There are two thoughts that most Pakistanis are waking up with these days. One is about the army arrests and the other is about Murtasim Khan from Tere Bin. Then of course, there is hunger and disease and crime, but those are constants and are generally more acceptable so don’t require much attention.
But are Murtasim and the army two sides of the same coin?
In Murtasim Khan, the writers have created a man all women desire. He is incredibly handsome, well-built, rich, powerful, has no boss, doesn’t need to go to work every day, is not controlled by his mother, always has a car, even if the rest of the family has taken the other cars to go shopping-which they never do. No one else ever goes anywhere. He never worries or talks about money, his staff are reliable and loyal, and he has a diverse wardrobe. English hunter one day, gym rat, rich city boy or starched feudal – Murtasim aces each look. When Murtasim smiles, his eyes disappear, the same way Imran Khan’s do. The power of this tiny detail is immeasurable, and we as a country are particularly susceptible to it.
Murtasim is so powerful that Jatoi and Kachelo seem like patwaris in comparison. He has brought back the moustache curl.
Our male clients want their moustache to be curled now, says Bobby from Bobby’s Hair in Kasur.
Murtasim is the caretaker of all the women in his life and one of them is a family friend’s daughter. Outspoken, irresponsible, brave, careless and fair Meerab.
Meerab and her family visit Murtasim and his mother one day. On this same day, the family decides Murtasim will marry Meerab, who turns out to be his first cousin. As a baby she was given to a friend to adopt. Her own father, Murtasim’s uncle, was too depressed to take care of her after his wife’s death. Meerab had no idea that she was adopted, and both her real father and to-be husband are revealed to her in the same meeting. She is held captive in the house, cries for a couple of episodes, “I am an orphan, I have no one, I have no identity, etc.” Murtasim slaps her, she faints, and the slow motion begins. Pakistanis are hooked. Eye contact, that moustache curl, by the pool, music, physical contact laced with desire, male dominance and female helplessness. They touched but by only mistake, and that makes the touch acceptable and exciting. She fainted. He held her to keep her from falling. He slapped her, but it was to help her in the long run. The perfect potion to hook a nation for who desire is forbidden.
Pakistanis are now going mad, especially the aunties. Shawl sales have gone up 75% since the scene of Murtasim looking for Meerab in the mazaar was aired. Meerab could have run, but she didn’t, she stayed to pray. He found her on the roof, alone, saying her namaz. A white dupatta wrapped on her head like a mummy. Pure, clean, honest, and obedient. Of course, he falls in love with her. Who wouldn’t? Eye contact, music, slow motion. The scene is shared on TikTok, Instagram and WhatsApp groups.
Murtasim agrees to marry her. Her fair skin and now the fact that she prays are enough to convince him. She agrees, as she has nowhere else to go, and makes him sign a no-sex agreement. It takes a whole episode to negotiate this, while the wedding guests have eaten and are waiting to go home. The sexual tension begins. Think Bridgerton.
The potion worked once, and now it’s being poured into everything. Chai drinking, walking into the room, load-shedding, food poisoning-everything is laced with sexual desire.
Meerab, as his young bride, makes a few false moves. Goes for a walk in enemy territory and gets kidnapped. Murtasim gets shot, and the bandage scenes are more about desire, than about the injury. He doesn’t mind, anything to get that contract torn. Among other things, Meerab helps her sister-in-law run away with her lover on the eve of her wedding. Turns out the lover is the sworn enemy who had also kidnapped Meerab earlier. There is a scene of the sister on the bed, and the enemy standing a few feet away laughing with probably the worst set of veneers since veneers became a thing. He laughs and tells her his whole plan. She is Murtasim’s honour and by kidnapping her, and tricking her, he is now without honour. The main aim in any fight between males. There is no long-term plan. He also has a farmhouse that is fully functional that no one, not even his father knows about. Surprisingly, none of the staff in this show gossip. They are the stars of the show. What happens in a family, stays in the family.
The writers make you expect a rape, they even imply it, but the veneers just make anything else secondary.
Murtasim agrees to marry her. Her fair skin and now the fact that she prays are enough to convince him. She agrees, as she has nowhere else to go, and makes him sign a no-sex agreement
At home, Meerab’s nemesis, Murtasim’s rather pretty and well-groomed cousin, who is obsessed with him, has video footage of Meerab’s involvement in the escape. Tears, music, slow-motion, disappointment ensue, but Meerab does not use her words to explain her actions- conflict resolution complete fail.
Good people don’t defend themselves, so an outside element is introduced to create a court scene in the lounge. The lawyer, (Meerab’s adoptive dad who is actual lawyer) calls Judge (Murtasim and his mother), Jury (Meerab’s actual dad) and witness (Murtasim’s sister) and starts the trial. Only one person sits down for this the entire time. The rest are all scattered around the grand room, standing.
Meerab is cleared of her crime. She didn’t know the lover was also the enemy. She still doesn’t use her words, she has understood the power of tears.
Murtasim melts and guilt floods him. He goes to his room, and the pretty cousin realises she may have lost him for good this time. She embraces him from behind, he thinks its Meerab and lowers his voice in expectation of the contract being torn and sex being near. Meerab walks in (where was she between the court case and this moment?) and catches them in an awkward embrace.
He tries to but also fails to use his words to explain, so figures, slow motion, and eye to eye contact and tears may be more effective. The cousin isn’t even trying to hide her smile, but Meerab is locked in Murtasim’s stare, and doesn’t even look at her telling smile. The cousin leabes and then it’s really a dead end with two people who have issues using their words.
Meerab’s ‘cheater cheater’ monologue ends with her, and slapping him. AND spitting on him.
So here, the viewer thinks back to Murtasim slap at the beginning. Could this be closure, could this be the lesson he needed, is this full circle? Tit for tat? Writers balancing things out?
The spit was the final straw. Murtasim fumes, his body shakes, his eyes are on fire. He pushes her on the bed, and tells her he will teach her a lesson. He then closes the old-school kundi on the top of the door.
The preview for the next episodes shows Meerab crying, her hair is unkempt, her makeup is smeared. She looks like she has been raped. Murtasim is sitting on the bed. He looks regretful. The bed is untouched though. A detail they overlooked, or something that they want us to notice?
The episode has not been aired yet. Pakistanis are going crazy. Does he, or doesn’t he? Did he rape her? Did she deserve it? Is it just a hanger? What really happens? Will she stay with him? How could Murtasim do this? And believe it or not, a lot of people hope he did it. All that sexual tension needs to go somewhere?
Almost every Pakistani is watching Tere Bin. Army families too. If the men, high up in the ranks, have grown up watching this kind of TV, have been brought up by women and staff who watch shows like these, have been nurtured by families that have the same values, and are part of a society where this is the mindset, are they not influenced by it at all?
Leave a Reply