“Dulhan” is beginning to inch towards its conclusion point. Starring Sami Khan, Sumbal Iqbal, Faizan Khawaja and Mashal Khan in lead roles, the story has been written by Adeel Razzaq and directed by Adeel Siddiqui. The story focuses on Amal, played by Sumbal Iqbal, a woman who finds herself tricked into an unusual situation and continues to suffer the consequences of her decision long after she escapes from it. At present, Mekaal and Annie are struggling in their new marriage as Annie has grown suspicious of Mekaal’s relationship with Amal.
Episode 20 picks up where episode 19 left off with Annie (Mashal Khan) and Amal (Sumbal Iqbal) squabbling over Mekaal (Sami Khan). Amal, frustrated with being Annie’s punching bag, lays it all out about her marriage to Mekaal and states that if he couldn’t be loyal to her, he won’t be loyal to Annie either. This strikes a chord with Annie, who already has extreme trust issues and has always been terribly possessive over Mekaal. She runs home crying, vowing to her mother that she will take revenge before her mother tells her to properly investigate and get to the truth before destroying her marriage. Fortunately or unfortunately, Annie is unable to keep silent and confronts Mekaal, asking him yet again about Amal. This triggers Mekaal, who goes into a flying rage, accusing Annie of constantly suspecting him, accusing him and spying on him. Annie, of course, takes a few steps back seeing the intensity of his anger and frustration towards her as he tells her to go home if she doesn’t trust him. If there has ever been a perfect example of gaslighting in a Pakistani drama, this is it. Annie is irritating, possessive, suspicious and insanely jealous, but one thing she is not is dim. She is an intelligent woman with a solid intuition – and she can pick up on something being amiss with Mekaal and Amal. But Mekaal has played his role perfectly here, throwing Annie’s mental state into doubt and confusion as she grapples with her own actions and wonders if she has crossed a line. Mashal Khan may be playing the anti-heroine (who really isn’t a bad person at all), but she is doing a wonderful job in doing so. Annie’s emotions are raw and real, Mashal’s expressions changing from smug to crestfallen within a moment. Annie is all over the place emotionally, but she’s also relatable – and it’s clear that her behaviour is a product of how Mekaal has always yo-yoed her around with his lack of loyalty and commitment. Would an average girl have dumped him long ago? Yes, but Annie isn’t particularly “normal” in her behaviour.
Mekaal angrily calls Amal, asking why she told Annie about their marriage. Amal, at this point, is done with playing nice and tells Mekaal that if he ever bothers her again, she will tell his entire family in public. Amal is being pursued heavily by Shahmeer (Faizan Khawaja) at this point as he lures her in with the promise of a job. But Amal isn’t a stupid woman. She rejects his offer, but she lands up at her home and sweet-talks her (greedy) stepmother into taking her for the job interview. Ironically, Mekaal spots the two together and comes to Amal’s “rescue,” an intervention she does not care for. Mekaal seems to have a real problem – he does not understand what his own emotions are. Does he love Annie? No. Does he love Amal? He doesn’t think so. Is it simply guilt? And if so, then why is he following Amal and warning her against working with Shahmeer? Amal states the same, asking Mekaal why he comes to her rescue if he doesn’t want anything to do with her? She is as fed up at this point as viewers are with Mekaal’s indecisive behavior and just wants to move on. Sami Khan does a great job playing this confused, indecisive, aimless man, one who is living his life by going through the motions, but without any aim.
Sumbal Iqbal gives a stellar performance this week as Amal goes through several emotions in this episode. Amal is finally coming out of her scared shell and is learning to speak up for herself and fight against those constantly pointing fingers at her – and it seems as though she has finally found a way to get her own revenge on these two men. Playing Shahmeer and Mekaal against each other will unravel to be her perfect revenge and it will be interesting as viewers to see how this situation unfolds as well. While “Dulhan” is fairly repetitive content-wise and has had a slow pace in the last batch of episodes, it’s now headed in a direction that’s holding interest.