Jackson Heights ~ Episode 16 Review

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Jalebi: A South Asian dessert made of a coil of batter fried and steeped in sugar syrup.

Jamshed: A Pakistani man currently in the US looking for ways to upgrade his tourist visa to a resident one, kosher or not sab tariqey chalenge.

Jalebi Jamshed: Syrupy sweet and and woh bhi itna ke a close encounter of the Michele kind would leave you desperately in need of an insulin shot. Harkatein aisi ke they would put a dog’s terhi dum to shame.

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When I gave this moniker to our duniya se naraz hero last week, little did I think ke he would take to it like a duck takes to water. Jamshed, my friend, hello!?! What was up with that self righteous taqreer? Did you expect us to stand up and applaud you for a speech that would do a Pakistani politician proud? Suno mister, likening you to a jalebi was most certainly not imaxresdefaultntended as a tamagha-e husn-e karkardagi – far from it!!

Hats off to Vasay Chaudhry, Mehreen Jabbar and Adeel Husain for bringing us one of the most charming villains in recent times. Gone are the days of gandasa wielding gujjars and the old school chacha and his beta, clumsy enough to be caught stealing Michele’s inheritance. Ab tau we get good looking, polished, educated, and, most importantly, cerebral 10913695_10153488223053662_446234093_nbaddies; nishaney ko khoob study kar ke teer laganey waley expert marksmen. My poor poor Michele, how was she ever expected to recognize this new age badmash? They say once bitten twice shy and I’m sure my girl thought she was inured and would never fall for the same trick twice, magar afsos ….

10887968_10153488223023662_1715992949_nWhere Jamshed is a smooth operator, apne khurdrey Sikander sahab bhi kum nahin. Be it his unending supply of ganjis (wonder if tayee ji bought them in a going-out-of-style sale from the neighborhood Walmart), his unkempt look, less than polite lingo, unsuccessful efforts to get his die-by date extended, or his ab-agar-kuch-aur-bola-tau type threats to Salma, this guy is something else all together.

Without resorting to screaming his lungs out and/or channelling Noori Natt, Ali Kazmi does a fantastic job as the menacing Sikander. I don’t know how he and MJ did it but I seriously imagesget the creeps every time this character is around. No wonder Salma doesn’t know which way to turn. Itna us ko ghuma diya ke she forgot her wallet in Bhatti sahab’s cab. Waisey aapas ki baat hai I think she really meant to lose that ugly purse. Sochein, would you ever wanna be caught carrying that shiny plastic-y wallet? Salma is very understated girl who always wears a functional black crossbody. I’m convinced tayee ji got it as a freebie when she bought her beloved son’s ganjis.

Salma ka zikr ho and Bhatti sahab ka nahin, aisa tau ho nahin sakta. Ok, so Bhatti sahab can and does get away with a lot because of his asli desi ghee charm, but this time around I didn’t know whether to applaud him or beat him up. The last thing Salma needed is for someone else to judge her and push her around. Yes, Bhatti bhai felt “cheated upon” but when had he ever been 100% up front with her? Chalo, even if he did feel betrayed what was up with that bull in the china shop approach. Bhai jan, this is not how you get a lady to confide10917493_10153488223048662_346267525_n in you. And, when was he last time he really listened to all that she was not saying? Its always been him leaning on her with his dukhi dastaans. He who claims to understand maajis dukhs from this far away was clueless about Salma’s pareshanis. Its only when he saw Sikander  and got 2+2=4 that he realized there was an issue.

I do think, or at least hope, that lath maar attitude ke saath hi sahi but somehow Bhatti will become the bridge that helps Salma cross over to the other side. Nauman Ijaz, what to say about him… he is to Jackson Heights what Saima Chaudhry was to the Baraat series, only better.

As for the girls, kiya chun chun ke ek se ek hero miley hain in ko. Vasay and Mehreen, kiya bigara tha in donon ne aap ka? That said, what I enjoy here is10899740_10153488416423662_2143148872_n that though these girls are getting burned  neither of them would describe themselves as bechari. Salma is a survivor with a capital S. Now that her blinkers are off she is not shying away from making her feelings known. She is a battered wife but to her credit she has not internalized her mazloomiyat.

