One subject which is rarely (accurately) depicted on-screen in Pakistani dramas is emotional and verbal abuse within marriage. Sure, we see hitting, we see yelling, we see screaming and this indicates a “bad marriage.” But what about marriages which appear to be healthy from the outside, but are destroying a partner from within due to the psychological abuse they endure behind closed doors? This is what “Jaisay Aapki Marzi” tackles and, so far, appears to be handling it very well. Staring Durr E Fishan Saleem, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Kiran Malik, Ali Safina, Javed Sheikh and Ali Tahir, the story has been written by Naila Jaffri and directed by Saba Hamid.
In episode 15, Alizeh continues to struggle through Sherry and Natasha’s (Kiran Malik) taunts and manipulative behavior, putting on a brave face for the sake of her family and “society.” Quite honestly, her mother is the biggest culprit in all this, as she wants her daughter to have a “happy married life,” but brushes off Alizeh’s complaints and concerns. This isn’t unrealistic though, as many Pakistani mothers want their daughters to maintain “peace” in their households, even if their hearts aren’t at peace. However, the final straw is when Alizeh finds Sherry’s Dubai trip credit card statement and realizes all the lies he told while throwing her under the bus to both his and her families. All the humiliation and trauma Alizeh felt at that time, feeling like “the bad guy” in their marriage and being told that she let Sherry down comes flooding back – and she realizes she’s been right all along. Sherry is a perpetual liar and realizing this, Alizeh leaves home for good….or so she thinks.
The support of family is important and family backing your decisions is even more important. While Alizeh’s father has her back and wants to support her, he clearly isn’t strong enough to do so – and her mother certainly isn’t. While they initially allow Alizeh to have the space she needs to think and take a break from her marriage, sending her to Islamabad with her sister, burglars enter their house while the two girls are away and their father winds up having a heart attack. Once again, Sherry hoards this over Alizeh’s head, bragging about how he spent the entire night with her parents while she was nowhere to be seen. At this point, we have to wonder – did Sherry and Natasha set up this so-called burglary which caused Alizeh’s father to have a heart attack? It’s not something which can be put past them and considering Sherry and Natasha are both taking the entire incident lightly, it could very easily have been a plan.
The only thing this episode cements is how unstable both Sherry and Natasha are, perfect examples of narcissists who only think of themselves and cannot look beyond their own nose. While Alizeh is upset, worried about her parents, she has no one to console her, because Sherry is too fixated on his ego. Mikaal Zulfiqar is great as Sherry, fitting perfectly into this egotistic character who can manipulate any situation to his benefit – and spew word vomit at home. Durr E Fishan is excellent in this role as the modern girl who finds herself trapped in an emotionally abusive marriage only because she couldn’t see the tell-tale signs in time. This role was made for Durr E Fishan, honestly, and she’s doing it complete justice. Of course, Kiran Malik is perfect as the obnoxious, self-centered, controlling Natasha and looks beautiful despite playing a very negative role. There’s no doubt that “Jaisay Aapki Marzi” is a difficult watch. There isn’t any point in this show that could be called “enjoyable,” as the female lead and her family are constantly being taken for a ride. However, it’s engaging and is highlighting how many mental health disorders are not acknowledged within our society and these aggressive personalities are just labeled “difficult.” These personalities go on to become someone’s husband or wife and create absolute havoc on the mental health of the unsuspecting individual. This is a story worthy of being told and while we’re only at episode 15, so far, it’s a good watch.