Mera Naam Yousuf Hai(Urdu: میرا نام یوسف ہے) previously titled as Zulaikha Bina Yusuf is a Pakistani television drama serial, that originally aired on the A-Plus Entertainment from 17 March 2015, to 27 October 2015, comprising a total of 20 episodes. Mera Naam Yousuf Hai follows a Forbidden Love Story of Yousuf and Zulaikha. The story is told in a heavily serialised manner. It faces a love triangle between characters Yousuf, Zulaikha and Madiha, features a mothers love for her daughters, a fathers hatred, a loves sacrifice, and the pain for love.
Mera Naam Yousuf Hai stars Maya Ali and Imran Abbas Naqvi as the title characters Zulaikha and Yusuf, respectively. And star Hina Khawaja Bayat, Waseem Abbas, Behroze Sabzwari, Mizna Waqas and Mansha Pasha in recurring roles.
Series was Produced by Saadia Jabbar, and aired on A-plus entertainment as part of a night programming of 20:00. The series is loosely based on the story "Yusuf and Zulaikha" by Jami in his book Haft Awrang. It was written by Khalil-Ur-Rehman Qamar directed by Mehreen Jabbar and directed by Mehreen Jabbar. Mera Naam Yousuf Hai premiered in Pakistan on 6 March 2015, with prime slot on Fridays
In September 2015, the series was taken by Indian market, Star India private limited decided to begin its airing on 19 October 2015 on their channel Star Plus-thus becoming the channel's first ever Pakistani drama. The series was aired in India, UAE, USA, Ireland, UK, Austria, Europe, Canada and Latin America. Series received extravagant reception in viewership and ratings.
The Story revolves around a forbidden love of Yousuf and Zulaikha. Yousuf saw Zulaikha in a train for the very first time and is unable to get her out of his mind. Zulaikha on the other hand, considered the moment as a momentary attraction as she is stuck between her cousins marriage proposals, masked by the personal interests of her parents. She bumps into Yousuf several times who is evidently in love with her and is expressive about his feelings for her. Later, Noor Muhammad, Zulaikha's Father announces her marriage with Imran Moeez (his nephew) so he himself can marry Imran's Aunt Bushra. At this moment Yousuf crosses every single limit to prove his love to Zulaikha so she can deny marring Imran. Story takes turn when Yousuf is increasingly being tortured by the police upon Noor Muhammad's orders, at this point Zulaikha becomes aware that his love was always true for her. Looking to this Zulaikha eventually falls in love with Yousuf. Afiya Begum, Zulaikha's mother and Hajira, Zulaikha's sister then start to support her to marry Yousuf while Noor Muhammad starts threatening them, he however marries with Bushra successfully. Story shows women power against Noor and shows how the three women team up. Later, a hidden past is revealed to Yousuf and Zulaikha conveying that both are not made for each other and separation is in their destiny, despite this both show reluctance and tend to name their love, the two faced equal tortures. The Story is penned on the challenges, tortures and sacrifices they face for their love, and shows how Afiya protects her daughter's from their father, and survives all his tortures.
Mera Naam Yousaf Hai was developed by producer Sadia Jabbar of Sadia Jabbar Productions, she hired successful director Mehreen Jabbar to direct the series. The Show is written by famous writer Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar, the show is loosely based on the story of Yusuf and Zulaikha by Jami in his book Haft Awrang with few edits, Screenplay is also written by Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar while Script composing is done by Naman Ali. Approximately with twenty one episodes, Zulaikha Bina Yousuf was completed in February 2015 and was all set to premier on 12 March 2015 with a prime slot of Thursday 8:00pm. However, in Mid-March 2015 promotional team gave the show a new title Mera Naam Yousuf Hai and changed its premier to 6 March 2015. Song composition is done by Sultan Athor while the OST given by Saad Sultan. The show aired weekly episode for 35 - 40 (without commercials) minutes every Friday to 18 July 2015.