Salma truly fears for her life, worries about her daughter and does not know how to get out of her messy situation, but those her concerns and fears which she keeps  to herself. In front of Sikander she is as strong as she can be. Even with her millat pankha, no matter what her domestic situation might be she always has a smile for Bhatti sahab. Offering him thoughtful mashwaras, lending him a shoulder to cry on, and most importantly unlike him, non-judgemental. 10893592_10153488416433662_1517463395_nPerhaps her own situation has made her more sensitive to others’ feelings and situations. Bhatti sahab, woh jo kehtey hain na, take a page out of Salma ji’s playbook. Hain ji? Okay?

Aamina Sheikh is fabulous as Salma and I love how much she conveys with her body language and small gestures. And speaking of fabulousness, Ms. Marina, there is a reason why I love thee. Jamshed’s games wouldn’t mean half as much if it weren’t for the woman being targeted. All of Marina and Adeel’s scenes were beautifully executed. While she is too smitten to see through him I have a feeling that she did hear the first clang go off today. It will be fabulous to see how she reacts to the marriage proposal that Jamshed has coming up next. 10913548_10153488416428662_990710027_n

What I particularly love about Jackson Heights is that the story works at many levels. As a writer Vasay Ch refrains from telling it here and now, and as a director MJ is allowing the characters the space to tell their own stories. There is a lot of depth here for the engaged viewers, subtle contrasts and comparisons that leave the door open for further discussion. So much of what Jamshed is doing now hints at what Imran did so many years ago. And here’s the big question – if we as viewers hate Jamshed for what he is doing then should we feel so much empathy for 10893457_10153488416418662_1695997903_nImran’s problems with Kathy? Should Imran get a free pass just because we didn’t see his story unfold quite as clearly?

Similarly in Salma’s track I love how Bhatti’s bulldozer type aggressive approach to Salma’s face-saving lies – after his usual pity party – is nicely contrasted with Alia’s more passive I’m-here-if-you-need-me kind of response to her friend’s issues. Both are well-meaning and are genuinely concerned about her and want to help, but are either of theirPOSTER responses quite what the person in question needs? Again rather than spelling it out these kinds of questions are built into the narrative. This is the kind of intelligent storytelling, meaningful but with a handy serving of humor,camaraderie and romance, that I find disappearing from our screens.

The preview promises more thrills and has me looking forward to the next chapter in this story. Don’t know about you all but my money is on the girls who I hope will soon come into their own and give it back in spades. Boys beware!

Written by SZ~

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22 replies

  1. @SZ,
    Thanks for brilliant Review to brilliant episode. Multifaceted story, beautiful execution and mostly quite good acting,…..congrats to entire Team JH.
    One bone of contention! How come Michell’s fell for Jamshed? There is no plausible explanation so far, atleast in my opinion. What’s your take on this?

    -Dear SZ, I read the links you posted last week. I should rap my knuckles, for having dealt with victims of domestic voilence I should have known better. Perhaps I watched it purely as drama.

    • Maybe because she’s a lonely old woman who is stuck in a rut and jamshed feels like a much needed breath of fresh air. Maybe his struggle reminds her of her own and somewhere along empathy changed to affection. And perhaps jamsheds constant nagging made her believe it was luuuurve coz she’s a victim of conditioned response to sleazy men like Jamshed and has an unconscious relationship pattern where she is taken advantage of.

      As Carrie Bradshaw wondered all these years ago maybe Michelle IS in fact dating the same person over and over again ( season 2 of SNTC in case anyone is curious)

      But let me say PRAISE THE LORD that this ‘romance’ is making sense. I was finding it very hard to digest. Jamshed you dog, I hope Rizwan puts you in your place. Michelle you cow, wake the hell up before it’s too late

      • @Sonia: Lol, yaar, thanda paani piyo 😉 And no, calling Michele a cow is not allowed – hahaha!

        Here’s a question .. would we be that critical if instead of Michele and Jamshed there was an older guy younger woman angle. Why are we rooting for Imran Bhatti and Salma .. isnt there an obvious age diff there too? Why do we as a ppl expect our women to be above and beyond all kinds of temptations or feelings? Why are they only expected to be these beacons of samajhdari and aqal whereas men can get away with murder pretty much .. why arent we calling Imran a dirty old man for playing on Salma’s innate niceness and continuously hitting on her, since thats exactly what he is doing everytime he tells her about his thumping heart and what not ..

