Jackson Heights ~ Episodes 3-6 Review


Is it just me or are there others out there still following Jackson Heights?

Yes, I know there are issues with a dragged narrative and repetitive scenes, but the blame for this lies squarely on the channels who demand a minimum number of episodes, warna serial nahin chalega. That said, at a time where there seems to be a mad race to churn out one nonsensical serial after another, each one promising more thrills (necessary or not) and twists (logical or not) than the last one, Jackson Heights has so far managed to hold my interest with its plausible scenario, logical plot progression, nuanced story, and well-etched characters. Kudos to Vasay Chaudhry, specially for his tarka of dry wit in an otherwise serious script, Mehreen Jabbar and her cast and crew for keeping it relatively real and relatable.

J7Speaking of real and relatable, uff who more so than aap ke aur hamarey, ungli pakrao tau banh pakar leney waley, Imran Bhatti sahab. Could this man be any more annoying? I’m sure all of us who live abroad must’ve come across at least one such desi leechar uncle. Bechari Salma! Ghar ke andar taee saas and ghar ke bahar Bhatti sahab! Where is the poor woman to go? Honestly, hats off to Salma – she’s a bigger and better person than I could ever claim to be! She is always so gentle with this two-steps-shy-of-being-designated-a-stalker cabbie. On the other hand, though, her patience with him is also perhaps reflective of her loneliness, a feeling she has never acknowledged even to herself. In many ways Bhatti sahab is fast turning into her only friend, someone around whom she is unconsciously now allowing herself to smile.

While a friend to everybody, Imran remains an enigma perhaps even to himself. Bhatti sahab is one heck of a complicated character, and I don’t think anyone other than Nauman Ijaz could’ve done justice to this slippery character, one which spans all shades of grey. J4On the one hand he goes all out for his friends, at times even more than necessary, but then when it comes to dealing with his wife Kathy he turns into the quintessential mashriqi shohar sahab. No matter what chore or however urgent an errand bhabhi jaan assigns him, bhai jaan’s NO is out even before she is done talking. He is always busy for his wife but then jahan Salma dikhi or any of his other cabbie friends need him, Bhatti sahab forgets all his masroofiyat and before you can say abracadabra Bhatti sahab khidmat ke liye haazir.  No wonder bhabhi is always annoyed with bhai sahab. But then again, bhabhi ji is no angel either. She is loud, rude and overbearing and most of all has Bhatti’s weakness in her hand; needless to say she misses no opportunity to refresh his memory on that issue. Their most recent argument, over smoking in Izzy’s room, was yet another one of their patented Bhatti family jhagras. Afsos sirf yeh ke poor Jamshed was caught in the crossfire.

J1About Jamshed, yes! He is finally in Amreeka! Yaay! I’m thrilled not only for him, but also for myself, because this means not having to put up with any more of maami ji’s OTT nagging and screaming. Khair, magar ab tau aisey aasman se girey and khajoor mein atkey hain Jamshed sahab, ke I’m sure he misses even maami ji and her ta’nas. At least back home he got naashta in hand and to say nothing of naani’s garam parathas, but yahan tau DIY breakfast, smelly bathrooms, basement bedrooms, dhobi ka kaaam, and aur tau aur Michele ki unwarranted daant, everything and more has been thrown at him except the one thing he came looking for …

Dollars! ji those which Jamshed thought were growing on trees, ripe for his picking. Sadly all his dreams have come crashing down. Aur tau aur Bhatti ne bhi dhoka de diya. Far from being a successful businessman,J8 owning a fleet of cabs, becharey mamu tau has his own issues. The tragic stories he’s hearing from other younger cabbies are not reassuring either. The shot of Adeel standing alone by the phone booth was a stunning visualization of Jamshed’s state of mind at that moment. Na ugal sakta hai na nigal sakta hai … Though he doesn’t see it that way yet, with those phone calls home, like his uncle, Jamshed too is well on his way to getting ensnared in a web of lies, all of his own making.

J3Jamshed, though, is not the only one who got a reality check. Even Rizwan’s dreams, of a happily ever after with Michele, were rudely shattered when the lady in question rejected his proposal. Though I felt sorry for the guy, I couldn’t help but be thrilled with Michele turning him down. Why do we always assume that marriage is a logical culmination for all relationships between a man and a woman? Why can’t they simply be friends, and good ones at that? She had said this loud and clear so many times already, why didn’t he bother listening to her? Didn’t he know J15how stubborn she could be once she made up her mind about something? I loved the scenes where Michele was clearly missing her BFF, and like before it was not her but him, who put his mardana ego aside and took the initiative and called her and made up. I am so not looking forward to the time when the shoe is on the other foot!

