Jackson Heights ~ Episodes 14 -15 Review

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That I love Jackson Heights is not news –  despite being the shy sort, someone who believes in keeps her likes and dislikes to herself, I think I may have slipped up here and there – but even if I hadn’t been quite as enamored I’m pretty sure these past two episodes would’ve sealed the deal for me. Though there is not much going on that should make one happy, what with the issues addressed being so dark ‘n all, but kudos to Chaudhry sahab, Madam J and her über talented cast and crew this one actually makes me happy. No, not happy as in oh I’m thrilled that my girl Salma got beat up again, or happy as in my lovely Michele is being played so skillfully, nor jumping for joy at the fact that these hot, hunky men are such numbskulls… Nope, none of that.

Jackson Heights makes me happy for completely different reasons. Happy as in, Wah! Koi to hai who dares make a non-shaadi drama. Not only that, with this one we also get: masterful storytelling – complex and subtle at a time when in your face, 2+2=4 formulas rule the roost; zabardast writing – taking on dark, depressing subjects and making them palatable with desi humor ka tarka; kiya acting – matlab ke wahan jalebi Jamshed is reeling in my masoom Michele with all the expertise of a master angler and yahan I’m sighing over their “romance.” What direction – showing all this without emptying out stocks of glycerine in New York!! Taaliyan!!

With the shabashi out of the way – couldn’t review last week so was carrying pichle haftey ke applause ka bojh as well – let’s get down to all that transpired in these two episodes. With character as meaty as these we have a ton of stuff to discuss and debate, so chalein

Though she goes through her days enveloped in a fog of delusions and self-deception there are times when there are moments of clarity for Salma. Once she overheard Sikander’s nefarious plans there was no way she was going to simply hand over her jewellery. Her love for Iman triumphed all those rationalizations that she’d been using to pacify herself; no, Sikander was never going to change and it was up to her to protect her daughter’s future. That Iman was her step-daughter and Sikander her real father is not a thought that ever crossed her mind – she loves this child like her own. Despite knowing what lay in store of her, she still went ahead and returned the jewellery, and what happened later was no surprise to anyone, least of all to Salma.

It is at moments like these that make me want to applaud Team Jackson Heights for taking on a subject we’d rather not think about, let alone discuss. But rather than playing it safe, merely pointing to the issue and skirting around the messy parts, we get a full fledged study of how “normal” a battered woman looks like on the outside, how much she looks and sounds just like one of us. There are no obvious signs pointing to her totally messed up life, so much so that even her Millat fan aka Bhatti sahab has no clue of how far south things have gone in Salma’s life. Aliya, a stand in for all of us, tells her to move on, but she too is unable to see the twisted reality of her friend’s life.

And twisted is exactly how I would describe Sikander babu. Kiya cheez hai yeh? Oopar, oopar se he’s charm personified, but on the inside he’s as ugly and as cruel can be. Its all about me, myself and I for this guy. No longer satisfied with beating up his wife, he’s now also threatening his daughter, aur tau aur Bhatti sahab too cannot walk by unscathed. Beta tau beta amma begum bhi subhanallah! She who did not bat an eyelid while bahu was being used as a punching bag is now contemplating a run for the dadi of the year award. Wah! 

Thankfully awards are not handed quite as easily, but if they were I would nominate Sikander for the slimiest shohar of the year. The joy he seems to get out of torturing Salma, not just physically but emotionally as well is quite something. The vivid scenario he drew of how it would be Salma’s fault if Iman landed up in foster care was something else entirely. Forget about Salma, I, sitting in my own living room, felt a shudder run up my spine as I watched that evil grin on Sikander’s face. I have no clue who Ali is drawing on for his inspiration here, but I most certainly would never want to come within fifty feet of that guy! My heart went out to Salma as she wondered what would happen to Iman were anything to happen her. Sikander!!! Tum ko tau ab Allah hi samjhey ga!

