Iss Pyar Ko Kya Naam Doon –Ek Baar Phir might have a recycled name but there is nothing recycled about the story. Like others, I tuned to Star Plus without much expectations last week to catch up with the first episode of IPKKND2. The promos had not been very promising. Shlok Agnihotri was shown as a male chauvinistic pig and Astha, another “innocent-bordering –over-foolishness” female lead. Honestly I expected nothing more than a pair trying in vain to recreate the ASR-Khushi conflict-cum-romance . The prospects of succeeding were dim.Turns out I was wrong. The story of Shlok and Astha is refreshingly original and these two characters do not even pretend to try to emulate their predecessors when it comes to either love or hate.
Shlok Agnihotri , played by Avinash Sachdev, is a surprisingly, vulnerable hero. Unlike ASR, who had trouble expressing his feelings, Shlok seems to wear his heart on his sleeve. His tenderness comes out beautifully in all scenes with his father . His discomfort and contempt towards his mother which is as strong as the love for his father, is equally obvious. Not only that, right from the start,Astha affects him strongly: He is not the aloof hero who looks at the heroine as nothing but a minor irritant, his disconcert when she is around is quite strong. His hatred seems to affect him at a deeper level. In this way the distinction from ASR is largely visible who was mostly indifferent and insensitive to Khushi for quite some time in IPKKND.
Aastha, again, is refreshingly ordinary. She is not a beautiful damsel perpetually in distress. A normal next door girl , she is just busy living her life, with some peppiness thrown in. Her family is not particularly poor (Though poorer than the hero ofcourse!), and the parents don’t carry themselves with a perpetual pitiable expression, weighed down by the fact that they have a daughter at home, who is such a liability.
While Khushi was a character who was not a natural rebel: She tried to sacrifice her interests till the last moment ( agreeing to marry Shyam etc..), cried buckets, bit her lip when insulted, and talked back only in exceptional circumstances, Astha is totally different. She is not intimidated by Shlok and says a straight no to his father’s proposal of marriage to his son. She does not act apologetic about it. When faced with verbal insults by Shlok’s mother, she gives it back, without one moment’s hesitation. After quite a while, a woman character on TV that is surprisingly real.
I would score the show high on some other parameters too. The negative character in the story, the mother – is not over the top. The mean aura and the unfriendly attitude is brilliantly played by this actress who neither needs bitchy dialogues nor exaggerated expressions to make you squirm in your place. Same goes for the sweet positive Ajji on Astha’s side: She provides humour to the plot without trying too hard. The intrigue has been very well established- something bad has happened in protagonist’s past to make him hate his mother and all women. The element of suspense makes it even better.
All in all IPKKND2 is surprisingly fresh and real even though it’s based on a hate-turning-love romance of the Mills&Boons genre, which in general is far from reality. In my opinion a little too much stress in given on Shlok hurting Astha physically in some way or other every time they meet. For the record, it is not at all necessary. The rushing of adrenaline can be induced by the mere intensity of eyes when in proximity.
Kudos on a brilliant start. Like all TV serials, it faces the challenge of maintaining the standard it has set for itself. But at the end we are left with the same question we started with: why the recycled name? When IPKKND-EBP is not at all like IPKKND, why could it not work with an original name? Marketing strategy of banking on the brand of IPPKND? While it’s true that like me, many viewers out there must have tuned into this series, because the similar name made them curious, it is also true that a refreshingly original story might face unnecessary opposition and hate from zealous fans of the original. For now we can just wait, watch and hope that the IPKKND fans pay some heed to Shakespeare (who famously wrote: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”), and give this one a fair chance.
Photo Credit: Star Plus