When “Mann Aangan” first began, viewers did not expect much from it other than a melodramatic story about a family of women being taken advantage of. This is the sort of story we, as Pakistani drama viewers, have grown accustomed to. However, while the show stood steady in its place as a TRP earner with victimized women, it also offered something refreshingly different in the form of a strong, educated female lead and an emphasis on female empowerment. Starring Anmol Baloch, Mirza Zain Baig, Shazeal Shoukat, Raeed Alam, Seemi Pasha, Imran Aslam and Aliya Ali in prominent roles, the story has been written by Nadia Ahmed and directed by Hisham Syed and Salman Sirhindi.
In the finale, Ramsha (Shazeal Shoukat) is now free of Touqeer, but has PTSD after the abuse suffered at his hands, haunted by nightmares. They rush through this bit pretty quickly and honestly, it’s a bit frustrating to see Ramsha refuse to take any accountability for her own situation. She places blame entirely on her sisters and while it’s true that she wound up married to Touqeer due to Areeba (Aliya Ali) and Mahnoor’s (Anmol Baloch) interference – what about the rest of it? Ramsha was warned by Mahnoor to stay away from Maheer (Raeed Alam) almost immediately before even beginning a friendship with him – and she refused to listen. Mahnoor explained that he was not a nice guy – and she refused to listen. Mahnoor did everything possible to keep her away from Maheer – and she refused to listen. Who, then, does blame actually fall upon? Saqlain (Imran Aslam), definitely, but is Mahnoor really responsible for Ramsha’s choices? As an audience, we truly feel for Ramsha in this episode and recognize that the abuse she endured was unfair. We only wish there had been some acknowledgement of accountability on her own part. The situation wasn’t entirely the fault of her sisters. Maheer was, In fact, using her and Mahnoor was rightly warning Ramsha away. And yet, Maheer’s change from immature, egotistical brat to responsible, sincere young man makes his relationship with Ramsha root-worthy. These two have endured a lot and so their bonding and their eventual marriage is a beautiful moment. Both Shazeal Shoukat and Raeed Alam have performed well in their roles.
Meanwhile, our supervillain, Saqlain, finally gets what’s coming to him. He is arrested, charged and jailed. While the sentence isn’t announced, we are meant to assume it will be a long one. So often in dramas, villains manage to gain sympathy by the end when they’re being punished for their crimes. What’s great about this scene is how the show does not allow the audience to forget Saqlain’s crimes and feel sorry for him for even one moment. They recap all his crimes, ensuring the audience continues to cheer for his misery. Areeba, in the meantime, has given birth to a baby boy and is raising him on her own – while Saqlain years for his son. Imran Aslam deserves a shout-out for the great performance he has put on as Saqlain. Saqlain is a detestable character, but Imran Aslam’s performance made him feel human, just like the slimy relatives we want to keep at an arm’s length in our real lives.
Last, but not least, Mahnoor passes her CSS exam and sets off to Lahore for training. Faraz (Mirza Zain Baig) is promoted to Mahnoor’s position at work and is a representation of the perfect husband. Characters like Faraaz deserve much more praise. Faraaz not only cares for his own family, but also steps in to watch over Areeba and Ramsha in Mahnoor’s absence. This is the sort of man every woman wants as a partner and the Mahnoor-Faraaz relationship is an ideal one, one that shows how necessary a strong foundation of trust and respect is for a relationship. Anmol Baloch and Mirza Zain Baig are the heart and soul of “Mann Aangan” and ending the finale on their relationship is a perfect choice that leaves us with a smile. “Mann Aangan” has not been a flawless, perfect show, but it’s one that has maintained a level of quality and consistency with its characters. Striking the perfect balance between melodrama and meaningful messaging, “Mann Aangan” has done a wonderful job of both entertaining and highlighting the importance of education and a strong foundation for marriage. “Mann Aangan” will be missed!