TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Fraud – Episode II (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 2 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – Fraud has an interesting storyline with good pacing to keep the viewer engaged throughout its runtime. Most of the performances are decent and provide a convincing backdrop to the premise. Add some good direction to it and we have a promising show on our hands.

ii – What is also commendable is that the show takes its time for the viewers to get used to its surroundings and characters. Each person has a unique look, an interesting perspective to themselves that provide a colorful cast of characters to the show. Sometimes, pacing can be detrimental to the show’s longevity and Fraud is proving to be surpassing it all with flying colors.

iii – Mehmood Aslam as Nisar once again stole the show for me as his emotional and powerful performance has rapidly become the backbone of the show. It was intriguing to see the world from his perspective, how badly he wants a wealthy, comfortable future for his daughter. So much so that he has truly blinded himself to other qualities that a person should possess. 

iv  – Another great characterization by the writer is of Adnan Samad Khan as Nael as he now sits dejected and demoralized after the events of the last episode. It’s great to see that his character was not completely forgotten and perhaps will end up playing a major role down the line.

+ Low Points

i – The biggest drawback to the show is the bland, generic production behind the camera. You don’t need overtly emotional music overpowering every scene just to force the viewers to shed a tear or two. Such tactics are disappointing because it clearly shows the lack of faith the show has in its writing and the heartfelt performances of its actors. Fraud can prove to be a unique show with a relevant premise to its target audience but it immediately gets drowned into its flashy editing and overbearing music. This show can prove to be better than it currently is. 

ii – With all the quest of finding the right “Rishta”, episode 2 completely ignored Maya, our lead female protagonist of the show. Even though there were a few scenes devoted to her thoughts, Maya’s point of view should be the main focus of the show. We should see the world through her eyes, what a young adult woman goes through when her life decisions are already made for her by her parents, whether she is in favor of it or not. A prime example can be the drama Khaas (2019) where our female protagonist was in a very similar situation. 

iii – The scene with Mikaal Zulfiqar was the true low point of the show. Even though the show has just introduced this subplot, the acting was bizarre and the dialogues were incredibly bad and obnoxious. Mikaal sounded like a whiny brat and unsympathetic with cringy dialogues like “Stop it, yaar!” . I guess he will end up being Maya’s love interest later on but this means we will have to put up with this nonsense storyline of “Saas/ Boohoo” for many episodes to come. Oh joy… 

+ Overall

Another promising episode with good performances and an engaging storyline. But the production quality can exponentially improve to propel Fraud from good to great.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Fraud – Episode I (2022)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Fraud Episode 1 (2022). The new TV series is directed by Saqib Khan and written by Zanjabeel Asim. Fraud is a story of love, innocence and treachery as our protagonist is manipulated into marrying a forged personality. Fraud is an iDream Entertainment and ARY Digital Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Saqib Khan
  • Written by Zanjabeel Asim
  • Produced by Abdullah Seja 
  • Production by iDream Entertainment

+ Note

Fraud is a case study of Pakistani families who always strive for betterment of their children. Obsession with wealth and power almost always ends up leading to unfavorable consequences. The director Saqib Khan is known for his numerous television projects and his upcoming cinematic film Ghabrana Nahi Hai (2022).

 + Main Cast

  1. Saba Qamar as Maya
  2. Ahsan Khan as Tabriaz
  3. Mikaal Zulfiqar as Shaan
  4. Rabia Kulsoom as Maila
  5. Adnan Samad Khan as Nael
  6. Mehmood Aslam as Nisar

+ Plot

Fraud is a story of Maya whose father wants her to marry into the richest family that he could find. But wealth does not equal character as she ends up marrying a wealthy man named Tabriaz who, through his trickery, makes life for Maya full of deceit and fraud.

