Mor Mahal episode 16 – a few thoughts
This is a drama I personally had a lot of high hopes from. If Sarmad Khoosat directs anything, even if its traffic, I want to watch it, at least once. In between all the odd miss steps, wrong turns and shortfalls like Ashk somewhere, somehow the stars will align and we might get that Pani Jaisa Pyar /Humsafar /Sheher e Zaat kind of quality serial again. Adding fuel to this particular fire was the fact that someone definitely smarter than me had written the script. After having interviewed Mr. Sarmad Sehbai twice, I have come to the conclusion that he will always be the most intelligent part of the conversation, while I blunder on with my simple attempts at enjoying the colour red and marvel at the union of spoon and fork (given to me gratis by the kind people at KFC).
Well 16 episodes down and Mor Mahal is finally capturing my interest. I will duck now because my friend and partner in crime MM insists it is wonderful from episode 1 but after two or three episodes it seemed a bit lack luster to me . Yes Mor Mahal was full of intrigue and everyone is always cooking something up against someone else but, what pray tell, is novel about that ? If anything it reminded me of a typical GEO Saas – Bahu , sazish type soap opera only everyone was wearing fancy hats . Badshah Begum is trying to push her son Nawab Nausha towards bivi number two aka Mehar Bano or Nau Aroos. There is a major battle of wills as Nausha is still inclined to his original Wazir begum.. Sound familiar, yes I thought so .
While Hina Bayat is always a pleasure to watch, but here she has been a rare treat as a portrait in ambition and evil. Her normally kindly eyes seem to shine with an otherworldly avarice at times. Meanwhile the royal Bahu number 1 played by Meesha Shafi seems to be a rather badly written character to me; I cannot tell understand her motivations at times. Then there is Begum Number two, who wins the prize for most annoying creature on TV at the moment. She never stops whining and cannot think beyond “her Kabeer “.At times I wish she would do us all a favour and die in the dungeons. Her servant girl was so much more interesting, poor thing; it was a shame she had to die.
I cannot say I am a huge fan of Nawab Nausha either, for a Nawab brought up in this kind of atmosphere he doesn’t have a clue and trusts everyone he meets. I guess this explains his nervous breakdown when he finds out about his mother’s nasty plots. The Men of Mor Mahal are all terribly naïve, they fall in love at first sight and have not met a woman they don’t like ……really ….? I like Umair Jaswal as the half comatose Nawab better than the wide awake version. His acting has been quite reasonable for such a powerful role and a first foray but for me at least it lacks the charisma and depth that say Mikaal Zulfikar or Ahsan Khan might have had. Anyway chote Nawab played by Umer Naru is making up for it . In Shehzada Taimoor we finally have someone to root for. Good looking, naïve and still loyal to his father, he seems to be the only decent person in the entire palace . Wait, there is one more nice person in this maze, that is the eunuch Shola Jan played by Ali Saleem.
Mor Mahal has a really amazing script, but the thrill has been taken out of it because of the plodding pace and some really unimaginative camera work. There are so many twists and turns in this story, so why isn’t it exciting? Till Taimoor came along it seemed to be low energy. I think too much time has been given to side characters especially Shaista Begum, who seems to be controlling everyone for what exact purpose I am too annoyed to ask. Jana Malik comes across as a tiresome Cheshire cat meddling in stuff way above her paygrade. Is it really too much to ask for the story to move faster and could someone tighten up the editing? Now I think the magic lady Akhtari will be killed off next episode, such a shame when she was actually quite entertaining despite her strange role. Well I for one will be watching to see what happens next. Will Mehar Bano get to meet her dear Kabir? Will Wazir begum have an affair with Kabir? Why is Kabir so amazing, because sorry I can’t see it. If anyone else is watching please let me know what you think