As soon as “Mujhe Pyaar Hua Tha” was announced, fans have been excited to see Wahaj Ali and Hania Amir together in a show. Adding to this, the prospect of a true, poetic, heartbreaking love story with stunning visuals, along with a unique OST, has only increased the curiosity and excitement level. Written by Sidra Sehar Imran and directed by Badar Mehmood, “Mujhe Pyar Hua Tha” stars Wahaj Ali, Hania Amir, Zaviyaar Nauman Ejaz, Shahood Alvi, Salma Hassan, Javed Sheikh, Angeline Malik Noor Ul Hassan, Shaheen Khan and others in prominent roles. Does the first episode live up to expectations?
In the first episode, we are introduced to Saad (Wahaj Ali), a young man in love with his cousin, Maheer (Hania Amir). However, before he can get a chance to express his love (which he has had years to do), Maheer comes face-to-face with Areeb (Zaviyaar Nauman Ejaz). A very strange, forced “love story” begins within the span of one night. Meanwhile, Saad’s sister and really, the entire family, is well-aware of Saad’s feelings for Maheer and by the way their fathers speak about them, it’s clear their marriage has already been pre-planned. This is the jist of the first episode….and quite honestly, it’s not impressive.
Maheer and Areeb’s meeting scene is a pure cliché. This trope of a happy, perky, overly blunt girl in a case of mistaken identity has been pulled from “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham” more times than we can count – and it’s not convincing. To be even more blunt, Maheer isn’t necessarily likable. She laughs at a girl being allergic to flowers (why is that funny?), calls her father to remind him to take his medicines (why is this a “Pakistani drama daughter” thing?) to seem homely, and then spends more time with a strange young man than her cousin or friends. In an absolutely bizarre sequence where Maheer stays the night at her cousin’s house, a friend of her cousin’s insults Maheer and basically calls her “loose” for speaking to Areeb throughout the night. Areeb is not only the only person who defends her, but also grabs Maheer’s hand possessively to stop her from leaving……after meeting in one night. Why doesn’t her cousin defend her against her so-called lecherous friends? This is just one of the glaring, irritating things about the episode.
What stands out most about the first episode is how foolish the writer and director team take the Pakistani drama audience to be to buy Maheer’s ignorance. Is there any woman, in this day an age, who cannot accurately assess when a man likes her when he is being this obvious and transparent? Saad may not be using direct “I love you” words, but his dialogues, body language and expressions would clue anyone in to what’s happening. It’s a suspension of reality to even see Maheer as clueless and not leading Saad on….which is exactly what she’s doing.
If it sounds as though the first episode of “Mujhe Pyaar Hua Tha” came across as unimpressive – that is exactly right. If anything about the episode is impressive, it’s Wahaj Ali’s performance. Wahaj is perfect as this sweet, possessive young man who is both passionate and has a “boy next door” vibe. Saad is the most intriguing part of the show. Unfortunately, both Hania Amir and Zaviyaar Nauman Ejaz’s performances feel weak in their forced romance, though Hania Amir looks beautiful. We will have to see how this one plays out, but considering the cast and the expectations, it’s not particularly impressive in episode one.