        Leaving aside the fact that Jamshed is a certified louse, why is it so hard to imagine Michele being charmed? Its not like she’s been lacking in male suitors and good looking ones at that (hello Rizwan!) . so obviously she’s not desperate for male attention or a lonely old woman ..Perhaps, just perhaps she likes the guy, why is that so hard to believe?

        I’m a cynic 99.7% of the time, but there is a .03% of me that does hold on firmly to the belief that love can happen anytime anywhere to anyone and Ive actually seen couples with so many years between them having a ball together … If Michele was that desperate for company she would’ve married Rizwan without blinking an eye. But she resisted him, in fact resisted Jamshed as well but he pursued her, and she was charmed, as simple as that. Didn’t the world wonder for so long what Demi Moore saw in a nobody from nowhere, which is what Ashton Kutcher pretty much was when they first met – he was 25 to her 41, but they did stay together for over ten years.

        I for one think that as human beings at the end of it all we want to be loved, courted, made to feel special, and here in this case, see how brilliantly VC and MJ have contrasted Jamshed with Rizwan .. both charming her and openly expressing their interest in her but she goes for the one who actually challenges her, makes her feel alive, wanted and cherished … Rizwan was a better match on paper for her, but he was a bit boring … I think if I were asked to choose from one of the two types , I would go for somebody who pushed me out o my comfort zone, challenged me, making me feel alive ..and so if I put myself in her shoes I can totally see why she succumbs to Jamshed rather than to Rizwan .. I dont think just because shes in her 40s, which is equated with qabar mein pair latkana in our culture, that we should expect her to behave like shes in her dotage and should be looking for a senior citizen partner rather than somebody exciting .. and mind you this works because she is living in the US where age is not the zindagi maut ka sawal that it is in PK where any woman in her 30s is considered over the hill ..

        Now just because I understand where she is coming from does not mean I am condoning her blinkered approach to Jamshed …she needs to stop thinking with her heart and think with her head.. feel him out a bit more before giving in to him (ok, no, not talking abt “feeling” him, but you know what I mean) and like I said in my post all these men, young or old all need to be fired with that gun that woman is holding LOL!

        But all that said, I love your nod to SITC! Now if only Michele had hung around with that gang of girls and lived it up a bit more, and not been such a drab debbie she would’ve been smarter and more wary of guys like apna Jalebi Jamshed!

    • @Farah S: I think I have answered your question in my response to Sonia below and would love to read your thoughts .. and know that you dont have to agree with me at all, its all our different takes on the same issues that make for interesting convos 🙂

      Re: the domestic abuse, and your not connecting it with the serial, I think its not you who needs their knuckles rapped its the producers and channel owners who’ve fed up so much nonsensical stuff, particularly, in the past couple of years, that now unless everything is not laid out in black and white and spelled out in long preachy monologues we tend to overlook stuff or nit take it seriously … and then after keeping us on a steady diet of drivel and rotting our brain cells these producers complain ke audiences dont want these kinds of dramas, and only crying women make money … ulta chor kotwal ko daantey wala hisaab hai aajkal ….

  2. Though I am yet to watch the episode but reading from your review I would be rather disappointed to see Jamshed and Michel’s story going the predictable way. Yes this is what is expected of such a relationship but with Mahreen Jabber at the helm I was expecting she would surprise us hmmmm….

    • @Tinni: Lets see where it goes … we still have Rizwan in Chicago and going by the promos there is quite a bit left to go . dekhtey hain 🙂

      And yes, you are right it was predictable from the get go, but what I love is the way an age old story has been reworked and the acting is simply fabulous, also the way they’ve gradually unfolded Imran’s story , drawing parallels between him and Jamshed have been handled really well .. and i guess this to me is Team JH’s real attraction in the way they are telling a been there done that story with intelligence and subtlety …

      And what about your thoughts on the other tracks?

