TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – Episode I & II (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Ishq Hai – Episode 1 & 2 (2021). The new TV series is directed by Aabis Raza and written by Rehana Aftab. Ishq Hai is an ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Aabis Raza
  • Written by Rehana Aftab
  • DOP by Waqas Ali
  • OST composed by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
  • Editing by Zeeshan Ali Jokhio
  • Produced by Fahad Mustafa & Dr. Ali Kazmi

+ Note

Ishq Hai is a tale of two lovers, a Shakespearean tragedy set in South Asia where the conflict between tradition and individual freedom comes into play. An age long question within our Pakistani culture; should the tradition of arranged marriage be questioned? How important is the right to choose your own life partner? The drama has a star studded cast of young and veteran actors and is an exclusive ARY Digital Production.

 + Main Cast

  1. Minal Khan as Isra
  2. Danish Taimoor as Shahzaib
  3. Hammad Farooqi as Hammad
  4. Babar Ali as Isra’s father
  5. Hammad Shoaib as Haris
  6. Saba Faisal as Nafisa
  7. Mahi Baloch as Sameera
  8. Sajjad Paul as Raza
  9. Mahenur Haider as Nimra

+ Plot

Isra (Minal Khan) and Shahzaib (Danish Taimoor) are young lovers in conflict with their respective families as their parents have already found a spouse for them. Arranged marriages has been a family tradition but against all odds, Isra and Shahzaib want to fight for their love. Will their pure love be able to conquer all?   

+ High Points

i – Ishq Hai checks all the right boxes when it comes to making engaging Soap Opera. Young lovers who have to fight for their right to be together and in the process, gain their respective families’ approvals. If you find this enticing and entertaining television then this is the show for you.

ii – The setup of the two opposing families has a colorful cast and can potentially be utilized for interesting dynamics and plot points later in the show if the creative team plays their cards right.

 + Low Points

i – Just by the first two episodes, one could tell that Ishq Hai has absolutely nothing original to offer. Its run of the mill, mediocre writing and storytelling, lovers whose families don’t approve of them being together (yawn). The writer Rehana Aftab could’ve at least attempted to try a different spin to this age long ‘Romeo and Juliet’ tale. Something that could wake the viewers up from an age long slumber of mediocre Pakistani soap operas but nope, putting effort into your work is for the weak. 

ii – This is the actual synopsis of the show on the ARY Digital youtube channel:

“Ishq Hai is a love story of a boy who is madly in love with a girl. Going against all odd to achieve his love.”

Take the name “Ishq Hai” out of the equation and this could be ANY OTHER show on Pakistani television at the moment. This should be a strong indication how the show is lacking any sort of originality for its viewers.

iii – Absolutely none of the characters are interesting. They are all cardboard cutouts of the same tropes, the same cliches you see in every other Pakistani Soap Opera. None of the main cast has any personality or quirk that could distinguish them from anyone else. Their characterization and motivations all stem from the writer wanting them to act according to the plot and not the other way around. It’s the storyline that makes the decisions for them in the show and not their individual personalities. Its lazy, mediocre writing that should have no place in the creative field of television. 

iv – All the actors just resuscitate their lines for each scene. The acting ranges from decent to terrible. And I really can’t blame the actors for their bland performances if the writing and direction is so utterly uninteresting. Even Sir Anthony Hopkins can’t make this garbage fly.

v – Ishq Hai has got to have the most substandard excuse of conflicts in a show that I’ve ever seen! Upon learning that their daughter or son has someone already in mind to marry, their characters just (with a flip of a switch) change their personalities so that some conflict could be presented to the show. First of all, judging from their surroundings, they obviously come from rich social classes which usually allows a bit more freedom to choose their life partners as compared to other lower social classes of Pakistan. The ridiculousness lies in their parents as they already decided on the arranged marriages without even consulting their child. And then, they are shocked that their child already has someone in mind. There was no discussion, no arguments, just overly exaggerated reactions which seemed utterly unrealistic in the context of the show. Have the families meet first, let the conflict grow before you execute it.

vi – The show is not particularly pleasant to look at. The locations and colors have no sense of direction, just big mansions, lavish furniture and gorgeous actors for the viewers to ogle at.

vii – Too many dramatic pauses, overbearing music which overwhelm any emotions that you could make out from the actor’s performances. This clearly shows that the creative team has no faith in their stars to convey their emotions to the viewers with their acting chops. Everything needs to be big and epic and loud, regardless of the context of the scene!

viii – Speaking of bad music, its surprising to see that Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s OST is on par with this show’s creativity; utterly mediocre and uninspired.

ix – There is also an unnecessary mandate by the creative team to have a massive line of supporting cast. Most of them (in the first two episodes) had pretty much nothing to do. They were all relegated to the sidelines and contributed nothing to the overall plot. The first episode began with two sisters, scheming how they plan to get married in the same house and live like princesses. And then, nothing. It did not get mentioned, we never even get to see the two sisters interact afterwards. Usually an opening scene of a film or drama should address the main plot of the show or introduce the main cast. This did neither and was completely superfluous. 

+ Overall

The premiere episodes of Ishq Hai had nothing to offer. Bland acting, terrible writing and mediocre direction. You would be better off watching paint dry.

 Rate: 1.0 out of 5 stars

4 thoughts on “Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – Episode I & II (2021)”

  1. I don’ really agree with your review. Moving forward on the episodes it highlights the problems in our society in a spectacular way.
    1. Apni marzi ke shadi nahi karsakty.
    2. Parents get to choose who they want you to marry and neglect what their children desire.

    I find the acting really good, opposed to your opinion.

    The reason I have high regards for this drama is it creates awareness. This issues do exist in our society. It should be seen as something that needs to be changed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Blake for your thoughts! I agree that topics such as “Love” or “arranged” marriage should definitely be discussed in mainstream media. My issue is unfortunately with the execution of those problems on this show. I personally find it very unrealistic portrayal of how family dynamics work with exaggerated performances to such extent that it ends up being comical and far removed from reality. Just my two cents on this show but I’m happy to see that you enjoy watching it!


  2. Please write more reviews of shows. It’s hard to find decent plot summaries of Pakistani dramas before you dive in. As you mentioned, the description on the show’s official site is sparse, to say the least. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up watching a steaming pile of

    Thanks for saving me from that fate. The problems with the show that you mentioned seem to be inherent to most Pakistani dramas these days. I don’t mind family drama or cliché tropes like arranged marriages; on the contrary, because such themes are so endemic to society and relatable, it’s why we love them. Big emotions? Big drama? Crazy situations? Sure, bring it on, we love to hate truly evil villains and root for the One True Pairing. But not if it’s as stale as you make this show sound.

    Nice save. Please do more reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Alexandria, thank you for your thoughts! Unfortunately I really feel this show is not worth anyone’s time. Since writing reviews is only a hobby of mine (for now atleast), I try to write whenever I have free time. But Hum TV has some high profile shows coming in next week so expect more reviews coming in!


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