TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – Episode IX & X (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Ishq Hai – Episode 9 & 10 (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 storyline moves at a brisk pace. If you’re into heavy melodrama, there’s never a dull moment in any of the episodes. 

+ Low Points

(Warning! Spoilers ahead! If you would like to avoid them, please skip to the Overall section):

i – Episode 9 was at least 10 to 15 minutes of slow motion with absolutely no real content. Do we really need half of the episode’s runtime with ridiculous slow motion despair scenes that are overtly prolonged and make no contribution to the storyline?

ii – One of the most baffling tropes of soap operas is the lack of a single sentence explanation that would solve most misunderstandings. In Episode 9, when Isra returns back home, her father rejects her because Isra dishonored herself. All she had to say in return was: “No, I was kidnapped and forcefully married to this lunatic besides me!”. But of course, she kept quiet as emotional raag music blasted over their heads so this debacle of a show keeps going for another 20 odd episodes.

iii – Now the two episodes try to justify ‘psycho’ Shahzaib’s kidnapping and forceful marriage by making it seem he was just impulsive with “Love”. Is he supposed to be the antagonist of the show? Only then does this justification make any sense. Shameful writing.  

iv – Speaking of glorifying terrible character decisions, Isra’s brother decides to shoot his sister and Shahzaib in cold blood. We live in a country where honor killings are rampant in villages. I could not help but shake my head in disbelief as to how this show is now exploiting real life tragedies. If you want to make a mediocre melodrama, please go right ahead but stop exploiting real life tragedies into your storyline if you cannot respectfully explore them!

v – The acting throughout episodes 9 and 10 were below average. Especially Danish Taimoor as Shahzaib who cannot emote properly even if his life depended on it. Either the cast lacks the talent or proper direction from Aabis Raza as each episode runs on “auto-pilot” with single note emotions on display. It’s also disheartening to see a brilliant actress like Saba Faisal who is just there to recite a few lines and collect her paycheck. 

+ Overall

At first, Ishq Hai was just laughably bad but now, it’s just painful to continue watching! 

 Rate: 0.5 out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – Episode VII & VIII (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Ishq Hai – Episode 7 & 8 (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 – When it comes to Wedding scenes, most Pakistani TV dramas do such a lackluster job in making it convincing for the audience. Ishq Hai is one of the very few dramas which make the wedding scenes really satisfying to watch as they go all out with the set design and extras.

ii – With all the bad writing and subpar performances, at least the production team does a decent job with the Camerawork, Costumes, Make Up and Set Design. At least they should be commended for their efforts behind the camera.

+ Low Points

(Warning! Spoilers ahead! If you would like to avoid them, please skip to the Overall section):

i – Oh boy, this show has already fallen off the rails! Shahzaib has officially turned into a complete psychopath who abducts women who don’t want to be with him and force marriage upon them. Is this the guy we’re supposed to be rooting for? There is absolutely nothing sympathetic about him left anymore. I sincerely hope Ishq Hai doesn’t portray him as the guy we should get behind. How can anyone in their right mind condone such actions?

ii – Danish Taimoor as Shahzaib just doesn’t work. The actor does not possess the acting chops required to play the role of an obsessed lover. His “suicide” scene was complete cringe. Even though Minal Khan as Isra is still convincing in her performances, Danish (unfortunately) cannot keep up with the rest of the cast. The only emotion he can display is rage and that’s all he has shown throughout the show up till now.

iii – Sameera (the sister in law) has such a ridiculous motivation to be evil in the show. It’s quite comical to be honest. Her whole life now revolves around Isra; “Is she texting her Hero??”. Running behind her everytime just so she could give the Evil zinger and feel proud of herself afterwards. Her whole motivation to be mean to Isra is that she is hogging all the attention towards her. It’s understandable if she’s not on good terms with her but Sameera’s dialogues are just beyond absurd.

iv – EVERYONE KEEPS SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER IN THIS SHOW!! And watching two episodes back to back, it’s really tiresome. There are absolutely no quiet scenes for the viewers so they could at least have a breather in between dramatic scenes. But no, every second needs to be the main cast threatening each other. Cause that’s how normal people talk apparently.

v – Yet another scene where Nimra crying alone, starring at a distance. This is literally all she is good for in the show.

+ Overall

Eight episodes in and Ishq Hai has already jumped the shark! I don’t understand who the show wants the audience to root for anymore. Terrible writing!

 Rate: 0.75 out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – Episode V & VI (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Ishq Hai – Episode 5 & 6 (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 plot thickens! The stakes are now raised as to whether Isra should defend her family’s “honour” or fight for her love. Even though Ishq Hai has numerous flaws, it is specifically good at targeting its audience and what would make this show compelling to tune in every week for it. Every earth shattering revelation folds onto the next big issue.

