Directed By: Badar Mehmood
Written By: Zanjabeel Asim Shah
Produced By: Big Bang Entertainment
Schedule: Every Monday at 8:00 PM on ARY Digital
I recently made the decision to start watching “Mein,” mainly because of its current status as one of the most widely-watched dramas. I have often found Zanjabeel Asim Shah’s scripts to be engaging, particularly in the initial stages. With this in mind, I held onto the hope that, at the very least, the first few episodes of this drama might prove to be engaging, even if the rest did not measure up later on. Initially, I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about watching “Mein” because the promotional material seemed to hint at Ayeza Khan portraying a character similar to the one she portrayed in “Tau Dil Ka Kya Hua.” Nonetheless, curiosity eventually got the better of me, and I decided to jump on the bandwagon. After watching all the episodes that have gone on air till now, I must admit that “Mein” has left me underwhelmed. Without going into the intricate details of the storyline, I am going to share my thoughts on the most pivotal aspects of the drama till now.
The opening episodes of “Mein” relied significantly on what could be termed the ‘shock factor.’ It was apparent that the creators of the show strategically designed these episodes to grab the viewers’ attention. This strategy wasn’t executed in an entirely original manner. In fact, the prominent theme of a public divorce scenario bore a striking resemblance to the signature style of Khalil ur Rehman Qamar. The parallels between “Mein” and “Tau Dil Ka Kya Hua,” were hard to ignore and served as the first major disappointment. This resemblance to Khalil ur Rehman’s style not only detracted from the originality of “Mein” but also left me wondering if the drama might struggle to establish its own unique identity and narrative voice.
Since Mein promises to be “a dramatic story of two strong-headed individuals who end up crossing paths due to being unlucky in love while facing family and societal pressures”, The writer wasted no time in setting the stage for this plot. The differences in Mubashra and Zaid’s personalities were well established from the start. The focus on class differences was also quite obvious from the beginning. The execution of numerous scenes throughout this first episode left much to be desired, prompting critical scrutiny of the overall production quality and direction. One noticeable aspect was the inconsistency in the visual and emotional delivery of pivotal moments. While some scenes carried immense potential for emotional impact, they often fell short due to issues like awkward camera angles, poorly timed transitions, or lackluster lighting. This inconsistency disrupted the flow of the narrative and detracted from the intended emotional resonance, leaving viewers wanting more in terms of visual engagement.
It is evident that Ayeza Khan takes center stage in “Mein”, making it essentially her show. However, the critical question that arises is whether both Ayeza Khan, in her portrayal and the writer, in crafting the character, managed to do justice to the role. Up to this point, viewers have primarily seen Mubashra’s dominant “mein,” characterized by her egocentric personality. This character, regrettably, appears rather one-dimensional, lacking the layers and depth that could make her more compelling. This brings to mind Sarah Khan’s character in “Sabaat,” where a similar dearth of complexity left viewers wanting more from what could have been a more multifaceted role.
Despite numerous episodes and an intense focus on Mubashra’s character in “Mein,” I continue to struggle with establishing any meaningful connection with her. Mubashra defies easy classification as a narcissist due to her remarkably straightforward demeanor. Rather than exhibiting the nuanced traits often associated with narcissism, she appears, without subtlety, as someone thoroughly spoiled and desperately in need of discipline. Furthermore, the egocentric facet of her personality remains disappointingly unexplored, leaving viewers yearning for more.
Similar to Miraal’s character in “Sabaat,” Mubashra’s inner turmoil, struggles, conflicts, and even her inner dialogues remain shrouded in mystery, offering viewers little insight into her psyche. It’s disheartening to observe this recurring pattern in Pakistani dramas, where central characters like Mubashra lack the depth and emotional complexity that could make them more relatable and engaging. While Miraal in “Sabaat” at least had a semblance of an emotional connection with her father, Mubashra’s relationship with her father lacks substance altogether. This absence of even a hint of humanity in her character makes it particularly challenging to endure her toxicity onscreen. It raises the perplexing question of why “Mein” continues to be one of the most-watched dramas despite its central character’s lack of depth and relatability.
Ayeza Khan as Mubashra – What’s lacking?
The ongoing debate regarding Ayeza Khan’s suitability for the role in “Mein” raises valid concerns. One thing that’s apparent is that Ayeza may not have had sufficient material to truly sink her acting prowess into. The primary issue lies in the character itself, which is inadequately developed, lacking the intricacies and depth necessary to challenge an actor.
