Hum TV drama Qissa Meherbano Ka is a hot topic of debate on social media these days. It attempts to tackle the issue of marital rape, which is a highly taboo subject in Pakistan. The drama shows Mawra Hocane’s character Meherbano in an abusive relationship with husband Murad, played by Ahsan Khan. It highlights minor but severe issues like single-parenting, family separation, and inheritance in the initial episodes. However, after the 15th episode, things started to get messier, and the implication of marital rape grabbed the viewers’ attention.
The drama received immense backlash for potentially condoning sexual violence because of its depiction. Social media users criticized Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for ignoring what appeared to them as “normalizing the disgusting behaviour”.
Qissa Meherbano Ka Receives Criticism for Portraying Marital Rape
After becoming the victim of marital rape, the protagonist of Qissa Meherbano Ka claims that her husband can do anything with her to please himself as “he has the right”. This particular phrase hurt a lot of viewers because it made her character look weak and unwilling to get out of the abusive relationship. The scenes became extra disturbing because Meherbano was pregnant while her husband violated her. Viewers suggested that the creators can highlight specific topics better as sexual violation is a common theme of many Pakistani dramas.
Several other users complained about the main character’s motivations and not leaving her abusive husband. They felt that the show was glorifying marital rape by making Meherbano reluctantly agree with the false notion that “man can do anything with his wife”. However, the actors stressed that one could not normalize anything already normal in society. They argued that the show intended to address the issue in Pakistan that no one speaks on.
Change Doesn’t Come Overnight
Another problem is that not many people in Pakistan understand the issue of marital rape. The show depicts the scenes to highlight what a woman goes through when her husband constantly violates her consent. Therefore, it is understandable how devasting the settings can be. But the viewers who were fed with watching miserable stories on Pakistani TV wanted a different outcome for Hocane’s character. The actress responded to the criticism and explained how the show remained practical and honest with reality.
She elaborated on where her character said that her husband had the right to rape her. The painful dialogue was spoken sarcastically to represent what Pakistani society widely believed. It was an ordinary traumatized woman who was only making fun of herself. Hocane also hinted that Meherbano would certainly get out of her predicament, but it won’t be that easy.
As in reality, women in similar situations tend to suffer a lot before safely getting rid of their abusive husbands. Therefore, Qissa Meherbano Ka aims to deliver a practical resolution to the issue. It sparked anger among users because they assumed that this drama would make Murad a hero in the name of “practical resolution”. It is because many Pakistani Dramas previously did the same thing. Many dramas of such nature first portray the man as a brutal rapist and then make the girl forgive him in the end after he does something fancy for her. However, the actor Ahsan Khan who played the negative role, confirmed that he did not see any redemption arc for Murad, considering how far he has gone. As far as the viewers are concerned, they would love to see a befitting end to this violent character as soon as possible.