Mann Mayal~Episode 2 Review

MannM

If last week was mostly about Mannu ka result then the second episode tackled the grave question of Mannu ka khana: kyon nahin khaya, kab khaye gi, kis ke ghar khayegi, kaun khilaye ga, kaisey khilaye ga…

It took almost eighteen minutes and a scene heavily inspired by Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge to resolve this issue, and move on to more important matter of how Salahuddin’s proposal would be received by Manu’s conservative and more well-off family.

The second instalment introduced us to the third angle in Salahuddin and Manu’s love story. Enter Mikael and his family. In what was probably the best scene of the episode, believing they had come for her cousin, Manu puts on quite the show as she tries her utmost to sell Sara baji as the perfect biwi/bahu material. Unfortunately her chirpiness and good humor come to an abrupt end when Mikael informs her they’re not there for Sarah baji – it’s her rishta they’re seeking. And thus starts Manu bibi ki bhook hartal. 

While there was a lot of talking that happened after, for me after that first scene and Gohar Rasheed’s entry, the rest of the episode was pretty much a washout. There were bright moments here and there – the scenes with Manu’s family, Mikael’s family’s scenes, Bia and Salahuddin’s fun interactions, the very nicely done scene between Salahuddin and his dad – but nothing that really stood out. As for the Manu and Salahuddin long-winded ‘romantic’ scenes, they failed to evoke any interest because I remain patently unmoved by this pair.

When we first met Manu, she had come off as an easily excitable, immature girl, but after this latest episode I am quite perturbed by this character. The ease with which she abuses her family’s trust, her manipulations, the deliberate attempts to seduce Salahuddin, all are in sharp contrast to the masoomiyat she displays around Mikael’s family or when pillow fighting with Sara baji. Having seen quite a few of Samira Fazal’s heroines I knew Manu would be no shrinking violet, but, still, there is something very unsavory about this supposedly teenage girl and her relationship with her tutor, which is neither likeable nor cutesy, and most definitely not romantic.

Salahuddin, on the other hand, does not share any of my concerns and was easily persuaded by Manu’s declaration of love. Gone with the wind was his pragmatism and his semblance of maturity. If he could easily dismiss whatever his sister said as ‘sasti romantic baatein’, why then did Manu’s lines work for him? Isn’t she the same age as his sister? Doesn’t she too watch the same ‘cable channels’ that Salahuddin deems have done Bia’s damagh kharab?

As the older, more mature person in the relationship, shouldn’t Salahuddin have been more firm and forceful in his stance? Shouldn’t he have excused himself from tutoring her the minute he realized she was fancying herself love with him? But nahin… nothing of that sort happened. Their love declared and reciprocated, Manu and Salahuddin’s love story has officially begun, and, as the precap promises, the stage is now set for the zalim samaj to make an entry.

Aesthetically speaking, this episode had all the patented MD bells and whistles. Detailing of various characters’ looks, the visually marked distinction between the social status of the two neighbors, and the lighting and camera movement, all worked together to make this an-easy-on-the-eyes watch.

Of the actors, the seniors are always a pleasure to watch. Among the younger lot, Gohar made his presence felt. Hamza and Aiman share great chemistry and their scenes together are fun. Hamza’s scenes with Maya, on the other hand come off as tedious and labored. As for Maya, she has the perky Manu down pat, but there is a disjunction between the masoom Manu and the more mature Manu. Had the differences between these two aspects been better addressed the character itself wouldn’t have come off looking as disjointed as it does at the moment.

All in all, two episodes in I am yet to be convinced. The story, so far, offers nothing new and the lead pair’s track is very off-putting. That said, the complete OST (posted below) holds out the promise of lot more still to come and many more characters yet to be introduced so I will see… see for how long I can watch in the hope that the serial can rise above its been-there-done-that start.

Written by SZ~

Mann Mayal ~ Complete OST

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23 replies

  1. I am totally with you there SZ. I had liked the first episode but this one didn’t click so well. First of all, too much – entirely too much – talking. In fact, I couldn’t believe just how much Mannu and Salahuddin talked. Lesser dialogues and more emoting always works better. And if they really had to talk out the entire time, shorter scenes would’ve worked well. Also, the dialogues were entirely forgettable. It’s like someone else wrote the first episode and a different person wrote the second episode.

    Like you, I was a little shocked at Mannu’s frank declarations of love. Methinks she has confused crush with love but instead of putting that point across, we are told in no less than clear terms that theirs is a “love story” so that’s that. To me, Mannu comes across as immature, living in her own fantasy land (mere liye taare torna line), and childish (mere zindagi main wohi hota hai jo main chahti hun – and now she wants Salahuddin). I am hopeful that we will see some character growth here as the episodes pass.