+ High Points

i – The premiere episode to the show was engaging and had some interesting foreshadowing towards the upcoming storyline. The narrative flowed well with the performances and the cliffhanger to the episode will definitely intrigue its viewers for several more weeks to come. Just a keen observation but Fraud has some incredibly strong vibes of the HUM TV drama Khaas (2019) where the female protagonist ends up marrying an egotistical maniac due to parental pressure and ends up ruining her life in the process. All in all, a good first episode. 

ii – The performances ranged from decent to great. Particularly Mehmood Aslam as Nisar (the father of our female protagonist) stood out from the rest with his emotional yet misguided well being for his daughter. Saba Qamar as Maya also gave a convincing performance in bringing out the innocence of a young adult who is shedding her naivety and entering the real world of deception and falsehood.

iii – The show should be commended for its storyline as many parents in Pakistan feel compelled to marry their daughter off to rich families regardless of their daughter’s emotional well being. This has always been a continuing issue in Pakistani culture as wealth is given priority above all else. On the other hand, as a parent, one would want their child to be financially secure but having an abusive life partner can never prove to be a good move in the long run. Fraud has an interesting but essential plot that deserves attention from the mainstream audience.

iv – The first episode had some good exposition, dialogue heavy set pieces as the plot is carefully set up for the ultimate payoff at the last episode of the show. I was particularly fond of Maya’s parents as they argued back and forth about what is best for their daughter. And last but not least…

v – The final act with the rejection of the Rishta was well written and fantastic performances all around. The emotions of rejection and humiliation drove the scene forward and made us empathize with the Khala’s side of the family. Of course it is good to be optimistic in life but some facts unfortunately cannot be overlooked namely wealth and social status; something that always plagues Pakistani society.

+ Low Points

i – The opening scene of the show… was something I guess. I’m sure the show was going for a more metaphorical foreshadowing of the coming weeks but unfortunately, its horror tone just felt out of place with the rest of the show. Where did they end up finding so many bats to begin with?

ii – The show looks visual bland. There are no interesting perspectives, no innovative camera framing or editing. The production of the show only manages to reach the bare minimum what TV or film can accomplish. Shows produced by Momina Duraid are a good example that there is always room for visual experimentation, even for such a commercial medium like television. And it’s a real pity since the storyline is deserving of a more talented production crew behind the camera.

iii – Speaking of visual quality, it is unfortunate that the show resorts to mainstream Indian drama TV style of visual storytelling as it can definitely do without it. Let go of the “chamak dhamak” style of camera work/ editing as it ends up making your product look cheap and lacks originality. A perfect example can be Daam (2010) by Mehreen Jabbar where the show, even with its so-called “slow” visual presentation, brought so much depth and realism to the plot and its characters.

iv – The title of the show ‘Fraud’ seems way too much on the nose. Couldn’t the show runners have come up with something a little less conspicuous?

+ Overall

A good, promising first episode; Fraud has the capability to be one of the best shows currently on television right now if not for its lackluster presentation.

Rate: out of 5 stars 

Tele-Films

Mr. Khan’s Review on Aik Hai Nigar (2021)

A review on Pakistani telefilm Drama, Aik Hai Nigar (2021). The ARY Digital telefilm is directed by Adnan Sarwar and starring Mahira Khan as the famous Lt General Nighar Johar. The telefilm also stars Bilal Ashraf, Khushal Khan and Sohail Samee. 

+ Crew

  • Directed by Adnan Sarwar
  • Written by Umera Ahmed
  • Edited by Rizwan AQ
  • DOP by Omar Daraz
  • Music Composed by Abbas Ali Khan
  • Produced by Nina Kashif & Mahira Khan

+ Note

Aik Hai Nigar is a biopic on Pakistan’s first and only female lieutenant general of the Pakistan Army. She has been a part of Pakistan Army Medical Corps and has been serving as a surgeon general. 

 + Main Cast

  1. Mahira Khan as Nigar
  2. Bilal Ashraf as Johar Ali Khan
  3. Khushhal Khan as Shahid
  4. Sohail Sameer
  5. Sara
  6. Iman Shahid

+ Plot

Nigar Johar is a girl who aspires to be big. She wants to become Pakistan Army’s first ever female lieutenant general. Even though she has to face hardships of misogyny and personal despair, Nigar is determined to achieve her goal in life. Along the journey, she meets her life partner Johar Ali Khan who encourages her to pursue her career goal and make history in the nation of Pakistan.

