“Dil E Momin” stars Faysal Qureshi and Madiha Imam in lead roles, supported by Momal Sheikh, Javed Sheikh, Saba Faisal, Gohar Rasheed, Shabbir Jan, Haaris Waheed and others. Written by Jahanzeb Qamar and directed by Shehrazade Sheikh, “Dil E Momin” is a story of the lengths one will go to in order to attain the object of their affection. When “Dil E Momin” was first announced, it was a topic of discussion for many, as it is a story from the same team of “Muqaddar.” While “Muqaddar” certainly had a large fan following, it had an equal number of critics. “Muqaddar” told a problematic story of a feudal lord who kidnaps a young woman who is happily engaged and forces her to marry him. By the end of the show, many viewers were happily applauding this toxic couple, glossing over forced marriage, marital rape and many other power struggles within the script while critics watched on in shock. “Dil E Momin” has been telling a very similar show with the same lead cast, only this time, the story is flipped with the male lead now being inappropriately pursued by the female lead. While the female lead in “Muqaddar” was physically kidnapped to tear her away from her fiancé, the male lead in “Dil E Momin” is slandered by the female lead, accused of harassment, to stop his marriage to his cousin (and love).
In episode 20, the narrative really takes off with Maya (Madiha Ali) continuing to build a false narrative of romance in her head despite Momin’s (Faysal Qureshi) persistent refusal. Maya has a complicated past, abandoned by her father and really needing a strong male figure in her life. It’s not a surprise to see how she grows attached to Momin, seeing her own “ideal” in him. However, at the end of the day, no means no, regardless of gender. A female cannot force a man to love her and a man cannot force a female to love her. Momin has consistently made it clear to Maya that he does not have any interest in her, nor will he ever and she’s well-aware of Aashi’s (Momal Sheikh) existence. Still, when Maya realizes that Momin is getting married, she does the opposite of what any normal woman would do – she accuses Momin of sexually harassing her. Momin is not only thrashed by Gohar (Gohar Rasheed), but he’s also locked up in jail on the night of his mehndi as his family discovers, in the middle of the function, about the charges against him.
So when Momin has said no to Maya from day one, where did he go wrong? Well, honestly, it’s quite simple. If you, as an individual, are being pursued by a student (or anyone really), the most basic step to take is transparency. Number one, the person should be told no in clear and certain terms – which, given, Momin did. Second, your family should be aware of the situation. Third, your fiancée should be aware of the situation and an honest talk should be had about trust. And last, and honestly the most important thing that should be done first – the student’s actions should be reported to the Dean/Principal of the school to secure your image and job if gossip does eventually manage to reach their ears. If all of these bases have been covered, it’s very difficult to turn around and pin a case like this on an innocent man. Is Momin innocent? Absolutely. However, Momin has behaved in an unethical, unprofessional way which makes it difficult to sympathize with him. He can pray and show his piousness all he wants, but God also expects his men to stand up and protect themselves, their families and their loved ones. Momin has let his entire family down with his lack of transparency – and, being frank, dishonesty. Momin has handled this entire situation poorly, beginning with Maya’s phone calls. After the first call, her number should have been blocked (and again, the situation should have been reported to the Dean. Momin never should have visited Maya’s house under any circumstance, even if she had dropped out of University. This was not his problem and it was unethical for her friends to have approached him with it – again, also something that should have been reported to the Dean. When Momin did visit Maya’s home in episode 19, he should have had a clear conversation with Maya’s mother with OR without her present – it is necessary for her family to know about her actions. And last, Momin meeting with Maya in a closed room without anyone else present is not only unethical as a professor, but for a man claiming to be so pious and religious, it goes against his beliefs. There are a lot of people that can be blamed for this entire scenario, whether it be Maya herself (the main culprit), Maya’s friends, Gohar or even Aashi for not trusting Momin (but who can blame her?)…..but at the end of the day, it’s Momin himself who is responsible for his own misery.
Maya’s mental state isn’t entirely balanced and this is a young woman with an obsession. One cannot call this love. She does not care about Momin, his mental well-being, his happiness, his family or really anything related to him. She only cares about having him. She wants his attention, the rest of the world does not matter and that includes Momin himself. This is true obsession – and honestly, the narrative would have been so much more exciting had this been presented as a thriller versus this drawn-out sexual harassment accusation storyline. This is a story that could have gone in an interesting direction with Madiha Imam playing Maya as a true stalker (a female version of Shahrukh Khan’s role in “Darr”), albeit a more tame television version. This depiction is too “soft” and while Maya’s obsession is evident, it feels like an excuse for yet another false sexual harassment allegation story (Dunk) rather than what it could have been – a real statement on consent going both ways and a statement on mental instability driving one to a potential crime of passion. But alas, here we are, with another story of a man trying to clear his name of false allegations after concealing the truth from all his loved ones. This is another storyline that feels like a missed opportunity.