When “Kaala Doriya” first began, I was not particularly impressed after episode one. The show felt like it was trying too hard and had a severe “Suno Chanda” meets “Chupke Chupke” hangover…..except with a severely unlikable female lead, channeling Neha’s mean-girl energy from “Hum Tum.” It felt as though Saima Akram Chaudhry, the writer, and Danish Nawaz, the director, had merged their shows into one to simply churn out another show. I stopped watching, to be honest, and allowed five episodes to air without giving the show a second thought. However, I saw scenes in passing of episode six which piqued my interest once again and so began the binge-watching in an effort to catch up. Needless to say, “Kaala Doriya” may have had a weak first episode, but episodes two to six have done a great job building the foundation for a humorous, yet meaningful story. Starring Osman Khalid Butt and Sana Javed in lead roles, the drama also stars Adla Khan, Farhan Ali Agha, Zainab Qayyum, Sohail Sameer, Nadia Afgan, Samina Ahmed, Khalid Anam, Ali Safina, Khalid Malik and others.
In episodes two through six, Asfi (Osman Khalid Butt) and Mano (Sana Javed) have continued bickering like cats and dogs, with Mano showing a different level of rude, showing mean-spirited behavior not only towards Asfi, but also her own grandmother, her uncle, her Phupo….a demeanor unbecoming for a female lead. However, fortunately, unlike Neha in “Hum Tum” (can you tell I did not like this character at all?), Mano will not wait until the last three episodes to unnaturally soften. In episode six itself, the audience can see Mano softening towards Asfi when he comes to her defense in a road altercation. Will this be the turning point for their relationship? It’s important to show a relationship naturally build and develop, so this would be a great time for the bickering to stop and understanding to come into play. Sana Javed appeared to be doing “too much” at first, but she has found comfortable footing in the last few episodes, allowing the audience to see where her anger and bias comes from – and that her heart isn’t in the wrong place. This could wind up being a great performance from Sana and it’s nice to see her doing something light-hearted.
Much like the drama suggests through its homage to the song “Kaala Doriya,” the strongest characters in this family unit, besides the grandparents, are Asfi and Nida (Adla Khan). These two characters not only share the most beautiful bond, almost like mother and son, but also have genuinely good hearts. After the grandparents, it’s Nida who is truly caught in the middle of this fight, stuck between her own parents and her in-laws, two families who love her. It’s heartbreaking to see how her own family mistreats her, but great to see how Asfi and her in-laws support her completely. Osman Khalid Butt is the soul of the show as Asfi, a character who is also blinded by his family’s bias, much like Mahnoor, but Asfi has a softer heart. He is an emotional character who has the roar of a lion, but the demeanor of a kitten – he would bend over backwards for his family, even family he claims to detest. Osman’s performance only makes Asfi all the more endearing.
Bitto Aapa is also a sweet character, one who has been caught between her two brothers and has suffered in the process. And of course, who can overlook the cruelty inflicted upon Daada (Khalid Anum) and Daadi (Samina Ahmed)? These two characters are living out their old age apart despite truly loving one another – and all due to the egos of their sons. It’s exhausting watching the two being bossed around and having to lie in order to meet their own spouse, but the story has started to make more sense after the duo’s “plan” is revealed to reunite their family. The casting of Khalid Anum and Samina Ahmed together still feels very “off” with Nadia Afgan and Zanaib Qayyum calling Khalid Anum “Abba Ji,” but it’s a testament to their wonderful acting abilities that they have made it work so well!
Overall, “Kaala Doriya” has picked up greatly! One could easily rank this in the top three shows currently on air. It seemed dubious that a Ramadan comedy type show could, in fact, succeed during normal months, but “Kaala Doriya” appears to be shattering that myth and is thriving despite little promotion and publicity from the channel. Hoping the writing only goes from strength to strength moving forward!