“Qissa Meherbano Ka” has been a show that has been slightly wishy-washy, a show that’s interesting at times and dull at others. Starring Mawra Hocane, Zaviyaar Nauman Ejaz, Ahsan Khan, Mashal Khan, Areej Mohyuddin, Khushal Khan, Mohammad Ahmed, Zeb Rehman and others, the story has been written by Fakhra Jabeen and directed by Iqbal Hussain. At present, the story has currently picked up greatly after the death of Mohammad Ahmed’s character, now bringing the character of Noor into Meherbano’s (toxic) household.
In episode 15, Murad (Ahsan Khan) is seen overjoyed at the idea of becoming a father – specifically to a boy. Sensing Murad’s joy, Fari (Mashal Khan) leaves the house, upset at Murad having a child with another woman. Fari is an interesting character, because she genuinely loves Murad and isn’t willing to divorce him – but she’s also a confident woman who knows how to use her voice and stand up for herself. Murad and Fari may be a terrible twosome, but they certainly are an interesting couple and Ahsan Khan and Mashal Khan share great chemistry as actors. Meanwhile, Noor (Areej Mohyuddin) and Ayaz (Khushal Khan) continue to butt heads while having a soft corner for one another in a couple of sweet, very short scenes. They deserve more screen time!
In a discreet, yet clear scene, Murad is seen exercising his belief that he has “control” over Meherbano, as she is his wife. While she attempts to walk away from him, he violently grabs her by the hair, slamming her into a wall before the camera pans away, indicating how his young wife has been violated – that too while already pregnant. The horror of this act is mirrored in Noor’s face later when she opens the door to check on Meherbano. Marital rape is something rarely discussed in Pakistani dramas and has only been touched upon in 1-2 shows, though rarely is it discussed in the way it should be discussed – as a crime. For example, in “Muqaddar,” Madiha Imam’s character is kidnapped by and forcibly married to Sardar Saif, played by Faysal Qureshi, who quite obviously rapes his young wife. However, this act is romanticized by the fact that he “loves” her, dotes on her and showers her with money. With such examples on our screens, credit must be given to “Qissa Meherbano Ka” for highlighting the sheer horror of the act.
At this point, Murad’s character has reached a point of being unredeemable. And yet, will an attempt still be made to redeem him? One can only hope the story steers clear entirely of giving this character any further “positive” moments, as with this episode, he has been permanently reduced to a negative character – and rightly so, as he has been negative since the beginning. What we, as an audience are left cheering for are two things. First, Meherbano needs to leave this household immediately with Noor. They own a house, they own property, they own stores and land – there isn’t any reason for Meherbano to endure this, even for the sake of her child. Second, Noor and Ayaz continue to be a pair that is the romantic pull of the show. While Mehrab (Zaviyaar Nauman Ejaz) and Meherbano are sweet enough and root-worthy, it’s Ayaz and Noor who leave viewers squealing. And unfortunately, they do not get nearly enough screen time as they deserve, with only fleeting moments in each episode. Focus more on this young duo and give us a strong love story!
Overall, “Qissa Meherbano Ka” has taken a turn for the better with episode 15 as it delivers an episode of value, a story that is meaningful. Highlighting a topic that is rarely discussed, one that is taboo and swept under the rug, it serves as an eye-opener for our society and for those who do not understand that no means no – even if a woman has signed a paper to be married. Hopefully the show continues to move in an upwards trend from this point onwards.