Overall while the pace is admittedly slow, quite a bit did happen, and with Ali Kazmi yet to make his entry, seems like there is plenty more yet to come. So far, I am onboard with J12Vasay’s writing and enjoying the  fluency with which the various tracks are gelling together and ease with which the various characters are unfolding. After Naghma ji, it is an absolute pleasure to see Neelofar Abbasi back on the screen playing taee ji. For those who might not know her, Neelofar was the heroine of Haseena Moin’s first TV serial Shehzori (for a YouTube link to the serial, click here). Jackson Heights, minus the dragging, has Mehreen’s stamp all over it. Hopefully, now that we are in the second quarter of the serial, and pretty much all characters (except Ali’s) are in play, the pace will start picking up. As for the actors, with an ensemble cast like this it is very hard to pick and choose, but Nauman Ijaz is stellar. Marina Khan, J9Adnan Jaffer, Adeel Husain, and Aamina Sheikh, all are excellent actors and own their characters. Mehr Jaffrey, Tara Mahmood, and the actress playing Asma (can anybody help with her name?), all have made their presence felt.

So, yeah, six weeks in, slow n ‘all jo bhi jaisa bhi, I am still on the Jackson Heights bandwagon and find it umm…. woh kiya lafaz tha ji… woh jo Bhatti ne Salma se kaha tha na … haan yaad aaya – mesmerizing! Haan ji, tau mujhe bhi kuch kuch waisa hi lag raha hai. Aap sunayen hain ji, aap ko kaisa lag raha hai ji ?

Written by SZ~

 Laiyan Laiyan ~ The original song from film Chooriyan ~ 

29 replies

  1. SZ very detail nice review. I am following it. And I like it . It is so real. I think sometime reality herts to see on tv. The other day I read Mahreen jabbar writing about Jackson height. She said you will see the change. I love her direction in drama . Very talented lady.
    Thanks for wishing on Diwali . Only u and Aijaz Aslam ( on the. FB) wish for Diwali . Hope your feeling better . Happy Holloween !’!!!!!!!


    • @Ranjan: Hey! Thanks, yes, feeling better now 🙂 Hope you had a happy festival season with friends n family around you.

      Glad you are also still enjoying this one … yeah, I too am hoping now with almost every character in place we start moving along with the story…


  2. Hey SZ, yes, still following JH but it did drag a bit. In the last ep, I missed some scenes near the end and remember having the feeling “chalo koi baat nahin, not as if I’d have missed too much”. So you say it’s the channels that demand a 20 or more ep drama? Pity…
    For me the best part of the show is Nauman Ijaz, hands down… love his take on Bhatti saab and eagerly waiting for some Salma-Bhatti sparks!


    • @Afia: Hey! Chalo good at least hum teen to dekh rahe hain 😉

      Yes, sadly it has become common practice now for channels to demand at least 20 eps (24 in this case) even if the story does not lend itself to being stretched. Hence we see repeated and dragged out scenes etc… :/

      Haina! Bhatti sb tau kuch alag hi sample hain.. and the best part he’s yet to show any sharmindagi about any harkat of his, be it lying about his prosperous business or the way he shamelessly stalks Salma … btw, did you notice his crestfallen expression when Salma told him of her daughter, i.e, she was married, and the way he tried to find out about her so far absentee husband… and khud apni baatein tau bilkul hi gol kar jaatey hain… have to say, despite the slow pace n all, Vasay’s writing is the strongest of the three weekend serials…


  3. Yes still following with very much interest 🙂 No doubt about that dragging part but the amazing actors, director and writer are good reason to ignore this…

    All characters and their tracks are so far enjoyable,.. I cant say that particular character’s track is boring.. Ofcourse Bhatti Sahab takes the cake in most mazedaar.. Hain ji..Haan ..LOL.. Nauman Ijaz literally owns Bhatti… He is remarkable.. Jamshed coming to US have made story more exciting for me.. His interactions with Michelle and Salma are something i am really looking forward to.. I like how you notice the visuals and then relate to characters’s state.. Too good 🙂

    i am very much intrigued to know about Salma and Michelle.. Suspense around them is really building up.. Looking forward for Ali Kazmi’s appearance..


    • @Rehmat, chalo thats four of us 🙂
      Did you check out the song video I posted … I watched it last night and still having a hard time getting over the “romance”!
      And also, if you ever get a chance do check out Shehzori… it originally aired around early 70’s but still so much fun to watch and so much more sensible than 95% of the dramas these days!


