Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon 3 is back: Can Barun Sobti revive the original's success formula?
1. Winsome boy meets winsome girl.
2. Winsome girl breaks winsome boy's heart.
3. Winsome boy transforms into bitter, arrogant man.
4. Bitter, arrogant man returns to possibly wreak vengeance on still winsome woman.
Another winsome woman enters bitter man's life.
5. Power of winsome woman's love transforms bitter, arrogant man back into even more winsome man.
That's pretty much been the stock formula of about half of all the Mills and Boons novels ever written. And also the Star Plus TV series that goes under the title of Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon. It was the basic plot of the original show — starring Barun Sobti and Sanaya Irani; it formed the storyline of the second season, featuring Avinash Sachdev and Shrenu Parikh.
And now, that same narrative is back for the much-anticipated Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon 3.
Barun Sobti, for whom a million (mostly female) fan hearts beat as one, makes his reappearance in this show — this time with Shivani Tomar as his co-star.
Along with his I'm-so-grumpy-it's-hot persona from the original IPKKND, he's also brought back his onscreen name (or nearly): From Arnav Singh Raizada, he's now Advay Singh Raizada.
While his battle-axe personality is more of the same, his outward styling is all new — not for Advay the dapper business-suits Arnav preferred. Instead, he gets to sport a more grungy look — vests and open shirts, sunglasses, and a guitar he wears slung across his back like some talisman.
He takes it off only for important occasions, such as saving a puppy from drowning in a pool (after which he says to the wet puppy, how he's immune to lovable, adorable beings such as itself — the canine we mean) and preventing a Shiva idol from tipping over.
Much of episode two of IPKKND3 was devoted to this idol being righted.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
First, episode one, which aired on 3 July 2017.
Advay Singh Raizada could well be a Mad Max-like post-Apocalyptic warrior, roaming the barren world and spouting out bitter one-liners. He's just far less grizzly, and a lot cleaner than Max and his ilk. Oh, and just so we get the point, there's repeated imagery of Advay juxtaposed against Lord Shiva, while he's surrounded by little children, also dressed as Shiva.
We see him making his way to some small town which we're informed is in the vicinity of Allahabad, but to us seems like some mythical place altogether where people wear super-colourful clothes, gossip, pray and wait around for a temple door to open once every 16 years.
What lies beyond the temple walls is a treasure — a treasure the highly respected head priest's family needs to save their sinking fortunes and prospects.
Not that you'd know their fortunes were sinking by just looking at them — the matriarch of the family at least, has a penchant for statement jewellery which would feel right at home on a character in a Baahubali-style epic. The father (the priest) seems to be suffering from memory loss, or at least some kind of catatonia, that isn't widely known to all. There also a couple of aunts, who spend their time plotting against the family, and the husband of one of them, who uses force to carry out his evil plans.
Then there's the leading lady (Shivani Tomar), the daughter of the head priest, who's called Chandni. Having stepped right out of a Sanjay Leela Bhansali dream, Chandni veers between wistful remembrances of a boy called Dev, shaking off nightmarish memories of being kidnapped by some unnamed man, and doing the best she can for her family. All this, while ensuing the ornate chandelier in her home is positioned exactly 12 feet above the floor. She also hasn't left her home in nearly a year because of the trauma in her past — though the once-in-16-years maha aarti is what will finally push her to venture beyond the doorstep.
That was it for episode one.
Episode two aired on the night of 4 July 2017.
Here's what transpired:
Advay Singh Raizada appears at the small town near Allahabad.
By the temple, he sees the massive Shiva statue toppling over. He grabs a rope and attempts to right it.
But what have we here? His foothold crumbles under the strain, when lo and behold, another young man — with long shiny hair — grips his Advay's shoe and holds it in place as the latter continues to pull at the rope.
Advay performs some quick calculations his head (we know this because equations written in chalk appear in the air by the Shiva statue) and figures out the trajectory of the rope, the forces that is required to be exerted and the angle at which pressure must be applied in order to get the Shiva statue back and upright on its pedestal.
All this while the unnamed man with shiny hair gazes in loving and bemused fashion at Advay's face. So much so that for a moment, you wonder if the real romance in this show is going to be betwixt these two.
Anyway, the evil uncle we met in episode one isn't happy about this outsider (Advay) taking centrestage at his family's big moment. he orders his goons to attack him but Advay (even as he does complex mathematical calculations in his head and strains at the rope with the other) delivers swift kicks and punches that have the bad men flying several feet back in the air.
The goons dealt with, the Shiva statue is righted, and on cue, Chandni makes an appearance.
We see Advay looking broodingly on at her and thinking unpleasant thoughts while she prays at the statue of Shiva.
While he makes his plans for vengeance, she also sends out a message of support for the transgender community.
Then she prepares for the maha aarti.
When episode three airs on the night of 5 July, we'll see: Advay setting Chandni's dupatta on fire, Advay dousing the fire he set on Chandni's dupatta, and more.
IPKKND 3 airs from Monday-Friday at 8 pm on Star Plus. You can also watch the episodes here on Hotstar.