  3. SZ your reviews are Also like JALAIBEEZ! Sweet and crisps with lots of twist !
    I am thoroughly enjoying the story, the acting, cinatography, background score and everything which comes with it . It’s a shame that a lot of overseas viewers don’t know about it as the channel it’s on is not available here or that known to many .
    Mehreen Jabbar is my all time favourite and she knows how to wrap her loyal fans around her fingers …. Just love love the direction , the actors does a bit more in her serials , she brings the best out of seasoned actors and bring something special out of the not so seasoned one which even they might not know they have in them . All the co stars in this serial are doing excellent and making JH a very believable serial in every way . Mehreen Jabbar I love you !!!

    • @Sheema:Aww thank you .. you are such a sweetheart 🙂 Lol! Waisey after watching Jalebi Jamshed in action I have started rethinking my love for jalebis .. its so funny ’cause its not the usual first choice desert for ppl .. so when Jamshed first started with his I love jalebis thing I was like wah! koi aur bhi mere jaisa … but now that I have seen what kind of a man he is I am beginning to distance myself from my all time fave desi metha .. darn you Jamshed!! 😡

      • Aray wah jalebi tou mujhay bhi be-hud pasand hai 🙂 … iss serial aur reviews mein itna jalebi jalebi ho raha hai har mere dil per kia guzerti hai kia bataon 😦 …aur plz jamshed kaa ghussa jalebi per na nikalen waisay ab mein bhi iss mein shamil ho gai ab tou complete boy cott hoo gaa k touba touba kaisay kaisay logon ko pasand hai 😉 lekin ye thik kaha mithai mein iis kaa number dosray items k baad ata hai..bohat kum log hi pasand kertay hain..mujhay kabhi “fight” nahi kerni parhi mithai kaa daba khulnay per asani say mil jati hai

  4. Love to read your reviews SZ its kinda become a ritual after watching each episode I desperately wait for your review..talking of JH i absolutely love the show..and one of the reasons why I watch it is the one and only Marina khan!!She is absolutely amazing as Michelle..kudos to Mehreen jabbar and the rest of the cast for giving us Jackson Heights!!
    Would love to share something I found a few days back..Tanha,a drama which aired on starplus in 1997 i guess..written by Haseena Moin..starring Marina Khan and Sajid Hasan with others…

    • @Annu: Aww! Dont worry, YT does that sometimes when it comes to embedding links ..
      And thank you for being a regular reader, but what’s up with being a silent reader? Ab, you’ve broken yor silence tau would love to hear more from you and read your take on the serial and the various characters 🙂

      And haan high five on MK.. honestly, no matter what anybody might say about her as is quite obvious she is my one enduring love when it comes to PK dramas 😍

  5. Absolutely amazing review and with those punjabi pictures you have added gives a whole humorous touch LOL. Specially the last one.. O Beghairetaa.. Hahah too good.. .😀😀.. I totally agree with you and no i dont think imran bhatti should deserve some kind of empathy what so ever..

    JH is surely now in my favourite dramas list.. I am so loving how its been written, then directed and acted… Surely a fabulous team altogether.. How to make correct use of OST someone has to learn from MJ.. Pehle tou ost itna khoobsurat and when its used at some very naazuk places it gives an extra beauty.. Jaise iss week used on bhatti n salma’s.. Wah maza aagya.. Seeing Salma getting more strength n confronting Sikander was job well done.. i like how she was shattered when Bhatti sahab told her about sikander… AS was outstanding..

    Jamshed you u can be so so n so mean.. That smile was really dis heartening … Michelle sharing her past made him rethink about his plan but not to act on it.. She looked bit disappointed when lucha jamshed grab the opportunity of manager..

    I am really enjoying how things are building up.”cant wait for next week

    • @Rehmat: Shukriya for noticing my maula jutt touch to this week’s reviews .. I am having a blast writing these reviews .. so much fun because after a long time we have well etched out multi layered characters and real and relatable situations 🙂
      And you are so right abt the use of the OST and even the background score as a whole .. such a refreshing change from the non stop assault on our ears in other serials …

  6. The episode and the review both are spot on ! MJ has done a fab job;now this is what we call a “sensible” drama and a “logical” story.The execution is perfect.Adeel Hussain is more than cunning here;his smile when Michelle offers him a job.ah Poor Michelle little does she know she is gonna get ditched agaian and that too by a desi.I though after hearing Michelle’s story Jamshed would reconsider his intentions but na no he is here to saty and he will do so by hook or crook.Bhatti sahab ah I love how he does “Haan hain “I am glad you pointed out that he was being too judgemental here;Aamina Sheikh she is such a treat to watch;she absorbs the character competely;as u said her body language and small gestures.The preview showa that the next episode would be much happening,I am already missing friday

    • @Ruba: Glad you’re enjoying this one equally.. LOL you know in recent times this has to be one of the very few dramas that has me sad at the thought ke its gonna end soon! Socho aaj kal ke dramas ke baarey mein tau we are usually counting days ke kab khatam hoga!