      • @SZ: yes i did just now.. LOL.. ab what should i say about romance part but original version is nice.. Still i would choose JH’s ost version over this one

        Haan bilkul Shehzori is very much part of my ‘to watch list’.. Have heard so much about it.. currently watching Khaleej.. Thanks for uploading 🙂


  4. @All: This latest review of JH took me on a trip down memory lane, so rather than disciplining myself and penning down the review last Sunday, as I had promised to do, I got badly sidetracked and went on a hunt for videos of Neelofar Abbasi and Marina Khan… and look what I dug up: Shehzori, Haseena Moin’s first serial and Neelofar her first firecracker of a heroine, Marina Khan interviewing Neelofar Abbasi (back in the day when morning shows made sense) and then a recent interview of Marina’s (mind you, a huge JH spoiler there!)


    Shehzori – in 2 parts

    Mornings w/Marina

    Marina Khan on the Morning Show w/Sanam Baloch


    • Thank you for uploading and sharing with us SZ.. I watched both morning shows and maannn what a huge difference between then and now morning show.. Marina is such an amazing n natural host.. You enjoy her taking interviews.. She tends to listen her guests and let them finish respectfully.. Even as host too.. Just love her..

      I liked Neelofer too.. Which is making me to watch Shehzori with more interest


    • @SZ..Re Neelofer Abbasi …thank u so much aap nay meri itni bari bari mushkil asan ker di …jub say main nay inn ko jh mein dekha tha soch rahi thi k iss actress ki awaz aur bolnay kaa style tou bilkul Shehzori wali Neelofer abbasi jaisa hai lekin ye itni change ho gai hain k mein inn ko pehchan hi nahi paa rahi thi…dimagh keh raha tha wo hi hain aur dil keh raha tha k nahi 🙂 …ab shehzori mein jis nay in ko dekha ho itni glamorous look k sath jis mein itni pretty lag rahi thin wo kaisay yaqeen ker lay k ye wo hi hain..har baar mein sochti k SZ say poochon gi lekin reh jata aur ye review bhi kahin miss ho gaya mujh say jis kaa mujhay ab pta chala hai sath hi inn ka bhi..chalo shuker mystery solve hoi 🙂


  5. I have been looking forward for this review;I am glad that you wrote a detail one.Yes the pace is slow but because of all these actors so well knitted it is a masterpiece.Adeel Hussain is a gem we always kind of forget about all his previous characters.He has played Jamshed so well that sometimes it is hard ti believe that he played Aabi.I was waiting for Salma Jamshed interaction as Adeel and Aamina have given us some great and unforgettable dramas.Nouman Ejaz Is the real hero I must say;I agree with you no one but he can play Imran Bhatti.I didnt know that the actress name is Nelofar but I guess this is “Nilofar” time;All the Nilofers are emerging.:)


    • @Ruba Shakir: My apologies, pehley was travelling then I returned and got hopelessly sidetracked with all these older dramas and interviews and song… but khair I;m back and yes, though I thought it was slow n all, when I started writing ke arrey bhai yeh tau bohot kuch ho gaya!

      Re: AH and AS: I am not quite sure how much they interact here, but yeah we’ll def be seeing a lot of them in the coming weeks and I for one am thrilled about it 🙂

      Re: Neelofar Abbasi, do check out her Shehzori, on tune pk and daily motion for those without YT, its a ton of fun!

      Re: the “other” Nilofer, check out these tweets – they are hilarious!



  6. Yes still watching but not this past week. Still liking it, it’s very real and lots of nuance to all the characters. I am looking forward to how it all pans out, everyone has a story which make it very watchable:)


    • @SK: Oh good, so there’s enough of us still watching to warrant a weekly review 🙂
      Haan I too like that Vasay and MJ have managed to divide screen time really well between the various characters ..and so even though all stories are connected to Batti Sb, none of the characters appear tangential – kudos to them for being able to handle out the huge ensemble cast so well ..


  7. such a Fun review SZ 🙂 yes still following it – love the characters and their dynamics and their interactions and also what they stand for or maybe don’t stand for. Very real characters and I guess living in the U.S. We’ve seen similar people around us so relatable as well. I like how we are getting brief glimpse into Salma’s character which keeps us guessing. I would have never thought her daughter would be taller than her 🙂 Maybe for people in Pak this one is too real because it doesn’t show that dollars grow on trees- not sure but I think most ppl in Pak are not watching this one??
    Thanks for the Nilofer Abbasi tip – did not know who that lady was but she looked familiar.


