How Mawra Hocane pushed for sensitive portrayal of marital rape in drama ‘Qissa Meharbano Ka’ causing change to the script




The recent controversy around drama Tere Bin around a scene involving marital rape has opened up discussion around the ills of one individual taking away the consent, choice and autonomy over their own body of another, under the covers of ‘marriage’.

Alongside different statements being given by the Tere Bin writer, director and team, the internet recalls an old interview of actor Mawra Hocane with FUCHSIA Magazine, in which she talked about the seriousness of scenes involving marital rape.

Hocane talked candidly about how she and the Qissa Meherbano Ka team had tackled marital rape as a part of the plot. She explained how coming across the topic, she had objected to the way the matter had initially been dealt with, and had taken stand for a more sensitive and nuanced way to portray the issue on screen. “I was reading an episode [of Qissa Meherbano Ka] and I read a scene where Murad forces himself on Meherbano. And that was it – the scene took place, it was brushed past and Meherbano got up in the morning and made breakfast. I called [producer] Momina Duraid. I said that this is marital rape. We can’t just let it pass.”

Hocane then said, “I was on set at that time and the shoot was in process. We’d already shot the scenes before and after that. It was a huge deal for me to stand up and ask [the producer] that this is marital rape and we need to build on it. I said that we can’t let it pass. How can a project backed by her and me – women who have voices – let a marital rape scene just pass. Because a lot of projects let it pass. And we are angry about that. So what are we doing differently?”

The star added, “Fortunately for me, Iqbal Hussain (the director) also understood the gravity of the matter and Momina also said that we’ll call off the shoot and come for a meeting tomorrow. We were shooting, and tenth or ninth episode onwards, the entire script was rewritten, based on a scene I read, objected to and called the producer who was all in.”

Mawra continued saying, “We all had a five to six hour meeting the next day where she also said I’m very proud that you’ve brought this to me, and you’re ready to be the face of an issue like this because usually, [women] are reluctant. And I am also so proud of her that it didn’t even take her a second to make the decision to stand up against marital rape, and of course, we’ll get it rewritten. I know the kind of money that is involved in stopping a shoot and reshooting.”

Following the interview, Hocane had also posted a tweet, highlighting the issue of marital rape. “Marital rape is defined as the forceful act of consummation by the husband with his wife without her explicit approval,” the star tweeted.