Ab Sikander tau chalo is certifiably evil, but what should I call that handsome wolf in sheep’s clothing? Ji, ji, I am referring to apne izzatdar parhey likhe Jamshed sahab. What I love about this track is how it mirrors Bhatti sahab’s track. Hence, Jamshed and Michele today are maamu and mumani Bhatti so many years ago. Ab bhateejey ko rokne ka kiya faidamaamu needs to jhanko in his gareban first. But, much as I can see where Jamshed’s anger stems from, vis-à-vis maamu trying to warn him off, I most certainly cannot condone what he’s doing either. Nope, no way! Good looks can only get you so far with me mister, you’d better clean up your act, ASAP! Yes, Jamshed, I’m looking right at you!

That phone call scene in the last episode was brilliantly done, in terms of writing, directing and acting- just a hint of a nod towards Michele and Jamshed’s game was out in the open. Exquisitely subtle, this scene packed a very powerful punch indeed. But then again so good are these actors that a few minutes later I was sighing over the two of them sitting together on that park bench. And for those who didn’t get it he first time around, this week jalebi Jamshed offered us yet another look at his game plan. Not once in that superbly executed confrontation did he come out and deny his mamu’s accusations, on the contrary, amid all the bluster in a roundabout way Jamshed pretty much admitted he was following in Imran’s footsteps.

But to give him credit Jamshed is not doing what his uncle did, he’s actually ratcheting it up a notch. Hence, he climbs on his moral high horse and proclaims he is better than Imran because he’s not cheating on a gori. Ab koi poochey, ke bhai saheb, gori ho ya kali, desi ho ya Amerikan, a citizen is a citizen is a citizen, no matter how you spin it. But no, our self-proclaimed hero has decided he’s the injured party. Poor Michele! My girl is so seedhi ke had nahin, us ka kab paala para tha aisey jalebi jaise seedhay mardon se. Pehley cell phone, then home delivered and home-cooked meals and finally an apartment. Jamshed miyan ki tau not only all five fingers in asli desi ghee but head fully submerged in the karhai as well!

Despite all this Jamshed still manages to carry a boulder the size of Texas on his shoulder. Har baat unki intehayi nazuk izzat-e nafs pe bohot giraan guzarti hai. Even though he denies it he’s just like his uncle – an expert at throwing pity parties. And on Imran, mamu ne tau sirf maami ko mamu banaya tha magar yahan tau sab unko hi mamu bana gaye. First Kathy saw him with Salma and gave him the third degree, then Salma did not answer his calls, then poor guy gets mugged and injured, then he comes home to more nagging, phir bhateeja has issues with him, aur tau aur ab tau barey bhai ne bhi seedhi suna di ab mamu jaayen tau kahan jaayen ?

Imran Bhatti is brilliantly conceived by Vasay and equally fabulously brought to life by MJ and Nauman Ijaz. Its been fifteen weeks but Bhatti remains elusive as a character. For a man who speaks so much there is quite a lot he keeps buttoned up. Is he just a do-gooder caught up in a duniya matlab di type scenario or is there more to him than meets the eye? Perhaps its these same questions that Kathy finds herself asking as well: Did he really love her all those years ago? He says he still does, but then how and where does Salma and his boom boom heart fit into this scenario?

Fifteen weeks in and I’m still hopelessly hooked. Excellent writing, on spot direction, beautifully shot scenes, and fabulously acted, this is one of those serials that actually gives me hope. Hope that perhaps all is not lost yet. Channel walo you can keep churning out as many shaadi serials as you want, but saath saath keep giving us quality stuff as well. Surely, its not that difficult to open up a couple of slots per week for serials with stories that are not about saas-bahu/doosri biwi/extra marital affairs …please!

Written by SZ~

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18 replies

  1. @SZ, that’s what I call a perceptive brilliant review. I find it annoying when other Reviewers keep on harping that ‘oh it is so slow’. I’m glad it’s somewhat slow. I watch both ST and JH on Fridays. ST is lovely, filmi and dreamy, while Jackson Heights address gritty realities of life. Both dramas are poles apart yet equally impressive.

