Manahil & Khalil: Ishq ab mamnoon na raha

Published: December 12, 2012

If this isn’t hope for us avid television viewers then I don’t know what hope is. PHOTO: EXPRESS ENTERTAINMENT

Amidst our fast-paced, monotonous and increasingly modern world, we need an out – some form of escapism. Between crunching numbers to seize business deals and clinging on to our precious children, each one of us craves for that moment of solitude.

I find this tranquillity within the underlying fashion, love, betrayal and glamour. Devoting a couple of uninterrupted hours to soaps, on a local television channel seems to be my recipe to a sane life. A recent believer of this quick, daily therapeutic tip, I have become addicted.

Try it out, if you aren’t a victim yet.

A confession, the cause of this is none but the infamous Ishq-e-Mamnoo.

This Turkish TV serial sucks you in and before you know it, you are stuck trying to balance two worlds. Cuddled in your favourite comfy spot on the couch with eyes glued on to the television, struggling to eat, we become vigilant. Ignoring our world, we indulge and start alternating lives.

It sounds great but what happens when this show comes to an end?

Yes, all good things have to come to an end but as Marilyn Monroe says, “good things fall apart so better things can fall together”.

Trust me, it’s true.

After such a profound success and a vast audience, word on the street is a similar Turkish soap, Manahil & Khalil (Ishq ab mamnoon na raha) featuring Khalil (Behlul) and Manahil is coming up on Express Entertainment!

If this isn’t hope for us avid television viewers then I don’t know what hope is.

Aside from the very obvious entertainment that these soaps provide, they are exposing our sheltered population to some much needed diversity- something that Pakistan desperately lacks. It’s easy to say that diversity brings with it modernity, but so what? While I agree that conservatism is a part of our culture, this does not mean we shun everything that differs from what we believe in. We needn’t adopt the lifestyle portrayed by these dubbed shows, but by just welcoming them, we are encouraging the concept of acceptance and open-mindedness.

I salute these TV series that bring back awareness, acceptance and opportunity.

Through these series aired on local channels, the common man is able to see places he/she may never be able to but desires to visit. It seems to be a battle against ignorance and a haven for fantasy.

I have invested my free time watching these series and most of my not-free time, discussing them; I have surreal expectations. Provided, the dubbing isn’t as obvious and the necklines are not that low. Moderate is good.

The story in this one revolves around a Turkish girl who resides in Germany. She is torn between familial ties and love. Later, she seeks refuge in Turkey with her true love, Halil. The story appears to be a struggle, a true fight for an impossible love.

Yup! I’m sold.

A new plot, a familiar face and entertainment on a whole new level- what more could one want? After having stalked every Facebook picture and video, I can’t wait! See, even in the bleakest of times the road to hope may be narrow but it surely exists!

The truth is as Pakistanis we need to learn the concept of acceptance. We need to learn how to grow, learn to respect and give space to other people, their ideas and their way of life. Perhaps, these shows are making the common man more tolerant and dare I say, aware?

Here’s to Ishq Jo Ab Mamnoon Na Raha, airing Dec 17, 2012.

Read more by Bushra here, or follow her on Twitter @bushraparekh


Bushra Parekh

A sub-editor for the blog desk at The Express Tribune. She tweets @bushraparekh

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Majid

    For God’s sake ET and the learnt blogger, it is ‘mamnu’ or mamnoo’ but not ‘mamnoon’ there is no ‘noon’ or ‘noon ghunna’ at the end. It is ‘ain’ at the end and by any measure of wisdom, you cannot sue ‘noon’ to represent an ‘ain’.
    First I pointed out this mistake to Urdu1, when they launched this drama. They had started putting that ‘noon’ at the end of ‘mamnu’. They stopped putting ‘n’ at the end of ‘mamnu’ after my correction and a lot of discussion. Pity that everybody else is still using ‘n’ at the end of ‘mamnu’.
    Pity the nation who can write and read English but cannot read and write their national language ‘Urdu’ properly.Recommend

  • kanwal

    Why! Oh why! Why dear ET! Why is it that most of the most stupid and shallow blogs on your website are published by women? ? Especially those who seem to have enough free time to watch a two hour soap everyday and then “not so free time” to actually discuss it! Aaaaarrrrgh! No in depth thinking, research, and experience is required to be able to write a blog like this. So be it. Wake up ladies! See the quality stuff men are writing here. Recommend

  • jay

    national language urdu in english? really?Recommend

  • Waqar Saleem

    Well said. To be fair, ET publishes shallow and stupid articles by men, too. My question is why ET publishes these things at all.Recommend

  • AQ

    First the killed the film industry and now they are after Pakistan Drama Insdustry with these Turkish soaps. Recommend

