When the promos of “Dour” released, they were met with a wave of curiosity – with Sania Saeed’s interesting wig and Azfar Rehman’s terrifying behavior grabbing the viewer’s attention. With several talented artists associated with this show, “Dour” immediately became a show to look forward to. Written by Saji Gul and directed by Mazhar Moin, this drama stars Sania Saeed, Ali Abbas, Hina Altaf, Azfar Rehman, Adla Khan, Nayyar Ejaz, Iffat Omer, Haaris Waheed and several others. Let’s discuss how the first episode fared.
In episode 1, we are introduced to Asma (Hina Altaf) and her father (Nayyar Ejaz) who are each other’s support after Asma’s mother passed away. Her father holds his past profession as a puppeteer responsible for his wife’s death and all their misfortunes afterwards, now working as a tailor. Adding to their troubles, Yasmin (Adla Khan), Asma’s sister, arrives back home with her children after her husband’s demands refuse to end. This was a marriage arranged by Kulsoom (Iffat Omer), the girls’ Khala, and she is seen scolding Yasmin for not being able to control matters. This is a typical mentality in South Asian households, throwing a girl headfirst into an arranged, undesired marriage and then blaming her for the outcome. Fortunately, Yasmin does not hold back and says exactly this, making it clear that it was her family, the decision of her elders, which held her back from completing her education and put her in this position where she is dependent on an unreliable man. It’s heartbreaking to see Yasmin’s condition and Asma is particularly affected by it, stating that she will never get married and will be her father’s support.
What works in the favor of “Dour” is the mysterious element – this show does not reveal its cards all at once. We are introduced to Mrs. Ehtasham (Sania Saeed), a woman who is haunted by dreams/memories of her past, a past which involves a tormented relationship with the dead – but who? That’s not yet clear, other than the fact that Mrs. Ehtasham harbors severe hatred in her heart for this dead individual (a woman?). Mrs. Ehtasham is shown as a dual personality. She is a woman who is strong, dominating and ruthless in both business and in how she treats her household help. She is also abusive and does not play fair, as we see with her office employee who has had his payment withheld for six months. But on the other hand, she also puts on a very different face for her son Romaan (Ali Abbas), who she seems to manipulate with her kindness and thankfulness. Romaan’s brother Abaan (Azfar Rehman) keeps the household on their toes with his unpredictable, angry behavior, brought on after an accident. There’s something interesting about Mrs. Ehtisham’s behavior towards her two sons – while her attitude towards Abaan may be exasperated, it also seems genuine – while her attitude towards Romaan is almost fake, a perfectly constructed act. There is a lot to uncover in this storyline and the first episode has done a great job hooking the viewer.
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Last, but not least, Romaan meets Asma at her college event when he hears her singing and is immediately enamored by her. This would be a love story worth rooting for if we, as the audience, weren’t already aware that Asma would be walking into a nightmare of a situation by going into Romaan’s household. Ali Abbas and Hina Altaf are perfectly endearing so far, putting a smile on the face with their scenes together. Sania Saeed and Azfar Rehman both steal the show, even though Azfar only appears for about 3 minutes in the first episode. Abaan is an intriguing character and his accident appears to be yet another mystery on the show. Of course, Sania Saeed is the greatest pull, this role coming as a surprise on the heels of “Raqeeb Se,” Mrs. Ehtisham being a role completely different from the soft-spoken, kind Hajra. While the wig initially looked odd, it somehow works in accordance with the role she is playing. Special mention to Nayyar Ejaz as Asma’s father – it’s rare these days to see him playing a soft, kind-hearted role, so his performance comes across as refreshingly different. Overall, the first episode of “Dour” gets this show off to a great start, wrapped in mystery, keeping the audience on their toes as to what will happen next – particularly with Abaan and Asma coming face-to-face next week.