After the success of “Mujhe Vida Kar,” a guilty-pleasure sort of show about the grief women go through in bad marriages, “Mere Apne” now sets to touch upon the practice of watta-satta. This isn’t a subject that we haven’t seen before, but the cast of “Mere Apne” is interesting enough to pull in audiences. Starring Ali Abbas, Hajra Yamin, Zainab Shabbir, Usama Khan, Arez Ahmed, Agha Mustafa, Zoya Nasir, Waseem Abbas, Firdous Jamal, Tanveer Jamal and others, the story has been written by Qurat-ul-Ain Akhter and Dilawar Khan and directed by Mohsin Mirza and Tehseen Khan.
In episodes 1-3, we are introduced to Omer (Ali Abbas), who has two brothers and a younger sister, Ramsha (Zainab Shabbir), along with a sister-in-law Shumaila (Zoya Nasir). The entire family is excited on the return of their parents from Umrah. However, the peace within the household chips away as Shumaila pushes her mother-in-law (who is also her Khala), Kulsoom (Ayesha Khan), to get her sister Mariam married to Omer. This is despite the fact that Omer and Neha (Hajra Yamin) are blissfully in love and don’t make much of an attempt to hide it. Shumaila manipulates Kulsoom against Neha, who is technically perfect daughter-in-law material. However, Omer fights for this relationship and the family proposes – but there’s a catch. Neha’s father, Mehmood (Waseem Abbas), is money-minded and decides to demand the marriage of Ramsha and Hamza (Usama Khan) in exchange.
One thing in ARY dramas as of late that has become a standard is an interfering Bhabi, this time played by Zoya Nasir, who wants to get her sister married to her brother-in-law who is visibly in love with someone else. This cliché has become exhausting honestly. While it’s a sweet idea to have two sisters married within one household, why would anyone want this at the cost of mental peace? Mariam behaves as if Omar (Ali Abbas) is the only man on earth she can marry and so, she has to fight for him. Omer is so visibly in love with Neha (Hajra Yamin) that his entire family jokes about it openly. What sort of woman would want her sister to marry a man who loves someone else – that too, someone else within the family (a cousin)? And why is Mariam so desperate? It’s insulting to see a woman falling over herself to manipulate a man into marrying her. Why should he? And why should she be so fixated on him instead of moving on with dignity? That’s the problem here – there isn’t any dignity within these characters. We’ve seen this many times before, most recently in ARY’s recently ended “Ishq Hai” and not once has the audience sat up and said “this is such a great story!” It’s simply not. It needs to stop. We, as a gender, are not this pitiful. Mariam is an educated girl, she needs to behave that way.
The story here isn’t particularly great – and that’s putting it lightly. There isn’t anything new to offer in “Mere Apne” and the treatment is less on the lines of “Mujhe Vida Kar” (which was enjoyable) and more along the lines of “Ishq Hai” (which was torturous). However, it’s Ali Abbas and Hajra Yamin’s chemistry that keeps one interested, their interactions coming across as natural and authentic. Ordinarily, this would be a show that I would immediately abandon – however it’s love for Ali Abbas and Hajra Yamin that will force a continuation for a few more episodes to see if this show manages to pick up.