(Warning! Mild Spoilers! of Episode 5 & 6 up ahead. You can skip to Overall section below if you would like to avoid it):

ii – Some of the shots in Episodes 5 and 6 were interesting and complimented the narrative of the show (for example, the shattered glass table and the distorted reflection of Shahzaib on it, reflecting his destroyed happy future that he once possessed). 

 + Low Points

i – The show has been running on Auto Pilot since Episode One. And 5 & 6 are more of the same. Ishq Hai is literally recycled trash from numerous other Soap Opera clichés. Granted, nothing is original in TV shows nowadays but atleast present the same themes but with a different coat of paint. Not every scene needs overexaggerated nasty dialogue, accompanied by “Ahhhhs!” of the Raag singers and ridiculous editing zooms in and outs! As I mentioned in my previous review, if every scene is dramatic then no scene is dramatic.

ii – So the devilish plan of the ‘soon-to-be’ daughter in laws to get revenge on Shahzaib’s family for the humiliation makes no damn sense! So they would rather prefer to still marry them after the humiliation that they faced in Episode 3 at the wedding in front of thousands of people JUST SO they can have the upper hand throughout their whole lives in the Shahzaib family and take revenge on Shahzaib? This is like James Bond’s villain of the week level stupidity. I guess the family has a lot of time to spare so they all can partake in a life-long revenge plan. This is all so ridiculous but hilarious. 

iii – Isra’s sister in law Sameera might be the most ridiculous of them all. So she is envious and frustrated of Isra for ruining her post wedding plans of a honeymoon and all the attention apparently being diverted towards Isra. Why is every character so petty in this show? Sometimes problems arise and they get resolved. Why does she feel the need to hound Isra, snatching her phone, taunting her of her ex lover every single moment of her life? Oh yeah, she is EVIL! Sorry, forgot about that…

iv – None of the characters in the show are sympathetic at all. They are either petty about their problems and take revenge on others or they are too brainless to convey their reasoning. Not to mention the elders in the show just fly off the handle if you even slightly disagree with them! If Ishq Hai wants to promote respecting elders, then the elders should be shown with some common sense in them.

v – Too many scenes where people are confronting one another on the phone. Yes, in the modern world, that’s how it’s done but some things are compensated for so they look better on camera. Two adults (one with constant ear pods in his ears to show how cool he is) blabbing love cliches over the phone is hardly anything exciting to watch on screen.

vi – Speaking of Shahzaib, boy does he come off creepy in Episode Six! There’s nothing more romantic than constantly hounding your ex on the phone, then following her into a shopping mall and manhandling her in a clothing salon while the workers there watch in awe!

vii – Mahenur Haider as Nimra sadly just gives the worst performance in the show. Her acting is terrible but the whole fault doesn’t lie with her. She is practically given nothing to do throughout the two episodes than stand at the Beaded Curtain and stare into the camera.

+ Overall

Ishq Hai is hilariously awful! Everything is over exaggerated nonsense from the plot to the performances of the actors, the dramatic scenes by now are just comical to watch. And I don’t see this show improving any time soon.

Rate: 1.0 out of 5 stars

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – Episode III & IV (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Ishq Hai – Episode 3 & 4 (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 – Drama, drama! The episodes 3 and 4 were cranked up to 11 straight away! If you’re into crazy, over the top melodrama then these two episodes will bring you much entertainment and excitement in the continuing love saga of Isra and Shahzaib.

ii – Most of the episodes take place at wedding (or similar) ceremonies so the atmosphere was well designed and constructed for the scenario. Due to budgetary reasons, most dramas have minimal wedding set designs which end up looking cheap and unrealistic but Ishq Hai really went all out with the wedding setup. 

 + Low Points

i – By episode 3 and 4, it is obvious that Ishq Hai caters to an audience who love exaggerated melodrama in their shows with minimal plot and storyline. In that respect, I can understand why people would be eager to watch this show every week. But as a reviewer, it is my job to criticize the show based on all the merits that the show possesses and unfortunately, Ishq Hai fails pretty much in all departments. Let’s start with the unrealistic setups. The epic confrontations between two families have already occurred in episode 3 and 4, in front of hundreds of guests who inadvertently became part of this situation. Even if Shahzaib forced the situation onto his parents, any self respecting family would’ve tried to at least steer the conversation in close doors but where’s the fun in that? Pretty much every major character got their dramatic dialogue delivery in order to address the obvious situation. The conflict of the show seems so forced and ludicrous. For the guests in the background, they all seemed unphased by the whole situation (as if this is a daily occurrence in the world of Ishq Hai). I have to admit, I had to chuckle a couple of times throughout these scenes as they were mostly so unapologetically dramatic and in turn, hilarious!