+ High Points

i – Mahira Khan and Bilal Ashraf have good on screen chemistry with one another. Even though there were one too many private life scenes in the telefilm, they complimented each other’s performances very well.

ii – It is also admirable that (judging from the personal photos at the end), the costume designer, make up artist and casting director tried to emulate Nigar’s real life family and friends to the best of their abilities. 

 + Low Points

i – Aik Hai Nigar has unfortunately nothing to offer. It is a dry, insipid take on the life of Nigar Johar; a woman who surely had many hardships to face throughout her career. Sadly none of it is depicted on screen. The telefilm rather focuses much more on her personal hardships which (quite frankly) never proved to be engaging television. It is a baffling decision from the writer Umera Ahmed to ignore the most exciting part of her professional career but rather focus on timid aspects of her personal life. The film failed to educated its audience on her on field accomplishments in a male dominated field of armed forces. What an unfortunate wasted opportunity this telefilm turned out to be!

ii – Speaking of writing, this is probably one of Umera Ahmed’s laziest attempts at penning down a script. Aik Hai Nigar is an incredibly superficial take on the life of Nigar Johar. From cliched, bland dialogues to lack of any flow to the narrative; Aik Hai Nigar is an astoundingly forgettable experience.

iii – Sadly, Mahira Khan does not possess the grittiness required to play the role of a female Lieutenant General. She clearly seemed like an actress playing the role in a movie rather than an actress completely embellished and morphed into Nigar Johar on screen. Whether it was lack of proper rehearsals or understanding her role, Mahira Khan is entirely unconvincing in her lead role.

iv – The makeup has to be one of the worst aspects of the telefilm. From the year 1987 till present day, Mahira Khan as Nigar Johar never grew older. Her skin complexion, her hair, every physical aspect remained of a young mid 30 year old. A personal note to the production team of the telefilm; suspension of disbelief will only take you so far, at least attempt at making her age through makeup! This is just not acceptable in such a star studded cast production!

v – After watching the telefilm, I honestly have no idea what I got out of this. For being a biopic of Pakistan Army’s first ever female lieutenant general, I learned nothing as to what hardships one had to do to accomplish such a massive feat. There were some throwaway one off scenes like “But sir, she’s a woman!” to which they replied “So what? She is very capable!”. And that is how misogyny in the Pakistani Army was resolved. Wish it was that easy.

vi – While watching the telefilm, it quickly became evident the film was not really that interested in portraying Nigar’s professional life but focused heavily on her personal life. Numerous scenes were solely devoted to her romance with her husband, the personal tragedy she had to face and a real attempt to mold Nigar’s life into a stereotypical Pakistani drama. And that seemed entirely unfair to the dedication and hardwork that Nigar had to put in order to achieve her goal. And even with her scenes with the husband, it seemed incredibly superficial and perfect, as if they never had an argument or even a disagreement over a decision. Johar Ali Khan is in fact the flawless husband. The perfect atmosphere just seemed detrimental to the authenticity of the story.

A good biopic always keeps a steady balance between the professional and personal aspects of the character’s life. Aik Hai Nigar unfortunately just straight out ignored to even attempt to understand her professional career.

+ Overall

Aik Hai Nigar is a lazy attempt to capture the life of Pakistan Army’s first female Lieutenant General on screen. It’s misguided, insipid and by the end of it, will seem like an entirely forgettable experience.

Rate: out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – LAST EPISODE (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Ishq Hai – Last Episode (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?   

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!!! (There will be spoilers throughout this review so If you would like to avoid it, please skip to the Overall section):

+ High Points

i – It was fitting to see that Isra’s family was there to support whatever decision she had in mind for her future. Compared to how her brother and family reacted to the earlier episodes to now, there seems to be obvious progression in character development. Instead of staying as innocent bystanders, her family actively supported Isra in her time of need and were with her all the way to the end. And that is refreshing to see on Pakistani television.

+ Low Points

i – The conclusion to the show is exactly how you would expect it to be. It is what it is. A melodramatic, paint by the numbers show with zero originality and creativity behind it. Shahzaib is remorseful, there is some resistance from Isra but finally, she accepts him back. All is forgiven. And thankfully, this show is finally over.

ii – It is utterly tragic how they ended the Nimra and Haris dilemma. Will they finally grow up and learn that you cannot obtain everything you desire in Life and that love should come from both of the individuals involved in a relationship? No, of course not! Haris is left dying in the hospital bed while Nimra commited suicide! What a pathetic way to resolve this issue! Rehana Aftab’s writing has undoubtedly been the WORST aspect of this show and this just proves this fact even further.

