When “Mannat Murad” was first advertised, it was visibly advertised as a romantic comedy complete with wedding events and a happy atmosphere. However, within 7 episodes, it became transparent to viewers that a romantic comedy was certainly not in the cards. Focusing on marriage between two entirely different households and mindsets, “Mannat Murad” has emphasized that marriage is not “happily ever after,” particularly when the family will not allow it. Starring Iqra Aziz and Talha Tahour in lead roles, Irsa Ghazal, Noor Ul Hassan, Uzma Hassan, Ali Rehman, Tipu Sharif, Faiza Gilani, Ali Safina and other prominent names make up the supporting cast in a story written by Nadia Akhtar and directed by Syed Wajahat Hussain.
In episode 27, things reach their boiling point when Nudrat (Faiza Gilani) and Shaukat (Hammad Siddiqui) continue to throw oil on the fire, instigating Razia (Irsa Ghazal) against Mannat (Iqra Aziz). While Mannat is only trying to help the women of the house, Nudrat and Razia continue to taunt her at every turn. In one such moment, things become heated and Murad (Talha Chahour), as usual, steps in to defend his mother over his wife. The result of this altercation is….a slap. Murad, frustrated with the situation and unable to lash out at his own mother or siblings, takes his anger out on the one person he thinks he can take it out on, a soft target – his wife. Unfortunately for him, he quickly realizes that he did not marry a woman who will take that slap sitting down and she slaps him right back, much to audience applause. Later, the two have a conversation which drives home some truly important, thought-provoking points as Murad states that Mannat humiliated him by slapping him. Mannat argues that, like him, she can also get angry – but that’s not acceptable for a woman. This is the perfect example of how South Asian society is unforgiving toward women while making one hundred excuses for a man in the same situation. Murad can slap Mannat and that action almost gives him more “respect” with his family. However, when Mannat slaps him back, that respect is diminished and she has disgraced him. This mentality does not differ between society, as even Mannat’s family is horrified by Mannat’s actions….but not by the fact that Murad slapped her first. “Mannat Murad” is doing an excellent job of highlighting doubt standards within Pakistani society.
There are a few things that are frustrating to watch here, but also absolutely realistic. Murad is well aware of his mother’s ways and how she has manipulated things throughout her life, as he has grown up seeing it. This has been a discussion in their household since before his marriage – and yet suddenly, with his new wife, he gangs up with his family against her. This is not poorly written, rather it’s a true representation of such family homes where the matriarch has raised her children on a tight leash, creating a world of “us vs. them” – and in this situation, the “them” is Mannat, Murad’s wife. Now with Mannat gone, Murad sits alone thinking about how Mannat must’ve always wanted to leave him. This is another point, which is Murad’s insecurity. Murad has never been raised to be a secure man. He’s someone entirely dependent on his mother and her agreement. Can such a man ever be a good husband? And with that in mind, is the ideal situation here for Mannat and Murad to actually reunite? Does any logical, self-respecting individual watching “Mannat Murad” at present want Mannat to reunite with Murad? Does Murad even deserve her?
Talha Chahour and Iqra Aziz both do an excellent job in this episode, really driving home the anger and frustration that sets them on this path. The greatest drawback of this show is simply how it was advertised. Had it been appropriately marketed as a story of marriage and the problems that come after marriage, it would’ve been lapped up, particularly because it’s now driving home these points well. However, when audiences expect a romantic comedy and they’re not getting it, disappointment will set in. At the present point, “Mannat Murad” has taken an exciting turn and it will be interesting to see how Mannat and Murad move forward.