    Looking at the OST, it seems Mikael will be an abusive husband. That’s really sad. I had hoped he’d be a positive character so maybe when Salahuddin re-entered a few years later, Mannu would realize she has a good life with her husband. But that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Let’s see.

    Oh and that “Achi lagti hai na Mannu aap ko” line was recycled straight from DeD. Man, Bia even said it in the same style as Zarminay. Considering that had been one of my few favourite scenes from DeD, I was hugely put off. I would’ve made a video if I knew how to do it – putting both the frames together (and probably ending it with Maya saying to FM: Tou phir chalein long drive? Ref Lemon Ma ad. Hahaha).

    • @DB: If Manu is childish and confusing a crush with an ishq wala love where the heck was Salahuddin’s maturity and brain? And we are being told this man is gonna be a CSS officer?!? No wonder the country is in the mess that it is!

      • Hahahaha! True that, SZ. I was expecting Salahuddin to back out of this teaching job and take a job in another city ASAP but it actually took his father to tell him that he shouldn’t go there for tuition anymore.

        • @saidarathor: Hey! Lovely to hear from you on this thread 🙂 Seems like we are all pretty much on the same page as in none of us are buying into the hype and can see through the glamour and glitz..

          Are you gonna continue with it?

  2. Agree with u on the Manu character giving the wrong message in this episode. All her antics made me uncomfortable. tuitions in our part of the land are first job for a person of age group 15-20s, where families kinda do a favor of helping u earn sumthing and entrust u in letting u come in to their homes. The impression this episode will only be bad on the families watching it.

    • @Redstar: I hear you, and I see many are complaining about this issue on other forums as well …I so so wish all these productions companies and channels try to understand the harm they are doing by playing fast loose with so many relationships .. thanks to them the devar-bhabhi, saali-behnoi, relationships have already been degraded and turned into something disgusting and now we have this teacher-student/tutor-student relationship being twisted and turned into something really distasteful .. wonder what we will see next?

  3. Great review SZ. I think at this point the story is very predictable.

    I think you and several others mentioned after episode 1 that HAA looked much older. MA/Mannu also looks older than Bia and they are supposed to be the same age.

    I agree with you SZ. The disconnect in Mannu’s character in these two episodes was a little grating. I was also wondering how old is this character? She is speaking of love with the assurance of a much older woman. But I also considered that maybe this older, somewhat sober, down-to-earth Salahuddin might be a good match for the flighty Mannu. I was uncomfortable with the tutor/pupil thing. I squirm here, but this theme is openly romanticized even in feature films on the subcontinent.

    I enjoyed the scene where GR’s family came to see Mannu. GR’s dancing eyes showing that the character was vastly amused and taken with Mannu. There was also a sense of humor there. So the promo is disappointing with the possible violence ahead.

    Since all the themes and dialogues seemed rehashed I was noticing other things:

    There is a certain gentleness/tenderness I am seeing among family members here. All except Mannu’s chaaci. Mannu’s father treats her with such tenderness, even Salahuddin’s father in the first episode giving his son a bite from his plate… I like this since we see a lot of family hierarchical berehemi; I found it sweet. I hope it doesn’t become all-out inter-/intra family war when the cat’s out of the bag.

    Getting back to other things I was focusing due to predictable content…
    HAA has a certain eyebrow thing going on. Added to the furrows in the forehead, it makes the character seem that he is concerned or worried with the burden of the world on his mind.
    Yaar, HA, Lagey raho! Please don’t have Botox. We need expressive actors amidst a sea of plastic faces and other body parts.

    Still on board…

    • @JR: I hear you about the teacher-student relationship being romanticized before this, but again as they say two wrongs don’t make a right, and I would also say that because this is TV, which is watched without any precautionary ratings etc, and because this is being publicized as a family-friendly serial, and the publicity is clearly targeted towards tweens- who are all happily lapping all this up- that it is incumbent upon producers to be responsible with content and how they are depicting it.

      To show them holding hands, or her asking him to meet her elsewhere, and him tacitly returning her advances, is all really disturbing and sets a bad example in a society as conservative as our desi South Asian society, where a girl’s education is still not a given, where so many girls fight for the right to go for post secondary education, and here we are being shown a girl, who is granted the privilege and is trusted by her adults, willfully breaking their trust and using these educational meetings as dates where she dresses up to meet him and expects her to compliment him … I dont know, maybe its just me and my training as someone who teaches, but I can’t brush it aside as easily and go gaga over the ‘romance’ …

