‘Ranjha Ranjha Kardi’ gathered monumental criticism after a controversial marital rape scene, where Bhola (Imran Ashraf) raped his wife Noori (Iqra Aziz) in an incredibly distressing plot move. The scene raised countless red flags with the show’s audiences, with many questioning the way the rape was addressed by its characters – Bhola’s mental health was blamed and his mother (Asma Abbas) tried to convince Noori that the rape was acceptable because they were married.
The definition of consent came into question, and the writers of ‘Ranjha Ranjha Kardi’ had to answer why they were peddling such a risky story with various narrative hindrances.
Bhola’s mental health was not disclosed, and we still had no clue what exactly he suffered from; along with this loophole, his understanding intimacy became the premise to let him off the hook for what he did. The necessity to dive into mental health in Pakistan was not gauged and instead, audiences were given archaic, primitive mindsets.
However, in the 26th episode of the drama, it feels like the harrowing trauma Noori went through was finally tacked in a very appropriate (albeit late) manner.
This week’s episode reignited the interest I had for the show after a few weeks of tediously boring predecessors. Noori was cold, cruel and vile with Bhola – at long last. We have to understand that everyone reacts very differently to trauma, and while it might have felt like Noori was accepting her ill-fate, perhaps it took her time to digest what had actually happened. While the timing of Sahir re-entering Noori’s life might be more than a coincidence, it might have been the trigger Noori needed to realize what she had been through.
Noori is not a bad person FGS!! But can she please open her eyes now and see how badly she is being used?!? Also I m wondering if sahir plans with her divorce will fail cause maybe noori will find out she is pregnant? 🤷🏻♀️ #RanjhaRanjhaKardi
— Gia Khan 🇵🇰🇨🇦 (@Miss_Khan990) April 28, 2019
We cannot dismiss someone who has committed rape – even if he is mentally challenged.
Bhola, at the end of the day, did something unacceptable, and while his mental health always been blamed for his actions – this is one thing that he can’t get out of. I felt nothing for his anguish to despairingly keep his dhulan beside him – because his erratic behavior has become intolerable. Noori lashing out at Bhola and desperately trying to reconcile with Sahir, to me, are both direct consequences of her reacting to trauma. She was raped. It’s not something anyone can forget, and it might have felt like her feelings around the matter had not been divulged, this episode showed Noori’s pain in an incredibly raw manner.
Noori has been let down by everyone around her, and her vulnerability peaked in this episode as she finally seemed to accept her rape by Bhola.
Her breakdown in front of Sahir is evident of how much aching Noori is in – and the fact that she is attracted to the peak of toxicity, in the form of Sahir, depicts the very nature of many people being drawn to something that is wrong for them – because they’re so broken. Before Sahir popped up, Noori was willing to accept her wretched destiny, because she had no out – but as soon as her estranged lover returned, hope that dwindled was suddenly coruscating.
While the writers of the show undoubtedly could have done a better job tackling mental health, I feel like they have really tried to redeem themselves with the way Noori is reacting.
‘Ranjha Ranjha Kardi’ is the only drama on television to attempt a discussion around mental health and rape – two very rigid topics that have not been deciphered as yet. In that regard, we owe the show a little leeway to at least try and pan out the aftermath of the rape – something they are most definitely doing now (better late than never, I say)!