Okay. So. What makes Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon such a hit?
Let me break it down for you:
You tell me the storyline isn't new? Stoic rich guy with dark past meets happy-go-lucky middle class girl by some twist of fate and then, as luck would have it, from that point onwards their lives become irreversibly intertwined. Stoic rich guy and happy-go-luck middle class girl are clearly in love but don't want to be so hide it behind denial and hate. Further twists and misunderstanding and eventually they end up together. Blahdeblahblah right?
And here are the reasons why.
1- ARNAV SINGH RAIZADA
The shades of grey in Arnav's character play to the differing moralities of the audience. From the beginning his actions have sparked debate amongst viewers as to whether they can be excused BECAUSE of love or lambasted because he is SUPPOSED to be in love.
His character changes throughout the run of the series not only because of Khushi, but because of all of the changes her presence triggers in every aspect of his life. But the change isn't sudden or awkward- it's gradual and sweet and realistic- for him at least. The tenderness and love that he showed Khushi in the run-up to the wedding was miles from the cold ASR from Khushi's days in the office, and yet it took nearly 9 months of TV time to get there- I assume much longer in the Iss Pyaar realm. They shared moments both seemingly small and insignificant which wouldn't make it into any flashbacks, such as the time she told him he had dirt on his cheek, to climatic moments such as Diwali. We see Khushi chisel away at the stoney grey layer of Arnav's heart and eventually break through to the pool of kindness that lies beneath.
We see his attempts to keep his guard up and we know it's because of his past; we get angry at him and yet, often at the same time, our hearts break for him. We try to understand him and yet at the same time we know there's no way we can. We fret over whether what he needs is comfort and consolation or a good hard kick in the shins, a danda to the arse and a self-righteous lecture.
Arnav Singh Raizada as a character IS the fine line between love and hate. His actions ARE the line between what's right and wrong and it's left to the viewer's own personal discretion which side they come down on.
2-KHUSHI KUMARI GUPTA SINGH RAIZADA
Anybody who says they don't like her character is ridiculous. I mean, I don't like it when the writers make her DEVIATE FROM her character- i.e. what they did when they made her just take the abuse she was getting at the hands of her family post-wedding- but as the character I believe she actually is...
I really, really, really like her.
She's a decent, kind, happy, caring girl and if I'm completely honest, the kind of girl I hope my brothers end up marrying and bringing into the famalam in the future. She sees the good in everyone and, more than that, she manages to bring it out. She's forgiving and loyal and her character serves as the perfect complement to Arnav.
I absolutely love the small details of difference between Arnav and Khushi e.g. in yesterday's episode where they had Khushi running over the bed and Arnav casually walking around it. The way she threatened Arnav and stormed out but bumped into the door on her way. She's the kind of person who is rare in this world and the kind of person that weaves their way into your heart whether you like it or not.
She's a genuinely good person and when people innately pick up on this about someone, whether they're actively trying to destroy them or not- they like those people. She's naive and innocent and this makes the world-weary-and-wary character of Arnav feel so inexplicably drawn to her. She fills in the gaps in his heart that his past has torn away from him. She offers the alternative. She lets him be what his life had up to that point made him think he could not, lets him say what his "dimaag" wouldn't let him and she affects him despite his best efforts not to let her.
We not only like Khushi but we love what she brings out in Arnav.
We want to be the Khushi to an Arnav in the future- the complementary shaped substrate to our own personal active site (lolA-LevelBiologyJokeWhat?)... We want to see the innocence and kindness we see in Khushi in more people in this world and, more importantly, we want to see how she continues to change the love of her life.
3- THE RAIZADAS
It's rare that we come to love a family as much as we do the Raizadas. They'e one of those rare stupendously rich families who remain down to earth and loyal and loving as opposed to the ridiculous snobbery shown in some other shows by rich families (Shyam and Manorama being the obvious exceptions- but I'm going to go ahead and say it, despite her snobbery, Manorama's still an incredibly loyal member of the family. She is the reason Arnav was able to rise to where he is today and in a way, by being so anti-Payal, she THINKS she's protecting them. As for Shyam... sorry guys. Even I can't think of anything to excuse his behaviour. I guess what I mean is I love the family who are Raizadas by blood not marriage). They're understanding and, for the most part, kind and loyal characters who have secrets which are going to come to the front in the future. As an audience, we enjoy knowing that the characters are so 3D, with hidden depth for us to anticipate in the future. As one of you so beautifully put it- nobody is unnecessary from Anjali to the multitude of ---Prakashes.
