“Mannat Murad” arrives with much fanfare, particularly from those who have been missing watching Iqra Aziz on screen, who was last seen in Express TV’s short mini-series “Aik Thi Laila” last year. Iqra’s co-star is Talha Chahour in a Pakistani drama which promises to be a sweet, candy floss romance with meaningful messaging – and within the first episode alone, this is visible. Along with Iqra and Talha, “Muannat Murad” stars Rabiya Kulsoom, Irsa Ghazal, Uzma Hassan, Faiza Gillani, Tipu Sharif, Ali Safina and others in prominent roles while the story has been written by Nadia Akhtar and directed by Syed Wajahat Hussain.
In the first episode, we are introduced to the well-off, headstrong Mannat (Iqra Aziz), a young woman who knows what she wants, how to protect herself and how to work hard. She interviews – and gets the job – at Murad’s (Talha Chahour) workplace and the two share a short, brief encounter. In this brief encounter though, we realize that Murad wears his heart on his sleeve, constantly giving his heart to any woman willing to look his way. Murad has always lived his life under his mother’s shadow, an overbearing, suspicious, controlling mother played by Irsa Ghazal. This is the sort of mother who destroys the lives of her children in her so-called care…..and destroy is exactly what she’s doing. With one sister unmarried, another who ran away to get married, one sister married to a good-for-nothing and one younger sister, Murad has his hands full. Still, it’s beautiful to see the sweet bond between these sisters and their brother. With Murad now crushing on Mannat, will his controlling mother even allow a love marriage? This forms the premise of the show.
The first episode is quite sweet, actually. The love story itself is not love, rather it’s simply a crush at this point. However, the family dynamics in Murad’s house is where the strength of the show lies. While Murad’s mother does not realize or recognize how she’s hurting her own daughters, she’s openly defensive and protective of her son, putting his needs and wants first. This is toxic parenting at its best and while her children – and even her son-in-law – realize it, she herself is unwilling to see her own faults. “Mannat Murad” doesn’t have a particularly new story, rather we’ve seen this story of an overbearing mother and her chaotic behavior towards a potential daughter-in-law before. However, here, the treatment appears to be different and with a stellar group of performers, “Mannat Murad” has a lot of promise. Talha Chahour is incredibly sweet as Murad while Iqra Aziz is confident, as always, as Mannat. The first episode does not boast of a lot of romance, but it is certainly full of complex relationships, living up to expectations.