Let the characters learn from their mistakes and move on with their lives. Give your younger viewers an opportunity to learn that there is more to life than marriage and lust for unattainable needs. Shahzaib’s mother Nafisa got her redemption arc, she had the luxury to learn from her past mistakes but not Nimra or Haris? Wasn’t Nafisa’s evil deeds the worst of them all? Torturing her own son to maintain her dominance over her children? This is a prime example of how absurd and morally devoid this show is.

iii – If you thought this show had too many slow motion, time wasting scenes, the last two episodes just takes the cake. Every few sentences is accompanied by pointless slow motion scenes where the character contemplates on the two sentences he or she just spoke or heard. This could have easily been one single final episode but of course, just for TV time and advertisement sponsors, they had to prolong it to two.

iv – The finale is lackluster because every single viewer can imagine how it is going to end. Every single plot thread, every character’s issues with Isra or Shahzaib get immediately resolved because the script demanded it to and not in a natural progression like any other skillful screenplay. Isra’s sister in law pestered her throughout the show but has finally learned her lesson. Why now? She never believed that Isra was ever innocent for any other actions, what made this instance so special? 

v – Sajjad Paul as Raza (Shahzaib’s brother) got a lot more screen time in these last two episodes where his single purpose was to literally narrate every single moment that was being displayed on screen. Yes, we know your mother is remorseful for her past actions, you really don’t need to painstakingly repeat what we are witnessing on our television screens. 

+ Overall and Final Thoughts on Ishq Hai

This was undoubtedly the worst Pakistani TV show I have ever seen from start to finish. The plot was dramatic, recycled garbage that we have seen on Indian and Pak TV time and time again, all of the characters in the show had two dimensional personalities, there was absolutely nothing original or creative in its writing, the performances were purposefully, overly melodramatic, distancing itself any sort of reality that we live in and worst of all, Ishq Hai just proved that they had absolutely no intention of putting any effort into making an original show. The female representation was once again terrible, highly influenced by “saas/ bahou” dramas of India. Let us also not forget that our protagonist drugged, kidnapped and forcefully married Isra. How can this ever be normalised is beyond my comprehension of human decency!

Due to lack of substantial content, the show creators resorted to abusing slow motion to death so that it prolongs the life and duration of the show (not to mention the unnatural use of the title song throughout its 38 episodes!). Minor praise can be given to the production team, costumes and set designs as their efforts are very evident onscreen. Unlike many other shows out there, the wedding scenes felt authentic with a large number of extras and the scenes played well at times with light and silhouettes. 

Watching a show like Ishq Hai depresses me to no end because I know that our country can produce much better quality content than this. We have young talented filmmakers out there who do not have to look at Indian Soap Operas for inspiration (or better yet, take inspiration from Indian Independent cinema!). Pakistan is blessed with creative minds and acting talent, its high time we start using it to its full potential. At the end of the day, Ishq Hai is yet another blemish on the face of Pakistani television which will be replaced by yet another “Ishq Hai” with recycled plot and terrible performances. My only request for content creators and financiers of Pakistani dramas; do not undermine the intelligence of your viewers and give them something meaningful to watch. No doubt television can highly influence its audience, why not something worthwhile that could eradicate the faults of society like oppression of women or respecting a different point of view? But at this point in time, it’s sadly just wishful thinking.

 Rate (Last Episode):  out of 5 stars

Overall Series Rating: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – Episode XXXIII to XXXVI (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Ishq Hai – Episode 33 to 36 (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?   

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!!! (There will be spoilers throughout this review so If you would like to avoid it, please skip to the Overall section):

+ High Points

i – The only scene that the show got right was the confrontation between Shahzaib and his mother. For viewers who have been clambering for this scene, they will not be disappointed. Yes, it was cheesy and over the top but for a show like Ishq Hai, it was a fitting conclusion to the Mother/ Son relationship. The rest of the content in this week’s episodes was pure nonsensical and we will get to that in the points below.