I don't just mean the major or key moments where the song actually plays and I also don't mean the fake love Arnav's showing Khushi now...
I mean things like when she pricks herself on her necklace and Arnav jumps up to see what's wrong. I mean the real Rabba Ve moment within the fake Kheer moment where Khushi chokes and Arnav rushes to give her water. I mean all those moments where Sanka Devi reared her head and Arnav's "Tum thik ho? You sure?" fell out of his mouth. I mean every moment where they're together and interacting in a way that brings them closer together. Whether they're fighting or smiling or hugging or talking...
The moments are so real and so innocent on both their behalfs that we root for them and hope for them and our hearts beat with theirs. We want their love to succeed, and if I'm completely honest, we WANT the kind of love they have- the deep and real love that lies beneath all the anger and "hate" they express on the surface- for ourselves.
It's a rare phenomenon in the recent drama world.
We may not quite understand the architecture but we understand its significance in the lives of Arnav and Khushi. It's their place. Everything happens here.
My favourite poolside scene wasn't Diwali. It wasn't their kisses. It wasn't their post-marriage "I HATE YOU!" fight.
It was the episode where Arnav is looking up at the night sky and Khushi comes up beside him... and they talk about their parents. My all time favourite line from Arnav to Khushi is when he asks her if she thinks his mum would be proud of what he has become... He asks her something so meaningful and so powerful and so simple- almost childlike- that it stands out to me even now. The fact that he asked her this is what made me truly believe their love was real and it was this moment that made me fall in love with the show.
It was the memory of this moment which made my heart actually ache for Arnav when, in the very next episode, he was completely blindsided by the information that Khushi- HIS Khushi- is engaged...
6-THE CREATIVE TEAM
I know, I know. We don't always agree with the writing. Sometimes the characters will do or say something we don't want them to do or that we personally think they WOULDN'T do. But here's the thing- the writers are so, so clever.
Tiny, tiny details that nobody would ordinarily notice eventually tie together to culminate in a big, dramatic reveal (much like Arnav and Khushi's love, actually). We analyse every scene, every meagre scrap of a clue they throw us because that's just it- it probably IS A CLUE. Things so subtly interweaved throughout the story that there's no end to the conclusions it could possibly lead to.
The writers and director, musical score composers (seriously. I LOVE the original scores- like the one playing when Khushi was at the temple) and costume designers (they remain unfailingly faithful to Khushi's pompoms and Arnav's waistcoat) and set designers (please please explain W*F the pool is doing to us one day) have woven together a show so rich in character, mystery, love, life and laughter that it draws us back again and again JUST SO WE CAN SEE IF WE WERE RIGHT.
They also don't do bull just for the sake of it. They surprise us instead... How easy it would have been to make Lavanya an antagonist when she found out Arnav's feelings for Khushi, or even just to have her fight... But no. They allowed her to leave with dignity and honour, her adorable friendship with "Chamkili" intact and allowing her to give the kick up the arse Arnav needed to move towards realising his feelings for Khushi. She also left another clue which we only realised later- she said she wouldn't be able to come to Khushi's wedding. Well... I think we all know THAT was true.
There are just so many layers and the writing is so rich and vibrant that we're completely swept away with the moment, whether that moment be laugh-out-loud funny, heartwarmingly sweet or simply heartbreaking.
Analysing and sharing our analysis brings people together from all over the world as we try to put our minds together to try and figure it all out together. Anything that brings people together in this way is sure to be a hit.
It pains me to put this under one category as I honestly could do a whole five or six paragraphs each on Barun and Sanaya alone. But I won't because everybody already knows that without them, this show would be nothing.
Barun's expressions are at first hard to read, but then you watch a few episodes and you realise JUST how much he is capable of emoting with the slightest movement of his eyes or tiniest quirk of his eyebrows. Expressions flash across his face in rapid succession so you feel Arnav's pain or happiness or whatever he is truly feeling before ASR's mask can cover it.
Sanaya, I think, is naturally a bit like Khushi. Bubbly and fun and easy going- maybe not as religious or traditional- but she seems to be the same breath of fresh air, blowing through and brightening everyone's day. Her smallest actions and her inner strength and confidence translate perfectly over to the character of Khushi. Even her voice emotes Khushi- as we all realised only too clearly during those horrific voiceover scenes. Everybody knows (and freely admits) that those lines should have been said by Sanaya. Sanaya's voice would have broken in the right place and hurt our hearts as much as they hurt Arnav's.
