting. Not adjusting to each other or reflecting on the past. Flirting. As if Areesh was waiting for Daneen to leave. This was senseless plot two.
Altamash and Izza: Definitely the more popular couple of the story, Altamash and Izza’s relationship was also not flawless but the writer did appear to put some effort into writing it. So, there was chemistry between Altamash and Izza since day one, but due to Izza’s mistrust, it never blossomed. The trust issue came up when she saw him with other women, when he mistrusted Daneen, when Nishwa claimed to be engaged to him (him being the eligible bachelor) and finally, when Izza came to find that Altamash had murdered someone. That actually came as a shock to us too as it was introduced at the very end of the drama. But all is forgiven, in the last episode of course, and their happy ending led to that extremely awkward wedding-night scene.
Senseless scene 3: Both Altamash and Izza seen on dates, with different people, at the same time, at the same café in the last episode. I mean, their cousin Areesh is fighting for his life in the hospital, Ania (Altamash’s sister) just had a baby and is struggling with her marriage, their Daadi Sahab just passed away…and they’re on dates. Let me throw my hands up in despair at this point.
Nishwa: It seems like Nishwa’s story and character was written by a different person altogether; someone who was briefly given a summary of the story in the 20th-odd episode and asked to inject Nishwa as a threat to everyone. The only person she was a threat to was herself; as an actor and character, because she was one of the most idiotic characters ever written and even that she couldn’t deliver properly. Nishwa suddenly rises as a self-proclaimed heir to her father’s fortune (we’re not convinced) and conspires to get her brother and pregnant sister in law killed (or hurt enough to miscarry) to remove all competition. This was yet another senseless track.
I don’t want to go into more details and risk losing my sanity, but my condolences with everyone who watched Anaa for Altamash and Izza, for Hania Amir or for the lovely backdrop or for the hope that the story would pick up and start making sense. The story delivered nothing it promised; the characters fell prey to choppy plots and loopy arches. And in the last episode it ended just as haphazardly as it began.
Let’s hope that a drama serial more worthy of the Sunday Prime Time slot will replace this one.