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