“Hassad” is a story that started off promising enough. Initially the story of jealousy between two sisters-in-law, the show began to tackle the life of a widow in the second week and has focused on Naintara’s (Minal Khan) plight since then. After Armaan’s (Shehroze Sabzwari) death, Zareen (Arij Fatyma) leaves no stone unturned to make Naintara’s life a living hell. Having always been jealous of Naintara, Zareen is only too happy to take her vengeance out on this now helpless widow. The problem is – can viewers really root for Naintara? Can they root for Zareen? And if both these characters are unpalatable, why would viewers continue to watch this show?
While Naintara is essentially now an “orphan” without a family to rely on, she is educated and fully capable of standing up on her own two feet if she actually tries to do so. Instead, Naintara chooses to take an unpalatable path: She marries another woman’s husband. Naintara marries Fahad, who is not only married to someone else, but is also her late husband’s brother. What makes this scenario even more bizarre is that the entire family – everyone from Naintara to Fahad to Fahad/Armaan’s mother – is well aware of Zareen’s problems with Naintara. They are aware that Zareen is obsessively jealous of Naintara, to the point that she has done many destructive things to get rid of her. Instead of processing this and finding a better solution for Naintara, Fahad and his mother decide to have Fahad marry Naintara, so Armaan’s son will remain in the house. If this isn’t as selfish as it gets, I don’t know what is. However, what makes this worse is that Naintara willingly goes along with this. She hasn’t forgotten her husband, she is not ready to move on and she is aware that she’s stepping on the toes of another woman and yet….she marries Fahad.
Does this go back to the age-old scenario of blaming the other woman? Yes and no. While it is up to the man to maintain his own marriage, Fahad’s situation here is a little more complex. He’s dealing with an unstable wife (who he claims to love) and is also trying to take care of his younger brother’s widow and son. He makes a decision that seems not only foolish, but also intentionally hurtful towards his marriage. Unethically, he takes on a second wife without even informing his first wife – she actually walks in on his nikkah and realizes what has happened in that moment. How is this acceptable?
On the other end, Naintara has many other routes to take here other than marrying Zareen’s husband. Naintara could have taken up a job. She could have stood on her own two feet and continued to either live at the house or find a place of her own nearby so the family could continue to see Armaan’s son. She could have been used as an image of independence, a character that shows something positive for women, one that shows that it’s not necessary to always rely on a man and marriage. Is it necessary to replace your deceased husband with another man – that too, his brother?
Ultimately, what Hassad has accomplished is to paint each and every character on the show into a corner where they are all unlikable in their own way. There is no love story as such to root for. There isn’t a character that you want to see succeed. There isn’t one character that you love and support, despite their flaws. There simply is not. This show has failed on many levels and it’s unlikely that it will improve any time soon. Now with the introduction of Naintara’s school friend and Zareen using him to create misunderstandings, the show will only get more convoluted from here on out.