      LOL!! Yes, that HAA eyebrow thing! I hadn’t thought of it in terms of botox etc, but yeah clearly he hasn’t gotten it done – yet. On an aside, funny you should mention it, because his older sister, whom he mentions quite a bit in his interviews etc, is a dermatologist and is very well known for doing these aesthetic procedures, for stars as well … google her, Dr. Fazila Abbasi, and you will find her talking about botox etc on various talk shows .. so, basically, if he ever wants to get anything done he won’t have to go far to find a reputable dr! 😉

  4. Great review !! And you are so right about first scene being the enjoyable one.. For me it was only that scene.. Both Maya and Gohar were nice in that… Baqi us k baad i was literally disappointed the way things unfolded between Manu n Salahuddin… You put it beautifully regarding samajhdar manu n masoom manu… After admitting their love for eachother, it was awkward for me to see them as tutor student.. How can they be so comfortable about it…. I feel HA’s acting is actually pure acting..as in it dosent come across naturally like in PA he portrayed afzal so naturally though only watched 7 episodes …. Here lag aise raha he zabardasti saying k he likes manu…

    I have quite poor observation in makeup stuff.. But this time i could easily sooo mucg bad makeup put on MA in that scene where salahuddin comes to teach her after proposal… Uff its so distracting..

    Oho gohar k rishte ko tou na hogaye :/ how will he come back lol.. N ost shows both leads modern…n better looking than they are now.. Can v have the time leap fast please :p abhi tou romantic scenes and as @FA says double sawari baaqi he…

    • @Rehmat: Haha! Dont worry, precap dekh lo … ab after they are caught I dont think there will be much hope left for poor Sallu miyan.. Mikael sahab will be back – I’m sure! 😉

  5. I totally agree with you, SZ. In fact some of the things you’ve mentioned match exactly the thoughts I had when watching this episode, like that dragged out ‘Mannu ne khana nahi khaya’ scene with its very strong resemblence to DDLJ. This drama appears to be a hastily patched up quilt of cliches.

    And yes, only that first scene was good. The light comedy and the situational irony (which probably had underlying elements of social satire as well) was fun to watch. The rest of it wasn’t up to the scratch at all.

    Mannu comes off as a very stupid girl. Putting on makeup for this ‘class’ with S as if going to a wedding, calling him late at night with a stupid excuse, how long realistically did they think it would take before the cat comes out of the bag? Did S really think M would keep it a secret for long with all her impulsiveness and childishness?

    With the dialogues that @DB has mentioned, I just don’t know how we are supposed to take Mannu seriously. She’s naive and has imagined herself in love with this older man – and I really can’t see how it can be love of any kind – and now is trying every trick to get him to do the same. It’s obvious she has a crush on him – anyone who’s been a teenager would get that – but no, it still has to be touted as the once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. It’s nonsensical!

    Salahuddin is a disappointment. How could he romance this girl he’s agreed to tutor?! It is cringeworthy! We can say Mannu tempted him time and again, and seeing how he ‘loved’ her already, it makes sense that he admitted his feelings. But it is so inexcusable. Instead of trying to deter her he’s given in to the whims of this spoiled child. I just can’t respect this man. Maybe they should’ve chosen a guy her age to make this romance more digestible.

    Ek tou this romantic thread is highly inappropriate imo, ooper se it’s not convincing at all. The serial has mundane, run of the mill dialogues and scenes so long one loses interest. Even the story is not something we can’t guess on our own. What else is supposed to keep us watching, I wonder.

    • @Nashra: Sigh!! I had really hoped that we could stay on this bandwagon for a bit longer, but after last week, and looking at the promos for the third ep, I dont have much hope… so dont be surprised if I skip the review tomorrow … this thread will remain open and I will review when there is something worth discussing, abhi tak tau I’m honestly unable to see any of the “masterpiece” like qualities that so many others seem to be finding in here :/

      Have you checked out Bhai? I will have the review up for that one by tom IA… I am intrigued by it so far …

      Also, will do Preet this week .. last week kinda went by in a blur 😦

      • @SZ: Episode 3 was even more ridiculous than estimations. Did you watch that scene where Mannu embraces her family then runs away to Salahuddin? What on earth was that? Ghar se bhaagna magar permission k saath? :/ Probably the writer’s own and really ludicrous take on ‘Ja Simran ja, jee le apni zindagi’. This serial is entirely without sar payr. Good decision.

        No, what is Bhai?

        • @Nashra: Re: MM: I have come to the conclusion that I am getting too old and thats perhaps the reason why I am just not getting the charm of this ‘classical love story.’

          I watched the third episode and I kid you not but I really had to work at watching it .. it was all so tedious and the long scenes and the heavy duty emotional atyachar .. all b/c a 17/18 yr old had decided she was in lurve 😳 Without sar payr is just about the right description for this on.. either that or that we;ve lost it .. you decide 😉

          oh, and what did you think of the article linked below and HAA’s defence?