  • Amna aziz

    I just CAN NOT agree with this article. There are a lot of other much better things to do that will help our society open up towards the diversity of the world around us and make them accept it. One can do things loads better then watching soaps for solitude, like reading good books etc.Recommend

  • sara

    ishq-e-mamnu is over rated i must say. i watched a few episodes too but i wasn’t glued to the screen afterwards.Recommend

  • kanwal

    @Waqar saleem
    Still, i can statistically prove that men are writing better here. Recommend

  • jgjk

    Please provide said statistical evidence. Recommend

  • Hmm

    The problem with Pakistan is conspiracy theorists. Everything is considered a “threat” and some kind of “propaganda” against Pakistan. It’s seriously rubbish. Our drama industry could use this opportunity to produce world class television programs and maybe even compete abroad and earn money. But no, they’d rather sit and criticize foreign content like scared little girls. As far as religious perspective is concerned – not everyone in Pakistan is Muslim. It is up to each individual what they practice and how they practice religion. If a liberal Muslim has no problem watching a little bit of skin then that’s their headache. Allah is the judge, not the authorities of Pakistan. Saudi Arabia is also a Muslim country but they have no problem airing Turkish shows and neither does the rest of the Arab world. Entertainment industry means entertainment. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. So for all those who are getting upset over one or two Turkish shows, please learn the meaning of “live and let live”. Focus on improving other things in Pakistan like lack of basic human rights and laws. Then we will worry about Urdu1…seriously. Pakistanis have a very bad habit of BANNING everything. Facebook, YouTube, Google, Cell phones, motorcycles. And now they’re trying to ban foreign content. Soon, someone will call for a ban on breathing. Stop this nonsense. We are not animals.Recommend

  • Waqar Saleem


    First the killed the film industry and now they are after Pakistan Drama Insdustry with these Turkish soaps.

    I think the film industry fizzled out quite by its own, without any external assistance.Recommend

  • kanwal

    Click on the Recent Blogs (top of the blog section on the ET main page). Then count the number of people whose blogs are visible yet (meaning more recently written; just as a preliminary sample). Then count the men vs women writers in total, write down the titles of all blogs on separate sheets and you will notice the pattern i am talking about. Unfortunately, in case of these soaps and almost third class level entertainment, you can find almost equal number of blogs by men and women here. yet, you ll clearly see that men are writing on more relevant stuff than the girls and with more weight behind their writing. Even when they are writing about soaps. lolRecommend

  • kanwal

    moreover, this trend is obvious in ET basically. The other national english newspapers are way ahead of ET. Even in ET, the columns section has so much contribution from women journalists whose writing is at pas with anyone around. Its just this blog section which needs improvement. And certainly no more blogs on soaps, whether men write them or women. Just to see their name in print, so many people pick a pen and waste the (e-) ink. Recommend

  • Smj

    The Tharki men and women of Pakistan are watching the soap because it gives them cheap entertainment by a sizzling taboo story and blondies talking urdu (no matter how awkward it seems with the lip synching and translator’s voice).Recommend

  • Hmm

    @ Smj, nothing is more THERKIER than your comment.Recommend

  • Sophia Q.

    There is a very simple reason why Pakistani television fans like myself are against Ishq-E-Mamnoon. It’s being played on Pakistani channels. I could care less if it were being shown on a Turkish channel, the same way Indian shows are shown on their own channels. Why is this drama being paraded around in dubbed form on a Pakistani channel? We have Pakistani dramas that should be shown, not Turkish soap operas.

    And an hour every day? Seriously? Then why do we pick on General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of Our Lives and the Young and the Restless? =/ Those are soap operas too, which is exactly what this show is.

    It’s kind of a shame that we have people writing in favor of this show now. shaking head Find something better to do with your one hour each day…..Recommend

  • oh GAWD, one of the worst pieces of writing ever! ET, PLEASE GET A GOOD EDITOR FOR THE BLOGS SECTION! Recommend

  • Hmm

    @Hmm It’s Islamic Republic of Pakistan, as long ad everyone abides by its laws then its fine. It’s not abt conspiracy, these dramas r illegal as per constitution and Supreme Court will soon give verdict on vulgarity. As long ad one abide by its culture and law it’s all fine.

    Yes not every one is Muslim but ,majority is, we need to care abt minority but that doesn’t mean values and wishes of majority r ignored.

