First of all, whether you admit it or not, we know you’ve been watching Mann Mayal. From near or afar, everyone (and when we say ‘everyone’, sometimes we only mean cable-watching urbanites) has had some exposure to the experiment that was called Mann Mayal.
As the drama concludes, it would be appropriate to re-visit some of the highlights of this drama serial. For starters, let’s go over the factsheet once:
Name: Mann Mayal (‘Heart inclined” in Urdu)
Written by: Samira Fazal
Directed by: Haseeb Hassan
Caste: Hamza Ali Abbasi, Ayesha Khan, Maya Ali, Gohar Rasheed (yes, our very own 91 RJ)
Number of episodes: 33
Channel aired on: Hum TV
We won’t bore you with going over the details of the story. But let’s just do a quick re-cap of what has been going on on Hum TV every Monday between 8 and 9 pm.
How it all started
Salahuddin (Hamza Ali Abbasi) was a bright, hard-working young man (could Hamza Ali Abbasi be any less?). Love blossoms when he begins tutoring his sister’s friend Mannu (Maya Ali). But when marriage is brought up, he steps back and cites differences in both families’ economic situations as the excuse. As was to be, Mannu is then married to the drama serial’s villain, Mikaeel (Gohar Rasheed). It soon turns out that Makaeel has a whole bucket of cliché vices, straight from the Bollywood movies from the 1970’s and 80’s. In addition to having a foul temper, he gambles and drinks liberally. But of course.
The plot thickens
While life becomes hell for Mannu, Salahuddin (who now regrets his pivotal decision of not marrying Mannu) escapes into service. He serves his friend’s ailing father (played by the veteran actor Talat Hussain) with a super-human selflessness. It turns out, in another fantastic twist, that the old man, upon his death, leaves a fortune for Salahuddin. Salahuddin now suddenly becomes a rich man, and a businessman. One of his employees is the doe-eyed Ayesha Khan (playing Jeena), who is secretly (and then not-so-secretly) in love with him. Her character is rather painful to endure, and we’d rather not unpack it. Suffice it should be to say that she plays a victim (and the internet is full of memes about her character), while manipulating Salahuddin.
Where it headed
Mannu eventually gets divorced by bad boy Mikaeel, and degenerates into a pathetic mess. Salahuddin, who still yearned for Mannu, lent a shoulder for her to cry on. But all of this was accompanied by some more ‘twists’ unskillfully tempered by realism. The last episode runs today. The whole country is curious (and, well, that would be a success in the books of the drama’s creators) about the fate of so-far unlucky-in-love Salahuddin and Mannu.
Our two cents (still only two Rupees after conversion)
Just like corn flour is liberally used by amateur chefs to thicken soups, the makers of Mann Mayal used generous additions of easy ingredients to the mix. But easy ingredients make for quick fixes, not class. The writer Samira Fazal sprinkled doses of lust, deception, glamor, and some old-fashioned goodness onto an otherwise below-average script. But we shouldn’t forget the biggest ingredient in the Mann Mayal broth – a high-profile and beautiful caste.
Now that Mann Mayal is at its end, perhaps many of us wonder how we ever got sucked into this unhealthy relationship. The answer is simple: an attractive, A-list class with a cool soundtrack (sung by Quratul Ain Baloch), and deft touches by an experienced team at Hum TV. The unfortunate element remains the lack of a consistent, original story which felt like it was being made up as it went along.
For Hum TV, the big lesson learnt would be that a big caste gravy sprinkled with some glamor hot sauce is enough to be an audience-grabber. Apparently, nobody has anything to do on a Monday evening!
Finally, we will bid Mann Mayal adieu from our lives, after slaking our curiosities in the last episode. Thank you for giving us something to do in our dull lives.
Good bye Mann Mayal.
(Or should we say ‘good riddance’?)