“Dil Na Umeed Toh Nahi” is a show that goes from strength to strength each week with a gripping story that only intensifies with each episode. This is also why the hiatus for this show came as such a disappointment for Pakistani drama viewers – while the Ramadan shows were a great distraction, was it really necessary for this show to lose momentum by being put on pause for a month? Still, the show has come back with a bang, the storyline really taking off in the last two episodes. Starring Yumna Zaidi, Wahaj Ali, Nauman Ijaz, Yasra Rizvi, Navid Shahzad, Omair Rana and others in lead roles, “Dil Na Umeed Toh Nahi” has been written by Amna Mufti and directed by Kashif Nisar.
In episode 15, the girls from the “kotha” now find themselves displaced, dispersed into different locations. The weight of Suraiyya’s death (“Umrah”) weighs heavy on the heart, everything changed now in her absence. Ikram (Adnan Shah Tipu) has taken Savera (Yasra Rizvi) and Sadia to a different kotha, one very much unlike the place they’ve just come from. Having lived the life of high-profile escorts with rich clientele, this drop from grace is not only felt by Sadia, but also Ikram who is horrified at his new fate. Adding oil to the fire is Savera, who is unbothered, realizing that it’s now their goal to simply survive and make it through the hell that is their life. Yasra Rizvi is incredible in these scenes, particularly in her face-off with Adnan Shah Tipu. Later, back at the now-empty kotha, Ikram is confronted by Zulfi (Omair Rana), questioning Suraiyya’s disappearance. He sticks to his “Umrah” story, though it’s apparent that Zulfi is well-aware of what this truly means. Omair Rana is wonderful in this role and viewers finally understand how much Zulfi has cared for Suraiyya. We see his mother inquiring about her as well – and Zulfi avoiding the question, broken himself and not wanting to worry her. While viewers don’t generally praise the “bad guys,” Adnan Shah Tipu deserves a mention for his role, not only delivering a great, sinister performance himself, but also extracting the best out of the actors opposite him.
Sumbal (Yumna Zaidi) pushes forward, the adrenaline keeping her moving, unwilling to get caught yet again. Sumbal has run before, several times, always getting caught and she knows that this is her final chance for freedom. Yumna Zaidi is wonderful here as Sumbal trembles, temporarily forgetting the address, plagued with worry and fear before remembering and making her way to her destination – Jamshed (Wahaj Ali). Jamshed meets her at the shelter, but Sumbal is so shaken, she begs to be taken somewhere else, so he takes her home with him. It’s here that the story, slowly over days, comes out. While Jamshed and his father (Nauman Ijaz) are supportive, his father is wary of Sumbal’s presence, realizing that those after her are influential and this could be putting Jamshed in harm’s way. Still, it’s an incredible moment when Nauman Ijaz, Wahaj Ali and Yumna Zaidi, three incredible actors, all share the frame.
And last, but not least, Naseem’s future lies in peril as Qazi (Noor Ul Hassan) and Sherwani (Kashif Mehmood) make plans for her future – plans that go directly against Najma’s (Samiya Mumtaz) hopes for her daughter. Najma wants the best for her daughters and dreams of Naseem not only playing sports on a national level, but also wants a college education for her girls. Unfortunately, Sherwani and Qazi are small-minded men and gear up to make yet another decision for the women in Qazi’s household – Sherwani and Naseem’s marriage. How will Najma get Naseem out of this predicament? Samiya Mumtaz, a stellar performer, has really begun to shine as Najma as she sees her dreams crashing down around her.
The beauty of this show is how many layers there are to even the side characters. Whether it be doctor sahib or Zulfi, Suraiyya or even Sadia, not one character is one-dimensional. These characters are real individuals, fleshed out, grey, the products of their own experiences. Now with Sumbal’s true identity being revealed to Jamshed soon and Naseem’s story reaching a climax, it will be interesting to see how this story shapes up moving forward. Along with “Raqeeb Se,” “Dil Na Umeed Toh Nahi” is another winner currently making its mark felt on our television screens.