Another emotional and chilling depiction of the long-pitched Indo-Pak’s war takes the screen, in the form of a web series, Dhoop Ki Deewar. For years the Pakistani and Indian Industries have brought about creations surrounding the Indo-Pak war. In the form of the war and Kashmir issue, the never-ending wrath between the two nations, their struggle, and demise have been highlighted on the screen multiple times. Released on 25th June 2021, the first two episodes of Dhoop ki Deewar aired on Zee5 showing the same issue with a different angle. It presents the love story and connection of two star-crossed, more like, border-crossed lovers.
Cast and Characters
Dhoop Ki Deewar is a web series that presents an account of a cross-border love story between Sara, played by Sajal Aly, and Vishal, played by Ahad Raza Mir. This web series presents familiar faces from the Pakistani drama industry. Its cast includes experienced actress Samiya Mumtaz playing Vishal’s mother, and Zaib Rehman playing Vishal’s grandmother. Other prominent characters include Samina Ahmed as Sara’s grandmother and Manzar Sehbai, as Sara’s grandfather. The first two episodes presented these characters and as other episodes are released, more will be revealed.
See the full cast & characters here
Vishal, son of Colonel Vijay Malhotra, resides in a basic Indian household with his widowed grandmother, mother, and two young sisters. Similarly, Sara is the daughter of Colonel Sher Ali and lives with her grandparents, mother, and two younger siblings in Pakistan. As the two lead characters enjoy the rush of a cricket match between Pakistan and India, with their families, both families get grieving news from their respective armies.
Vishal and Sara both put on proud faces for having a martyred father and are offering their respects at their burials when the media asks for their input. Loaded questions from the media incite responses from the mourning families. Sara tells the Pakistani media that she is proud to be the daughter of a brave martyr and Vishal does the same. However, later on, Sara finds a video of Vishal through social media and witnesses his statement. She gets aggressive upon hearing Vishal calling his deceased father“a fearless Indian army officer that taught a lesson to the Pakistani army”.
Sara then contacts Vishal and posts her own statements against deceased Colonel Vijay Malhotra and calls her father, deceased Colonel Sher Ali, the true hero. This quarrel attracts much media attention and before they know it, they become a trending topic on national and international media. Vishal gets called for an interview on a local channel headed by his friend’s mother and simultaneously some journalists come to Sara’s house to get her side of the story.
During the time of simultaneous coverage of the two, deceased Colonel Vijay Malhotra’s sister and brother-in-law visit India from Canada. As Colonel Vijay Malhotra passes away, his sister asks her mother for a share in the property. Vishal’s grandmother tells her daughter that she wishes to keep the property and land for Vijay’s children, but her daughter counters that Vishal’s family will get a lot of fringe benefits.
Meanwhile Sara’s mother and grandmother show discontent over Sara bringing up this issue on national television. They advise Sara to remain calm rather than fighting via posts on social media. Sara defends herself by stating that her opinion matters as much as Vishal’s.
As far as controversial topics go, it’ll be fair to claim this series is going to attract much attention. Following up on the Pakistani drama industry, Haseeb Hassan‘s collaboration with Shailja Kejriwal attracted a number of comments on Twitter. Before its release, this series got a bunch of rough comments that painted it as unpatriotic. However, as subjective as the matter can be, so far, as a viewer, I haven’t witnessed anything patriarchal in the season.
In fact, I saw that at one point, at the beginning of the first episode, Vishal’s mother was enjoying making fun of Indian television dramas such as Naagin. Naagin is a top-rated Indian drama that focuses on Indian mythology, and Vishal’s mother made a small joke about it not being worthy due to its lack of content value. Looking at this statement in the series, I can certainly claim that this series isn’t one-sided nor is it patriarchal.
Director, Haseeb Hassan, and Writer, Umera Ahmed wouldn’t be surprised that such sensitive topics have always been debated rather than discussed. Therefore, let’s get to the actual series here. From what we’ve seen in the first two episodes, the characters gained my empathy. I think it’s still pretty soon to applaud one particular member from the star cast for their acting. I think it was the joint efforts of the entire cast and crew that evoked emotions from the viewers.
Death and martyrdom is always a gloomy topic, and I’m glad that without any dramatization the actors and director were able to create a feeling of sadness. For instance, Vishal’s mother isn’t seen beating the floors or breaking plates upon hearing the news that her husband just passed away. Rather, she is seen staring at old photographs when Vishal walks in and tries to comfort her in the best way that he sees possible. As innocent as a moment can be between a mother and son, Vishal offers his mother some food. Such small moments create an evident effect on its viewers and that is something Haseeb Hassan kept in mind with this production.
Moreover, he worked exceptionally well while combining and presenting simultaneous viewpoints of the happenings in India and Pakistan. He literally painted the similarities between the two families by presenting two events simultaneously, on screen. In my opinion, this was his intention from the beginning; to make the audience realize that whether we may be Pakistani’s or Indian’s, the level of pain experienced by each of us is the same.
Powerful Music and Dialogues
As far as music goes, this web series has shown great strength in presenting beautiful pieces. I think that music uplifts a scene where emotion is demanded. A music piece can either make a scene or break a scene. Judaiyaan Kyun, written and sung by Bilal Saeed, was a terrific piece that got fit into the first episode. As Sara and Vishal undergo the demise of their lost fathers, this song plays out. Not only is it sad that the two had to lose their fathers so suddenly, but it’s also gut-wrenching how nobody truly cares. This song plays out and takes the viewers on a journey that helps them connect with the characters. The name speaks for itself, Judaiyaan Kyun.
Moreover, I cannot begin to explain how good dialogues can take a scene a long way. Throughout the two episodes, Sara and Vishal, and everyone in their family is seen putting on a brave face. They say, “we’re proud to have lost our father in war”. But, there is one scene that takes my heart away as Vishal’s grandmother asks her daughter, “who says martyrs live forever? Ask their mothers. Yes! They die”. I’d give a standing ovation to this scene. Out of the entire two episodes, this was the most powerful moment for me, as a viewer.
Just like every film is made to be watched in a single sitting and every series is made with the preparation of a longer screen time, this series was well processed and thought of. The story played out in the first two episodes was done remarkably. As a viewer, initially, I was delighted by the music and plot, but, as the episode progressed, I started noticing the little bits.
Targeting the media of both countries as TRP hungry was a good touch. For instance, Vishal gives an interview to a local news channel whose producer instructs him to stay exclusive. She literally tells him not to provide his opinion to any other channel, hence, TRP hungry. Apart from the media, friends and family members were also shown to be selfish and inconsiderate. There is a scene where Vishal’s aunt asks for a share in the property. Despite living in Canada, she asks her mother to transfer their house in her name and simply claims that Vijay’s family will receive government benefits.
Where the media highlights the fight between Sara and Vishal, their friends encourage them to do the same. After all, Sara and Vishal were at grieving points and therefore lashed out at each other. They needed to hold someone responsible, hence, their debate on social media.
This play out of the characters engrossed in their feelings backlashing at each other was great to watch. Kudo’s to the director and the team for showing a play out of emotions in an orderly fashion. Otherwise, rookie directors tend to dramatize and over exaggerate content, i.e. simply unpleasant to watch.
I’m glad that there is more to come for it’ll be better to make a judgment whether this controversial series is nonpatriarchal or simply neutral, and we prefer a one-sided story.