Following an interesting opening, this second episode came as a big disappointment. Gone was the fluid pace, the intelligent framing of issues and the use of metaphors, and in its stead was a stalled narrative and in-your-face story telling.
Reproductive health and pre natal care are among the important issues addressed in Mujhay Jeenay Doh. As Yasmin, Nadia Jamil plays the local health-worker who tries her level best to create awareness among the woman in her village, but patriarchy often comes in her way. Bushra’s recent death is one of those tragedies that could’ve been easily averted had the men in her family paid heed to Yasmin’s warnings. Now, Naseeb misses his wife terribly, but there is little he can do to bring her back. It is in this situation that his father-in-law egged on by Murad, his wastrel of a son, advises Naseeb to re-marry. And that too to his own 8/10 year old daughter, Saira.
This in a nutshell is all that happened in this latest episode. Where the previous episode had made brilliant use of the motif of Saira’s doll’s wedding to frame the central issue of child marriages, today’s installment had more of a sledgehammer like approach. There was way too much dependence on intercut scenes which did nothing to move the story along or add another layer to the text, other than drag out scenes far longer than necessary. Case in point: Naseeb’s conversation with his father-in-law which seemed to go on forever thanks to the insertion of Saira’s scene in between. Also, Naseeb’s reminiscing about his wife also seemed overdone after a point, more so when the same dialogues had been used at least twice already last week.
This week the spotlight was trained squarely on Naseeb’s grief and case being built for his marriage to Saira. Emphasis on this one track meant that all other strands were short shrifted. Yasmeen was kind of around but nothing “new” happened with her. Last episode had introduced us to Shaheena, Yasmin’s pregnant sister who feels compelled to compromise with her abusive husband because of her children. That this couple has financial difficulties was already shown last week and this episode offered more of the same, with Murad continuing to push Mamdu to ask for his wife’s share of her father’s property.
Murad, the man with money on his mind all the time, is not just causing trouble in Mamdu and Shaheena’s marriage, he is also responsible for suggesting the [mis]match between Saira and Naseeb. Given his precarious financial situation and the way his mind works, I am pretty sure he is using this new rishta to ensure the continued flow of funds from Naseeb’s house to his grubby hands. That so many of these child marriages are used to seal unofficial/unsaid/underhanded economic transactions is something I hope will be made explicit in episodes to come.
And speaking of my expectations from this serial, I hope that the team will not indulge in maudlin melodrama to stretch out the story and focus on getting their message across iresponsibly. By definition alone an issue-based drama has to be different than a regular serial with a stereotypical hero and heroine and their romance and milna aur bicharna and their rona dhona. And going by this understanding, this second episode was a disappointment. Hopefully next week’s is a better one.
Did you guys watch the second episode of Mujhay Jeenay Do? Kaisa laga?
Written by SZ~