Starring Mawra Hocane, Zaviyaar Nauman Ejaz, Ahsan Khan, Khushal Khan, Zeb Rehman, Mohammad Ahmed, Areej Mohyuddin and others, the story has been written by Fakhra Jabeen and directed by Iqbal Hussain. Episode 9 of “Qissa Meherbano Ka” has two tracks. The first focuses on Mehran (Zaviyar Nauman Ejaz) who is tutoring Noor (Areej Mohyuddin). The two have always shared a sweet brother-sister sort of relationship of comfort and respect, but Mehran’s mother is seething with hatred towards Meherbano’s entire family – and Noor is not an exception. This is a woman who wants her son to get married – but also believes every woman is out to trap her beloved, prized son. She slanders Noor and claims she’s out to trap Mehran, which deeply hurts Noor – but also opens Mehran’s eyes to how warped his own mother’s thinking is. It’s nice to see a character like Mehran who can see his relationships for what they are. Personally, I believe it would be a travesty to get Mehran and Noor together, but the story seems to be headed in that direction. Both actors are wonderful and share a sweet chemistry.
The second track focuses on Meherbano’s life with Murad. This is more or less simply Murad pretending not to care about Meherbano, his wife (Mashal Khan) being insanely jealous (understandably so with a husband like Murad) and the house help harassing Meherbano. With the exception of the Phupo-Nephew track between Mawra Hocane and Khushal Khan, there’s little of interest here.
There’s an odd, foreboding feeling toward this show, not only based on how Murad is being written, but also with how his character is being received on social media. It takes one back to the time when “Aahista Aahista” with Mawra Hocane and Adnan Siddiqui was on air. “Aahista Aahista” was a show that left a deep, long-lasting impact….in the absolute worst way. In that drama, Adnan Siddiqui’s character abandons and neglects his first wife (Mawra Hocane) for his first wife (Sarwat Gilani) only to demonize his second wife for his own actions. In the end, despite a path out opening for Mawra’s character and even a potential life partner on the horizon, she is reunited with “hero” Adnan Siddiqui who is whitewashed of his crimes, piling them entirely on his second wife.
Why are we discussing “Arista Aahista”? Because it’s beginning to seem as though Ahsan Khan’s Murad is slowly turning into the “hero” over Zaviyar Nauman Ejaz. While Mehran may be the better man, he is slowly being pushed towards Noor, leaving Mehru with……Murad, the man who abandoned her years ago and is using her for her property. Marriage is a strong bond, sure, but only when it’s with the right person and when that bond is valued. The concept of forcing marriage down our throats is one that has become outdated and it’s increasingly difficult to digest abusive marriages on-screen being romanticized. Whether they are physical, emotional or verbally abusive, it’s all abuse.
Of course, this is all speculation and the ending could wind up being a progressive one. One can hope. It’s Zaviyar Nauman Ejaz, Areej Mohyuddin and Khushal Khan who are making the strongest impression and impact on this show. While the story focuses on Ahsan Khan and Mawra Hocane’s characters, it’s the “new” crop of actors who are proving that they are worthy of the screen time they’ve been given – and more. Of course, Mawra and Ahsan are both doing a wonderful job, as are Mashal Khan and Zeb Rehman. Still, the screen lights up with Khushal Khan’s presence, while Zaviyar and Areej’s banter leaves the audience with a smile on their face. This is the mark of good actors and this group has a bright future ahead! But will “Qissa Meherbano Ka” pick up and move in a positive direction? That’s what we, as viewers, are waiting to see.