  7. SZ . Review is amazing. . I love this drama specialiy because of Marina , but somehow with jamsed for me it is not getting…….. I have seen MJ drama Malal deepti gupta and Imran , in that she was older than him ,but their chemistry was great!!!! But some how this I donot know.( or may be something wrong with me ,I donot want my girl to get hert:(. ). It gives me the chill when I see SIkender looking at Salma , great acting, got the genes from patents.
    Hope you are not freezing !!!few more days and it will get better ,

    • @Ranjan: Hey! Freezing true, but its ok we’ve had a relatively warm winter so far so its ok 🙂

      I think Michele will get hurt but so will Jamshed, both getting a much needed reality check from Rizwan, I think.

      Oh, and I owe you a translation from the Zid review . It’s been crazy busy so havent been able to respond …

      So, if I can respond here and translate loosely, basically Khalid Sb was responding on behalf on BG and here the poet, Ghalib,says:
      All his poetry is now merely for [his] amusement
      He [has] realized there is no point in putting in an effort

      As in nobody appreciates quality work so whats the point in spending time and effort on coming up with brilliant stuff ..

    • @Ranjan: nahi aap k sath kuch ghalat nahi….mera bhi kuch aisa hi khayal hai M J ko dekh ker mujhay bhi malal drama yaad aa gaya jis mein Imran aur deepti ki superb chemistry nay age difference type kisi bhi cheez ko bilkul khatem ker dia tha…ab jis bhi reason ki waja say hai lekin M aur J is waqt ek dosray say mohabat kertay hain lekin screen per wo lovers tou bilkul nahi nazer aa rahay I mean ager in kaa comparison Imran aur deepti say kia jye..tou mujhay har baar kafi struggle ker k khud ko yaqeen dilana perta hai werna in k romantic scenes koi ziada impact nahi create ker sakay …atleast mere liay…sath hi SZ k reviews meri bohat help ker rahay hain (kiunk wo bohat enjoy ker rahi hain 😉 jis ki waja say mein khud ko yaqeen dilanay mein kamyab rahi hoon..werna mushkil tha

      lekin ye actors ki waja say nahi bulk characters ki waja say hai..mujhay lagta hai in k relation ko aur ziada time milna chahiay tha …iss mein ziada depth aur detail honi chahiay thi..taa k humaray liay characters ki intentions ko understand kerna asan aur ziada believable hota ..abhi wo just good friends lag rahay hain…kiunk sub kuch kafi jaldi mein hoa..first 5-6 epi tak koi interaction hi nahi tha ..tou itna time waste ker dia visa passport jaisi fazooliyat per

      lekin malal mein well etched characters thay…ek gradual change tha deepti k character mein..oos ki internal feelings thoughts sub kuch bohat clearly viewers k samnay rakha gaya yahan M kaa character per koi khaas tawajo nahi di gai bulk ziada zor riz aur j k sath relation k comparison per dia gaya..chemistry pehlay characters k dermiyan hoti hai jub actors apnay role perfectly play kertay hain tou humen ye chemistry screen per nazer ati hai… yahan writing kaa flaw hai meri humble opinion mein 🙂

  8. Wow. That was quite the episode.

    On the Jamshed-Michelle angle, I thought for a while that even though he was clearly playing her, his feelings for her might still have been somewhat sincere. That is, you can want something from a person and still have real affection for them. But his holier-than-thou stunt and that smirk he wears that Michelle can’t see? What a horrible sleazebag Jamshed is! I’m so disappointed in him.

    As for Sikander, he’d be a totally forgettable cardboard cutout baddie if it wasn’t for Ali Kazmi’s performance. Full props.

    Bhatti sahib toh bas Bhatti sahib hain, lol.

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