“Qissa Meherbano Ka” has a lot going for it. Marking Mawra Hocane’s return post-Sabaat, the show is also the launchpad for Zaviyaar Nauman Khan and Khushal Khan, two promising newcomers, along with Ahsan Khan, Zeb Rehman, Mohammad Ahmed, Areej Mohyuddin, Mashal Khan and others headlining the cast. The storyhas been written by Fakhra Jabeen and directed by Iqbal Hussain. This drama shows promise, but has been slow to pick up pace.
In episode 4, we see that Asghar (Mohammad Ahmed) has agreed to marry Meherbano (Mawra Hocane) to Mehrab (Zaviyaar Nauman Ejaz) – as long as his mother agrees. The scene between Asghar and the Maulana Sahab is quite beautiful, honestly, in that he scolds Asghar for making a promise on the Quran and using the Holy book for something so trivial – and, most importantly, points out how he has mistreated his own daughter by holding her to such a promise. Religion is so often used as the basis for backwards relationships in dramas, confusing religion with cultural practices, so it’s wonderful to see a balanced viewpoint put forth on this show.
Honestly, while Mawra Hocane is doing justice to her role as Meherbano, it’s a step backwards for her after “Sabaat.” With “Sabaat,” Mawra stepped up and played a woman of today who could speak and fight for herself. Here, we see yet another victim in Meherbano – and not even a victim of circumstance, but a victim of her own choosing. There are many avenues for Meherbano to move forward, beginning with a job – but instead, we see her serving Asghar chai and watering plants. But most importantly, Meherbano is more to blame for her situation than her father. Asghar now wants her to move on, regardless of whether Mehrab marries her or not – and this is the right decision. Meherbano, on the other hand, is content being the victim, holding on to some ill-conceived notion of “izzat.” There are heavy shades of Mawra’s characters in “Sammi” and “Aahista Aahista” (which is one of my all-time most hated shows) within Meherbano, but one can only hope she finds her voice before it’s too late.
On his part, Zaviyaar Nauman Ejaz is a welcome addiction to the industry, delivering a natural performance as Mehrab. He has strong screen presence, but at present, his character has little to do. How will he react now that Murad (Ahsan Khan) is back on the scene? While Murad has returned to supposedly give Meherbano a divorce, it’s clear that this won’t be his intention. What does this horrible bond have in store for Meherbano next?
The highlight of this episode is honestly Khushal Khan as Ayaz, Meherbano and Murad’s nephew. This young man has a likable quality to him and his character seems to carry a lot of promise. Now is that a positive presence or negative, that we will have to wait and see. There’s some mystery surrounding Atif and Afiya in this episode. While Atif, Meherbano’s brother, divorced Afiya and left her behind, what happened to her after the divorce? Afiya wanted to leave Atif for her lover, so what happened to her? Why is Ayaz with Murad and his (evil) grandmother? Did Afiya die – and if so, how? Now with Murad’s return, this is all set to unfold soon. “Qissa Meherbano Ka” isn’t necessary viewing, but it’s interesting enough and has a great cast, so let’s hope the pace picks up soon.