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Mann Mayal 8-13 a quick catchup

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At its heart Mann Mayal is a simple story that shows us that the obstacles we face in life may exist only in our own hearts and minds. Mannu (Maya Ali) is the naive daughter of a well to do family living in Hyderabad. When Mannu’s father hires her friends older brother Salahuddin (Hamza Ali Abbasi),as her tutor, all the latent attraction between the blossoms into love. While Manu is brave and risks everything to be with Salahuddin, he doesn’t have the strength or confidence to ask for her hand because of his family’s inferior social and financial status.

Mannu marries Mikaal (Gohar Rasheed) but that is only the beginning of the young girl’s problems. Her new husband is beyond reform: he drinks alcohol, takes drugs and is addicted to gambling and partying. Even worse he dislikes Mannu and only married her to manipulate his parents. Meanwhile Salahuddin joins his friend Ifti’s (Vasey Chaudhry’s business in Karachi but he is not made welcome by Ifti’s mean, cheapskate of a wife Kuki (Arjumand Rahim). Disgusted by Ifti and Kuki’s neglect and ill treatment of Ifti’s father, Salahuddin resolves to take care of the old man himself. After spending time with Ifti’s father (Talat Hussain), Salahuddin grows in self-confidence and realizes what a mistake he made rejecting Mannu and takes a chance to offer her a reconciliation. Although Mannu is thinking of separating from the indifferent Mikaal, she is still so angry with Salahuddin that she throws his offer back at him and returns to her husband. Salahuddin inherits a lot of money from Ifti’s father and the story moves on three years. Meanwhile Mannu and Mikaal have one son with another child on the way, as Mikaal wants to make sure he inherits his father’s wealth.

Highlights

This is one of the most popular shows on television , riding high on Hamza Ali Abbasi’s huge fan following. This is a technically well-made serial with a lot of twists and turns for what is essentially a simple premise. Doomed love affairs are always popular fodder  for the masses and Hum Tv has this genre refined to a marketing miracle .Two exceptionally good looking people suffering the slings and arrows of cruel fortune always makes for good ratings. Maya Ali has given a strong performance that allows the audience to sympathize with a character that might otherwise come across as a little lightweight and impulsive. Gohar Rasheed has also been able to make his mark in this negative role. There is little nuance to Mikaal and Gohar has for the most part played this entirely selfish character with a straight, hard-faced attitude that gives the serial a lot of its traction. The other highlights have been Talat Hussain’s excellent portrayal of the dying father trying to hold on to a few shreds of dignity at the difficult end stage of life.

Mann Mayal is beautifully made with all the bright lights and colors at Hum TV’s command. Production values continue to be a plus point with this serial which combined with judicious use of the haunting title track makes this a visual treat.

Drawbacks

It would be much easier to empathize with Mannu and Salahuddin’s difficulties if they actually seemed attracted to each other .While Maya Ali has kept her end of the bargain up, Hamza Ali Abbasi seems disconnected for the most part. There is no doubt that Hamza is a good actor after his stints in Pyarey Afzal and the films Waar and Jawani Phir nahi Aani, but his expressions in Man Mayal do not convey the pain of loss and separation that a broken heart might suffer. His subdued reactions to what should be painful situations cloud any understanding of his character’s motivations. If he cannot play the wounded lover, he has certainly played the surrogate son to Ifti’s father really well. The onscreen chemistry between Abbasi and Talat Hussain was  excellent. If only the same could be said of Vasey Chaudhry’s performance as Ifti. Vasey Chaudhry doesn’t seem to have taken his role seriously at all but Arjumand Rahim managed to make strong impression as Kuki.

The slips and slides of logic in the main story don’t help the empathy quotient either. For example the rude servant Jamal, suddenly becomes a good guy after his patient dies, the way Mannu never talks to her mother about her problems or why Mannu would return to man who has serious character issues when her family are clearly willing to support her. It’s hard to feel sorry for protagonists who have a clear path out of a difficult situation but choose to run into it anyway. One of the biggest weaknesses is the complete lack of personality that Mannu’s character suffers from. While Maya Ali has managed to make Mannu believable and even likable, it is very hard to find anything about her that isn’t generic.  Her main interests in life seem to be the men around her; she has no hobbies, no dislikes or likes even her one friendship with Rabia is ultimately colored by her link to Salahuddin.

Next week’s promo shows the entry of a new character, Jeena, played by the talented Aisha Khan. This may well be just the twist to bring some depth to a serial that is riding a wave of massive popularity but lacks the intensity it promised in the first episode.

Sadaf Haider  this is also appears in Dawn Images

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