Daam is a Pakistani show written by novelist Umera Ahmed & directed by Mehreen Jabbar. Daam literally means ‘Price’. It has Sanam Baloch, Aamina Sheikh & Adeel Hussain in the lead roles.
Zara Hidayatullah (Sanam Baloch) and Maleeha Sami (Aamina Sheikh) have been close friends for over seven years. Zara belongs to a lower-middle-class family and Maleeha comes from an upper class household, yet their class difference has never threatened their unbreakable bond. Maleeha has been there for her friend through many hardships, though she never really knew the extent of the mental anguish that plagued Zara’s life. The first blow to their friendship comes when Maleeha’s elder brother Junaid (Adeel Hussain), shows his interest in marrying Zara. His parents have no objection to the union, but it comes as a real shock to Maleeha. Somehow Maleeha is not able to fathom the thought that her best friend could marry her only brother. To make matters worse, Maleeha’s future sister-in-law Fiza (Sanam Saeed) has also developed feelings for Maleeha’s brother. Daam is the story of the price that she pays to her best friend to stop this marriage and how that Daam (price) becomes a burden for all of them.
While watching this show I was constantly reminded of many proverbs, one liners & adages. It was as if each & every character, incident, episode was driving home a certain point which I had always known but had forgotten or had never experienced myself.
- The price of being a bitch
Maleeha Sami is a huge hypocrite from start to finish. She condescends to be friends with Zara maybe because it looks good to be all benevolent & befriend a poor girl, but no sooner does she hear that her brother Junaid is in love with Zara she does a complete U turn. On the face of it her main complaint is that her best friend & brother never confided about their love in her. Why should they? No brother/ friend is under any obligation to keep you updated about their personal lives! If they do it willingly great, if not deal with it! While she is ready to forgive her brother (no surprises there) for keeping such a big secret from her, she isn’t so kind towards Zara. All of a sudden, Zara becomes this two faced, gold – digger who is out to get her rich, naive brother. After spending seven years with Zara, calling her her best friend, sharing everything from notes to clothes to food with her, never once can she come out & ask Zara as to why did she not tell her about her affair with Junaid. With a little help from her sister – in – law Fiza she assumes the worst about Zara & goes on to separate Junaid – Zara. She lies to her brother about Zara getting engaged & later on married without so much as a second thought for his feelings.
I wonder, if Maleeha would have been as hurt by their secrecy if Zara had been as affluent as she was? With money out of the whole affair would she have blamed Zara for hiding things from her? While we try to understand things from her POV, while we try to reason that although her reasoning is stupid & her actions are evil she did all this because she thought she was saving her brother from the claws of a gold – digger, she ends up shattering that illusion in a most magnificent way. She emotionally blackmails her brother & parents to get him married to Fiza, her psychotic sister – in – law who has suddenly taken a fancy for Junaid, using her pregnancy as a tool. Fiza & her brother Gibran (who is Maleeha’s husband) pressurize Maleeha in different ways to make sure she goes running to Mommy & Daddy & as expected Junaid agrees to marry Fiza. For the second time Maleeha, with no feelings of remorse or guilt destroys her brother’s life.
Hence when her family breaks I was cheering all the while. She destroyed her brother’s & friend’s life because of some churlish notions of class & friendship. She manipulates both of them & feels no guilt about it. Even in the end all we see is a pretence of guilt so that she can get back at her bitchy in – laws. This was one case in which Karma bit her back horribly. After all Karma is a bitch only if you are! She has little value at her husbands’s place, she has to leave her daughter behind when she goes crawling back to her parent’s home, she becomes known as the super bitch she truly is in front of the whole family & even her brother kicks her out of his life. Zara has moved on in her life & is just isn’t bothered about Maleeha any longer. In the end she ends up lonely with no one willing to forgive her.
- The price the family paid:
The relation Maleeha – Junaid & Fiza – Gibran had was a little too sweet for my taste.
Maleeha expects her 20+ old brother to share each & every detail of his life with her. The nosy woman goes & checks his drawers & finds a locket. Naturally she HAS to know the price, who it is for, why he bought it, etc. And while its quite apparent that he isn’t comfortable answering her questions, this woman who has been extremely close to her brother her entire life doesn’t sense it at all. Maleeha’s insistence that a 20 year old man have nothing personal is just yucky. Who shares all their details with their family? Especially when he is having an affair with your best friend! After discovering what the great secret is this woman takes the liberty to decide her best friend isn’t suitable for her brother & causes a rift between them. Then she decides her mad sister – in – law is perfect for her brother & gets the two hitched by emotionally blackmailing the brother & family. Now when her mad sister – in – law’s madness is revealed (oh big surprise!) she again decides best friend should marry her brother.
Now moving on to the other pair, Gibran is a bit too protective (read a doormat) where his mad sister & mother are concerned. Ever since his father left the family alone (he must have been a sane person, must be difficult to live with these baboons) Gibran always sides with his sister & mother no matter how wrong they are. So he ruins his own home, hurts his own wife who is pregnant just for the sister. The sister naturally is quite happy since she loves her brother too much & naturally he has to share her unhappiness as he shared her happiness.
This sibling relationship & also the equations between the parents is quite cloying. Maleeha’s parents were decent, but in the end their leniency doomed them all. Fiza was a bitch but she wasn’t a hypocrite. She was evil but she did not hide behind a mask of benevolence or sweetness unlike Maleeha.
- The price of self – respect:
Zara gives up her love for Junaid. This is the one single instance where a lead character’s sacrifice made any sense. Zara realizes that this isn’t the question of a mere Rs. 50,000. The problem is more complicated than this. She realizes that she will never be considered an equal in her friend’s world. They may pretend that they are equals, they may treat her with kindness but it will always be a sort of charity, sometimes disguised, sometimes a bit more obvious. Like they say “Dosti aur Rishtedaari barabar waalo mein hi acchi lagti hai” (Friendship & relationship should always be between equals). She waits for Junaid for 7 years. But instead of coming to meet her, he trusts his sister’s lie, but does not trust the strength of his love or his girlfriend. He moves on in his life & marries mad cousin & has a baby with her in these 7 years. I think Zara might have got back with Junaid had he not married Fiza. Zara’s love waited for 7 years, she remained single, she remained faithful but even their meeting after 7 years ends in disappointment & insult & I think it is then that she truly gives up on Junaid. And I cannot tell how much this decision pleased me because no matter what the truth was, in the twisted universe of Fiza & family Zara would have always been a home wrecker. While I admit Junaid was fooled by his sister into believing that Zara was getting married to some other guy I will never understand how he gave up on her so easily. Zara wasn’t some rash, reckless fool. She was a calm, mature girl. Why didn’t he meet her personally? Why not attend her wedding? Or why not demand to meet her husband? Why give up without a fight? And why on earth marry Fiza? That was one sacrifice I did not understand at all. It was unnecessary & stupid. I felt for Junaid till the moment I learnt that he had married Fiza. But after that I hoped Zara would never look back at this man again & hence you can imagine my delight when she too moves on & completely cuts off Maleeha, Junaid & their family from her life. Kudos to you girl! She keeps her self respect, pays the price for it but gains more than she gave up. She marries Hassan & settles in the UK & she lives happily ever after with her husband in a life she has built with her own hard work, sacrifice & perseverance. A life where she is second to none! 🙂
The OST of the show is definitely worth hearing