+ Low Points

i – The end is nigh! And honestly, it couldn’t get sooner enough. This week’s episodes are wrapping up the conflicts in utter most generic and over the top fashion as you would expect from a quality show like this. Isra is conveniently in position to overhear that this all has been a ruse against her and her true love, Shahzaib. It almost feels like the writer painted herself in a corner so just went along with “Let’s just make Isra overhear the evil mastermind plan and get this over with”. There was nothing clever about the reveal, just utter nonsensical writing which is a clear indication that the show runners have no creative bone in their bodies. 

The show then devolves further as they now have the chance to mock people on their deathbeds with horrendous scenes like Haris forcing his sister to record him on his deathbed, revealing the plan to separate Isra from Shahzaib. And then Whatsapping the video to Shahzaib on his wedding night with Nimra as he plays the video for the ENTIRE people in the wedding hall? What in God’s name is that for a revelation scene?? (Sigh) But seriously, what quality writing can we expect anymore from this show? 

ii – So apparently, it is now revealed that Sameera is the one who has been pulling the strings all along! Not only has she been manipulating Isra but also Shahzaib’s mother and her own sister? What is even going on in this show? What was the point of all this? Why can we hear her “thoughts” on screen all of a sudden? Why does she suddenly want to screw over her sister for family fortune? This revelation makes absolutely no sense and is insulting to viewers who had been diligently watching the show this entire time. Plot twists only work if they have been set up beforehand and not sporadically squirted out at the last second. Its not that twist was a major game changer but just the opposite in fact. This was completely unnecessary that the evil mastermind turned out to be the person who the audience didn’t even get to know much in any of the previous 30 plus episodes! It’s amazing how Ishq Hai fails even simple basic rules of screenwriting!

iii – According to the show, if you turn to evil deeds and bring misfortune onto others, your parents will have to pay with their life for it. Why you may ask? Well, better that you ask the creative team of Ishq Hai since both Nimra and Haris have lost their parents in an accident to the convenience of the plot. Why was this necessary for the story to work? I wish I knew because it never made them humble or even change their perception towards life or their own actions. After a scene or two, they continued on planning misunderstandings between Shahzaib and Isra.

iv – The whole hospital scene involving Haris on his death bed was a travesty to viewers who have actually lost their loved one. I wish this show had any integrity to respect those instances in everyone’s lives and not make a mockery out of them.

v – On the other hand, it’s admittedly hilarious how Nimra’s wedding always gets crashed by someone. Talk about lazy writing and storytelling.

+ Overall

Since Episode 1, this show has been plagued with utter nonsensical writing. Ishq Hai has to be one of the worst shows ever broadcasted on Pakistani Television!

 Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – Episode XXIX to XXXII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Ishq Hai – Episode 29 to 32 (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 – One of the bare minimum character development scenes we have in this show’s entirety takes place between Nimra and Shahzaib. Thankfully this scene lets itself playout to the audience without any nonsensical editing tamperings. 

+ Low Points

i – Ishq Hai continues to devolve further into obscurity. The illogical “twist” in episode 31 felt unnecessary as the status quo was once again reached by the end of the same episode! Nimra and her sister are still the evil sisters out of Brother’s Grimm Fairytales! Why introduce this twist in the first place? Was it just to create some sympathy within Shahzaib’s heart for Nimra? But that was already in process so this clearly nullifies the whole scenario. Secondly, I can’t even begin to count how many times, within the last 6 Episodes, has Shahzaib “caught” Isra with Haris. Guys, it got old the first few times, also Isra is sincerely lacking intelligence when she resorts to trusting the sister of Nimra who physically assaulted her and openly engaged in submitting Shahzaib to her mad love.  The pendulum of the narrative keeps swinging back and forth but this show goes nowhere.

ii – The dreaded slow motions keep plaguing this show. Every scene is unnaturally prolonged by stuttering slow motion scenes which are clearly added in Post production for the episode to reach its hour runtime. Never have I ever seen a show that has absolutely no faith in its own content. Well, at least even they are self aware how utter nonsense their own product is!

