When “Mere Ban Jao” launched, it immediately caught the eye of Pakistani drama viewers with its unique concept, that too one which is rooted in reality. How has social media affected the security of women and while it’s great to trust one’s partner, how many women have become victims of this trust? The answer is many, as leaked videos have been a problem in South Asian society for years. Starring Zahid Ahmed, Kinza Hashmi and Azfar Rehman in lead roles, the story is written by Samira Fazal and directed by Syed Ahmed Kamran. Unfortunately, while “Mere Ban Jao” had a strong start and solid run, the finale is more than just a let-down…..it’s flat.
In the finale, Zaki (Zahid Ahmed) and Azmiya (Kinza Hashmi) are now ready to move forward with their relationship, prepared to face Fardeen (Azfar Rehman) and his threats. Honestly, Zaki and Azmiya’s divorce track is the moment when “Mere Ban Jao” went from being a great, recommend-worthy story to one that self-sabotaged by dragging out needless, nonsensical misunderstandings. Why would Zaki ever, even for a moment, believe that Fardeen would leave Azmiya alone if he divorced her? Zaki has seen Azmiya through it all, from Fardeen’s attack on her at the house to leaking her video to blackmailing her to run away from her marriage. He knows exactly what Fardeen is capable of – and yet, he thought it was a good idea to leave Azmiya defenseless and abandoned once again, left at Fardeen’s mercy? The entire idea of this track is ludicrous and leaves a bad taste in the mouth, ruining the beauty of Azmiya and Zaki’s relationship.
Unfortunately, things just become more ridiculous. We’ve all been waiting for Hashim to come out of the shadows and play a game openly with Fardeen, even believing Hashim may be the one to expose Fardeen in the end. Nothing of the sort happens. Hashim and Zaki come face to face and discuss the situation. Meanwhile, Azmiya meets Fardeen alone, believing she’s meeting Farah. At this point, Fardeen threatens her life, her child’s life and Zaki’s life – all options leading to murder of some kind. To show a man as a villain, it’s not necessary to paint them in the bloodshed category. What’s scary about cybercrimes is that they are done behind a computer screen or cellphone by someone who is otherwise a “normal” member of society. Sure, while Fardeen is a visible narcissist and can only think about himself, his threats of murder are illogical.
And yet, this is not the most illogical part of the episode. Suddenly, during Fardeen and Azmiya’s meeting on a public road under a random tree where Fardeen is threatening murder in broad daylight, Zaki arrives in a frenzy to save his wife. How did Zaki know where Azmiya was? How did he get there when he was meeting with Hashim only moment earlier? Adding to the hilarity, Fardeen’s father and Farah both arrive right on time with the police. But why? There is zero explanation given. Quite honestly, it would’ve been more exciting – and realistic – to see Hashim turn Fardeen in. What was the point of the Hashim role in the end? Fardeen’s father, who has known about Fardeen’s reality for months and was even willing to sell his house for his son’s crimes, should’ve been the last one to turn Fardeen in. The ending, somehow, just wound up feeling lackluster and disappointing.
In the finale, everything tied up too neatly, too quickly. It was, to put it simply, not enjoyable. The performances in “Mere Ban Jao” have been consistent with Zahid Ahmed and Kinza Hashmi’s performances winning audiences over. Azfar Rehman has been excellent as Fardeen, though his final crying scenes in jail felt overdone and, again, out of character and unnecessary. A special shoutout has to be given to Hira Tareen for her role as Nadra. Nadra has been the comic element of the show and even when Nadra has been “bad,” she has been a character worth watching. Hira Tareen has done a great job while Noman Habib has also given a cute, likable performance. Overall, “Mere Ban Jao” has been a strong, consistently enjoyable watch with great performances over the past several months. Unfortunately, the final episodes let the show down greatly with unnecessary dragging and illogical plot points. This one will be remembered for its concept and good performances rather than the finished product.