    But I’ve one complaint. That’s Salma. She is a victim and what comes with it. But is she a cretin/moron!?! She may not take any radical step, but how can she believe for even one second that Sikander is reformed? Honesty! Is she intellectually challenged? If Iemaan can see through every thing why not Salma. Else I love the show, the script, direction, acting specially Bhatti Saheb(acting not the character).

    • @Farah: Thank you, glad you enjoyed it 🙂 And yes, exactly, I too am enjoying that we have atleast a choice in our dramas this season .. otherwise usually its a pick between one shaadi serial and the other .. but here we have three four very distinctively different stories and diff treatments .. and I don’t remember which thread but just last week I was saying ke we as an audience keep asking for change but when it comes we dont take kindly to it .. our awaam still wants the same old recycled stories with familiar narratives and same old style of telling stories ..

      Re: Salma, I think a couple of weeks ago I had started off my review with exactly the same question and shared that I have recently started working with a group that deals with abused women and what I learned from there was a complete eye opener for me … let ,me share the link of that review here … also I had shared another link where the article talked about this issue:

      I think its fabulous that this serial has opened up a dialogue by raising these very important question … I would love to hear more from you after you read.

      https://desirantsnraves.com/2014/12/09/jackson-heights-episode-12-review/

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/battered-women-why-dont-they-leave/

      http://www.ncdsv.org/images/20ReasonsWhySheStays.pdf

  2. @SZ what a fab and an equally fab review!
    Absolutely loving this. Jamshed, Sikender and Imran Bhatti all aik se barh ke aik wolves in aik se barh ke aik sheep clothing! All bazahir very likable but ander se utne hee kuch aur! And same goes for Salma and Michelle.. Ooper se jitni tez, samajhdar dikhti hain ander se utni soft and gullible! I guess infront of these hunky men, pighalna itna mushkil nahin! lol
    LOooooooved the phone call last week! The way he justified it all… and then this week too! Jamshed is a real crafty so & so!
    The mamoon bhanja and their self pity and all… quite a pair! I love em!
    More later.
    just had to get my suppressed ghussa out.. just hope yeh sub mard sudhar jain!! and aurtain aqal ke nakhum lein!
    And btw AH MK romance.. hot!!!!!!

  3. Very well written SZ;I couldn’t agree more;Jackson Heights is such a breeze of fresh air in all these run of the mill shows.JH is a full package;this is what happens when a good writer and good director team work together.Jamshed is so convincing that sometimes I start making theories may be he for real has fallen for Michelle but naa that smile when he saw the bedroom O.o.Salma for now she is fully prepared about what would come but then she has nothing and no one ro defend her at least she is out of her khush fehmi;SS (as FA said :D) would never change;she won’t trust him now.Kathy sometime I pity her after so many years she is yet to discover her husband,Eiman has finally stood up but it looks like this will only worsen the things.Another episode would be exciting;Bhatti saheb will meet SS

    • @Ruba: Hai na! Me too! Its fabulous how they have almost believing in Jamshed sincerity even though we know hes just another con man!

      Haan plenty of fireworks yet to happen here – lets see.. I have my fingers and toes crossed ke Salma does not have a tragic end 😦

    • @deeba: Haha!! These ones I can handle! Are you watching that Dil Nahin Manta? Dekho us mein kya kya tamasha ho raha hai.. lol now even father in laws have started slapping around their bahus!

      • Yes , that drama is something else.
        After the father in law, now the son also gave a thapar !!!! And pray tell what’s so great abt that guy that the 2 wives are at war ???
        Coming back to Jackson H , I’m enjoying every episode .
        SZ ,you are so right , Sikander is pure evil and gives me the creeps.
        I just hope he gets a good beating at some point.
        and those banyans he wears just adds to his evil persona !!!!

