Netflix’s Indian anthology series ‘Feels Like Ishq’ (“Ishq” translates to love) brings together 6 standalone stories of modern-day love and its intricacies. Episode 5, titled ‘Interview,’ follows Shahana and Rajeev, who find themselves applying for the same job at a large electronics store. Amidst the cold glow of giant televisions and discount signs, a surprisingly intricate dynamic between the two emerges. The heartwarming ending mixes in just the right amount of mystery to keep one ruminating about the story much after the credits have rolled. If you find yourself trying to untangle the finer points of ‘Feels Like Ishq’ episode 5, we’re here with the answers. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Feels Like Ishq: Interview Recap
The episode opens at a busy electronics store, where Shahana walks in for a prospective job interview. Her demeanor is of someone who knows the ropes and is quite at odds with Rajeev’s, who has the interview slot before hers. She distinctly notices him fidgeting with his wristwatch while she calmly plays games on her phone as they wait to be called in. After a few pointed comments by her, Rajeev is convinced that he could pick up some useful tips that might help him in the interview, and the two find themselves talking to each other over a cup of tea while they wait to be summoned.
We then find out that Rajeev is from a small town in Kerala and, despite being a confident young man in his hometown, feels at odds with the big city he lives in now. His nervousness is exacerbated by the fact that he still hasn’t secured a job despite multiple interviews, which he partly blames on his poor language skills. Shahana tells him that the key is confidence and that to be successful in Mumbai, one has to “work hard and be ready.”
As a practice run, she takes him around the electronics store to talk to the salespeople, pretending to be customers. The two get lost in the visuals of a large television screen, and Shahana begins to reminisce about her past, where we see her taunting her fiance for not being ambitious enough. She’s brought out of her daydream by Rajeev, and the two rush off to their interview.
Feels Like Ishq: Interview Ending: Who is Ahmed?
Rajeev is interviewed before Shahana and uses many of the tips she gave him to successfully procure the job. Meanwhile, Shahana gets a rejection call from another prospective employer and decides not to go in for the interview after Rajeev, essentially ensuring that he gets the job instead of her. In the closing scenes of the episode, she catches up on the street to an elated Rajeev, who thinks that she also got the job and that they might just become colleagues in the near future. Their young friendship begins to evolve as they exchange numbers, and just before parting, Shahana tells him that it’s been ten months since her fiance disappeared.
The fiance Shahana refers to is Ahmed. During her daydream in front of the television, we see her family hosting him and his mother at their house, most likely visiting to talk about the future of their relationship. Soon after, we see Shahana berating Ahmed for lacking ambition and being cowardly, to which he cannot find a suitable reply. A subsequent flashback tells us that Ahmed disappeared but that his body was never recovered, hinting that he most likely ran away. Shahana can’t help but see flashes of Ahmed in the nervous Rajeev, most significantly in the way that he fidgets with his wristwatch. Near the end of the episode, as Rajeev walks out confidently from the interview, she pictures Ahmed doing the same, emphasizing the perceived (and wishful) parallels between the two men.
Does Rajeev Know Ahmed?
There is a strangely surreal scene in the middle of the episode where Rajeev, despite Shahana’s guarded (and possibly made-up) story about her “friend,” asks her if she’s referring to Ahmed. However, there is no demonstrated reason that highlights if Rajeev would know of Ahmed. Combined with the fact the Rajeev also incessantly fidgets with his wristwatch when nervous, there seems to be a strange connection between the men, which Shahana obviously sees.
It is, in fact, the wristwatch-fidgeting that she first notices about Rajeev, which is what likely sparks the memory of her lost fiance. During the highly emotional flashbacks, as she reminisces about Ahmed whilst sitting in front of the television at the store, it is likely that she unknowingly mentions his name. Rajeev seems to be more perceptive than he looks and doesn’t let on that he has heard the name until he casually slips it into a question, leaving Shahana speechless. Therefore, he does not know Ahmed but realizes that he is someone important to her, and later, upon asking, finds out that he has been missing for ten months.
Why Does Shahana Help Rajeev?
Shahana is ambitious and, ever since high school, where she got exceedingly good grades, is in the habit of being successful. This makes her actions all the more confusing as she purposely doesn’t answer her interview call, ensuring that Rajeev gets the job over her. This, once again, can likely be explained by her past with Ahmed. In the end, Shahana gets to see Rajeev as the Ahmed she hoped for — striding confidently, employment in hand.
However, the deeper reason for her helping him most likely stems from regret. Whilst talking to Rajeev and realizing how, despite being a “hero” in his hometown, he feels helpless and intimidated by the big city, she begins to understand what Ahmed might have gone through. She is further saddened as she recollects her harsh words and possibly regrets not helping him the same way she is now helping Rajeev.
In the end, her actions seem to be driven by a need for redemption because she seems genuinely happy about Rajeev getting the job. The story unfolds to show us how the wildly opposite personalities of Rajeev (who is laid back but lacks confidence) and Shahana (whose confidence makes her put too much pressure on herself) ultimately temper each other, making both of them better off for having met the other.