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A couple of nights ago, as I waited anxiously – like every other drama loving lunatic – for the final episode of ANAA to air; I thought of what had transpired in the drama that had us so invested in the characters’ from beginning to finish.

Being an ardent fan of ‘Yakeen Ka Safar’ and its picturesque landscape; Director Shehzad Kashmiri delivered to us – yet again – beautifully shot scenes and landscapes. However, we all know that it takes more than just pretty landscapes to keep an audience invested. So lets talk about the storyline and character development, or lack of in some cases.

The story basically revolves around two rivaling families; their loathing for each other a product of a terrible loss; and finally the often overly dramatized pride expressed by the matriarch of the families. In a way, one can say that it was a kind of twisted moral lesson about pride and prejudice – and the stupidity of youth. Between this whirlwind of toxic familial expression, the two protagonists Daneen (Hania Amir) the granddaughter of Arshad; and Areesh (Shehzad Sheikh) find themselves in love – against the wishes of Sadia Begum the grandmother of Areesh.

Saadia Begum’s older son Waleed was in love with Nazia, his maternal cousin and the daughter of Arshad, but Nazia rejected him, causing Waleed to commit suicide. Nazia is Daneen’s paternal aunt who was banished from her father’s mansion 25 years ago when she chose to marry Waleed’s friend Azam. SadiaBegum being unable to overcome the past strongly opposes Daneen and Areesh’s marriage.

Thus, the stage is set for the unfolding and development of these two characters; however, the story does not only revolve around Areesh and Daneen, which is a relief because there have been moments when I’ve wanted to just kill myself watching the immature antics of these two characters. Other supporting couples like Altamash (Usman Mukhtar) and Izza (NaimalKhawar), as well as, Areesh and Anya (Areeba Shahood) had equally, if not more so, engaging storylines that had us occasionally rooting for them.

Perhaps the cutest of couples in the drama  turn out to be Altamash and Izza, both characters whose moral compass is firmly pointed in the right direction and well…….we all like tsundere romance of hate turns to love right? But while Izza was experiencing cutesy couple moments, Daneens marriage was…pitiful to say the least. Let’s face it guys, no matter how badly written a character or marriage is in the script, one always feels sorry for the victim and to be honest, with what Daneen had faced at the hands of her precious Areesh I would say she didn’t really deserve the abusive husband while Areesh got his happily ever after.

The drama, to be honest, lacked certain aspects of rhyme and reason. It lacked a certain emotional depth and an appeal to the intellect of the audience. It a more of the kind of drama one would watch while cleaning or multitasking cause it was distracting and didn’t really require attention. The character development was lacking in almost the entirety of the show except for the last episode where abruptly the entire cast just blossoms into well rounded adults. I feel as if there were storylines that the writers could have explored better and dynamics that would have given the story creative and cultural depth; but then again, with the dynamics between the current protagonists – Areesh and Daneen marrying other individuals and then still carrying on with eachother; Izza and Altamash’s  I-love- you and I-love-You-not’s although cute were well repetitive and Areesh and Anyas weird ‘I love you but I want to see if it can work with Daneen’ – its just better they didn’t explore other avenues.

To me, the most unrealistic couple yet would be Areesh and Anya. What woman would willingly support her husbands pursuit of another – married I might add – woman? More important still, how could Areesh point fingers at Anya for her past, when he was dilly dallying with his former fiancée?! The hypocrisy of that just ignites my ire. And honestly, why would Anya ever want to forgive Areesh so easily in the first place? But alas, these things will forever remain elusive.

In comparison to this drama, others like Ranjha Ranjha Kardiand Cheekh, certainly create for a complex roller-coaster of emotions and well-paced character development, as well as, interesting insights into the surrounding culture – all of which – Anaa should have had.

Anaa was beautifully captured, in terms of views and all, but it could have been better. There were certain upsides to the drama but they were far over shadowed by the not so appealing aspect of the series. It is a time in Pakistan, when audiences like to watch dramas with a moral expression and definitive depth; not a hotch potch of emotions and powerful casting combined with beautiful scenery.  All in all, Anaa is not a particular favorite for me in 2019; and it disappointed me quite a bit considering I really did like the director’s previous works. Here to hoping that future projects won’t be as …… ill-developed.

Author : Hoor Toru