What Is the Story About?
Voot Select’s new original series ‘Aadha Ishq’ is centred on a madly-in-love couple, Sahir (Gaurav Arora) and Roma (Aamna Sharif), and the complex intricacies of forbidden love. Roma is in a loveless marriage with Milind (Kunaal Roy Kapur), a misogynistic man who engineers the break-up of the love-lorn couple. Ten years later, Sahir is back in Roma’s life, seeking revenge for her betrayal all those years ago. New complications arise when Roma’s headstrong, newly-adult daughter, Rene (Pratibha Ranta) falls in love with her mother’s former lover, who’s now her art professor at school.
Aadha Ishq is written by Jaya Misra, and directed by Nandita Mehra.
Aamna Sharif looks like a dream throughout. She makes the best of a poorly-written role, putting in the effort required to make it convincing. Gaurav Arora essays his part with skill, but again, the unconvincing characterisation doesn’t let him make too much of an impression. Pratibha Ranta plays her insidious role well.
Kunaal Roy Kapur is grossly miscast as the mean-spirited, misogynistic Milind. And the worst part is that Roy Kapur knows it too; which is why there’s not an iota of credence in his performance. Suchitra Pillai and Darsheel Safary are wasted in inconsequential roles. They could just have been written out of the script, with nothing lost whatsoever. Ditto for Pooja Bhamrrah.
Aadha Ishq is easily one of the worst pieces of content to come out of the assembly-line production that is the Indian OTT space these days. It is so slow, boring and depressing that you’ll be left feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck at the end of the nine, 30-minute episodes.
The makers have cleverly stuffed the series with worthwhile names – Aamna Sharif, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Suchitra Pillai Darsheel Safary; and Gulzar Saab’s poetry, written especially for Aadha Ishq. But get into the thick of things, and you realise it’s all a sham to lure you into watching the below-par content, passing off as a story of gravitas and forbidden love.
The storyline of Aadha Ishq constantly oscillates between the past and present – 2010, 2012 and current times in 2022. The irritating thing is that the primary characters look just the same in every time span, making it a wee bit difficult to understand what’s happening when. Keeping up with the constant back and forth between the past and present becomes too exhausting after some time, making one simply zone out for short stretches of time.
Every character in Aadha Ishq is written so badly that your fingers itch to slap each one of them. Roma is utterly spineless and a blot on today’s exalted concepts of women’s empowerment, and a woman’s right to exercise her choice. Sahir is in a state of perpetual angst and simmering anger. It gets tedious to watch him mouth repetitive dialogues after every five minutes. Milind’s character is the most poorly conceived of the lot. The writer and director cannot decide whether to make him mean or mild; selfish or sensitive; misogynistic or misdirected.
Rene’s character takes the cake in riling one up. She gets on the nerves so bad that you want to throw something at her. She’s the perfect example of “spare the rod and spoil the child”. Rene needs a couple of well-timed thumps on the head, and harsh plain-speak to knock some sense into her. It’s one of the worst characters to grace any kind of content in recent times.
Silly subplots add their noxious factor to drag down a story that’s already deadly dull. Marital rape, an unwanted pregnancy, a miscarriage, teenaged crushes, the mandatory gay friend, all serve to make the narrative as messy as it can be. The ending of the series is the final straw. It is lousy, rushed and disappointing. What’s more, the ending makes it clear that the makers are angling for a Season 2. Remains to be seen if it will pass muster.
Music and Other Departments?
The music and camerawork of Aadha Ishq compensate somewhat for the crummy storytelling. Sunita Radia’s camera romances the breathtaking beauty of Kashmir and Mussoorie with exquisite skill. Radia has captured the beauty of Kashmir lovingly on camera, which helps dispel the tedium of the narrative somewhat. The editing is efficient.
Weak story and screenplay
Tediously slow pace
Too many subplots adding to the mess
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Not at all
Aadha Ishq Web Series Review by Binged Bureau