Ahsan Khan doesn't see any redemption arc for Murad in Qissa Meherbano Ka

Ahsan Khan doesn't see any redemption arc for Murad in Qissa Meherbano Ka

For Khan, the drama doesn't intend to glorify marital rape through Murad, however, it does intend to address the social issue.
23 Dec, 2021

Qissa Meherbano Ka is a hot topic on social media these days. The ongoing HUM TV drama has attempted to address the issue of marital rape through its two main characters, Murad and Meherbano. We recently had a chat with the man behind Murad, aka Ahsan Khan, and asked him about his villainous character and how Qissa Meherbano Ka aims to tackle the sensitive issue of marital rape in the coming episodes.

More than a few netizens have expressed concern about how Qissa Meherbano Ka is condoning violence by showing a downright abusive relationship between Meherbano (played by Mawra Hocane) and Murad. The last three minutes of the 15th episode, which aired two weeks ago, grabbed everyone's attention for a display of marital rape.

For Khan, Qissa Meherbano Ka does not intend to glorify marital rape through Murad's actions towards Meherbano, however, it does intend to talk about a social issue that not many recognise as a legitimate cause for concern.

"I know marital rape is a very tricky thing to discuss because most people do not understand it," Khan told Images. "However, if you get into the details [of the issue], you'll see it is an unfortunate experience that many people go through and they can't say a word against it most of the time.

"People do not talk about the issue of marital rape a lot and for the majority of people, this issue does not even exist at all. However, marital rape does exist and I am not saying that it happens everywhere and all the time, but it does exist."

He went on to define what a marriage should be. "We have to understand that marriage is a union of love, respect and regard between two people and if that doesn't exist between two people then this is a serious problem in the relationship," Khan stressed.

According to the Qayamat actor, while the drama hasn't explicitly shown marital rape, it has "highlighted it without sensationalising it". "The depiction has been very subtle," he said. "Iqbal Hussain and Momina Duraid made the drama in such a sensitive way that the direction did all the telling without us having to show much as actors. They directed in a very positive way, without sensationalising the issue."

We went on to ask Khan what's on everyone's minds these days — will his character Murad get a redemption arc in the ongoing drama?

"Personally speaking, I don't see any redemption arc [for Murad in the drama]," said Khan. "He's such a bad guy. In our society, we keep on waiting for justice against individuals who are so unfair and need to be punished but it doesn't happen. While I personally feel this character should be punished for his actions, I can't give away the highlights of the story because of where it is going. In time, viewers will understand why we showed certain things the way we did and what the consequences from that were."

This isn't the first time Khan has played a villainous role in a drama. Is there a specific reason he keeps gravitating towards doing characters such as Murad?

"Its been years that I have been performing as an actor and I have done so many types of characters," he said. "I've played the hero for many years, you know your run-of-the-mill heroes. I've been gravitating towards doing a negative role for a few years now because I wanted to do something different and negative characters give you a lot of margin to perform.

"That is how I got to do Udaari. Recently I played a very negative character who turned positive at the end of the drama in Qayamat as well, a character that was really highlighted and appreciated. Just like this I felt that the character in Qissa Meherbano Ka allows me a lot of margin as an actor," he said.

"There were a few issues being raised in the play that made me want to be a part of the drama," he added.

For Khan, it is important that his projects allow him to raise his voice against certain social matters.

"I have a stance of always raising my voice on different issues that aren't talked about a lot [in society] and I feel it is okay to raise your voice. It's when you discuss an issue that it is understood. That's when people think about the issue deeply, and that is very important," said the actor.

"A lot of people have also told us that we shouldn't discuss a topic like [marital rape]," the actor pointed out. "I love my audience and I respect their feedback and I feel that we should work and move according to our audience because that's how you also entertain them, but with entertainment there comes a [social] responsibility as well.

"I am not against showing negativity on television. However, if you do show something negative in dramas, then you should show the dire consequence that [come from negative actions] as well. "Personally, I am definitely against against glorifying villains and glorifying negative people," he added.

Khan is already seeing the impact that Qissa Meherbano Ka is having on his audience.

"On social media I am getting different kind of responses," he said. "A few women messaged me and gave me very positive feedback. People have told me how they've been through this in their personal lives and how it was a big reason for their separation [from their spouses]. If someone is brutal and intolerant with you, and shows you no love or kindness, that creates a lot of difference [between two people].

"I am glad that people are watching the play. It was topping the charts in the UK, and in Pakistan too it is getting a really good response. After a few episodes we will raise another issue in the drama which is very important and you will see a spark in that also," Khan said.

"As an actor I have worked to entertain people, I have worked for my bread and butter but also I am very proud and glad that I choose to do issue-based stuff as well. Although I do get backlash for that decision — I won't get into the details of that — in our society, and every society, it is important for people to stand up for something."


Memon Abdul Dec 23, 2021 12:13pm
It's Pakistani drama...resolution to sequential problems always tend to find a common ending in getting rid of the character altogether... PREDICTABLE!
Fahim Khalil Dec 23, 2021 12:58pm
Marital Rape !!! What we are showing to our younger generation being in a Islamic society. Sorry,but instead of showing all such bad stuff during family hours show we should tell our audience about the Islamic values in which it is really important to get to know about the willingness of both boy and girl who are going to be tied up in a very responsible, respectable and life long relationship like Marriage. Their social responsibility, family, cultural , Islamic values in full filling their duties.Even it is way clear in Islam about the keeping of sexual relationship between spouse.
Fahim Khalil Dec 23, 2021 01:11pm
In this drama it was clearly shown that Mehr bano keep her willingness to keep her relationship with the husband who leaves her for some reason for decade or long .. later on he comes back and take her to his house with her will.. so don't know what wrong message this drama is trying to give to the society..
Thelostcause Dec 23, 2021 01:44pm
Another example of lack of our west fawning mentality-inventing a pseudo social problem in a society where does not exist.This is problem where people have marital relations without a social contract.This is why the west keeps harping about consent.To keep criminal justice from being inundated by these so called crimes. More importanly, do we not have more relevant issues to talk about when half of country is struggling to put decent meal for their children? This asking a lot from this section of the paper but could we at least pretend not to care about real social problems not pseudo ones.
NYS Dec 23, 2021 03:36pm
Marital Rape one of the hidden trauma that many couples are facing due to its nudity a big Taboo
khan Dec 23, 2021 07:05pm
Marital rape is part of the culture . Girls and boys are married at an early age where they are not aware of any such things , some times male and sometimes female have to take initiative, otherwise our population would be half !
khan Dec 23, 2021 07:07pm
violence of any type is unacceptable !
Sab Se Pehle Pakistan Dec 23, 2021 07:31pm
Who watches our local garbage dramas anyways. Keep on making such garbage. No one cares.
M. Saeed Dec 23, 2021 08:34pm
In this country of 220 million, almost all combinations of vice and virtues come to be seen in one's life. That is how we learn about the intricacies of life.
Em Al Dec 25, 2021 10:21pm
As a mental health practitioner, I can tell you that yes, marital rape exists. Men know what they are doing and they keep doing it while denying that a husband can rape a wife. And they do it by referring to "social responsibility, family, cultural , Islamic values, full filling their duties". Women justify it because they have internalized the misogyny and unaware that the ptsd caused by marital rape is truth. Just like few decades ago, people did not believe in mental health issues and psychological health, its just the same. Why would a criminal admit that a certain crime is a crime? Simple as that.