Monday nights offer many options for Pakistani drama viewers. With “Ishqiya,” “Dushman E Jaan” and “Muqaddar” airing, there’s a variety of shows here with different subjects to choose from – or, if you’re like me, you simply watch all three. Here are some thoughts on this week’s lineup of Monday night viewing.
“Muqaddar” is not a show I indulge in often as the theme of the show is something I object to. However, I do tune in every so often, approximately once a month, and today happened to be one of those days. Viewers have all seen how Raima (Madiha Imam) was picked up by Saif Ur Rahman (Faysal Qureshi) against her will, despite being engaged to Haaris (Ali Ansari), and forced into marriage. Cut to episode 21, Raima has now made peace with her situation and plays the dutiful, quiet, obedient, understanding wife down to perfection. She is the perfect wife, the wife who quietly takes second place to Saif’s “first family,” the wife who waits on her husband hand and foot and has nothing else to do in her life but anticipate her husband’s arrival. And while there is nothing objectionable to being a perfect wife, what exactly are the makers trying to show here? Why are women expected to make peace with their violent, abusive situations? Unfortunately, “Muqaddar” sends a terrible message, one that screams loud and clear the value of women and the importance of their voice. The tropes of women hiding their real circumstances to “protect” their families has long been beaten into our heads and it’s exactly what we do not need to see on-screen anymore. Watching sacrificial lambs has become unpalatable and that’s exactly what Raima has become. In a disgusting scene, Raima calls Haaris and silently listens to his voice as he blasts her for her behavior and says she is dead to the entire family. Coming back to those silent calls, the director/writer really seems to love these, because Hassan’s fiancé uses the same to expose Hassan’s (Haris Waheed) love for Abeera (Sabeena Farooq) in this same episode. At this point, the only redeeming factor of this show could be Haroon Shahid’s Saad, but is that going to happen or will Raima and Saif have a “happy” ending?
“Ishqiya” is a show that is on an upward climb these days. While the show focuses on Hamza (Feroze Khan) and his games of revenge on Hamna (Ramsha Khan), the past few episodes have seen a change in mood – and Hamza’s behavior. After Siddiqui Sahab’s (Shabbir Jan) death, Hamza finds that his feelings for Rumi (Hania Amir) are genuine and her pain brings him grief as well. However, while he’s coming to this realization, is it simply too late? At this point, Hamna has already filled Azeem (Gohar Rasheed) in on all the details and Azeem is ready to step in as Rumi’s protector. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, particularly because Azeem still has not properly dealt with his own anger towards Hamna. Hamna continues to be the weakest link. While Feroze Khan, Hania Amir and Gohar Rasheed continue to give stellar performances, Ramsha Khan isn’t really given the scope to perform. Now whether that’s by choice or otherwise is unclear, but Hamna is a statue without any emotions and Ramsha has played her straight-faced throughout the show regardless of the situation In episode 23, there’s an irritating moment where Hamna tells her mother she has to pull herself together to take care of the two sisters and viewers are left wondering why Hamna cannot pull herself together to take care of her mother? Hamna is a character best described as “dead weight.” She has done nothing but create messy situations through her dishonesty and even after the reveal, Hamna continues to make a mess of her marriage through her actions. However, Hamna aside, “Ishqiya” is a show to look forward to each week.
Dushman E Jaan
“Dushman E Jaan” airs four days a week and yet, somehow, never manages to slow down in pace. Each episode is one to look forward to and manages to offer something in way of storyline progression. Episode 21, however, does manage to put the show on a path that comes across as “typical.” While Haatim (Mohib Mirza) and Rubaab’s (Madiha Imam) love continues to grow and he now has the support of his mother (Saba Hameed), his father’s (Imran Peerzada) disdain and anger continues to grow. While the narrative here has been understandable so far, the inclusion of Rubaab’s Maami and Zaheer has thrown the track off slightly. Rubaab’s Maami visits Rubaab’s home and encounter’s Haatim’s father, making insensitive comments about Ramsha and Rubaab, casting a negative image of Rubaab on her father-in-law. After she leaves, she sends Zaheer to his office for a job opportunity. Of course, Zaheer is offered a job with a condition – helping him break up Haatim and Rubaab. While Zaheer is down and broken, does this man have a loyal bone in his body? He broke up with Ramsha to marry Rubaab, then broke off with Rubaab to marry Rukhsana and now that Rukhsana has left, he is willing to break up Rubaab’s marriage to marry her himself? The behavior of this character is illogical and Rubaab’s Maami is even more irritating. At this point, the story is taking a clear turn towards a “misunderstanding” track which is not the greatest, and one wonders how Haatim and Rubaab will handle this moving forward.
These are the top three picks for Monday nights with drama viewers with “Ishqiya” and “Dushman E Jaan” leading on the list of favorites.