Mata-e Jaan Episode 5 Review

Review by SZ
For all those yet on the fence about Mataa-e Jaan: pay attention, come back, watch – Mataa-e Jaan is a winner! With this episode the serial came into its own, and the credit for this turnaround must go to Farhat Ishtiaq and Mehreen Jabbar. It takes a lot of effort to add an extra storyline to an existing, well-loved novel, and then on top of that to have the courage to address an uncomfortable subject, usually not discussed in our popular dramas – Farhat Ishtiaq you are a rock star! And, for taking the printed word and bringing it to life so beautifully on screen –MJ take a bow!

In my review of episode 3, I had noted that, for me at least, Yamina and Adam’s track held out much more promise and interest than the oh-so-perfect Haniya and Ibaad storyline, and this latest episode proved that the spousal abuse track was indeed much more gripping and thought provoking. To watch Yamina go from being abused, to getting an abortion, to having the courage to confront her abuser, to planning to sue him, all without any heavy duty melodrama, was indeed very refreshing. For once, we saw an empowered woman, one who might be down, but is never a victim. Yamina has made her mistakes, but having her acknowledge them and try to overcome them, as she first confided in her friend and later apologized to Haniya, made for a gripping watch. Similarly, watching her be strong and comfort her visibly shaken grandmother and sister made a powerful moment. Alas though, again, staying true to life, the episode ended with Adam, in a textbook portrayal of an abusive spouse, trying to woo his wife back. And, from the precaps it seems that Yamina, a classic abused spouse, will indeed get taken in by Adam’s flowery apologies and return. While this dark track was the main focus, Haniya and Ibaad’s romance brought the necessary lightness to this otherwise somber episode. The intertwining of the two sisters’ lives was beautifully done. Even as Yamina was going through trauma and heartbreak, Haniya was strengthening the bonds of her relationship with Ibaad. Congratulations once again to Farhat, MJ, and of course the editing team.

This was Sanam Saeed and Junaid Khan’s episode, and they were excellent as Yamina and Adam. Sajida Syed, always a delight, was the perfect grandmother, charming Ibaad with stories of her days as an anti-establishment rebel, and later heartbroken over Yamina’s pain. Adeel Husain was superb as Ibaad, the perfect boyfriend. Khaula Malik, as the unaffected Kathy, was a delight to watch. Sarwat Gillani is slowly growing on me as Haniya, not there yet though. Ahsan Khan was fun to watch, his wardrobe choice was a whole other matter – does anyone still drape their sweaters across their shoulders, and that too while cooking – ugh!!

Usually writers tend to remain unsung in our reviews, so I would like to once again congratulate Farhat Ishtiaq on her mature tackling of a very important issue in our society. The only thing I would question here is the simplistic use of the East/West binary. This has been an issue throughout this serial. Today too, Yamina announced that she was not a mashriqi aurat who took abuse lying down. Such simplistic stereotyping is very problematic and adds a sour note to an otherwise powerful script. That peeve aside, this was a perfect episode for me. The screenplay, acting, directing, editing, cinematography, the beautiful background score, in short all technicalities came together perfectly. Loved it!

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