ii – The acting (while not terrible) is subpar by pretty much everyone in the cast. They all just commit to the bare minimum that the director Aabis Raza requires of them. It’s also a bit disheartening to see Saba Faisal, who just came off from a strong performance in Raqeeb Se (where she really got to flex her acting chops) is now back to spineless shows like this one.

iii –Ye Ishq Hai! Ye Ishq Hai!” . The chorus of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s OST will be hammering you every living second of the show. The show itself has no faith in its product so they use slow motions, close ups and over lingering Soundtrack to overcompensate. These techniques make me take the dramatic elements of the show even less seriously.

iv – The show fails in its dramatic scenes having an impact with its audience because every scene in these episodes are treated as a “vital” scene to the show with overbearing music and epic slow motions of the reactions from the cast. If every scene is treated as such within 90 minutes of the show’s time then it very quickly loses its impact on its audience. I became desensitized pretty quickly after the first one since that’s the only trick in the book the show can unfortunately throw at me to grab my attention. Ishq Hai desperately NEEDS better pacing out its exposition and dramatic scenes. Not every scene should be treated as the finale of Lord Of The Rings Trilogy.

v – For some ludicrous reason, the show decides to heavily focus on Nimra’s reactions when Shahzaib confronts his parents with Isra. Why??? The audience has hardly spent any time with her, why all of the sudden, is she the center of attention? 

vi – Sadly, none of the characters are interesting enough for the audience to care for. They are literally two dimensional cutouts of themselves whose sole purpose is to spout ridiculous (and hilarious) dramatic dialogues. The writer Rehana Aftab has done a terrible job in representing any of her characters with some sort of relatability. 

vii – Way too many scenes where our main protagonists are just pondering while the Soundtrack blares over his or her head. I wonder how they get any of their work done if that’s what they spend half of their day accomplishing.

+ Overall

Oversimplistic, over the top, cheesy plotline with comical in all the wrong places, Ishq Hai fails to be anything special from every aspect of storytelling.

 Rate: 0.75 out of 5 stars

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

TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Daam (2010)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Daam (2010). The 18 episodes limited TV series is directed by Mehreen Jabbar and is a production of 7th Sky Entertainment. Daam is an ARY DIGITAL Production.

+ Crew

  • Directed by Mehreen Jabbar
  • Written by Umera Ahmed
  • Edited by Mehreen Jabbar
  • DOP by Asad Malik
  • Music Composed by Ustaaz
  • Opening Theme song “Daam Tha” by Zeb Bangash and Haniya Aslam
  • Produced by Humayun Saeed and Abdullah Kadwani

+ Note

Daam is a “coming of age” tale of young Karachities who dream big and stars soon to be famous actors like Sanaam Baloch, Aamina Sheikh and Adeel Hussain. This show  is the brainchild of the famous Urdu novelist Umera Ahmed who has been credited to writing more than 30 books in her career, most notably ‘Peer-e-Kamil’ and ‘Meri Zaat Zara-e-Benishan’. Most of the TV series has been shot in the city of Karachi and is filmed on real locations. When first premiered, Daam became an instant rating sensation for ARY Digital and in 2015, made its premiere in India on Zindagi TV.

Daam indulges in social themes like friendship, betrayal and of course, the price of Happiness. 

 + Main Cast

  1. Sanam Baloch as Zara
  2. Aamina Sheikh as Maleeha
  3. Adeel Hussain as Junaid
  4. Nimra Bucha as Aasma
  5. Sanam Saeed as Fiza
  6. Pari Hashmi as Mano
  7. Muhammad Yasir as Jamaal (Zara’s brother)
  8. Lubna Aslam as Amna (Zara’s mother)
  9. Shahid Naqvi as Hidayatullah (Zara’s father)

 + Supporting Cast

  1. Faisal Shah as Yasir
  2.  Muhammad Ahmed as Sami (Maleeha’s father)
  3. Parveen Malik as Maleeha’s mother
  4. Behroze Sabzwari as Haji Saab
  5. Atif Badar as Ghulam Ali (The Shopkeeper)
  6. Farah Nadir as Mumani
  7. Ahmed Zeb as Jibran

+ Plot

Daam is the story of a group of young adults, living in the city of Karachi who (regardless of their social classes) have a strong bond of friendship that binds them together through thick and thin of Pakistani societal hardships. This all changes when Maleeha (from a financially well off family) finds out that her best friend Zara (from a lower middle class family) is in love with Maleeha’s brother Junaid and are engaged to be married. 