Producer Sadia Jabbar choose, Imran Abbas Naqvi and Maya Ali to play the leading roles of Yusuf and Zulaikha respectively. Imran Abbas joined the shoot. Maya Ali was selected to role for the character of Zulaikha. Actors like Mansha Pasha, Waseem Abbas, Behroze Sabzwari, Hina Khawaja Bayat and Seema Seher were selected to role for Madiha, Noor Muhammad, Waji Ahmed, Afiya and Hajira respectively
The filming of drama serial begin in September/October 2014 and was completed in late January 2015. under the title Zulaikha Bina Yousuf. Zulaikha Bina Yousuf was officially announced to premier on 12 March 2015 with Thursday 8:00pm as a prime slot. On 2 March 2015 it was announced that the title is changed to Mera Naam Yousauf hai with Friday 8:00pm as a prime slot, the premier was then decided to be launched during 6 March 2015.Imran Abbas Naqvi as Yousuf Waji Ahmed
Maya Ali as Zulaikha Noor Mohammed
Waseem Abbas as Molvi Noor Mohammed/ Sheikh Sahab
Mansha Pasha as Madiha
Hina Khawaja Bayat as Aafiya Begum
Perveen Akbar as Kausar Parveen
Mizna Waqas as Hajira Noor Mohammed
Behroze Sabzwari as Waji Ahmed
Seema Seher as Yousuf's mother
Ali Sheikh as Tajee
Taqi Ahmed as Imran Moeez
Faizan Sheikh as Wali
Farah Nadeem as Bushra
The theme songs were Saad Sultan and were performed by singers like Rizwan Anwar, Saad Sultan himself and Umair Ahmed. It was written by the composing team itself. The lines of the song are frequently used during the course of the show. The music video was released In March 2015.
Sadaf Siddiqui of Dawn News states that Mera Naam Yousuf Hai is off to a smooth start in her issue she praised Writer's story line stating Writer Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar’s pen aspires to the tragic, the epic, and the unusual, and as his previous drama Pyare Afzal has shown, in some cases it succeeds she also praised Mehreen Jabbar as director stating Director Mehreen Jabbar managed to keep Khalil sahib’s flair for drama under her subtle control. She hasn't let the dialogue overpower the narrative. It helps that the drama's production values are excellent as is the visual story telling with hints at the character's inner lives. She lauded Maya Alli, Imran Abbas Naqvi and Hina Khawaja Bayat's role by saying Maya Ali’s restrained performance as Zulekha proves she's a director’s actor and so far Mehreen Jabbar has guided her well. Imran Abbas, who seems perennially youthful, also, pardon the pun, strikes a chord as the dreamer Yousuf. But if there was an actor who stole the spotlight today, it has to be Hina Khwaja Bayat.
Siddiqui, on her other issue praised the shows plot and melodrama stating "TV drama Mera Naam Yousuf Hai plays the filmi card and wins". She further added that "It isn't merely filmi in the sense that it features over-the-top melodrama; there are also a fair number of larger-than-life events to contend with. These events aren't just plot points pushing the story forward, they're like cogs in a vast machine that represent the characters' interconnected, messy lives." She commented on Khalil-Ur-Rehman Qamar's screenplay stating that "Khalil sahib's script brings into question society’s hypocrisies and double standards, as well as the different roles, expectations and allowances for men and women." She also praised Mehreen Jabbar's directory saying "It is quite commendable that despite all these filmi touches and a tendency to go over the top, Mehreen Jabbar's directorial hand is very much in control." In an issue of Dawn 6 April 2015, Sadaf Siddiqui stated that "Mera Naam Yousuf Hai is a One sided Love story so far" she comments not the plot stating "What does one do when one’s own parents are engaged in a game of one-upmanship, placing one’s freedom and right to choose in jeopardy?". For the current episode arc Sadaf once again praised Qamar's classic storyline stating "Khalilur Rehman Qamar’s writing sparkles with wit and clearly unke kamaan pe bahut se teer hai. The way the story and each of the characters is revealed adds something new to the plot progression and builds on each characters back stories."
On 29 July 2015, Sadaf Siddui's praised the show's screenplay and storyline commenting "Do class concerns trump love? Mera Naam Yousuf Hai asks big questions". In her article she said that "Writer creates chemistry and romantic tension between the leads despite them not sharing much screen time. It is sheer mastery that makes allowance for conservatism and added that he carefully tends to family relationships and friendships." After summing up the entire show and story line, Siddiqui said that "The drama makes important observations about power: in our patriarchal society and its lopsided and unfair ways, people use power to perpetuate their own interests and maintain the status quo." She also praised the series conclusion where she added that "The biggest surprise perhaps was that Khalil sahib allowed the lovers to reunite, however not without a near death experience", the series was one of Qamar's screen play where the protagonist were united and not deceased, this point attracted several viewers to it. It is the only drama to air on the famous Indian channel Star Plus.