    As far as the blog is concerned, author does not have any sort of thinking, impacts that this can have on society or even local tv industry creativity.Recommend

  • Awais

    @Kanwal I am not siding with the author or the blog but YOU my dear, are CHOCK full of bitterness. Perhaps your failed relationships or sucky career are taking their toll on you. Recommend

  • wajeeh

    Thanks a lot for correcting, but please dont generalize this incompetency on all, as writing Urdu in English is different skill. @Majid: Recommend

  • AKKK

    I find a number of grammatical mistakes in this blog. It is written in an extremely amateur fashion. ET, do have some standards!Recommend

  • A. Khan

    Actually, Urdu has been foisted upon us by founding fathers. As a nation, we have a minimum of 4 major languages : Pashtu, Punjabi, Sindhi and whatever dialect is dominant in Balochistan and a whole plethora of dialects to go with those. Not mentioning them is not to demean any of them. I simply do not have the details of write all of them. There is one other language that is spoken as a mother tongue by a large portion of population. Yes, you guessed it and that is Urdu.

    Perhaps that is why we quibble over petty matters. As a nation, we should have a common mother tongue as that is what defines a nation – common language and culture. I have encountered people who want to speak only in their mother tongue or in English but not Urdu, even though they know it. What does that tell you ?

    Its unfortunate that even though founding fathers decided on having Urdu as a national language, it was never employed in government offices so the OFFICIAL language is still English. Unless you are in AJK where all official correspondence is in Urdu. Not having Urdu as an official language has led it to be considered as a second class language. I have met many people in Karachi who converse in English as if they were living in England. Maybe they feel we are still a colony, I never asked.

    Perhaps this explains the poor standard of Urdu. It certainly doesn’t explain the general poor standard of English as well.Recommend

  • Tiger911

    Write anything in favor of vulgarity, obscenity and ET will publish it! Ishq e mamnoo crosses the limits of relationships – hence it shouldnt be aired in first place. im sure there are more quality dramas then this, but no Express had to find the most degrading one! Yeah ET is here in Pakistan for a reason!

    As for the article lol, nothing substantial written about the plot of the drama, says a lot about it!Recommend

  • In The Know

    ISHQ-E-MAMNOO is simply ridiculous. I am no fundo [far from it] nor a conspiracy theorist. My take is that play is simply bad drama. I can’t relate to any of the characters, to the locales, to the extremely bad dubbing or even the “localized” names given to the characters in the show.

    So many of today’s Pakistani dramas are way, way better.

    90% of our parents, fathers and mothers alike, would probably hang their daughters before they allow them to dress or behave in the fashion that the characters do in the drama. Yet, inexplicably, entire families sit together to watch this show on television. As I said, I am 40 years plus and even I wouldn’t want to see this play with my parents or in-laws around. But somehow, it seems that every kid of 5 to 25 is watching this play with his / her parents, every day.

    I’ll take Pakistani dramas any day, not because I am a flag-on-my-forehead patriotic, but because they are by far much, much better than this show. Recommend

  • kanwal

    Wow. Dont get personal pls. Read the above comments and see the drift.
    As for me, i wrote the comments i gave for precisely the opposite reason. Thanks to God and my parents, i have a thriving career in a country i love to be. Have a lover of a husband and just started my family. I am bitter because i see that there are numerous fine things our girls are missing bcoz of fairly idiotic obsession with soap culture. Tens of thousands of hours. And ssince i know what is achievable, beong a woman myself, i feel outraged about it. Makes me angry. As an example, look at the 5 new columns that appeared there and see how fine stuff the women have written among these 5 writers. This blog section nneeds desperate improving and being an avid ET fan, i have the right to be bitter about it. Take a chill pil man. Recommend

  • kanwal

    Sorry for not writing clearly: i meant to say, the five new columns that appeared today on ET front page in Opinions sections. Recommend

  • Hmm

    STOP using the vulgarity excuse. Have you noticed the vulgarity in Veet Model show? You guys are hypocrites.Recommend

  • Hmm

    @ Sophia – Urdu 1 is not a Pakistani channel. It’s based in UAE so it qualifies as a foreign channel. Recommend

  • megamind

    To everyone who is deniggerating ISHQ e mamnu
    Everyone is entitled to have an opinion but sorry to say all these ppl have nothing against vulger racier steamier item songs being played during KHABARNAMA.
    Bcoz it is a woman dancing to mens tune.
    SO what is the problem with ISHQ e memnu?
    The problem is bihter.
    How can a woman have choice.
    How can an UNplatonic love qualify as ISHQ?
    We can not enjoy those moments bcoz it keeps lurking at the back of our mind that it is Bihters choice ,a womans choice when enjoying … is mens prerogative.
    It is part hypocricy part misogyny that prevents our enjoying ishqemamnu!Recommend

  • hema

    Entertainment is entertainment, if sitting in front of numerous talkshows hasn’t led to any civilian protest so far then how will a turkish drama make us clad ourselves scantily? And the author has a point, most of our dramas simply focus on middle class girls going from zero to hero. Our drama industry lacks diversity of not only ideas, but also talent. It keeps regurgitating the same old actors in slightly different roles. IT was almost hilarious to see a mother-son duo play lovers on another tv channel. The author also makes a point where she talks about acceptance. Fine you dont want to let a turkish drama come in the midst of your daily tv routine, dont. Why do you have to ruin it for the people who watch it? Why do you have to humiliate and knock down people over their drama choices?Recommend

  • Flower

    I think the airing of turkish soaps is the murder of Pakistani Drama Industry. Our actors wil now be jobless and pakistani dramas will not be watched. Instead of promoting our own dramas we are stuck in watching turkish ones-pathetic.