        • @deeba: LoL those banyans are popularly also known as “wife beaters”!! Ab whether ALi wears those deliberately or not here is something only he or MJ could tell us .. but they do add so much to Sikander’s overall ughness .. that said, I have to say Ali’s playing this guy so fabulously ke its not just Salma even I dont know when he’s going to explode next, kis baat pe!

          Re: Dil Nahin Manta: Haan! Ufff wth is going wrong with tv channels … what biwi goes around creeping into the second biwi’s closet planting false evidence .. that whole premise is whack! And yes, exactly Huzaifa is such a dud, such a bore god alone knows what both equally boring biwis see in him!

          Ab to Sultanat e Dil also has the two biwi starting up soon … did you watch the second ep where Sami Khan goes to ask for his annoying girlfriend’s rishta wearing a purple brocade ki sherwani?! Oh and btw, Dil Nahin Manta wala house is featured in this one as well and apparently was in BM as well!!

          • no , havent seen epi 2 but will now to check out the purple brocade!! i mean seriously, kitne rang barange kapre hain is dramey mein…..
            yeah,youre right about the houses,ghoom phir ke 5/6 ghar hain karachi mein and all the dramas have to shot in these.
            the house in i love bunty , ive seen it twice already !!!!

            • @deeba: remember sunglasses and sunscreen laga kar dekhna .. I watched only a bit of it and couldnt take it anymore .. btw Geo has uploaded it in HD on their yt channel so check it in its full glory there 🙂

  4. Itna intazaaaaar karvaya ke I was literally reading your review in my sleep (which I’ve already told you😂) but I swear you’ve really done it this time SZ 👏👏 I agree with every word of this review yahan tak ke I was agreeing in my sleep 😂👏 I’m reading it now and just thinking ‘hmm’ ‘YES!’ ‘bilkul’ after every sentence! 👏👏
    In the last episode I was aww’ing and hmm’ing over every Jamshed/Michelle scene and I still have such mixed feelings! Which is why I love this storyline so much! I don’t know if Jamshed is messing with our girl Michelle or if he actually does love her, haii their scenes are so beautifully conducted I can’t even explain!! Although I noticed he hasn’t taken off the bracelet Asma gave to him, the way he smiled when he walked into the bedroom and as you said not denying Mamus accusations – daal mein zaroor kuch kala hai. I should enjoy the sighing before my dreams are shattered 😢 but still I could watch Jamchelle over and over again forever 😂
    The love Salma has for Iman just goes to show that not all step-mothers are the evil conniving type FINALLY! I’ve been waiting long for a drama to remove that ‘zalim sauteli maa’ stereotype! Again brilliantly conveyed by the team of JH. Sikander and his ami jaan make me sick to my stomach how can she just stand there when Salma gets beaten up!? To think that people like this exist!
    As for Bhatti Saab, maybe it’s just me but I don’t understand him! I just don’t. I’m confused as to what he’s doing with Kathy and Salma!? He didn’t seem to care about Jamshed since Kathy kicked him out and now he’s going all ‘I’m your Mamu so I can slap you’!? I guess I love his character because of the complexities that come with him.. Shayad? Patha nahi. Intrigued to see where Bhatti Saab goes..
    Week after week I’m still ONLY watching JH on repeat I am still loving Marina Khan, I know I say this all the time but kya karein she’s phenomenal!! 😍😍 Keep my ‘fingers and toes crossed’ that Michelle has a happy ending 🙏

    • @Shameen: Aww! Sorry! Its just kinda crazy over the weekends and now with the holidays here its gotten even crazier, but now that I know you are waiting to read I will try to not miss any more .. waisey bhi, I dont know abt you, but Im abhi se sad that this will end soon 😦

      Yes! So with you on Michel and Jamshed pairing … from the promos we know he’ll go back to PK and reunite with Naani, but whether he goes with Michel or not is a hard question. I personally think he’s playing her, but unlike his mamu, after a while he will really fall for her.. I guess a case of begining to actually believe what he’s telling other is true … but whatever the case may be, like you, I too am squarely on Michele’s side and do not want to see my girl have to shed a single tear.

