You must have seen numerous films and TV shows that end with a cliffhanger. This is a sure shot way to leave viewers hooked and in anticipation of the next episode, sequel or season. But what would you say about a web-series which only has one high point (in 12 episodes) that comes in the last 10 seconds of the season’s closure? That’s Wajahat Rauf’s latest venture Enaaya for you.
In Wajahat’s defense – who is the writer, director, producer and also an actor in it – Enaaya is a light-hearted story revolving around a group of university friends and thus there shouldn’t be any need of suspense in the story. Enaaya (Mehwish Hayat) is the only child of a single parent who has father-estrangement issues. She is passionate for music like her band mates played by Jimmy (Azfar Rehman), Rasik (Asad Siddiqui) and Mikoo (Waqar Godhra). The plot seems simple enough as the band members struggle to get music gigs facing difficulties at home as none of their families support their passion for music.
Characters, setting, plot are done, but where’s the conflict? It seems pretty obvious that Mehwish’s estranged father (Saife Hassan) will cross paths with his daughter as he was shown to be a musician in some capacity. Here enters Jimmy’s clingy girlfriend Faryal (Faryal Mehmood) who is crazy from the get go. The girl is erratic, abusive and downright obsessive but interestingly, nobody in their circle realizes her condition. Faryal’s desperate cry for help is even ignored when she uses ex-band member and campus goon Asad to take revenge from Enaaya or when she starts drug abuse. Is anyone paying attention? It’s a pity that even our content portrays serious mental conditions merely as a common attribute of a ‘jealous girlfriend’.
It’s a moment of pride when a Pakistani series is brought by Eros Now which is an Indian video on-demand media platform. It’s the first step in the right direction but we only wish that the narrative could have been stronger and more close to home. There was much brouhaha recently about abusive language used in the series and indecent commentary.
While I raise no objections, it certainly seemed coerced and would have seemed better if done organically. For instance, bit*h, who*e, fu*k are words that we all have heard or uttered at some point in our lives and there are people who use them in daily conversations but adding them in every sentence doesn’t make you cool. Or more so irrelevant chatter about porn or casual drinking or restrained hints at physical relationships are out-of-place ideas that we don’t expect, especially when you are showing a group of friends belonging to decent backgrounds.
The story pits Faryal and Enaaya against each other with Jimmy being the bone of contention but we never see any chemistry between Enaaya and Jimmy. The only romantic angle which ‘works well’ (for a lack of better word thereof) is Rasik and Maryam (Rabab Hashim). The two lovebirds have contrasting personalities and somehow that complements well in what little part they play.
For a musical drama, we expect the series to at least have grip over the music. It was lovely to see a female protagonist who sings well in real life and we appreciate that the songs are performed by Mehwish. The writer seems to be confused if the campus music competition was titled ‘The Battle’ or ‘Battle of the Bands’. A competition with prize money of 5 lac rupees would have more than one decent performance and any renowned musician in the judges panel. Also, Jimmy’s bedroom poster magically reappears in the record label’s office. A notable mention to all hit songs by Noori that bring back nostalgic memories.
TV series are a great medium to grab the audience either with exceptional characters as you have seasons to get associated with them or with dialogues. In Enaaya, the dialogues have no recall value. There is vaguely one that I remember by Rasik who says “ganay bachon ki tarah hote hein, koi ek dusre se better nahi hota.”
The humour can also not be termed as the highlight of the show. There were pop culture references like ‘Waderay Ka Beta‘ or ‘Eye To Eye’ but nothing that cracks you up. There was no need of a stereotypical character such as Mikoo (previously seen playing a similar part in Romeo Weds Heer). It is high time we also realize the inherent fat-shaming in our scripts.
Enaaya’s first season is almost five hours long and the cliffhanger at the end guarantees a second season for there are many open storylines to explore. Let’s hope the second edition – which is expected by the end of 2019 – will not disappoint us.