Hania Aamir, Feroze Khan, Ramsha Khan and Gohar Rasheed’s painstaking romantic saga Ishqiya came to a close Monday night with a finale that left viewers torn. While some thought the ending was fitting, others were rooting for a happy ending for Rumi (Hania) and Hamza (Feroze). But alas that did not happen, even though Hamna (Ramsha) and Azeem (Gohar) got their happy ending. If you ask me, I’m just glad that no one died or lost their sanity.
To be honest, I really was not a big fan of Ishqiya given its ridiculous storyline and I made that pretty clear at several instances (Here and here). But given the nature of my job and the fact that the drama trended every week on YouTube (the last episode is trending at number two on YouTube Pakistan) and social media, I had no choice but to follow it and try to figure out what exactly made it a hit. After much thought and going through audience comments, I came to the conclusion that strong performances by the lead and supporting cast, Rumi (Hania) and Azeem’s (Gohar) characters and the chemistry between Hania and Feroze is what attracted audiences and made them tune in every Monday.
To sum up the plot in a few lines, Ishqiya was the story of two sisters Rumi and Hamna (Ramsha Khan) who have conservative, yet loving parents. Hamna is in a relationship with her class fellow Hamza but her father Siddiqui sahib (Shabbir Jan) gets her married to Azeem. Being an obedient daughter and a weak person, Hamna does not protest and goes ahead with her father’s wishes. This is when the problem begins. Hamza is heartbroken over Hamna’s marriage and thinks she betrayed him so he sets out to seek revenge from her by marrying her sister so he can be close to her and mentally torture her. In the process, he ends up falling for his wife but as they say, you reap what you sow. Pretty convoluted if you ask me.
While the actors did complete justice to their roles and delivered above-average performances – Hania was great as the bubbly, chirpy Rumi, while Ramsha fit perfectly as the sober and introverted Hamna; Gohar was wonderful as the soft-spoken Azeem and as for Feroze, he seems to have perfected the role of the ‘bad boy’ – they were let down by a weak script, bizarre plot and poorly written characters. The drama relied heavily on flashbacks, greatly testing our patience because while the present featured someone crying, the flashback saw the person crying even more. Basically, there is lots of crying in the drama, except a few moments of comic relief by Hania. Gohar and Hamna became monotonous in a few episodes because they maintained the same expressions. But then again that was more of the script’s fault than their own.
Similarly, Hania and Feroze’s chemistry was crackling and straight out of a Mills and Boons novel but again it was neither explored nor developed properly. The two complimented each other well and were one of the highlights of the drama.
Badar Mehmood has given us many memorable dramas including Cheekh and Balaa and I’m still trying to figure out why he opted for a project like this. But given the drama’s success, I’m scared that our directors and producers will continue to churn out such senseless and nonsensical stories. Written by Mohsin Ali Shah, Ishqiya was produced by Fahad Mustafa and Dr Ali Kazmi under their production house Big Bang Entertainment.