“Ishq Hai” is a big-budget show with a stellar cast, a great OST by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and great presentation. This is enough to hook the viewer immediately. Starring Danish Taimoor, Minal Khan, Babar Ali, Saba Faisal, Saife Hassan, Azekah Daniel, Faraz Farooqi, Saima Qureshi and Sajjad Paul in prominent roles, the story has been written by Rehana Aftab and directed by Aabis Raza. With four episodes down, has the show managed to impress?
The short answer is this: In terms of cinematography and presentation, yes, the show manages to impress. In terms of story and characterization, no, the story is not appealing. Simply put, this is a story of selfish characters who cannot see any perspective other than their own. Relationships are fickle and self-serving with little regard for “loved ones” and their feelings. And discussions? Those do not exist on this show. It isn’t necessary to review this episode in a lengthy way – Shahzaib (Danish Taimoor) kidnaps Isra (Minal Khan) from her brother’s Walima and brings her to his own Nikkah. Of course, this leads to public shaming from both families. This is the run-down of what happens in episode 3 and 4, but let’s discuss how this is a show full of horrible human beings.
First tackling Shahzaib’s Nikkah, Samreen rightly tells Raza (Sajjad Pal) that if Shahzaib didn’t want to marry Nimra, he should have confided in her and she would have handled the situation. Up until this point, Samreen seems logical – but oh no, we cant have that. So Samreen spews out a line to change things, calling Isra a “do takkay ki ladki” and saying she will get her revenge by destroying Isra, thereby including herself in the line of mentally unstable characters on the show. Raza knew Shahzaib, his own brother, did not like Nimra, but instead of supporting him, he fights with Shahzaib and states that their relationship is now over. And of course, who can forget Nimra (Mah E Noor Haider)? Let’s just pause to discuss how beautiful she looks on this show, because she is really striking. But Nimra is as brainless as the rest, because Shahzaib told her he isn’t interested in her and yet, she calls him in a tear-filled phone call, asking him why he put her through this grief. OK, she was in love with Shahzaib from childhood, but he wasn’t? Love is two-sided and if a person isn’t interested, please develop some self respect, listen to their words when they say no and walk away. Such characters are not victims, they are their own enemies. Of course, Shahzaib’s insane mother (Saba Faisal) refuses to recognize her own mistake in all of this, she herself being the reason for all of this happening. And last, but not least – Shahzaib himself. If its so difficult to get through to his mother, the logical thing to do would be discussing with Nimra and Raza beforehand and making it clear that he will not go through with the nikkah – and had he made that clear to Nimra, she never would have allowed herself to be stood up…..unless she was simply that dim.
Now let’s discuss Isra’s (Minal Khan) family. Her father (Babar Ali) doesn’t believe in love marriage, so his children must follow his every belief. Her mother (Saima Qureshi) is absolutely brainless and supports this behavior, as if her daughter isn’t intelligent enough to make her own decisions. Her brother, Hammad (Hammad Farooqi) is an absolutely violent, “ghairatmand” nutcase. And last, but not least, let’s welcome the latest member of the family, Naina (Azekah Daniel). One must assume that since this is an arranged marriage, the family does not know Naina very well – had they known her, they would’ve realized they were bringing trouble into their home. Hmmmm, see how love marriage could be a good thing? Well, Naina is so angry about her marriage being sabotaged by Isra that she has decided it’s her life’s mission now to destroy Isra’s life. Yes, a wedding is a memorable life event and it’s important, so it’s understandable why Naina is upset. But really, the fault lies entirely with her in-laws and not Isra. The other three family members created a spectacle and drew attention to Isra’s actions in a brainless scene and then complain about “izzat.” Why can’t these things happen without drawing attention to it? But no, so now they’ve not only ruined their own izzat (and blamed Isra for it), but have also successfully made an enemy out of their daughter-in-law because they couldn’t control their anger for two days. And coming back to arranged marriage, this family really knows how to pick them – Mariyam and her insane son, Haaris (Hammad Shoaib) still want to go through with the wedding, because Isra is Haaris’ “zidd” now. What a prize, what a gem of a future husband, forcing a woman to marry him against her will.
This entire show is full of unstable characters who seem incapable of stringing together a logical thought, showing an ounce of compassion or empathy and are really just highly unlikable. And when a show has characters this unlikable, how can the show itself be likable? Is there any hope? Danish Taimoor always manages to make his shows watchable, so it’s possible – but even he desperately needs a haircut.