“Ishq Hai” is the latest show to premiere on ARY, a big budget story with a promising cast which is the formula for a sure-fire hit. Danish Taimoor and Minaal Khan star in lead roles, playing lovers who fight to be together but face issues as their families oppose their marriage. 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.
So how did episode 1 fare? The question isn’t what was wrong with the first episode of “Ishq Hai”? The question is – what wasn’t wrong with the first episode of “Ishq Hai”? Whether it’s the cheesy “Assalaamualaikum, good morning, good afternoon, good evening” introduction to our resident love birds or the absolutely illogical reactions the families have to their children having, gasp, love marriages, it’s all very tedious on the brain cells. So let’s begin with the breakdown.
In the first episode, we are introduced to Isra (Minaal Khan) and Shahzaib (Danish Taimoor), a rather cute couple who do manage to win the audience over with their very-much-apparent affection for one another. Danish and Minaal’s chemistry is nice and their scenes together are cute enough that the audience finds themselves rooting for this pair. This is the positive in the episode – the only positive. Now let’s discuss everything else.
Isra’s brother Hammad (Hammad Farooqui) is getting married to Naina (Azekah Daniel) and the family is busy with wedding functions. Apparently this family is very much opposed to “love marriages,” which is why Hammad, an obedient “good boy,” is having an arranged marriage with Naina – though he later admits that they had an “understanding.” So of course, Isra’s mother does the logical thing – both she and Isra’s father (Babar Ali) decide Haaris (Hammad Shoaib) is the perfect man for Isra, despite having met him for approximately 2 minutes in the middle of the wedding functions. When Isra refuses to marry Haaris, Hammad and her father both have very extreme reactions with Hammad stating that he wishes he could bury her in the ground – for wanting to marry a man of her choice – and her father stating that the family should now prepare for her wedding (when an engagement hasn’t even been finalized). This is all because she dared to fall in love while being from a family that doesn’t believe in love marriages. But why not? It’s 2021 – why are love marriages still so taboo?
On the other end, Shahzaib is seen as this hardworking individual who is very much in love with Isra. His brother Raza (Sajjad Pal) is marrying their cousin Samreen. Of course, his mother jumps at the opportunity to get her younger son married as well and arranges his marriage with Sameera’s sister Nimra (Mah E Noor Haider)……without even asking him, declaring that he will marry whoever she chooses. Of course, Shahzaib repeatedly declares that he will not marry Nimra and even tells his family about Isra. There isn’t any valid reason for Shahzaib and Isra to be kept apart – but Shahzaib’s mother has an ego and Isra’s family doesn’t believe in love marriages, so here we are, presented with a love story ending due to a paper thin, illogical plot.
What it all boils down to is one simple thought: In this day and age, what sort of families from visibly upper middle class/high class families arrange their son/daughter’s marriages without even asking their opinion? These are modern, educated individuals – and quite honestly, it’s all very illogical. Both sets of parents do not even give their children the opportunity to say no. They refuse to meet the individuals their children are interested in. Their kids are just expected to agree to their decisions. Does Shahzaib’s mother even know him? He doesn’t seem like the type to just blindly go by what she says, so why would he blindly marry a girl of her choosing? The parents are so aggressive with their opinions and reactions, it’s unpalatable. Of course, there are other problems as well, even with the editing. There’s an obnoxious pool scene between Raza, Sameera and Nimra where the water is heard running and is drowning out half the dialogue in a very distracting way. The song “Ishq hai” is playing in random, unnecessary moments where it doesn’t need to play at all. These small things do take away from the overall “viewabilty” of a show.
In all the chaos, Naina feels neglected and points out that it’s only been two days since their wedding and Hammad’s family is ignoring her. Her point is valid and Hammad does an atrocious job at pacifying her. Of course, this is setting the stage for Naina to turn against Isra in coming episodes. Overall, what are the positives? Well, number one, the show has a great cast. And second, the chemistry between Danish Taimoor and Minaal Khan is surprisingly likable. Both actors do a great job with their roles. Unfortunately, everything else is substandard and feels forced. That’s the real problem – there isn’t anything natural about the premise of this story. It’s all forced and it’s happening simply because it’s been written that way, not because there’s any realism involved. It’s possible that the show will get better later, but the first two episodes are disappointing.