From the previews itself, “Rah E Junoon” set the stage for what viewers could expect. With Danish Taimoor reprising his obsessive lover role from “Deewangi,” Komal Meer plays the innocent female lead who finds herself in love with a man who only creates trouble around her. There’s a heavy feeling of déjà vu with this story, the template lifted from Har Pal Geo’s “Ruposh” and “Jhoom” with even Wajhi Farooki’s vocals being utilized in the OST. Is he the official voice for the imbalanced lover? Still, Danish Taimoor and Komal Meer are good actors who invite interest. “Rah E Junoon” also stars Saba Faisal, Mehmood Aslam, Hiba Ali, Zain Afzal, Ali Tahir and others in a story written by Rehana Aftab and directed by Ahmed Kamran.
In episode 1, we are introduced to Shabrez (Danish Taimoor) and Meher (Komal Meer). In the first scene itself, Shabrez is attempting to commit suicide and is stopped by Meher, who spots him while taking pictures. In a completely bizarre moment, Shabrez asks for a piece of paper and pen and gives Meher his phone number and tells her to call him if she ever has a problem in life. This is coming from a man who was about to jump off a cliff only moments earlier. How’d he suddenly envision being around in the future? Anyway, Meher needs help approximately 20 minutes later. She apparently got so caught up taking pictures, she wandered miles and miles away from her group (by foot) and needed help getting back to them. So Shabrez picks her up and they drive around aimlessly, even stopping for lunch in the middle. How far did she walk exactly? By the end of their trip, they have fallen in love. Shabrez joins Meher’s university and an intense love story has already begun with Shabrez beating a classmate within an inch of his life for teasing Meher.
On the side, we also have Shabrez’s overbearing, money-obsessed, controlling family and Meher’s psychotic, bratty younger sister who can’t see past her own nose. Of course these family members will move forward to create problems for these “lovers.” In this 40 minute episode, “Rah E Junoon” manages to throw out every drama cliché and is not only highly predictable, but also presents one of the most forced, unlikable love stories currently on air. How did they fall in love? Shabrez is not mentally stable, so this is somewhat, mildly understandable, but what’s wrong with Meher? Danish Taimoor and Komal Meer are good actors, as previously stated, but even they aren’t able to make the audience connect with their characters at this point. It’s all just too quick and we’re not feeling the romance. But then we have to pause and wonder – is the intention behind this show different than what we’re thinking?
Now “Rah E Junoon” could wind up being a worthwhile watch if it takes an unprecedented turn and actually focuses on mental health. Our male lead is clearly, desperately unwell in all aspects. Whether it be his struggle with his parents, his drug addiction, his suicidal tendencies or his almost immediate fixation on Meher, these are all signs of an incredibly unwell mind. Unfortunately, our dramas are not well-known for addressing mental health, the associated issues and treatment – rather, the female lead often bears the brunt of this aggressive behavior and becomes the savior. Now if “Rah E Junoon” genuinely attempts to highlight Shabrez’s condition and does not force a band aid love story, this could certainly be a show worth watching. But the likelihood of that happening is not high and it’s more likely that “Rah E Junoon” will wind up being yet another toxic love story. We will have to wait and see – but episode one is not impressive.