iii – Apparently in the world of Ishq Hai, whenever you see your wife talking to another man, that equates to cheating on him. Whenever your wife injures her hand and a man tries to help her, that also equates to cheating on him. Shahzaib knows well enough that Haris has been stalking his wife for some time now, so Haris forcing himself upon Isra at times makes no logical sense to him? Was he dropped on his head as a child or does everyone in this show lack even basic commonsense? Why do I keep watching this nonsense?

iv – Of all the characters I wish would just “go away”, Azekah Daniel as Naina is always on top of that list. Her character is just horribly written, solely serving as a person who could “negate” everything Isra claims. She openly whines in every episode how her life is ruined because of Isra, how she is never the center of attention because of Isra but we, as an audience, know literally nothing about Naina! What is her character outside of Isra? What are her ambitions? After 32 episodes, we literally know nothing about her.

+ Overall

With four episodes each week, Ishq Hai triumphs Quantity over Quality by a mile and a half! It is one of the worst shows ever aired on Pakistani Television (and that is saying a lot!).

 Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – Episode XXV to XXVIII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Ishq Hai – Episode 25 to 28 (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 – Some of the scenes were well lit and visually executed. The creative team behind the camera plays well with shadows at certain dramatic moments of the show. No matter how horrendous the product is, at least the visuals are somewhat impressive.

+ Low Points

i – Ishq Hai is going nowhere. The plots are already being recycled and reframed for the audience. The two themes; ‘Misunderstanding and Jealousy’ are beyond repetitive at this point. The show lacks any substance or even a shred of creativity in its writing and execution. Episode 25 to 28 are fully devoted to Nafisa’s dastardly evil plan of creating misunderstanding between Shahzaib and Isra, hoping that they would end up with a divorce and in turn, fall into the hands of Nimra and Haris respectively. The plan is obviously ludicrous and devoid of any logic but that is apparently a running theme in the show.

ii – The newly introduced side plot of Hammad and his wife is absolutely nonsensical and irrelevant to the show. Just like the show itself, it’s a massive waste of time, prolonging the lifespan of the show when it’s obvious that Ishq Hai was dead on arrival.

iii – (One character passes a cup of Tea) Slow Motion! “YE ISHQ HAI!” (dramatic music!!). It’s utterly hilarious how inept the creative team is in bringing drama through editing! The concept of slow motion and dramatic music is abused to such an extent that no scene seems epic anymore. Not to mention the lack of proper editing as the music glitches or stops in between a scene.  

 

Two cups of Chai!? He’s definitely cheating on me with her!

iv – I guess I haven’t mentioned in weeks how terrible the performances are of the main cast of the show. I would not be at all surprised if the actors just showed up on the day of the shoot and recited their lines on set without rehearsing the scene, without even getting into the psyche of the character or the situation of that particular scene. And the fault solely lies on the shoulders of the director Aabis Raza who allows his actors to display such performances on screen.

v – The “Pillow/ Dupatta” scene from Episode 26/ 27. Its scenes like these that make me lose faith in modern Pakistani dramas. Appalling state of writing in this show!

+ Overall

Ishq Hai just devolves further and further away from what is considered “standard quality” of writing for Pak Television. It’s Trash TV at its finest!

 Rate: out of 5 stars 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – Episode XXIII to XXIV (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Ishq Hai – Episode 23 to 24 (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 – No high points today, folks! Episode 23 and 24 were the very worst of Ishq Hai!

+ Low Points

i – Episode 23 and 24 were essentially inconsequential to the overall narrative of the show. There was no character building or progression of the plot, just characters reacting to one another’s banter or threats.

ii – Alright, why has Isra gained a spine all of a sudden? Where was the moment where her breaking point was reached? One could say that it was the mother falling ill but she hasn’t been in the best of health ever since her husband died. Isra’s sudden shift in character is once again a prime example of how poor the writing of the show is. Things happen without reasoning. No build up or progression of Isra’s frustrations, just that the script demanded her this week to stand up on her own.