      Re: Salma, yes, again with you on that finally we get to see a genuinely nice sauteli ma. We see another good one in Goya, but there Hanya and Omar have a different equation. But back to Salma, I somehow feel she wont have a happy ending. I see Sikander going back to jail but after having done some serious damage.. lets see …. btw, dont you think its odd that Salma doesnt have a baby of her own? Do you think shes suffered a miscarriage in the past due to Sikander’s harkats?

      Re: Bhatti Sb: No, its not just you, I too mentioned in the review that its hard to understand this guy fully… again brilliantly played by Nauman Ijaz .His pity parties are making it really hard to differentiate b/w that whats actually happening and that which he thinks happened … but jo bhi hai suffice it to say I dont think he’s as shareef seedha sadha allah miyan ki gaye (bhens?) as he views himself ..

      Dekhtey hain what happens next week!

      • RE: “Salma wont have a happy ending”….Kiun ji aisa kiun keh rahi hain?…ager aisa hoa tou main bohat disappoint hoon gi kiunk phir ye sara issue raise kernay kaa matlab hi kia hai ager aap nay oos kaa solution nahi batana?…aur ye hi hamesha humaray dramas kertay hain problems dikhatay hain jin per endlessly discussions hotin hain lekin jub oon problems k solution ki baat ati hai wahan khamoshi chaa jati hai ….tou phir faida iss sub kaa..awareness ki khatir kia jata hai?..lekin hum isi society mein rehtay hain humen bari achi tra pta hai in problems k baray mein….humen naa bataya jye ager batana hai tou in issues say kis tra nimatna hai iss per guideline di jye

        lekin MJ say mujhay poori umeed hai wo iss tra kaa bogus end nahi kren gi…Vasal / Mat-e jaan /Rehai jaisay dramas mein logical ending hoi hai aur ye hi umeed mujhay yahan hai

  5. SZ this was much needed review to acknowledge people behind this drama for giving us this gem 🙂 otherwise reading negative reviews elsewhere makes me sad…
    So thanku for writing beautifully and honestly.. 🙂

    Uff ek tou poore drama me haseen se haseen ter and hot se hotter loug.. Banda kis kis ki tareef kare 😉 Jamshed and Michelle these two are magic.. After that phone call scenr when everything was open n out.. And this couple goes for a walk.. I just could not but only go awww on their romamce even knowing this all is fake.. But actors have done it perfectly k u r bound to believe k naa its true… The way Michelle is just soo concerned and actually following her heart.. I wont bear her seeing in tears :/ Jamshed sahab you better realize the worth of this lady.. Nahin tou michelle k saath sath meri hayee bhi lage gi 😉 the confrontation scene with mamu was rocking..very intense..

    Its absolute pleasure to watch NI playing Bhatti Sahab.. He wants citizenship thats totally fine.. But seeing such behavior with Cathy.. Who in their right mind will help him in getting that.. I find Cathy very reasonable.. After salma have come in his life.. Bhatti sahab have started turning more rude even when cathy was polite.. I am equally interested where this track leads to..

    Salma you beauty with brains.. Go good to see using her presence of mind and shifting jewelery back to Bank.. She became bit fearless when came to know abt Sikander tried to beat Emaan.. This girl is her strength. Very adorable relation we have seen beteeen these two 🙂 Sikander freaks me out.. The last scene with Salma was just terrific… The way he narrated future events was oh my goodness… Is it too much to ask for happy ending of all of them .., want to see them happy 😀

    Loving JH and excited to see more action packed epidoes coming up

  6. I don’t understand why you are so against Bhatti. He is a nice person,although married Kathy for pasport but is a selfless husband who also tries very hard to become a good father but receives no respect from the trio in the house. He is making payments on the house plus running their errands and always taking abuse from the wife.If he was respected and was happily married than no Salma would have happened.
    I agree to rest of your analysis.I also think Bhatti is the guy who will save Salma .

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