Meri Zaat Zarra E Benishaan is an incredibly underrated show.
Humsafar is often regarded as one of the defining dramas of Pakistani television in recent years. While it truly was an amazing show, another show is often forgotten. ‘Meri Zaat Zarra E Benishaan’ ( referred as MZZB in this rest of this article, because well the name is too long) hit TV screens about 2 years before ‘Humsafar‘, and well for anyone who has seen both shows- the storylines are pretty similar.
Both shows feature a couple, whose marriage is looked down upon by the guy’s mother. Through manipulation, the mother accuses the female protagonists of cheating on their husbands, leading to a divorce. The lives of the former couple are ruined and they both lead rather sad lives until the guy finds out that his own mom lied to him!
The actual plots of both shows are obviously more complex. MZZB, however, does a better job of creating an interesting narrative and storyline. The story plays over two generations. It uses the lives of the new generation to begin a flashback.
The plot follows a woman named Saba. She is portrayed as someone with liberal views; something her family largely disagrees with.
This fact is played up when Saba falls in love with and decides to marry her cousin Arfeen, the entire khandaan is against this union.
The most ruckus about this is created by none other than Arfeen’s mother. Arfeen is able to force his parents into accepting Saba as their bahu, but of course, his mom has other plans.
The plots of both shows truly intersect at the scene of ‘infidelity’, or rather the accusation of it. The entire drama really does climax at this point. Saba is dragged outside the house and physically hit by Arfeen’s father. She remains silent as this happens to her however when she confronts Arfeen, it becomes a whole other story.
Unlike Khirad, Saba fights her husband’s fragile trust in her and also pushes him on his blind trust of whatever his mom says.
What really makes MZZB shine is the scene where Arfeen makes his mother swear to the Quran.
This scene sets her up to be one of the greatest villains to have existed, like ever. She swears to the Quran that she SAW, with her own two eyes, that Saba cheated on her husband with her cousin, Adil. Essentially, Arfeen’s mother, at that moment committed one of the gravest sins, just so that her plan may be successful.
Arfeen then turns to Saba and asks her if she’d like to swear on the Quran. Saba refuses. All along she thought her aunt was too pious to lie on the Quran, but that wasn’t the case anymore. She knew then, that she couldn’t win back the trust of her husband, even the rest of her family.
After her divorce, she endures an abusive second marriage. This husband leaves her after she gets pregnant. He refuses to believe the child is his.
Saba’s life is in shambles, however, she doesn’t stop working and ends up at a wealthy lady’s house to work as a maid.
While we see Saba being put through the grind, we also see Arfeen’s marriage fall through. It’s a loveless union! The last stroke to hit the marriage is his mother coming clean.
Arfeen comes home to meet his mother, who has been diagnosed with cancer. On her deathbed, she tells him how she lied, how she ruined his life as well as Saba’s. The great antagonist in this drama breaks, and crumbles. At that moment, we see Arfeen’s family truly ruined, you could even go as far as to say, they were cursed.
This ‘fall’ doesn’t really happen with Asher’s family in Humsafar. The dynamic that plays in that drama is that Asher becomes more empowered and tells his mother off for everything. For the sake of ‘Humsafar’, this path in the story makes sense, since that drama had a happy ending.
‘Meri Zaat Zarra E Benishaan’ does not end happily, especially for Arfeen and Saba.
The entire show begins with the fact that Saba dies, thus starting a long flashback. After finding out the truth, and leaving his wife, Arfeen tries to find Saba so that he may bring her back to his life. When he does find her, she doesn’t want anything to do with him. The question she poses to him is how can she have faith in a man who had such little faith in her. How could she now stand with a man who hadn’t had the courage to stand with her when it mattered.
Saba then runs away again and makes sure that she cannot be found by Arfeen again. She doesn’t want anything to do with him. She eventually dies, leaving her daughter a letter to give to Arfeen. He then brings her daughter, Sara, to his house, where Arfeen deems it fit to have Saba’s daughter marry his son Haider, however, as the flashbacks commence in the drama, Sara slowly begins to learn the horrors of her mother’s life. She runs away on the night of her shaadi, prompting Arfeen to tell all to Haider.
The drama ends well for the story between Haider and Sara.
‘Meri Zaat Zarra E Benishaan’ proves to be a better watch because the stakes it creates for its characters are much larger. The mother commits the ultimate sin, Saba has to weigh her options and is truly left to fend for herself by her family and Arfeen’s entire facade of who he is and who his family is is entirely and irreparably damaged.