          • @SZ: It has nothing to do with age and everything to do with being sensible & discerning. I’m afraid you suffer from the latter ones, the rare afflictions that they are 😉

            I read that blog and it was good to see common sense isn’t all dead. The comment on the pic is not by HAA I think, but by admin of a fan page who apparently sticks to the adage ‘the best defense is offence’. When exactly did Mannu “openly discuss” this matter with her parents? In fact, both of them were trying to keep it a secret for as long as they could – a fact which in most cases like this should be a dead giveaway as to which side of moral acceptability it falls on. And do saas-bahu/doosri aurat serials being bad automatically makes other ill-advised, insipid serials like, say, Mann Mayal, gooood? I don’t even know what to say!

            Did you watch no.4? I don’t even know why I’m watching this show, except to bash it lol. Oh Mannu, thou art the Queen of Awkward! Seriously, she induces embarrassment to the levels that one squirms sitting on the other side of the screen – I just don’t know how the characters on the show tolerate her. Not everything can be chalked up to bachpana or jazbatiyat. I think she’ll keep at it and put everyone through the extremes of embarrassment and one by one, everybody will die of it. The End.

            • @Nashra: I tried to watch ep 4, like really tried to.. but just couldnt sit past the 10 min mark…it was just so all over the place and the crying and long dialogues and the filminess of it all was just too much.. at times it sounded like a bad version of KRQ’s style of writing, and that’s quite OTT to begin with! Also, the story and the lines are so archaic that they would’ve fit better had they set the story in the 18/19th c .. and as for Manu, dont even start me on her and her ‘lurve’ for Salahuddin .. ugh!! Happy for all those who are enjoying it but I will pass, not my cup of tea 🙂

              That HAA comment, oh I just checked again .. you are right, it is from a fake fan page.. I dk why when I initially checked it I thought it was written from his personal acct .. apologies, my bad!

  6. I had a lot of expectations for this drama but this episode turned out to be a turn-off. Salahudin’s serious and somber character was likable up until he fell in the trap of Manu’s childish talks and behavior. He should have himself given up to tutor Manu which is a much suitable step from a person who is going for CSS exam!
    I found Bia’s character to be a bit annoying and MA somehow did not pull on the character well.
    On the whole the drama was not a visual treat like DeD where we got a fresh and renewed start to the serial.. The colors where sharp esp. the stained glass green windows, Manu’s clothing, over-the-top makeup and GR’s tie! It was hard to believe that its the same director who did many other better projects.

    In the end I am not sold by this drama and the story seems very much predictable :/

    • @S.A: Welcome to the club … I think we all had hopes, and after a relatively ho hum first episode I had hoped that the second one would be a more stronger one .. but here, as you have rightly said, the second proved to be the deal breaker and the whole so-called ‘romance’ b/w the lead pair left a really sour taste in the mouth ..

      Haha!! yes, GR’s tie was really off, and I mean really off! And Manu’s clothing I dont mind, but I definitely did not like the moment where she dresses up specifically to ‘rijhao’ or more simply put, when she is out to seduce him, was off-putting along with the OTT makeup .. and all this when she is supposedly 17 or so is really disturbing .. I have no clue how people are calling such scenes ‘cute’…

      Yup, like you def not sold!

      What else are you watching?

      • Thanks for the warm Welcome SZ 🙂 .. I like your take on dramas! ( honestly.. I only read your blog for Pak dramas 😛 ) Yes, you are right about how horribly disturbing it is a girl shown to be 17 or so be so bathed in makeup with the purpose of seducing someone..ehhhh!
        As for this drama, this cast and crew seem to have worked a lot hard on it that’s why it’s going to pay off, though I’m still expecting some good-to-hold-on storyline.

        I’m not watching anything else. You tell…any good/worth-watching suggestions?

        • @S.A. : LOL! Nahin yaar, dont expect people to only read me.. for me its always interesting to see how so many of us can have so very diff perspectives on the same given story 🙂

          These days Im watching Preet, Bhai, and Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai (which ends tomorrow) and then am looking fwd to Mor Mahal … And with all these interesting and varied storylines I find myself getting really bored by stories like MM, no matter how attractive their packaging. That said, I know there are tons and tons of followers of the MM, and am happy for them that they too are getting what they like..And thats what Im liking about TV these days that there is enough variety for all kinds of viewers .. which is basically what we were asking for all along.. ab lets hope and pray that this trend, of variety, continues #fingersandtoescrossed!

  7. Check this out … the writer expresses concerns similar to the ones we’ve discussed here. After reading the blog, read the comments on this pic, and also read HAA’s response. Would love to hear what you think about the original argument and the discussion its generated.

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