Ishq Jalebi takes the cake amidst Ramadan specials

With Chupke Chupke and Tanaa Banaa in the race, Ishq Jalebi is a clear winner with its talented cast, relatable storyline, and humorous dialogues


By Farheen Abdullah

KARACHI: As Ramadan ended, so did the three dramas that were produced specially for the month. Each with a different storyline and a star studded cast, Ishq Jalebi, Chupke Chupke and Tanaa Banaa had audiences hooked to their screens. While many expected all three to conclude on the first day of Eid, only Ishq Jalebi aired its last episode on 16th May and honestly, viewers like us could not have been happier that the drama lasted a little longer than the other. Keep reading to find out why we think Ishq Jalebi takes the trophy this year.

It is more than a love story

As Ishq Jalebi went on air, the drama managed to tick all the right boxes when it came to cast, script and execution. Featuring Madiha Imam and Wahaj Ali in key roles, the drama does endorse cousin marriages, which is perhaps the only shortcoming I can think of. But the fact that marriage is not the only theme of the drama is what truly makes it a hit. Even love, in the drama, was not restricted between two romantic partners. In the form of Bela (Madiha Imam), we see the love for one’s elders, we see a love which is not selfish. In Basim (Wahaj Ali), we see a love which is stubborn but also respectful. Bauji (Qavi Khan) brings the purest form of love one can have for his children and grandchildren on screen.

It is relatable

The residents of Bela Manzil (since the house has been named after Bela) depict what it feels like to live in a joint family. Bauji has a complicated relationship with his sons who moved to the U.S. and are only interested in their aged father’s wealth. This is not a story unheard of in our part of the world, and many Pakistani parents must have been able to relate to Bauji. Moreover, Ishq Jalebi is the only drama out of the three which adjusts to the ‘new normal’. Coronavirus is very much a reality in the serial and watching characters wear masks and constantly sanitize themselves and their belongings is particularly relatable.

Each character has a personality

Another aspect which the writer, Saima Akram, has nailed is how each character has a personality of their own. Even in a house full of people, each character has a purpose and gets equal screen time. Wahaj Ali and Madiha Imam have done a commendable job with their roles and while they were two of the most important characters, none of the others got shadowed by them. Irsa Ghazal’s portrayal of Sajjo is hilarious, particularly her dialogue delivery in punjabi. Noor ul Hassan’s comic timing as Advocate Ashiq Hussain is particularly enjoyable, and so is the overall comedy of the drama. Hussain is also a ghar damaad but his character is in strike contrast with Miskeen from Chupke Chupke who met with criticism for the way he was treated by other characters.

Consent is an important concept

Certain comparisons between Ishq Jalebi and Chupke Chupke make it hard to believe that the same person wrote both of them. The latter showed Meenu (Ayeza Khan) and Faaz (Osman Khalid Butt) suddenly getting married to each other based on a decision made solely by their families. The fact that the two of them could not even tolerate each other played no role. Ishq Jalebi, however, constantly reinforces the concept of consent, specially when it comes to a girl. Bela is constantly asked by her uncle, Ashiq Hussain, if she was forced or emotionally blackmailed into saying yes to marrying her cousin, Vicky (Usama Khan). In fact, the engagement does not even happen the first time Bela rejects Vicky. Even in the last episode of Ishq Jalebi, Isha (Maryam Noor) makes it clear that she does not want to marry Basim (Wahaj Ali) and Vicky stands up against their families when the elders try to convince Isha otherwise. Basim, too does not take any decisions concerning his relationship with Bela without the latter’s approval. Even when he is desperate to tell their families the truth, Basim waits for Bela to be completely on board with the idea because he knows the the decision concerns her just as much as it concerns him.

Women have a voice

Along with Sajjo’s character, which is as loud as anyone can get, Ishq Jalebi gives its women a voice and the confidence to use it. Even though Bela (Madiha Imam) is selfless, she is not a damsel in distress. Bela loves Basim endlessly, but she is not hopelessly in love. She is not afraid to tell him when he is wrong, nor is she afraid to throw him out of her life when he no longer adds value to it. Basim is a stubborn lover but Bela’s love teaches him to look beyond himself. Unlike Zoya’s character from Tanaa Banaa which comes off as entitled instead of ambitious, Bela knows how to maintain a balance between her family’s needs and her personal wants, be it her relationship with Basim or her business.

 

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There is no room for violence

Though Ishq Jalebi is a comedy drama, it deals with numerous emotions: anger, love, heartbreak, regret. At no point, however, does it allow for any room for violence. Even though not every character gets along with everyone in the house, no one ever disrespects another. Again a strike contrast with Chupke Chupke where humour often came off quite raw, Ishq Jalebi never crosses the line between joking and hurting someone’s feelings. The former was also criticized when Faaz (Osman Khalid Butt) raises his hand to hit his wife or when he throws her out of the house but residents of Bela Manzil never even think of physically or emotionally abusing another character. The team truly deserves to be applauded for creating a drama which can teach its audiences what true entertainment is, instead of normalizing violence on screen, and leaves fans with smiles on their faces.

 

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