TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – Episode XIX to XXII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Ishq Hai – Episode 19 to 22 (2021). The new TV series is directed by Aabis Raza and written by Rehana Aftab. Ishq Hai is an ARY Digital Production.

(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ 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 and Shahzaib are the young lovers in conflict with their respective families. Their parents have already found a spouse for them. Arranged marriage 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 – The only positive aspect going for this show is the development of the story after each episode. It is brisk and follows through each half an hour competently towards an inevitable conclusion to the Isra and Shahzaib love story.

+ Low Points

i – Its genuinely fascinating how Ishq Hai is incredibly content with its mediocrity. The show’s pacing is all over the place, every scene is needlessly epic and overly melodramatic. There is never any room to breathe for the characters and neither for us, the viewers. It’s a perfect example of how NOT to write a show. Ishq Hai lacks depth in its characters, none of them ever evolved in the last 22 episodes. It’s a sad state of affairs of how such a HORRENDOUS quality of a show gets a prime time slot on Television. The current state of Pakistani TV shows has rapidly declined in quality over the past decade, emulating the nonsense “Saas-Baho”, cousins Love Triangle storyline. And Ishq Hai is definitely a contributing factor to that steady decline.

ii – Episodes 19 to 22 once again focus on the continuing evil plan of Nafisa to rid Isra from the life of Shahzaib. And if that sounds like a plot of a James Bond film from the 60s, you wouldn’t be so far off! The characterizations are so much beyond the realms of reality that they are unironically campy and hilarious. The ensemble cast of the show come off as mere caricatures of their characters rather than fully fledged human beings. I’ve seen more character depth in a saturday morning cartoon than this disaster of a show! Awful, awful writing by Rehana Aftab.

iii – Whenever this show wants to create tension in a scene, they merely have to play the dreaded chorus “Ye Ishq Hai!… Ye Ishq Hai!”. Talk about lazy editing. The whole creative team of Ishq Hai is creatively bankrupt in originality. Apparently they have no faith in their actors or the written dialogue that they have to resort to this dreaded chorus every single time.

iv – In Episode 19, the cat fight between Nimra and Isra was pretty hilarious. Nimra continues to be one of the worst written characters that I’ve ever witnessed on Pakistani Television. Apart from jealousy, she lacks any sort of emotion a normal human being has. She has no life of her own other than obsessing over Shahzaib throughout the show. Her family members have no sense of self respect as they keep getting convinced by Nafisa that their daughter will marry Shahzaib in the end (no matter how many times they get humiliated by Shahzaib and Isra). The script and motivations of the characters never made any sense right from the start so why put in any effort now?

v – Why does every character in the show come off so needy and desperate for attention? First it was Nimra and now Haris who is (for some reason) so madly obsessed with Isra at this point that he is willing to stalk and threaten her. Does no one in this show have some dignity or self respect? But I suppose he still comes off better than Shahzaib who literally drugged, kidnapped and forcefully married his wife. So… pick your poison I suppose.

+ Overall

Ishq Hai is a massive waste of time, effort and money devoted to making it. It’s an insult to the legacy of Pakistani television and its writers. Avoid it like the plague!

 Rate: out of 5 stars 

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