As for everybody else- I cannot fault their acting. I have never, EVER hated a character as much as I hate Abhaas Mehta's Shyaam and Daljeet plays the part of Anjali perfectly. I am, however, most impressed with Akshay who appears to be a funny, loud, outgoing kind of guy who plays the most useless, dull character possible. Hats off to him for being able to perfectly conceal his entire personality behind "AKASHJI, PAYALJI, Akashji, Payalji. AKASHji... PAYALji".
Sweeping statement for everyone else of BRILLIANT YESYES. Even the side characters- Sana Khan's Lavanya, Karan Goddwani's NK, make us fall in love with their characters and genuinely feel bad when they leave... to the point that fan love has resulted in Karan's stay being extended!
While making VMs, I have come to realise that actually... some of the funniest or most touching moments in Iss Pyaar occur when Arnav and Khushi aren't actually speaking. Like when Arnav ate the spicy daahl to spite Khushi, paused when he realised it was so spicy and then ATE THE WHOLE THING IN ABOUT FIVE SECONDS FLAT while looking her dead in the eye- I laughed so much I was nearly in tears. Or, you know- DIWALI KISS-MISS.
Yes, on the surface, the plot seems like a mish-mash of every successful series from the past five or six years- office romance, rich modern stoic guy meets poor traditional bubbly girl, they change each other, intertwined family history, bad guy trying to get between them...
What makes Iss Pyaar different is the finer details, the small moments thrown in there for us to enjoy each individual day. It really is the sum of its parts which makes it so fantastic. We enjoy every individual day but know that ultimately, it's leading to the next big thing which has the potential to completely alter the direction the story seems to be taking.
We never get bored. We can get frustrated with what's happening and hate what the characters are doing... but ultimately, we WILL tune in the next day because we know- we KNOW- that anything could happen and that the next episode could be the game changer.
9-THE REAL STORY HASN'T EVEN STARTED
What people often forget is that... Arnav and Khushi's prem kahani is actually just a fraction of what Iss Pyaar is actually heading towards. The REAL drama is going to come when the two delve into their pasts- when Khushi tries to get Arnav to talk about it and truly come out of his shell (imo I think maybe they'll go to Luckhnow for their honeymoon when the current MU is all dealt with, because, you know, the Raizadas are SO traditional that even though they have enough money for a round the world trip, Arnav and Khushi will OBVIOUSLY go back to their roots and stay the heck in India for their honeymoon).
"Khushi is responsible for all the pain in Arnav's past. Arnav is responsible for all the problems in Khushi's present."
That was one of the original promos.
THIS is the real story. Arnav's past. How Khushi fits into it. What really happened...
Iss Pyaar has actually got us so invested in the main characters' love story that we have almost completely forgotten about the HUGE mystery that is constantly lingering like a dark cloud in the background. The mystery that could answer once and for all whether Arnav's behaviour is justified and what I assume could be an even bigger challenge for ArShi than this whole Shyam fandango.
But who knows, this is Iss Pyaar- maybe they'll surprise us again by having Arnav actually use his brains to realise there's no way he can hold somebody who was 8 years old at the time responsible for the death of his parents.
I just spent an hour of my life writing this. I spend many more hours making VMs of ArShi every week. I spend half an hour every day WATCHING the thing. I have recently started a series on Youtube where I'm doing a voiceover for key ArShi scenes/ my favourite ArShi scenes.
And that's just me.
Just look at this forum.
All the talent, all the opinions, all the wit, all the emotion, all the humour, all the sadness, all the debate...
All the fans.
All the love.
Sanaya and Barun both said that their success is down to their fans.
They're right (okay notgonnalie, Barun also has his parents' genes to thank for that BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL FACE).
Without us fans being so invested and interested... despite all of the stuff above, they would have nothing.
So what's so good about Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?
Well... my question to you is what ISN'T?
p.s. You may be wondering why I have gone through and Liked everybody's responses. Well, having just read through this post to edit out any typos, I realised just how long you guys spent reading it and I wanted to thank you for your time. I don't know if a Like on this forum counts like an Upvote on Reddit... but for all you lovely, lovely people- I hope so.
Edited by arisai - 9 years ago