    • @Annie: Not in Pakistan so dont know, and sadly none of my PK friends are into Pk dramas (too angrezi medium for these ) so wouldn’t know anything concrete abt the reception there..but from reading comments on FB and various fora I think ppl are a) finding it too slow, b) they miss the ‘twists’ and ‘drama’ that are now a must-have for most mainstream/commercial serials , and c) the channel .. Urdu 1 is known more for its Turkish content .. so those who tune in to that channel are not exactly PK drama viewers… and another important factor that is a huge turn off is the poor video quality online.. many watch their dramas online and if compared to the video quality uploaded by other channels then Urdu 1 is definitely lacking in the technical dept …baqi tau I guess ppl living in PK would be able to tell us better …

      Re: Relatable characters, yes, I, for one, am def able to relate to these characters and have unfortunately come across a Bhatti sb or two in my time here 🙂

      Salma is turning out to be quite the mystery and I like how low-key AS is playing her, so yeah really intrigued by her story.


      • good points SZ on why people are not tuning in. No glycerine masala here.
        thank you for all the YT links. Nilofer Abbasi looked gorgeous as Shahzorei! The big hairdo with the teeka in the middle part with the gharara – so so adorable 🙂 Now I remember where I had seen her previously – Uroosa!! poor thing always gets these mean roles when she’s so soft spoken.


        • @Annie: i just ended watching Shehzori.. N so agree with you.. Hairdos, dresses were soo awesome.. Neelofer looked amazing and carried so well.. I loved this drama.. Goood old days..


          • I know! If it wasn’t so B&W I would have sat through more of it. But the print and B&W couldn’t hold my attention for very long…


  8. How can i drop MJ serial that too with a stellar cast..
    As MJ said that episode 7 will finally take things forward, so yesterday’s ep was very good.. Waiting for ur review on it


  9. Laiyaan laiyaan is a cover!?!? no wonder it sounded familiar. I never saw choorian but it’s songs were everywhere on ptv. why don’t these ppl credit the original composer/lyricist. I saw another cover by gohar which was also uncredited. sheesh!


  10. SZ since you are good at digging up stuff, can you find out more about the naani? I am loving her in this and sadkey tumhare.


  11. Yes count me in! Def still on board!
    @SZ thanks for digging up all the stuff. maza aa gya.. and uff the laiyyan laiyyan.. i was cracking up big time!!!.. can u imagine apne imran bhai and bhabhi ji in their place lol.. sorry i just couldnt help it!
    neelofar abbasi.. what a gem! funny i was just thinking about her when we were talking about MA in Uroosa on the firaaq thread. That’s where i remember her from .. choti in uroosa.. Shehzori was way before my time (uff yeh kehne ka kitna maza aya!!! lol ) but thanks for the link abb dekhne ka moka mile ga.
    yes pace is slow.. magar kia karein.. better than the bullet train of firaq that went off track.. I’m enjoying the depth in characters and its closer to reality and more relatable compared other two weekend serials. so yes im well and truly on this new york cab!


  12. Really entertaining play well written by Wasi Chaudry and excellent direction by MJ and awesome acting by Noman Ijaz and Ali Kazmi , Amina and Nilofer.

    Best Part is that, Wasi know his skill to craft a nice story and that really matters. Characterization is really good and cast specially Noman Ijaz and Ali Kazmi , Amina put life in them.

    Scene transition and camera movement is good, interest factor is provoking that is MJ quality , she really grasp her audience. Both writer and director are big screen pro and deserve credit for this nice effort.

    Treatment is really good in a sense that their emotions are nicely portrayed and sympathies are registered which is not only engaging for audience but driving the story excellently, every other scene contain a short but complete emotional drama which is nicely portrayed.

    There is an Umami factor in Jackson Height, I cannot precisely figure out what it is but beside acting , few catchy factors are bright soft colors and the contrast she used to separate her characters from their background , means ,its mood , tone and setting.

    MJ best thing is she consider detail shot to shot transition, suppose in epi 3 in a scene when Adnan and Mari went to buy bed , it was technically genuine and logical to exit from left to right. In epi 9 she cheated and crossed 180 deg nicely with character movement when Amina and Ali met first time though she used an insert but it was fine. Anyway, these are nice things even if she overlook them she can easily manipulate framing in some other way. Perhaps these are the factors which make some time worth watching. I really appreciate this joint effort of JH team which they put together to deliver such an entertaining content.

    Lastly, something about The Music ,well it is really depicting emotions which is a pivot point in binding audience sentiments with characters emotion. it’s like a film sort of a treatment but certainly that is worthy and is quite dominating over its flaws specifically chockey background shots.

    Over all I will say! It’s a brilliant entertaining effort from JH Team.


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