Often in Pakistani dramas, independent women are made out to be the villain. They have jobs, drive a car, wear pant suits, high heels, makeup and are essentially the “vamps” of the show while the female lead remains clad in shalwar kameez and has all the values determined “good” by general society. Within the first few scenes alone, “Tere Bina Mein Nahi” stands out in this regard. Starring Sonya Hussyn, Shehzad Sheikh, Aiza Awan, Bushra Ansari, Khaled Anum, Munazza Arif and others, the story has been written by Maha Malik (who recently wrote “Aye Musht E Khaak) and directed by Ali Masud Saeed.
In the first two episodes, we are introduced to Noor (Sonya Hussyn) and Murtaza (Shehzad Sheikh), cousins who are also childhood sweethearts. They have been together since a very young age and are thoroughly devoted to one another. Both are working professionals but have different viewpoints towards their life goals. While Murtaza has family obligations and happily fulfills them without complaint, Noor has big dreams not only for her own career, but also expectations of her marriage to Murtaza. While Murtaza and Noor’s parents get together to arrange their marriage, Noor expresses her hesitation towards getting married at the present moment – and this sparks off outrage not only within the family, but also within Murtaza himself.
The conversation that occurs between Murtaza and Noor over the phone while trying to sort their differences out shows how ego can get in the way of understanding. Noor is trying her best to explain herself, but is unable to and that frustration comes out in a way that’s hurtful to Murtaza. Meanwhile, Murtaza is unable to understand Noor’s point of view and feels rejected, as she is failing to offer any real solution or timeline for her demands. Noor is not ready for marriage….but when will she be? It’s easy to sympathize with both parties in this storyline and that’s the highlight of “Tere Bina Mein Nahi.” This isn’t a love story of betrayal, rather it’s the practicality of life and marriage that is coming between these two lovers. Noor’s point of view isn’t wrong. Women in South Asian society are forced to put their dreams to rest after marriage, becoming busy with in-laws and children, and Noor does not want this for herself at the present moment. She wants to work and achieve her dreams before settling down? Is this something big to ask? And yet, it’s her pressure towards Murtaza to do the same that comes across as insensitive, not only putting down his career goals, but also looking down upon his familial obligations (unintentionally). Murtaza, on his part, is failing to understand Noor’s point of view and simply wants to get married at this very moment. This is a communication gap between the two and while they may be very much in love, their relationship now has cracks in it that are to the point of it being irreparable.
Sonya Hussyn has been working in more artsy shows as of late, so it’s refreshing to see her in a lighter show with a more glamorous role. She impresses as always with her natural performance and brings Noor to life with her complex emotions – and ego. Shehzad Sheikh is sweet enough and convincing as a man trying to do right by his family. Aiza Awan is a talent to watch out for and she has been making her mark slowly with each show. In the first two episodes, she’s relegated to being a side character, but her role will grow as the show progresses. Overall, “Tere Bina Mein Nahi” is a drama to look out for, making a strong impression with the first two episodes. If the narrative manages to stay on track and continue delivering strong episodes, this will be a success.