Muqabil has handled the subject of child molestation in a way completely novel for pakistani television. We recently watched Udaari which also dealt with child abuse but Imtiaz was shown to be a bad guy overall and people hated him from the bottom of their heart. On the other hand, Mehmood was someone anyone would trust easily. He was shown to be a religious and civilised man. He had a respectable job and had brought up his kids well. He was the hero his daughter would always look up to. But he had a dark side no one was aware of: he was a paedophile. So, on one hand, people hated him to have abused Pareesa, they also liked him for his various good traits. This was a tricky situation as the serial humanised the rapist in a way, it should not have. People should not be sympathising with him. But I’m glad the makers of the drama handled it in a good way, which satisfied most viewers without losing out on the message it tried to convey.
So everyone included Pareesa’s parents found out about how Pareesa was abused as a child by Mehmood. It was interesting to see see that it was not only the pool where she was abused. She felt vulnerable for the rest of her life till the time she fell in love with arman. Her fear and insecurities after the incident were described in a very good way. There is a reason why ‘mehmood ki goad main pali hai Pareesa’ was mentioned through out the serial. That’s because he carried her a lot with the wrong intention. Here it also must be noted that she was not abused because she had a working mom but because her parents trusted someone with their child when they should have in fact listened to their daughter and trusted her (remember Udaari? The mother was instantly aware something was wrong with her daughter. She was working as well but the key point was communication). So anyway Shehnaz decided to kill Mehmood but Mehmood committed suicide himself. I quite liked the scenes where everyone questioned Mehmood’s sudden death and reasons for his suicide. I’m glad they showed that a pedophile is and must be considered the ‘bad’ guy regardless of how pious he pretends to be.
Soon after, arman decides to end his commitment with Sarah but he has no intention of getting back togather with Pareesa although he is very well aware that he is deeply in love with her. On the other hand Pareesa decides to leave for Canada. But before leaving, she holds a press conference telling people about how she was abused as a child and how the suffering of the victim can be minimised through family support. This was one of my favourite scenes too as it was so satisfying to see a girl who could hardly stay outside her own bedroom mustered up the courage to tell the world what she was afraid to tell her parents too. And she gave the credit to her husband for her new found confidence.
Of course, it was a relief to see arman and Pareesa together in the end. And that scene was just so beautiful and vulnerable. I’m glad they didn’t make it too cheesy.
So, all in all, Muqabil was a wonderful journey but it could have been wrapped at least 5 weeks earlier. The editing department could have used their chopping skills in a superior manner to make it more impactful but nonetheless it was a great watch.
As for the performances, of course the three lead actors did an amazing job. But it was the supporting cast that needs a special mention too coz it would not have been such a treat to watch if the supporting actors had faltered.
Great work team Muqabil. Looking forward to more work from you.