“Mayi Ri” has been a talking point since the promos first went on air. A show based on child marriage, the family pressures, the support, the fights, the negatives and the positives, viewers were not entirely sure where the show was headed in the long run. At one point, when Aini found herself expecting a child, all eyeballs fell on “Mayi Ri,” including audiences who did not watch the show, wondering what sort of ideas were being promoted within this daily show. And yet, while the execution hasn’t necessarily been perfect, hitting bumps in the road and depicting more evil within the “vamp” of the show than necessary, “Mayi Ri” winds up on a strong note, depicting exactly what (logical) viewers wanted from the show – independence, freedom, education and personal growth. Starring Aina Asif, Samar Abbas, Nauman Ejaz, Maria Wasti, Maya Khan, Saad Faridi, Sajida Syed, Amna Malik, Paras Masroor and others in prominent roles, the story has been written by Sana Fahad and directed by Meesam Naqvi.
In the finale, Faakhir (Samar Abbas) prepares to leave for higher education abroad, serving Aini (Aina Asif) with divorce papers as per her request. Watching both Faakhir and Aini suffer in silence, mourning their broken relationship while also understanding why it’s necessary is a heartbreaking moment. Watching Faakhir leave is equally heart wrenching, not only for Aini, but also for Samina (Maria Wasti), a woman who first lost her husband and is now sending her only child away to allow him to fulfill his dreams. Of course, we witness the final goodbye of Aini and Faakhir as husband and wife as Aini sees Faakhir to the gate, the two promising to start their relationship once again – as friends. The way the two stand on either side of the gate, in tears, having difficulty letting go of a relationship that brought them misery, but also offered comfort…..it’s the very reason we, as an audience, find ourselves asking “Why couldn’t they just make it work?” and the answer to that is given in the upcoming scenes. Is it possible to be true to a relationship like marriage while learning who we are as individuals, studying, making friends, having study sessions with peers, learning new skills and so forth? It’s not impossible, but Faakhir and Aini have seen first-hand how resentment enters the fold. They do love and respect each other, though the love isn’t romantic. They want that relationship to remain, they want that respect to remain, they want Inayah to have a set of loving, kind parents – not ones who despise each other, abuse each other and set a harmful environment for her upbringing. In the end, we see a happy, successful Aini and a happy, successful Faakhir who support each other from afar and should the ending really have been any different? This is perfect.
Now, of course, “Mayi Ri” has had its share of flaws and even the finale does. First, can we just talk about the preachy way some of the dialogues are written? The “chooriyon ki chan chan” one has been repeated several times in the drama and it’s a ridiculous one, one written by an adult, one that a child would never have uttered, that too more than once. Honestly, that “chooriyon ki chan chan” does not affect one’s education, this dialogue never should’ve been okayed the first time, let alone over and over again, even in Aini’s graduation speech. Coming to that, her graduation speech is a solid 15 minutes long and it’s a wonder which University allows a speech that long, that too one so preachy? It’s a bit overdone. We love introspection and reflection, but the reflection did not need to come out that way. Of course, it would have been wonderful to see Faakhir come back and see Inayah often along with the two finding happiness elsewhere, but this might’ve been asking too much with the spot the show ends in.
Aina Asif has been the star of “Mayi Ri” as the young Aini, a girl with a passion for education pushed into marriage and motherhood before she was anywhere near ready. Her performance has been consistently wonderful throughout. She’s a star to watch out for, a talent who can really act and will excel when she’s old enough to play central characters. Samar Abbas is another talent to watch out for, an actor who has made us fall for Faakhir and support him, even as he took a turn for the worst. His performance allowed us to remember that Faakhir is as much a victim as Aini, though the expectations from boys are much different from girls as attributed by society. We hope to see much more of him in the future.
Maria Wasti and Maya Khan deserve a separate round of applause as Samina and Aisha, two mothers who have been dealt different cards in life, but have struggled in different ways. These women have always tried to protect their children – and failed. Their husbands’ choices ultimately destroyed the lives of their children and they’re now putting the reigns in the hands of their children, understanding that the younger generation will be stronger and more successful in breaking toxic traditions. Wonderful job, ladies. Faridi Saad has also been excellent as Habib, the good-for-nothing, greedy, irresponsible Habib. If there’s been an excellent “love to hate” character in this show, it has been Habib (along with Rahila, played by Hiba Ali Khan).
“Mayi Ri” is one of those shows that managed to tell a gripping story without leaving the heart heavy each night. As a daily watch, “Mayi Ri” has been a show that’s both enjoyable and educational all at once. It forced viewers to think and question societal practices, even root for our cute hero and heroine….and then question the ethical nature of rooting for them? Again, while this hasn’t been a perfect show, it has accomplished what it set out to do and left an impression on audiences. “Mayi Ri” will be missed terribly!