People divided by war can be united in grief and thus walk together towards more tender relationships like empathy and belonging. Written by Umera Ahmed, Dhoop Ki Deewar is a welcome change in the ever-so-predictable India-Pakistan war narrative, minus the gory enmity and masochist, chest thumping patriotism.
Set in the backdrop of the death of two army men on both sides of the border, the story begins how both families deal with grief in their own ways. The protagonists — Sara [Sajal Aly] and Vishal [Ahad Raza Mir] — bring out the nuances of being the children of war with great maturity and nativity at the same time.
The show begins with an India-Pakistan cricket match where both families are glued to the TV. While the winners step out to celebrate the win, news of death captures the frames with terrible gloom in Amritsar and Lahore.
It is as if the writers are mocking the naïve public, no matter how many cricket matches you win, you still lose more and more lives at cross-border fighting.
The audience in Pakistan hasn’t taken too kindly to the show. While some have objected to its release on an Indian platform like Zee5, others have felt that keeping a woman at the forefront of the plot somehow seems to hurt the male ego and male-centric narratives, that is more of a social convention across the border. Many even take it for granted that if a woman from Pakistan is married to an Indian, it will automatically lead to a change in loyalties, and even a possible religious conversion from Muslim to Hindu.
However, the show remains unaffected to such negative vibes, simply because it is the story of forbidden love, the kind that can only be dreamed about but never achieved. Several frames will remind you of a similar narrative created by Yash Chopra in Veer-Zaara. There, too, the woman was from Pakistan and she decided to come over to live in India. But suppose the story went the other way round? What if the girl was Indian and the boy a Pakistani? Would it have been as popular among Yash Raj loyalists, as it is now?
Dhoop Ki Deewar does not restrain itself to merely addressing clichés. It goes beyond, largely bordering on the kind of love that goes into your head. The kind fables like Laila-Majnu, Heer-Ranjha are made of. The only millennial touch is probably the social media hate campaign, that mires public opinion at delicate trajectories. Art and music know no bounds in a world governed by social media algorithms. Nor does a cold war!
Title: Dhoop Ki Deewar
Cast: Samina Ahmed, Ahad Raza Mir, Savera Nadeem, Sajal Aly, Manzar Sehbai and Samiya Mumtaz
Director: Haseeb Hassan