Can relationships be bought and sold in the market of Life? Daam is the story of the price that Maleeha has to pay to her best friend in order to stop the marriage and retain the status quo of social norm of Life.

+ High Points

i – The success story of Daam has to be credited to the brilliant talented team behind it. Mehreen Jabaar’s impeccable direction throughout the series brought the hardships of Life out on the forefront. Jabbar is excellent when it comes to directing a large cast of actors and Daam was no exception. Her talents are best utilized when she is given free reign to make her actors emote tension, excitement and sorrow and inturn, create exciting Television for her viewers. Although Jabbar has also indulged in Cinema, her strength has always been in Television and Daam is a prime example.

ii – The TV show entails incredible, highly convincing performances from its lead actors; Sanam Baloch, Aamina Sheikh and Adeel Hussain. Whenever they were together onscreen, it was evident with every dialogue and physical interaction, they were in fact, not mere actors but actual characters that they were portraying on screen. After the premiere of the show, all three went on with their own career success stories and Daam could very well be the pinnacle of where it all began for them. 

iii – But it’s not just the lead actors, the supporting cast of Daam was also a major contributing factor to the show’s success. The parents of each character led out love, anger and empathy in such a convincing manner that one cannot help but compare them to someone we know in our own lives! The intercracy of marriages and family life in a Pakistani society is extremely vital and Daam’s depiction was of incredible depth and delicacy that the story so richly deserved.

iv – Some say that behind each great performance, it is the writing that holds it all together and for Daam, it could very well be the case. Umera Ahmed’s brilliant writing was probably a major contributing factor for the TV show’s success. The elegance in her writing dialogues and set pieces makes you as a viewer utterly convinced by the sheer urgency and warmth behind each character and the emotions behind the facade. Regardless of male or female character, Umera’s writing is frightently convincing and sometimes, the simplicity and naturalness of her dialogue makes you forget that you are in fact watching a scripted TV show.

v– The pacing of the show from beginning to the end was superb. Each episode was crafted with such precision by Umera Ahmed that every single one of them can be seen solely on its own personal merit and still, the narrative of the show was simplistic to follow through.

vi– The set design, locations and costumes play such a key role in presenting the reality of societal hardships and Daam seamlessly shifted back and forth between the divide of rich and poor communities of Karachi. 

vii– The soundtrack ‘Daam tha’ by Zeb & Haniya for the show is fantastic with its slight Jazz influences and melodramatic traditional music that leaves you humming each time you are through with an episode!

viii– A lot of TV shows start off great but by the end, fizzle out and become a mere relic of how great they once were. Not this show. Daam was carefully planned, right from the getgo and the plot seamlessly flowed from the first episode till the last. The show ends on such a high note that will leave a lingering thought in your mind for weeks to come. And that for me, is a sign that Mehreen Jabbar and ARY Digital really made something special.

 + Low Points

i – While Daam is flawless in almost every way when it comes to narrative, plot development and characters, it does unfortunately lack in its technical execution; namely the sound mixing. Numerous times, it was evident that the collar mics got muffled in between characters hugging each other or the audio levels were extremely off; some scenes too loud, echoing can clearly be heard in some locations. Such a great show but tad bit disappointing that the audio team behind the show did not do a decent job that the show deserved.

ii – But the problem is sadly not only limited to Audio; the editing of the show was incredibly amateurish. The editing and pacing at times was out of sync with the flow of each particular set piece. For example, Telephone calls were edited one dialogue from each character at a time which makes the scene incredibly monotonous and boring to observe/ listen to. With each scene, the editor needs to decide where the emphasis of the scene should lie and cut accordingly. One to one editing has the tendency to make scenes much more tedious than they should be. Since Mehreen Jabbar credits herself to be the sole editor of the show, it can be safely concluded that while Jabbar is excellent in directing her actors, she is also unfortunately in love with every image she shoots with her Director of Photography. Perhaps the show would’ve benefited much more if an external Editor was hired to edit the show for a more polished look.

iii – There were numerous repetitions of the ‘city of Karachi’ scenes in between scenes. Within a single episode, the exact same main road scene was seen twice within a 15 min span. That’s unfortunately just lazy editing and momentarily takes the viewer out of the show.

iv – There were perhaps too many flashback scenes at times in the later episodes. It is obvious that the show wants to keep their new viewers up to date as to what is happening but the show would’ve benefited if they kept some flashback scenes out, especially when you saw that scene just in the last episode!

+ Overall

With excellent performances, superb direction and writing, Daam is one of the best modern dramas Pakistani television has ever produced. Even with its obvious technical flaws, the show speaks to its audience like no other. Daam is one for the ages.

 Rate: 4.25 out of 5 stars