The one drama collectively being discussed right now within Pakistani drama fans is “Tere Bin” and quite honestly, there’s a lot to be said. To call “Tere Bin” a fan favorite would be putting it lightly. Har Pal Geo has hit the jackpot with “Tere Bin,” a show which pulls in 22 million views per episode on YouTube. This drama has pulled in audiences not only in Pakistan and with Pakistani overseas audiences, but also from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and other surrounding countries. The success of “Tere Bin” is unmatched in recent times and despite it simply being a fun, guilty pleasure watch, the chemistry between Wahaj Ali and Yumna Zaidi has been at the center of the show’s success. While many viewers have protested against the show’s quality, shoddy writing and weak character graphs, the show has been a mass entertainer which came across as harmless…..until this week. Alongside Wahaj and Yumna star Bushra Ansari, Sohail Sameer, Sabeena Farooq, Hira Soomro, Farhan Ali Agha, Fazila Qazi and others in prominent roles. The story has been written by Nooran Makhdoom and directed by Siraj Ul Haq.
In Thursday’s episode, Meerub (Yumna Zaidi) and Murtasim (Wahaj Ali) fell into Haya’s (Sabeena Farooq) trap during Mariam’s (Hira Soomro) wedding. With Meerub walking in on Murtasim and Haya in a compromising position, Meerub accuses Murtasim of cheating without hearing his explanations, slaps him and….spits in his face. This act alone comes across as disgusting enough, leaving viewers appalled at how a beloved couple could sink to this level, writing off Meerub’s actions. However, almost immediately, the discussion turns to something much darker – Murtasim’s reaction. At the end of the episode, the door closes ominously and while we see the two in distress behind the door, what takes place is a cliffhanger for next week. Unfortunately, what’s seen in the promo does not bode well for the show.
The promo indicates in many ways that Murtasim forces himself on his wife, “breaking the contract.” While the contract being broken has been something fans have been waiting for, no one could have imagined it playing out in this way with marital rape. There are two scenarios to be discussed here. First, let’s give the benefit of doubt that this is just a poorly cut promo for sensationalism purposes. This possibility is unlikely, but let’s just discuss this. If this is the case and the problem with Murtasim and Meerub is something entirely different – which is doubtful -, it is truly irresponsible of the channel and that in itself is something they should be apologizing for.
Now, let’s come to the second scenario and, most likely, the actual scenario, which is hat the assault did take place. Showing assault in a show is valid in a drama as long as it’s handled with sensitivity and is being portrayed in a way that clearly indicates that it’s wrong. The man committing assault is a villain, not a hero. Everyone from the writer, the actors, the production team, etc. has described “Tere Bin” as a fun, entertaining, melodramatic romance. A show cannot build up its male lead to be the perfect man for the majority of a show, portray him as a pure hero, put him on a pedestal and then…..have him assault the woman he claims to respect in retaliation to being spat on. This is not right and it sends out a horrible message.
Knowing how Pakistani dramas tend to wind up, won’t this result in the male and female lead reuniting in the end? And if that’s the case, what’s the message being sent out? On the flip side, if the female lead chooses someone else and does not reunite with Murtasim…..what has been the point of this show other than Meerub and Murtasim’s chemistry? As viewers, we can give benefit of doubt for one more week and see how the following episodes play out to confirm whether our suspicions are right or not. But if that winds up being the case, should we continue to watch and give views to a show which sends out such a harmful message? Isn’t showing assault as a “punishment” detrimental to society? This is something to think about.