Yes, I am a huge Alif fan, but I watched MPTH too – here’s why!
So here’s the thing. I am a self-confessed drama snob. I very proudly assert that ‘I do not watch Pakistani dramas … there is too much rona dhona, over dramatization, the submissive bahu or wife with the prevalent toxic masculinity that makes me roll my eyes and say – “WT … I can think of better ways to spend my precious 1 hour of chilling time after the kids are in bed!”… So what else is new on Netflix?”
Bilkul theek kiya – yes! Ye Cheez! are some of the comments I was subjected to as my spouse applauded Danish’s sweet revenge. But then, he also uttered, in awe and respect – Alif – this drama; the direction, the performances, the dialogues are above par! How can anyone ever compare this to MPTH?
My answer to you dear readers, – MPTH is a Danielle Steele novel. Quick on the uptake, attention grabbing for all the wrong reasons, sensational, eye opening .. . and so very appealing to our baser senses – but then, after all, we ARE all human, you know!
Alif – oh well, now Alif is in a league of its own. Philosophical, (though I won’t take away from the MPTH dialogues do takkay ki aurat, that had the internet in flames). The problem is – I watched Mere Paas Tum Ho, and I also watched Alif. What made me watch MPTH was the curiosity to know what happens next and, the answer to the question: how depraved can this even get? What made me watch Alif? Oh well – there’s a love story to go by indeed.
So without any further digression, here’s why MPTH managed to top viewer ratings, despite the fact that everyone loved Alif – perhaps more?
1. People love to watch what transpires behind closed doors in other people’s homes.
An uncomfortable truth, but it’s a fact. What ever is sensational, whatever gives us intimate details, a peep into other’s personal lives, is always bound to draw a crowd. This is human nature, we are curious, very inquisitive, and perhaps, thrive on the gossip that comes with knowing the things we shouldn’t be knowing. And watching them on screen absolves us of the guilt because, we’re not talking about real people now are we? Yet Mehwish, Danish and Shahwar became very real, and many of us ascribed their characters to real people in our lives, or matched the story to what had happened to some of us in a previous life! Because, some people read their own life stories in the plot – in short, it connected with viewers.
2. Watching an extra marital affair unfold, and that too, from a woman!
Pakistani dramas might have recently begun to shed light on child abuse, marital abuse and rape victims, but extra marital affairs, that too, by a woman, leaves us wanting more. We gravitated from the sheer disgust of portraying a woman in a negative light, to our sympathy for Danish, to our genuine desire for revenge. This says a lot about us a society. We witnessed a taboo topic played out onscreen with high impact dialogue thrown in for effect. “Do takkay ki aurat”, and “Shirk tau Khuda bhi maaf nahin karta, mein kaise kar doon?” were trending on Twitter overnight. Which brings us to my next point.
3. Oh what solid marketing, Team Mere Paas Tum Ho, I have to hand it to you!
The entire team of MPTH was behind the project like a lion waiting for the kill! From synchronized tweets from Fan pages to interviews from the lead cast, it was a season where the drama dominated all other dramas (though there are many noteworthy dramas showing this season). Even the chota Roomi became a marketable commodity with brands and blogs vying for air time with him.
MPTH proved to us that when you put out a product in today’s very competitive showbiz environment, it is essential to package it and promote it with resounding clarity, passion and (ahem) – power. ARY has shown that they have the clout to do it, and with success. The drama ushers in a new era of using the 4 ps to fully cash in on its success – the latest being, a move to screen MPTH on the big screen and get people to watch in cinemas – good or bad? You decide, it is the age of commercialism, is it not?
4. MPTH made us take sides
Whose side were you on? The story divided us along the lines of – why are women being portrayed in this light, to – why is Danish taking this treatment, to – who will win, Shehwar or Danish? Every episode was a cliff hanger, a finely-tuned work of art in direction and dialogue – and, we teetered from sympathizing with Danish in the beginning to coming very close to forgiving Mehwish (despite the fact that we despised her earlier). Yes, we took sides, and we want to witness the day of judgement – the final episode will be a reveal all – and boy can we not wait for it!
So ladies, and gentlemen, looking at my reasons above, you know exactly why I, (and many others like me) watched Mere Paas Tum Ho. Alif’s makers on the other hand, followed a different route. No marketing, no hard-hitting interviews form the star cast, no sensational content. The story in fact, was even criticized for being slow.
The question is: If Alif pulls us towards God, is MPTH detracting us from it? MPTH is all things worldly, and Alif is not.
On another note, I expect Alif to top ratings this Saturday if MPTH is not showing. Not because it is a lesser drama, but more because … when the devil is away – we turn towards God? – What say you?
Shazia likes to pen her thoughts when she feels passionately about a life experience, a person or an event. She is mother to 3 lively boys and along with her husband, attempts to settle in her new country by taking German lessons so she is able to soak in the culture, language and spirit of the region.
“Wake up in the morning, take a deep breath and exhale! Keep on living with a passion that inspires others! “