    “Humsafar” was a benchmark and it was just the start of the revitalization of the drama industry..but now it will all come to an halt..

    I hate these turkish dramas they have done nothing but ruined our thinking…men tuning in at 8 to watch bihter…oh please!

    It is just simple murder of Pakistani drama industry..way to go Pakistani viewers! :@Recommend

  • Hmm

    @ Flower – people like you are one of the many reasons are nation is still so backward. I suggest you read again the gibberish you spewed.Recommend

  • mehreen

    We need to evaluate “ishq e mamnu” on professional basis. If vulgarity is the actual issue, then first we need to ban all indian stuff on local channels, indian channels, cable indian movie channels, indian movies showing in our cinemas and indian movie CDs in video shops. Only after that we can bring in the vulgarity issue. Turkish dramas might be threat to our local dramas but thanks God it will get us rid of indian garbage, countless substandard, not even mediocre, indian soaps and music shows. Even Paksitani dramas were churning the wholesale stuff like dheli colony, mehmoodabad ki malkain, lal pari sabaz kabootar, rajoo rocket, perfume chowk, bla bla. Even the names tell the level. Its better that some quality stuff has started coming through Turkey and now our production houses will be forced to give something better, professionally better. We have very less dramas like daam, dastan, marvi, doraha, shehere zaat, main abdul qadir hun, maira naseeb, ik nazar meri taraf which have matter and substance.
    In ishqe mamnu the acting was flawless. every one was perfect in ones character, timing and delivery. Background music and cinematography was of highest standards. The story was solid, no loopholes no abruptness, smooth sailing. It was a 112 year old Turkish novel, one the first Turkish novel which have literary acclaim and the director has perfectly transformed it into contemporary life with never lsoing its basic theme. The director of this play never loses his grip, never compromises on quality and standards from first to last episodes. It never feels that the charaters are not actual and they are just acting.
    And yes there is a lot for everyone to relate to (with the exception of dresses):
    All the teen age girls can relate to Nihal.
    All young wives of old men can relate to Bihter.
    All middle aged single women can relate to Ms Dinez and katia
    All home servants can relate to Mr. Suleman and Co.
    The drivers can relate to at least 4 characters in this play.
    The homemaker happy wives can relate to Pecker.
    Old ladies in search of husbands can relate to Mrs. Firdous and Ainour.
    Young men can relate to Behlul, Bashir, Nihad.
    Middle aaged men can relate to Adnan and Hilmi.
    AND yes, the teen aged boys also have their stuff, Bulent. Even the ship captain left hsi mark. Every one played well.
    When you offer so much variety and every character so strong in its own self, the SUCCESS will be high.Recommend

  • Iqbal

    Why they are trying to match with Cheap dramas , which does not matches with our values and dressing ….. seems its a style of killing the new TV dramas of Pakistan…… Recommend

  • fakhar zaman

    my behlulRecommend

  • mano

    Gooood n intresting storyRecommend

  • Haroon

    Thanks for giving a decent synopsis of this drama series. It will help me to stay well far away from it and find more beneficial ways to channel the stress in my life. CheersRecommend

  • anwar suhail

    Love Turkish dramas. No Saas Bahoo feud, no cheap language.
    Our drama industry need to put it’s act together, come out with quality stuff.Recommend

  • Sophia Q.

    That’s fine that the show airs on Urdu 1 (which IS a Pakistani channel, because that’s how they classify themselves), but in actuality, many different Pakistani channels have also picked it up, once of which is GEO. A Pakistani drama, Mirat-Ul-Uroos, was scheduled to begin last week. Why did it not air? Because they were too busy showing Ishq-e-Mamnoon. Now the show won’t begin until the end of January. Is that fair? Isn’t GEO a Pakistani channel? I don’t really care where the channel broadcasts from – Dubai or Pakistan. The fact remains that GEO and ARY promote themselves as Pakistani channels, despite where they broadcast from. Therefore, they should show Pakistani shows, not sacrifice Pakistani shows for dubbed products.Recommend

  • ansa

    i love khalil Recommend