“Ibn E Hawwa” began with much promise with a storyline that seemed out-of-the-box, a story that would challenge societal mindsets and force its audience to take a look within. Discussing how Pakistan’s patriarchal society gives birth to misogyny and how women from all walks of life suffer due to this misogyny, while the story put a lot of emphasis on female oppression, one truly believed that “Ibn E Hawwa” would show progress in some way, shape or form. While it started off really well, it lost steam before the halfway point and, honestly, leaves the viewer feeling perplexed and disappointed at the end. “Ibn E Hawwa” stars Shahzad Sheikh, Hira Mani, Aymen Saleem, Nadia Afgan and others in prominent roles while the story is written by Saji Gul and directed by Syed Ahmed Kamran.
The finale shows Zahid (Shahzad Sheikh) realizing his faults and how his father created misunderstandings, turning his children against their mother when the fault was their father’s entirely. Unfortunately, while he does have a sweet moment of forgiveness and apology with his mother, she passes away only days later. Mahjabeen (Hira Mani) and Zahid reconcile, Mahjabeen becoming the support Zahid always needed while Zahid gives his blessing to Naila and Shakoor to get married. Special mention to the beautiful Hina Shahid as Naila and Agha Talal as Shakoor. The Naila and Shakoor duo were easy on the eyes and their track suffered a lot as well after Hina Shahid was replaced unceremoniously by Hareem Sohail.
With Aaliyah’s (Aymen Saleem) reputation destroyed due to Zahid’s revenge antics (which were justified in a way), Aaliyah sinks into depression and illness while Shabratan (Nadia Afgan), the chaos creator of the century, falls into despair over what “Zahid did to her daughter.” Does Shabratan ever take responsibility for her actions? The show ends with Zahid married to both Mahjabeen and Aaliyah while his mother, who suffered her entire life, passes away and Shabratan is not even punished for how she destroyed so many lives. What is the point of a message-based show when it ends by showing women, once again, completely reliant on men? Aaliyah went into depression and fell ill over her love for Zahid – when in reality, it was her mother who betrayed her (and everyone else) time and time again. So why is Aaliyah marrying Zahid the solution? Why couldn’t Aaliyah just sit down with Mahjabeen and Zahid and clear out all misunderstandings, whether regarding her connection to Vicky and Mahjabeen clarifying her innocence? Why couldn’t Aaliyah find happiness elsewhere? And most importantly, why does Zahid reform in a matter of minutes without any character progression or growth from episode 1- 26? Redemption arcs are so important in a story like this – and there is not an arc to speak of.
There’s also a chaotic wrap-up of Vicky’s (Zain Afzal) storyline, a character who was entirely annoying and unnecessary to begin with, where he’s revealed to be a man who abducts and sells girls….or at least that’s what one is able to ascertain, because this whole track does not make any sense. How does Vicky go from being a wayward young man running a neighborhood shop to traveling back and forth to Dubai?
What makes this all so disappointing is the fact that Saji Gul is the writer behind the story, a writer we as an audience expect a lot from. So how did he get this one so wrong? Who is to blame? Do we blame the writer? As we know, the writer does not get full reign over his/her script. So do we blame the production house or the director? Or do we blame the channel itself? It’s difficult to pinpoint how or where this story went so wrong, but the fact remains that it did. It’s not the fault of the actors, because whether it is Shahzad Sheikh, Hira Mani or Aymen Saleem, each actor put their all into their performance. They were just let down by a subpar show….a show which should not have been subpar, because the concept is great and had it been better executed, it could have been memorable. Pakistani dramas and television shows are meant for entertainment, absolutely. But message-based shows are rarely watched as entertainment, because they tend to be “heavy.” So when a show is message-based, the focus should be on that message and giving the show a proper, acceptable outcome. The take-away should not be that women are victims of men and will continue to be victims of men, hoping that said man will reform and realize his mistakes. Is this the message? This is where “Ibn E Hawwa” really fails. As an industry, we can do better. Writers, production houses, channels, directors…..please, do better.