“Dunk” is a show that started off with much promise. The concept, based on a true story, followed an accusation of sexual harassment – an accusation which was soon revealed to the audience to be false. The way this story played out initially was engrossing – however, less than halfway, the story turned into a warped sort of quadrangle love story and the case took a backseat. While some episodes more recently brought the story back on track, how did the finale fare? Starring Bilal Abbas Khan, Azekah Daniel, Sana Javed, Yasra Rizvi, Fahad Sheikh, Shahood Alvi, Laila Wasti, Saife Hassan and others, “Dunk” has been written by Mohsin Ali Shah and directed by Badar Mehmood.
In the finale, we see a whirlwind of occurrences and one just has to wonder if all this action needed to be packed into the finale at all? Why couldn’t these events have taken place one by one in previous episodes instead of cramming everything into a double episode? Let’s tackle points one by one. First, throughout the show, Amal (Sana Javed) has confessed to wrongdoing and all her crimes at any available moment. This is also how, if one remembers, Safeer (Fahad Sheikh) found out about Amal’s deception. And through all these moments, the audience found themselves wondering why Haider did not pull out his phone and record the entire conversation. What was the need to kidnap Amal and “break her down” to get her to confess and record it? She would have happily confessed it within the walls of her own home!
The best scenes in this episode revolve around Saife Hassan, Bilal Abbas Khan and Salma Hassan as the truth about Amal comes to light. Amal’s father is unable to absorb what his daughter has done not only to him, but to the entire family. The exchange between Haider and Amal’s father is intense and the way Saife Hassan and Bilal Abbas Khan enact this scene is brilliant. Unfortunately, this grief is too much to bear for Amal’s father and he commits suicide.
Moving to the courtroom scenes – I may not be a lawyer, but it’s evident that this sort of behavior is not permissible in the courtroom. Why is Haider introducing “new evidence” in the form of videos on his own phone on the day of without the lawyers having any prior knowledge? Why does Haider even have a lawyer? What role did she play in the “winning” of this case? Salma Hassan’s outburst in the courtroom and, later at home, are strong moments for her as an actress. She is a woman who has loved and supported her daughter through it all, but has lost her husband because of her daughter’s deception. Her performance is powerful. What isn’t powerful is the mockery they’ve made of the courtroom. Is this their drawing room for their family politics to play out? It’s absolute chaos! It’s honestly a ridiculous unfolding of events and hard to digest.
Even worse is Amal’s “understanding” after her father’s suicide. There is an obvious parallel here between Amal’s father’s suicide and Professor Hamayun’s suicide – a bit of karma, if you will, and this has had a profound impact on Amal. It’s understandable that the show had to do something like this to appease audiences, but is this really realistic? The answer is no. Amal is a character who has not shown any empathy from the beginning of the show. She is a woman who is void of genuine emotions. She has used her own family for her own personal gains and put on a “performance” for the majority of her life – and now suddenly, due to her father’s suicide, we are supposed to believe that she has changed? Dialogues like “Laga diya maine jhoota ilzaam. Ek biwi se uska shauhar cheen liya aur ek beti se uska baap” do not have the emotional impact that the writer would have imagined, because it’s coming from the wrong person. Amal is not capable, as a personality, to have these amazing revelations and moments of self-reflection and guilt. This is difficult to digest and does end of up as more of one grand blooper than anything else. Evil characters do not suddenly have a moment of reflection and start talking badly about their actions – they have been indulging in this behavior for most of their lives and it is inherently who they are. They do not suddenly talk about their “sazaa ki shuruat” and “Kafaara adaa karna hai.” Let’s also take pause to discuss why the entire cast is wearing the same outfits they were before the funeral in the courtroom scenes after the funeral? There’s some choppy editing that was taking place here.
In the end, it’s the performances that are the winning points of “Dunk.” From Bilal Abbas Haider, Sana Javed, Yasra Rizvi, Saife Hassan, Salma Hassan, Shahood Alvi, Laila Wasti, Azekah Daniel, Fahad Sheikh – everyone has put on a great show. There are some sweet moments between Shahood Alvi and Laila Wasti’s characters, along with a great moment between father and son as Haider’s father apologizes for standing on the wrong side. Scenes showing Saira (Yasra Rizvi) finding closure and happiness in her life warm the heart. Some nice fan moments are included, like the “Balaa” OST playing over some cute scenes of Haider and Minal (someone please cast Bilal Abbas Khan and Azekah Daniel together in a full-fledged Malaal E Yaar type romance).These actors have given their best and put their best foot forward. It’s simply shoddy writing and pacing that put “Dunk” at the same level as “Cheekh” – a show with potential, great actors, some strong moments, but ultimately a weak product overall.