Danish Taimoor and Minal Khan star in “Ishq Hai” as lovers who marry against their parents wishes. The supporting cast includes Babar Ali, Farah Nadeem, Saba Faisal, Saife Hassan, Azekah Daniel, Mahi Baloch, Mah e Noor Haider, Saima Qureshi, Sajjad Pal, Hammad Farooqui, Hammad Shoaib and others. The story has been written by Rehana Aftab and directed by Aabis Raza. It’s difficult to review this show. This is just the truth. On one end, there’s Danish Taimoor, who is a fabulous actor, has such great screen presence and really, he’s an actor who can make any show watchable. But on the other end, this is a show that has “double episodes” each week which have the content of one episode and are, therefore, severely dragged out, which gives it a sluggish, boring pace. And then, to make matters worse, the entire show is void of logical characters. There isn’t anything on this show that can be classified as “normal.”
On one end, there’s Hammad (Hammad Farooqui) who yells loudly for anyone to hear about how “beghairat” his younger sister is for daring to love someone of her own choice. He drills it into our heads that “love” is not a thing in their family – well that’s evident, considering his so-called “love” for his “laadli” sister disappeared the moment she declared that she liked someone. Hammad’s new wife, Naina (Azekah Daniel) is absolutely bat crazy, degrading Isra and rooting for her ruin simply because…..her walima was ruined. Isra’s life has been ruined, but you know….poor Naina, her Walima ended early and she didn’t get to watch her cousin’s dances. Isra’s parents, played by Babar Ali and Saima Qureshi, are real pieces of work, specifically Saima Qureshi’s character who is as cold as a mother can get….again, sorry if I’m repetitive, but this is all because Isra fell in love. Well, now the family is raging, because on Isra’s wedding day, Shahzain kidnaps her. So of course, the family believes she ran away. Well, why wouldn’t they? Have they ever trusted Isra? Do they trust their own upbringing? Do they trust themselves?
Meanwhile, our foreign-returned dulha Haaris (Hammad Shoaib) is the happiest man on earth, so thrilled to be marrying his beloved Isra by force, knowing she’s in love with someone else and is being forced to marry him. So obviously, both he and his mother are crestfallen when they realize Isra has “run away.” It’s time for revenge! How dare she run away to marry the man she wanted to marry all along when Haaris brought his forced baraat to her door! On the other side, Nimra (Mah E Noor Haider) continues to mourn the death of her relationship with Shahzain, a relationship that never actually existed. She is so heartbroken that the entire family is surrounding her weeks later, her father furious that Shahzain could have rejected his daughter. Saife Hassan’s role may be one of the few “normal” ones – sure, a father has every right to be angry after seeing his daughter’s grief. But what’s everyone else’s excuse? This was staring them in the face all along.
And finally, last but not least, we come to Shahzain (Danish Taimoor) and Isra (Minal Khan). Shahzain has lost it completely after seeing Isra’s wedding festivities to someone else. So he does the logical thing – he chloroforms her and kidnaps her from the parlor, of course! Then, when she reasonably asks to be taken back home so her family doesn’t think she has run away, he tries to convince her how much he loves her…..by holding a gun to his own head and declaring that if she walks out of the door, he will shoot himself. He is very convincing here, convincing enough that he terrifies Isra into agreeing to marry him. And yet, our innocent hero is shocked when Isra faints after their Nikkah ceremony. Why would she faint? What could possibly be wrong? It’s a mystery.
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Quite honestly, it’s this sequence between Shahzain and Isra that leaves the greatest impact and not in a good way. “Ishq hai, ishq hai” plays in the background while a crazed Shahzain holds a gun to his head, telling Isra to back away so he can shoot himself since she is leaving him anyway. This is such a abusive moment, threatening a young woman already caught in a precarious situation with her family out for her blood back home, her wedding canceled and facing absolute shame. What else can she do but marry her “love” who is holding her hostage emotionally by threatening his own life? To call this scene problematic is an understatement. Affan Waheed played a similar role to this in “Mein Na Jaanu” – except in that show, despite it being terrible overall, Affan Waheed’s character is really seen in a negative light and Zahid Ahmed’s character steps up as hero. This time around, Danish Taimoor’s Shahzain is very much the “hero,” even if he’s the hero who has, at present, “snapped.” Will his actions be whitewashed later on? He is behaving like a proper psychopath, particularly when he smiles that sinister smile after Isra agrees to marry him. Of course, Danish Taimoor is a wonderful actor, but this does not change that his character is a maniac and it’s scary to think he may be painted as a “good husband” later on. Minal Khan does a good job as Isra as well. Unfortunately, these characters are just not well-written and, really, the show hasn’t been impressive since episode 1. Will “Ishq Hai” pick up? Maybe. Will it be a good show? Probably not.