Is Aşk-ı Memnu, the next Humsafar?

The tale is twisted around not one but several love triangles and a number of characters, each pivotal to the show.

Farwa Aamer August 31, 2012
Remember the time when Hum TV’s show Humsafar became the talk of the town? Be it the song or the characters, the show got thousands hooked onto television screens with its twisted romance, plots, and of course, the indelible Fawad-Mahira chemistry.

As of late, however, there has been another TV show that has been gathering audiences in a similar manner. Surprisingly so, it’s not your everyday ‘saas-bahuStar Plus-type show, but from an altogether different culture and genre.

It is none other than newbie Urdu1’s Aşk-ı Memnu or Ishq-e-Memnu (forbidden love).


Set in the beautiful locales of Istanbul, the drama revolves around the lives of business tycoon Adnan Ziyagil, Bihter (Adnan’s beautiful young wife) and Adnan’s nephew, Behlul.

Adnan, a widower, lives with his two kids, Behlul, Mrs Denise (governess) and a few loyal servants. He decides to marry a much younger woman, Bihter, daughter of Mrs Firdevs, and that’s when it all begins.

The story is one of love, passion, heartbreak and deception.


The tale is twisted around a number of characters, each pivotal to the show. There is not one but several love triangles involved, where Mrs Denise loves Adnan, Adnan loves Bihter and Bihter loves Behlul, who on the other hand has a lot of women to cater to, including Adnan’s daughter Nihal.

Indeed it all sounds super complicated, but the show has managed to keep the curiosity of the viewers going - and going strong! However, the show has censored many of its intimate scenes, probably keeping the modesty of Pakistani television intact but subsequently, unfortunately, resulting in bad editing of the storyline. But if one considers that, doesn't the same audience watch Star World and HBO, too?

I must say that the chopping away of important scenes has robbed the show of some of its intensity.

Having said as much, Aşk-ı Memnu has provided Pakistan a much needed break from the usual faces and storylines. Despite being dubbed in Urdu, the best part is that the emotion in the tone and the conviction with which the dialogues have been delivered haven’t been compromised on and that makes it easier for the audience to relate to these characters.

Moreover, the very true to Turkey background is a breath of fresh air and it would not be unjust to believe that the show might just end up boosting Turkey's tourism further. In fact, I kind of know some people who are already planning a Turkish winter break.

Personally, I am a fan of the fashion sense of the female characters. There is a sense of grandeur in their clothing and accessories. Hats off to the ladies for carrying their gorgeous looks with such grace.

On a critical note, some voices are mismatched and the show seems to be dragging a bit with too much going on all at the same time. In addition to this, I fail to understand how Nihal falls for Behlul since they have been brought up almost as siblings ─ a tad awkward, don't you think?

Nevertheless, the genuineness with which the actors have performed their parts is commendable, be it the shrewd Mrs Firdevs or the humble Adnan, you do end up appreciating them all in their skin!

Initially, I thought the whole thing was a bit of a lame concept; I mean, why would you watch a dubbed show when you have the option of subtitles? But fortunately, for Urdu1, the way people have been reacting to the show is remarkable. It went on air in two seasons from 2008 to 2011 and took the Arab world of entertainment by storm.

This series plays as a sweet reminder of one of those Humsafar days, when everyone was concerned about the tragic love story of Khirad and Ashar. That should be quite a huge compliment for the show.

Aşk-ı Memnu might not quite be there yet, but with the speed Behlul and Bihter are racing to the hearts of the audiences, it sure has the potential to be the next Humsafar.

Read more by Farwa here or follow her on Twitter @faamer
Farwa Aamer A final year undergraduate at University College London studying BSc economics. A passionate writer, traveller and loves living life. She tweets @faamer (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Rabiya | 11 years ago | Reply In the last episode Beheeter is going to commit suicide according to her script and that is the climax of story. The Ziagill family leaves the place and moves to some other...and Nihaal asks Mademoiselle in the last scene to sit with his father to driver's seat............
Aakif Shahbaz | 11 years ago | Reply Most of the people were first attracted to the show because of no ads during the show on Urdu1. Secondly, bright faces, nice culture, and their way of talking to each other.The story was also really romantic and also dramatic. Once went to buy eggs when its 8 on the clock, loud sounds are waving out of almost every home.I am one of the biggest fans of this series.Thumbs up for Ishq-e-Memno.
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