“Mannat Murad” is, essentially, a story about two individuals from overbearing families. While Mannat is the darling daughter of three brothers, Murad is the only brother and sole family earner with four sisters and a mother. Starring Talha Chahour, Iqra Aziz, Irsa Ghazal, Noor Ul Hassan, Uzma Hassan, Tipu Sharif, Ali Rehman, Faiza Gilani, Mizna Waqas, Ali Safina, Rehma Zaman, Rabya Kulsoom and many others, the story has been written by Nadia Akhtar and directed by Syed Wajahat Hussain. In the past two weeks, “Mannat Murad” has been a beautiful celebration of marriage. Showcasing all of Pakistan’s cultural traditions, both the “upper class” ones versus more traditional ones, the audience has been made to feel as though we are attending Mannat and Murad’s wedding. In episode 15, the wedding is finally set to take place – but as is Mannat and Murad’s fate, their families create chaos, throwing their marriage into question.
In episode 15, a fight breaks out during Mannat (Iqra Aziz) and Murad’s (Talha Chahour) Nikkah when Razia (Irsa Ghazal) refuses the haq meher amount. Things are looking grim, but Murad manages it in the most ridiculous way, essentially saying his back has given out and he can’t get up, forcing the families to just continue with the marriage. And while the wedding does take place without too much commotion after this, Mannat’s arrival in Murad’s house is an immediate disaster. Nudrat’s (Faiza Gillani) husband, Shaukat, is arrested for gambling, Mannat faints from exhaustion and Razia’s blood pressure shoots up. In all of this, it’s Murad who finds himself pulled in too many different directions, unable to enjoy his first moments with his bride. And of course, Mannat is furious at Murad and his needy family.
Unfortunately, mothers like Razia are bred in South Asian society, women who can’t relinquish control over their sons. Such mothers are usually born out of unhappy marriages, choosing to latch on to their sons for support rather than their emotionally abusive or negligent husbands. The plight of such mothers is real, but also horribly unhealthy. One would love to say that a character like Razia is unrealistic, but she is actually very much a true representation of an entire group of women in the subcontinent. The moment when Razia and Nudrat both see how devoted and caring Murad is towards Mannat is a moment of perfect acting. Razia sees her son, her confidant, her support slipping away from her while Nudrat sees her brother, the man she manipulates into paying for her expenses, now with a partner – a relationship she cannot compete with. Irsa Ghazal and Faiza Gillani are excellent in these scenes and really drive home the toxicity in which Murad has grown up.
Unfortunately, even the “kind” sisters fall into group think when together, choosing to support their mother and Nudrat’s antics instead of protecting their brother and new sister-in-law. This is a horribly frustrating household and this is one of the few circumstances where the audience finds themselves thinking “Run, Mannat, run!” with the hopes that Mannat will leave this marriage as quickly as possible. Both Iqra Aziz and Talha Chahour are doing a great job with their characters, neither one overdoing it and allowing the audience to sympathize with both Mannat and Murad. The positive of “Mannat Murad” is that it’s telling a realistic, well-executed story with great performances and is keeping the audience interested. The downside is that the story is anxiety-inducing, stressful to watch and a far cry from the lighthearted, breezy romance viewers expected. Still, out of all the options currently on air, “Mannat Murad” is definitely one worth watching.