“Ishqiya,” starring Feroze Khan, Ramsha Khan, Hania Amir and Gohar Rashid came to a close with a double episode finale. This is a show that has been grabbing eyeballs with a twisted story, a situation that is complicated and the very definition of “messy” in terms of relationships. Throughout its run, I found myself wondering “how can this story end happily? Is it even possible for this story to, realistically, have a happy ending?” Therefore the ending itself is not what surprised me, but rather the thought that…..is this really a justified end?
In the finale, viewers bear witness to everything simply unraveling. Rumi (Hania Amir) reveals Hamza’s truth to his family, leaving them reeling with their son’s misdeeds. Meanwhile, Hamna decides she’s had enough of Azeem’s blame-game and declares that she regrets ever being honest with him, because she expected more from her husband. More to be discussed on that later, but this does resonate with Azeem and he visits Rumi to defend his wife, but unfortunately, Rumi falls unconscious and suffers a miscarriage during the exchange. While Hamza continues desperately to get his wife back, he is unsupported by his family and discovers, through his mother, that the baby is gone.
While Hamna and Azeem work on mending their relationship, Hamna serves Hamza with Rumi’s “khulla” papers (divorce), declaring that she has won back her respect and family and he’s left with nothing. Hamza falls apart after this and is left pining away for Rumi and his (lost) child. Rumi picks up the pieces of her life and returns to work, spending her free time with her mother and awaiting the arrival of Hamna’s child. There is a beautiful moment where Rumi speaks to her mother and declares that Siddiqui Sahab (Shabbir Jan) would have supported her decision if he had been alive – and it’s true, such was the relationship between Siddiqui Sahab and Rumi. It only serves to pose the question once again – Why did Hamna choose to be dishonest and create this entire situation when she had such a loving, supportive father?
Hamna – A Flawed Character
Hamna has been a disaster of a character from beginning to end. Now is this a problem with the writing or the character itself or the performance, it’s hard to determine. Ramsha Khan is a fabulous actress, so one immediately has to believe it’s simply her character. But then what it boils down to is that there is something offensive about the role of Hamna and how the director perceived her himself. Was Hamna a victim? This is how Hamna has been presented by the director – but most viewers are simply not buying this. Hamna is simply not a victim, rather she is the biggest perpetrator on this show. Normally, my mind goes towards “Oh, are we blaming the female again?” but this time, it’s different. Rather, this time around, it feels like the creators tried to turn this into a “woman empowerment” scenario that didn’t work well because, well, the female lead character is the clear-cut problem.
When one thinks about their own lives and the people in their lives that they have expectations from, who comes to mind immediately? Generally speaking, the answer would be family. Parents and siblings are usually the people one would rely on in hard times, the people one would expect to support them and care for them when they’re going through their worst. But what if the person who has caused all the pain and anguish is a member of your own immediate family? This is where the issue arises with the ending of “Ishqiya” for me personally. Hamza was a stranger to Hamna’s family and felt betrayed by Hamna and so, he made a very poor, negative decision to seek “revenge.” Am I making excuses for Hamza? Absolutely not, Hamza was very much wrong and did deserve punishment. But Hamza’s character arc and growth was much more visible than anything Hamna showed viewers. Rather, what it all boils down to is that Hamna was the most deceptive character of them all, wasn’t she? Hamna had a relationship with Hamza. She lied to him and got married. She didn’t confide in her parents or sister about Hamza ever and got married. She didn’t confide in her fiancé about her situation even when he asked and then continued to lie to him after marriage. She didn’t confide in her sister when Hamza sent a proposal for Rumi and allowed her sister to get married to her own blackmailing ex-boyfriend. She lied to Azeem and met Hamza in secret after marriage, because well, “blackmail.” How much can one chalk up to fear and blackmail? Fear of what? Fear of being exposed and letting one’s family down? Does that fear trump the lives of everyone else being affected by one’s actions? After Hamna came clean to Azeem, not once did she say “I’m sorry. I love you. I am devoted to our marriage. I shouldn’t have lied.” Rather, she just heaped misery after misery upon him and always put her marriage…..last. Did she deserve Azeem’s forgiveness when she never bothered making amends? This is the greatest problem with “Ishqiya,” because ultimately, Hamna is forgiven. She is loved and accepted by her sister. She is suddenly deserving of her husband’s love. She is “free” of Hamza. We are forced to see Hamna as the victim she never was.
At the end of it all, the performances are what remain memorable and a round of applause must be given to the performers who really managed to shine in their roles – Hania Amir, Gohar Rasheed, Shabbir Jan and Feroze Khan have simply given brilliant performances that managed to add different dimensions to their characters.
Hania Amir as Rumi is the true heroine of the show. She is a character to admire, one to look up to. She’s a young girl who shared a strong bond with both her parents, having the ability to openly discuss her thoughts freely with both her mother and father. She has a job, she’s a working woman, educated and yet is shown having strong family values. She not only has a strong command over her own family, but makes her place in Hamza’s family as well. The decision that Rumi makes in the end is not difficult to understand – from her perspective, there is so much betrayal in her marriage that it would be difficult for her to continue in that relationship and the loss of her child simply cements the fact that she’s no longer bound to this man. Hania Amir has enacted Rumi’s happiness and sorrow with equal beauty, really making viewers feel for her. She’s a star.
Feroze Khan is Feroze Khan. He’s always a winner in roles like this, because he plays the angry, passionate, troublemaking man with such intensity, he’s got it down to an artform. One simply does not expect any less from him and he delivers. The only thing that can be said is that it would be great now if Feroze would sign some light-hearted romantic shows…..if he’s still acting.
Gohar Rasheed has made his mark as Azeem. Azeem is a character that feels “real.” He’s a nice guy, he’s a stand-up guy, but he also has his quirks. He has his angry moments and when he’s faced with a particularly complex situation, he finds himself internally conflicted. But what really makes Azeem stand out is that he never crosses the line into the stereotypical angry husband that we tend to see in our shows. He may express his anger, but not once does Azeem raise his voice to Hamna. He never raises a hand, he never throws her out of the house, he never expresses his anger in front of others. He maintains her respect in the eyes of others even when he is not happy with her. Gohar Rasheed has done a great job, making Azeem lovable through his performance. It also must be said that Gohar and Hania’s chemistry as siblings-in-law has been a real highlight on this show.
Of course, Shabbir Jan and Kinza Malik have made their mark as Rumi and Hamna’s parents. While Shabbir Jan stole the show as long as Siddiqui Sahab was around, Kinza Malik has given a memorable performance in the last few episode as the drama unfolded. Seemi Pasha, Khalid Anam and Maha Hassan were endearing in their roles as Hamza’s family.
Again, as previously mentioned, there is no “right” answer in terms of how this show should have ended. The situation is messy and it’s difficult to understand what would have been the ideal ending and really, any ending would have found its share of detractors. But with the way the show did wrap up, I do take issue with the path it chose to tread. Overall, “Ishqiya” has been an entertaining ride with some great acting and an interesting story. It’s unfortunate that the show didn’t manage to make the impact it should have, but it did manage to impart a strong message through Rumi and Hamza’s relationship.