iii – Nimra still continues to be the worst character ever written in the history of Pakistan Television. Her whole personality is defined by her rage and jealousy towards Isra. She stares out of the window every now and then, contemplating why she is not with Shahzaib instead. Now she is engaging in physical cat fights with Isra. Nimra has no personality of her own other than that she is crazy about Shahzaib. What an utter embarrassment this show is for the women of Pakistan!

iv – But the second worst character of the show has to be Azekah Daniel as Naina. The biggest issue with the writing of the show is how every character in the show has absolutely no subtlety to them. And Naina is the prime example of such flat characterization. In every episode, she is ALWAYS whining and complaining how she is not the center of attention in the family. Her dialogues seem so far removed from reality that it’s difficult to even hate her as the minor antagonist of the show. Apparently every single character in the show is needy and desperate for attention!

v – Apart from Nimra and Naina, we have another needy and desperate character of the show; Hammad Shoaib as Haris who now stalks Isra and harasses her in a parked car! Sigh, what is up with these people? Do they not have their normal lives to be busy with?

+ Overall

The female representation in Ishq Hai is abhorrent and an embarrassment to the legacy of Pakistan television. It is a mockery of our culture, our values and our moral integrity.

 Rate: ZERO out of 5 stars 

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 

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – Episode XV to XVIII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Ishq Hai – Episode 15 to 18 (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 – With these back to back episodes, the story progressed at a brisk pace (even though there were once again way too many dramatic pauses where the character just contemplates with loud music). Certain events happen which will change the upcoming episodes exponentially.

ii – I like this shot. No further comment.

+ Low Points

i – Oh boy! Four back to back episodes of Ishq Hai? Is it my birthday?

But seriously, this was a real pain to sit through. There is only so much dramatic overtones and ridiculous melodrama that I can take in a week. Even though the story has progressed with regular pace throughout the four episodes this week, all the characters are still incredibly unlikable to the core. There is no one the audience could root for. Everyone is unlikable in their own way. Unfortunately this show is at no point of return. This all has to be endured till the end of this series. And I am definitely looking forward to that.

ii – Too many flashbacks of events that happened just in the previous scene! Does the show think our memory equals that of a goldfish? What I really dislike about this show is that it treats its audience like idiots who can’t think or react for themselves. We need to be spoonfed how to feel through repetition of dialogues, scenes and overbearing dramatic music. 

iii – The show is trying its hardest to make Shahzaib sympathetic again for the audience. He is even willing to divorce Isra for it. Sorry but nothing can wash off the actions he took that night when he kidnapped her and forced marriage upon her. There’s no coming back from that. But with these four episodes, I’ve a lot more to say in the spoiler section down under so please, keep reading!

iv – And yes, Nirma is still (by far) the worst character in the show. Frankly, I feel embarrassed for Mahenur Haider to play this role as her emotion is strictly stuck on “rudimentary annoyance”. She does nothing in the show other than whine, sulk and have anger outburst. She is treated like garbage by Shahzaib in the show and it’s just a clear indication that she has no character of her own. Awful, awful writing!

(Spoiler Alert!!! If you would like to avoid it, please skip to the Overall section below:)

v – So apparently, admitting to your mistake (no matter terrible the crime was) is acceptable in the world of Ishq Hai. Isra (in such dramatic fashion) rips up the legal documents of Divorce, indicating that she has forgiven him and wants to be with Shahzaib. What a terrible lesson this show is presenting to its younger viewers. Hey kids! No matter what the crime, if it is labelled under the power of “Love” then it is ultimately justified. It is shameful how shows like these present mutual consent, how a man should treat a woman. What a travesty this show is.

vi – It takes some incredible talent for the show to have so much happening but still remain unoriginal throughout its 18 episodes so far. Ishq Hai pertains to the worst of what TV dramas are known for. There is not a single ounce of originality in its writing, everything seems to be working on auto-pilot. Granted, HUM TV dramas are nowhere near perfect but at least they have decent characterizations and once in a while, you end up getting shows like Parizaad but as a viewer, this show is just insulting to the core.

+ Overall

Ishq Hai is not worth your time. Please spend it instead with your loved ones, read a book, educate yourself. But don’t watch this travesty and waste your precious time on this planet.

 Rate:  out of 5 stars