Ayeza Khan has always been committed to crafting the perfect appearance for her on-screen characters. Since Mubashra is a rich spoiled brat who likes to be praised and adored, Ayeza Khan has invested a substantial amount of effort to embody these traits visually. Her meticulous attention to makeup and wardrobe selection stands out without a doubt. However, it is important to note that there have been instances where it was a little too obvious that Ayeza was somewhat uncomfortable in the outfits she wore. This discomfort occasionally overshadowed her performance and became a noticeable distraction.
This transformation process, while impressive in terms of fashion aesthetics, seems to be veering towards resembling a fashion showcase more than a genuine effort to breathe life into her character. The emphasis on style over substance makes this character even more superficial. Balancing the visual appeal with the essence of the character is crucial to create a truly impactful performance. In short, despite her considerable efforts, Ayeza Khan falls short in terms of commanding a compelling presence on screen.
Zaid and Ayra’s Feeble Love Story
Just like Mubashra, Zaid is also a one-dimensional character. At first glance, Zaid’s character traits may suggest that the viewers should fall for him instantly. He embodies qualities that typically garner empathy and affection, such as kindness, sincerity, and a good-hearted nature. However, despite these positive attributes, something seems to be lacking in the execution of his character that prevents him from fully capturing the viewer’s heart. Furthermore, the chemistry and interactions between Zaid and other characters may not have been adequately explored. Dynamic relationships and meaningful connections can often breathe life into a character, making them more captivating to the audience. If Zaid’s interactions with other characters were more intricately woven into the storyline, it could have allowed his likable qualities to shine more brightly.
Zaid and Ayera’s relationship stands as the most important element of this particular storyline, serving as its central and most crucial element. However, despite its pivotal role, their relationship has completely failed to leave a lasting impression on me. Similarly, Zaid’s relationship with his sister and father has not been explored properly. One significant factor contributing to the lackluster impact of their relationship is the absence of a strong emotional connection. While the narrative may hint at the potential for deep feelings or a significant bond between Zaid and Ayera, the execution falls short of translating this potential into a palpable and resonant connection. Also, Wahaj Ali and Azekah Daniel’s pairing lacks on-screen chemistry. Chemistry is a pivotal element in portraying a convincing and engaging romantic relationship, and when it falls short, it can hinder the audience’s investment in the couple’s journey.
On paper, Ayra’s character is poised to be a symbol of empowerment but her on-screen portrayal falls short of conveying the dynamic and compelling essence that one might expect from such a character. Instead, she often comes across as, for lack of a better word, ‘plain’ in her presentation. Azekah Daniel’s portrayal lacks the “x factor” that elevates performances from ordinary to extraordinary. Beyond the performance aspect, a noticeable shift occurs in the lighting and overall ambiance of the drama whenever the focus shifts to these characters. For her character, Ayra’s appearance could have achieved a harmonious blend of simplicity and refinement, sidestepping any potential pitfalls of coming across as excessively mundane or forgettable. The person in charge of Azekah Daniel’s look definitely failed to strike that balance.
Weak Supporting Characters
The drama serial “Mein” suffers from the unfortunate drawback of featuring a supporting cast that can be described as both lacking in intelligence and failing to capture interest. This issue with the supporting characters significantly impacts the overall viewing experience, as they play a pivotal role in shaping the narrative and enhancing the main storyline. Just like the main characters these supporting characters also lack depth to the extent that they often come across as stereotypical and even ‘dumb’. The fact that this drama does not have a single supporting character that stands out or is likable pretty much says it all. Also, I would like to mention here that a veteran actor with a great personality such as Usman Peerzada is being wasted in this role. Shahzad Nawaz left me in awe of his screen presence when he played the lead in Ishq Mein Teray a long time back but now he seems to be focusing more on his looks than his performance. I sense that he’s already being typecast as the wealthy father devoid of any distinct personality traits.
“Mein” failed to hold my interest or pique my curiosity due to its underdeveloped and unattractive characters, along with their relationships that lack depth. The excessive focus on toxic elements is off-putting, and the drama is burdened with an overabundance of stereotypes. Throughout these 6 weeks, not one scene or scenario has left a lasting impression. The disappointment extends even to the production values and overall execution, giving rise to the impression that an undue amount of attention has been given to Mubashra’s scenes. It is as though the lighting and camerawork used to enhance the overall visual quality were disproportionately focused on Mubashra’s character, leaving the remaining scenes bathed in a completely distinct and less appealing ambiance. This disparity in the allocation of resources for visual presentation becomes all too apparent when scrutinizing the production as a whole.
“Mein” is undoubtedly one of the numerous popular dramas that don’t provide much substance but manage to secure high ratings nonetheless. I am pretty certain that the negativity exhibited by these characters will only escalate in the weeks to come. Will “Mein” turn out to be another “Balaa”?