“Chalawa” is a show that hangs in the balance between fact and fiction, treading a space that forces the viewer to suspend their idea of logic. Parts of this story work with viewers, because we’ve grown up on this sort of folklore throughout our childhood. But how far can a story go without crossing a line into an unbelievable place? That remains to be seen. “Chalawa” tells a story about human beings who interact with the Jinn world. Starring Naveen Waqar, Samina Ahmed, Naveed Raza, Ali Ansari and Noor Khan, “Chalawa” has been written by Shahid Nizami and directed by Najaf Bilgrami. In the last episode, we saw Savera grow up and reunite with Sarnaash (by the way, this name choice is fitting and also very odd).
Episode 11 isn’t particularly eventful in the sense that it’s a lot of repetition. Mahnoor (Naveen Waqar) is under a lot of pressure from her sister-in-law to accept their proposal for Savera (Noor Khan). Savera, on the other hand, is completely opposed to this option and does not entertain any romantic notions for her cousin Sarosh – but Sarosh, of course, is a guy who refuses to take no for an answer. But why? From childhood, Savera and Sarosh have shared an aloof sort of relationship and neither seemed to particularly like each other, so why is this angle even necessary? On the other hand, Mahnoor becomes aware that Savera has begun talking to someone again and is concerned.
The greatest reveal in this episode is that Gulkand is not who Mahnoor thought him to be. Spotting a picture of Adnan with Hamdani (Adnan Jaffar), Mahnoor spots Gulkand in the photo and when the photo breaks, she finds a message from Adnan. The message is clear in stating that if he dies, Hamdani will be responsible. She is completely shocked, realizing she’s not only been working with the enemy, but also that he’s lost control over the “chalawa” and the chalawa is now back in their lives. But iis it solely Hamdani who is the enemy – or both? That’s the confusing part for Mahnoor.
The chalawa has taken over Harib’s (Ali Ansari) body and there’s a great scene where Harib finally manages to resurface and confides to his mother that he needs to see a doctor. He is feeling terrible and after discussing events (that he does not remember) with his friend, he is well-aware that something is terribly wrong. Ali Ansari’s performance in this scene really stands out and he’s doing a good job in this role. The backstory given to Savera is, again, suspending reality, but it remains to be seen how that is carried out from here on.
There are some issues that reveal themselves in this episode. First, why did Gulkand wait 20 years to tell Mahnoor that Hamdani is the problem? Couldn’t that dream conversation have occurred 20 years ago? The timing is ridiculous. There’s also a terrible scene towards the end where two men are sitting in a tree, staring at Savera, apparently her guards – but Savera believes they are just students casually sitting in a tree. The scene is meant to be spooky, but it’s much more comical than anything else. Adnan Jaffar’s Hamdani is becoming for a caricature than anything else, coming off very much as a Disney villain – but it’s hard to criticize, because he seems like he’s having so much fun with the role. Unfortunately, the weakest link of the show is Noor Khan, an actress who manages to maintain her sleepy, heavily medicated look from the beginning to end of each episode – and this isn’t anything new for her. She tends to play most of her roles like this. Along with Ali Ansari, Naveen Waqar and Samina Ahmed are the stars of this episode (as usual). The criticisms are only small ones and this story still has a lot of promise. One can only hope the story doesn’t follow a path that becomes unbelievable.