As soon as the trailer of this show was released, it was obvious that Dhoop Ki Deewar would attract controversy in India and Pakistan. And it did. Both sides claim that the whole basis of the show is unpatriotic. But this was bound to happen with a concept as new as this. We’re not used to seeing both India and Pakistan being shown in an equally good and bad light. We don’t like it when we don’t have an obvious villain and a wonderfully flawless hero. So, if you’re looking to outrage against either country with this show, it’s not going to happen. Whether you’re Indian or Pakistani, parts of Dhoop Ki Deewar will appeal to you and make you cringe. The first two episodes are out now on Zee5, and here’s our review of the series so far.
The series starts with visual comparisons of the lives of two normal families, one in Amritsar and the other in Lahore. Sajal Aly plays Sarah Sher Ali, the daughter of a Pakistani army man. Her real-life husband and popular TV actor, Ahad Raza Mir, plays Vishal Malhotra, the son of an Indian soldier. Both their families are eagerly awaiting the evening’s match between India and Pakistan while going about their daily routines.
While this is happening, we also see glimpses of how popular Indian television is in Pakistan and how loved Pakistani dramas are in India. As Vishal’s mother and her friend discuss the fashion and stories of Pakistani shows, Sarah’s dadi, not too far away in Lahore, settles down to watch Naagin.
As tensions on the border rise, Sarah’s father and Vishal’s father are killed in action, and both families are shaken by the sudden tragedy. If the grief wasn’t enough, the media descends on them, and strangers start lauding their bravery and the martyrdom of their loved ones. The way the families are exploited and shoved in front of cameras is something both India and Pakistan are painfully familiar with.
Sarah and Vishal’s first interaction is online and fuelled by rage and hate-spewing trolls. After they have an argument on Facebook, both are once again praised for their bravery by their respective news channels.
Dhoop Ki Deewar is essentially a love story but unlike any that we have seen before. But that’s only because of the India and Pakistan angle. Otherwise, two lovers divided by families is hardly new. The series is an attempt in the right direction but it remains to be seen whether how maturely the story will be handled in later episodes.
Sajal Aly shines as usual in her role as a grief-stricken, angry, and conflicted girl. Ahad Raza Mir also gives a strong performance but we hope to see more from this versatile actor later in the series. We also can’t wait to see more of Vishal’s mother and Sarah’s grandparents in the series who have already made a mark as characters to watch.
Knowing the online discourse these days, Dhoop Ki Deewar could run into trouble and court more controversy than it bargained for, and that’s just because of the sensitive storyline. We do hope it’s allowed to run its course freely. The finale is planned for this Independence Day weekend.
Two episodes are streaming now on Zee5, and new episodes will be released every week on Friday.