Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Dastaan’s Review by Sara Naveed

Dastaan is a famous Pakistani Drama serial that has been adapted from Razia Butt’s famous Urdu novel, ‘Bano’. The story is based on the independence of Pakistan; prior partition between India and Pakistan in the year 1947. Before partition, Hindus and Muslims lived together. Due to the number of arising differences between the two religions, it became difficult to stay in the same continent. Therefore, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Gandhi took the initiative to propose for separate homelands for Hindus and Muslims.
Bano lives with her parents and two brothers; Saleem and Faheem, in Ludhiana (Punjab). It is her elder brother, Saleem’s wedding ceremony that unites the relatives after a long time. Saleem is getting married to Suraiya, one of his oldest relatives and sister to Rasheeda. Apparently, she’s his neighbor too. Bano has been friends with Suraiya since childhood and they are extremely fond of each other.
Enters Hassan; Rasheeda’s only son and nephew to Suraiya. He studies engineering at Islamia College in Lahore and is actively involved in All India Muslim League’s processions as he is in the favour of getting a separate homeland for the Muslims. However, Saleem is in the favour of Indian National Congress which causes conflict between his and Hassan’s approach towards independence.
Hassan has been invited to attend the wedding of his only aunt, Surraiya. He’s more like a brother and friend to her than a nephew. He’s also childhood friends with Saleem and Faheem.
He meets Bano at the wedding after quite a long time and fells for her eventually. It is Bano’s bubbly nature and innocence that steals away his heart.
Bano also falls for his charm and their romance blossoms with time. Meanwhile, Saleem and Hassan’s conflict arises due to supporting different nations but Saleem calms himself down for Bano’s sake and become friends with Hassan again.
As soon as Hassan gets a fine job, he seeks Bano’s hand and they both get engaged. However, both of them were completely ignorant of the storm coming ahead. Hassan has to move to Rawalpindi with his mother because of his job transfer, leaving Bano and her family behind. He promises to come back to marry her.
When he departs, the partition between Pakistan and India begins and violence spreads throughout the country. Hindu and Muslims hatred goes at peak as several murdering takes place. Many Muslims are killed viciously, women get raped and many manage to seek refuge to go to their homelands via railways.
Bano faces tremendous repercussions caused by the partition while Hassan is totally unaware of what problems and devastations she went through. Her entire family gets executed in front of her eyes and her mother dies too.
Bano tries to escape to Pakistan but gets caught by a Sikh family. They bring her home safely and promise to deport her to Pakistan soon. However, this all comes out to be a trick. Basanta; the person who brings her home, falls for her and insists her to marry him and convert to Sikhism. However, Bano retaliates but she is forced to marry a Sikh because they torture her to death. Basanta ties the knot with her and rapes her, making her feel more horrible and devastated.
On the other hand, Hassan has unwillingly believed that his Bano has died along with her family back in Ludhiana.
He has been living in Rawalpindi with his mother for the past five years. His mother insists him to marry her sister’s daughter, Rabia. He did not want to get married to any girl because he had dedicated his entire life for Bano. First he disagrees but later he could not say no to his mother because he found Rabia a very decent girl. Hassan gets engaged to Rabia and soon they were to get married.
Bano has produced a son from Basanta and continues to live a miserable life with him as one day; Basanta falls off from the terrace and gets killed. Bano is finally released from the forceful relationship and runs back to her country, Pakistan.
On the verge of his wedding to Rabia, Hassan receives a letter indicating him that Bano is still alive. Hassan and his mother get a mere shock. He rushes to get her instantly, breaking his engagement to Rabia. He is shocked to see Bano in a terrible condition because she was not the same as before. he regrets and abuses himself for not looking for her properly.
Nevertheless, both of them unite and he brings her home. Bano tells him and his mother about all the problems she’s suffered and the circumstances she’s been through. They feel pity on her.
Hassan tries to calm her down and shows her the world ahead of her. He brings her new clothes and asks to forget all the past miseries and try to live a happy life with him. On knowing about Bano’s arrival, Rabia’s heart breaks and she is ready to sacrifice her love for Bano.
Bano undergoes shock when she finds about Rabia and Hassan’s engagement. She pleads Hassan not to show mercy towards her anymore and gets married to Rabia and then she leaves his place. Hassan looks for her everywhere but she hides herself every time they encounter.
She sends him a message to get married to Rabia, start a new life and forget about her completely because she is not his old Bano anymore. He becomes helpless and agrees to marry Rabia.
But Rabia has some other plans. She arranges a secret meeting with Bano where she begs her to marry Hassan because he only loves her and not anyone else.
Bano becomes weak and finds herself in a very complicated situation. She gives her consent to Rabia and promises to come as a bride on the wedding day.
Meanwhile, she has started working in an office. The owner keeps an eye on Bano everytime he sees her. At the wedding day, Bano is about to give resignation letter to the owner when he surrounds her in the library and tries to get his hands on her.
In an attempt to save her life, she kills the person and heads towards Hassan’s place.
On the other hand, everyone is waiting for the bride to arrive. Hassan, dressed in bridegroom attire, is waiting for Bano to return. He is completely traumatized after seeing her drenched fully in blood.   
She comes and hugs him and says repeatedly that she has finally killed Basanta and has made Pakistan a pure country to live in. The police finds out about the murder and arrests Bano immediately.
In the end, Hassan marries Rabia and Bano is seen spending the remaining life in jail.
As a critic, I was a bit disappointed with the way the story had ended. It could have been something else. For instance, Bano could not have gone to jail. She should have been living a normal and happy life with Hassan. In the novel, we find a contrary end. The character, Hassan goes insane and Bano dies in the novel but in the drama it has been portrayed differently.
Whatsoever, Dastaan will always be considered as one of the finest dramas ever witnessed in the Pakistan Drama Industry. The roles of Hassan and Bano were played by Fawad Afzal Khan and Sanam Baloch respectively. Both of the actors have done complete justice to their roles and have performed brilliantly overshadowing the rest of the performers. You cannot take off your eyes once you are watching them act onscreen. Both of them bring a magic onscreen and their couple looks beautiful.
It is an extremely emotional story that will leave tears in your eyes and make your heart sad. 
All in all, it is a well made drama that cannot be missed at any cost. It will always remain my most favourite.

-Sara Naveed.