Shajar-i-Mamnu | Urdu1, Mon-Fri 9.00pm

The Turks know how to create sizzling romance. Zainab (Sevda Erginci), dressed as a ravishing bride, escapes her wedding with Dundar (Erdem Kaynarca), and hails a cab for the airport to stop Alihan (Onur Tuna) from flying off to New York. Shot from different angles at a busy airport, the scene in episode no. 135 is worth YouTubing at least once. After relentless intrigue and Aliya’s (Sevval Sam) evil antics to keep them apart, Alihan and Zainab have reunited, shocking Aliya, who is already disturbed with the return of Kaya Ecinci (Baris Kilic), the new CEO of Argun Holdings with whom Aliya had an affair in the past and also a son whom Kaya didn’t know about for the longest time. But now we have three antagonists, Aliya, Zainab’s father Mustafa (Haktan Pak) and Dundar, who kidnaps Zainab for a forced marriage. Just when Zainab and Alihan feel the worst is over for them, Aliya teams up with Mustafa. Five days a week is not enough for this Turkish delight.

Phaans | Hum TV, Wed-Thurs 8.00pm

There are lapses and weaknesses in the story but Zara Noor Abbas churns out a great performance as Zeba, a rape survivor. Commendably, the play focuses on the perpetrator instead of the victim. Finally, after a long wait, with an interesting twist in Samina Ijaz’s whodunnit, the weird Sahil (Shahzad Sheikh) emerges as the rapist behind the facade of what is supposedly a personality disorder, and the silly faces that Shahzad Sheikh’s acting skills deliver. Tackling sensitive issues such as rape is not easy, and Syed Ahmed Kamran’s direction falters once again when, in the rape flashback, Hashim (Zain Afzal) is shown standing and gasping in a corner of what looked like a dirty, desolate dungeon, while his cousin and then fiancee Zeba was first in a scuffle with Sahil and then is dragged off by him for the purpose of rape. Who would stand frozen and watch rape? Does a human being such as Hashim even exist? And what kind of a precedent does it set?

What To Watch Out For Ishq Hai | ARY, Tuesdays 8.00-10.00pm

Starring opposite the gorgeous Minal Khan (Isra) is Danish Taimoor (Shahzaib) sans moustache, with longish wavy hair and pecs to match Tiger Shroff’s. Sadly, the role kicks off with what he just did in Mehrposh, an angry man who can’t marry the woman he loves. Only this time, he does intensive gym training when he is angry, and doesn’t mope around. Isra and Shahzaib are in love, but their families have other plans for them. Without their consent, weddings dates are fixed, leaving them in despair. In IH, director Aabis Raza captures the vibe of his recent success Jalan with another full-blooded role for Minal Khan, appealing visuals and fresh outdoor scenes. Hoping that IH will not follow the existing trend of love stories in our dramas, where two people sport great chemistry in the first couple of episodes after which they are torn apart and, for the next 20-something episodes they weep in their own homes, or tell lies in different relationships.

Published in Dawn, ICON, June 27th, 2021

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