Ever since the start of social media, early days on instant messenger and then with the introduction of webcams, we have been warned about the dangers of over-sharing. Do not share personal information, do not share your location, do not share your pictures, etc. However, as time has gone on, society has grown more accustomed to sharing images and videos online and we have learned how to safeguard our privacy in a way that’s acceptable. However, what are the rules when it comes to those we are close to and are a part of our day-to-day lives? How many girls share private pictures or indulge in private acts on video for their partners? While we are taught to trust our partners, what is the line where we should stop? This is the story “Mere Ban Jao” has been allowing to unfold on our screens as we were introduced to Uzmi (Kinza Hashmi) and her overbearing fiancé Fardeen (Azfar Rehman). Starring Zahid Ahmed, Kinza Hashmi and Azfar Rehman in lead roles, the story has been written by Samira Fazal and directed by Syed Ahmed Kamran.
In episode 19, Fardeen’s blackmailing has officially begun as he informs Uzmi of a video he has of her. Uzmi, on her part, is shocked and worried, as she never made a video – but deep in her gut, she has a suspicion, a fear, which is later confirmed. While Uzmi does her best to keep away from Fardeen and avoid him entirely, he has a manipulative nature and manages to get her in trouble with her own family for “being disrespectful.” Logically speaking, what sort of family would want their daughter/sister to constantly come face to face with a man she was once married to? In what world would this be acceptable? Uzmi’s brother and sister-in-law, however, are easily influenced by Fardeen and fall for his manipulations, which put Uzmi in a rough place.
Fortunately, Zaki (Zahid Ahmed) continues to be a good friend to Uzmi. When the two are out, along with Nadira (Hira Tareen), he catches on to something being amiss and follows Uzmi when he spots her leaving with Fardeen. On her part, Uzmi is foolish to sit in a car with Fardeen alone and accompany him into an empty house – but at the same time, can we blame her? She knows Fardeen is hoarding something over her that could potentially ruin her life. Once Uzmi finally sees the video, she realizes things are much worse than she initially imagined, the video having been heavily edited to make her seem like the sole culprit. Fardeen has found his perfect tool for revenge, a way to blackmail Uzmi and have her do exactly what he wants. Fortunately, at the right moment, Zaki strikes and helps Uzmi escape from the house, injuring Fardeen in the process.
What makes “Mere Ban Jao” such an interesting story is that while it’s dramatized, the essential story is realistic. Women tend to trust their fiancés and believe their “honor” is safe with hem – but what happens if that relationship breaks? What happens to those privately shared moments that are now potentially a ticking time bomb in the possession of someone who no longer harbors the same respect they once did (if they ever did)? The sharing of pictures and videos is something that is still heavily discussed today and those of a private nature trickle into even murkier territory. Kinza Hashmi is believable as Uzmi, a naïve young girl who has been sheltered her entire life and wholeheartedly believed in her relationship and by the time she realized she had made a mistake, it was already too late. Azfar Rehman has gotten the negative act down pat and does a great job as Fardeen, a narcissistic man who wants to control those around him and cannot see his own faults. And, of course, Zahid Ahmed is just wonderful as Zaki, the true hero of the story, a young man who wants to protect Uzmi from Fardeen – and her own mistakes. While “Mere Ban Jao” isn’t a perfect show and has its share of flaws, it has a unique storyline and great performances which make it worth watching.