Jackson Heights ~ Salma se Sawal ~ Your Qs n Aamina’s As!


Seldom is it we get drama serials unafraid of addressing issues we as a society like to brush under the carpet. Magar yahan with Jackson Heights Vasay Chaudhry and Mehreen Jabbar have opened up a veritable Pandora’s Box. From domestic abuse, to battered spouses, to illegal immigrants, to green card marriages, to a widespread perception of a luxurious lifestyle abroad, to leechar relatives happily mooching off of remittances sent in by hardworking family members, older women falling for younger men, jalebis taking on human guises, you name it and we see it here. Nothing sugar coated, no fancy wrappings, sab kuch striped down to a gritty uncomfortable reality.


Of all that we see highlighted in Jackson Heights. Salma’s domestic situation and her response to her husband and mother-in-law’s physical and emotional abuse has generated a lot of debate and discussion. How many times have we shaken our heads and asked each other: Why the heck is Salma still with Sikander, why doesn’t she just walk out, us ke aur Bhatti sahab ke beech mein kiya chal raha hai, why doesn’t she ask Aliya for help, doesn’t she ever wanna stomp her feet and throw a hissy fit, why is she so annoyingly saabir-o shaakir… kyon Salma kyon??


Put together, all these whys got me cooking khayali pulaos ke kitna accha ho agar mujhe kabhi Aamina Sheikh kahin takra jayen… bus phir tau I would ask her this thing, offer her that mashwara, poocho yeh sawal, and daanto her about thatyou know how there are so many things we’ve discussed about this beautifully, written, directed and acted character. Magar phir main ne socha akele baatein karne mein kya maza. We’ve been discussing Salma together as a group so why should I be the only one to ask her questions, wouldn’t be fair now, would it?


It was with these thoughts in mind I got in touch with Aamina and to my absolute delight she not only responded but was gracious enough to agree to this kuch hatke qisam ka interview. So chalein, let’s get down to it and conduct our first character/celebrity interview!!

1497581_831407380213586_4848277667996373940_nA few things to bear in mind:

  • Post your questions in the comments section below.
  • Thursday 1/15 is the last day to post your questions, comments, advice, jo bhi.
  • Ask as many questions as you want but please post each separately, making it easier to read and respond.
  • You are more than welcome to share your appreciation for Aamina’s body of work, but please limit your questions to this particular character only.
  • No personal comments or abusive language.

Tau bas aap sab ho jayen shuru and poocheye Salma se sawal, dijeye mashwarey, and offer hamdardi…

Written by SZ~


55 replies

  1. Wah SZ :]
    I like this review mein twist !!!

    Question for Salma .
    1. Salma , why do you put up with Sikander ?
    For God’s sake kick him out of your life and stop fretting about emaan , she’s not your headache and I’m sure she will be fine .
    2. Why haven’t you told Bhatti sahab about your problems , he’s your friend and I think you should have confided in him .Also why do you not tell Aliya everything ? Why must you always say ke alls ok when it’s not.
    3.Get a can of pepper spray and use liberally if
    Sikander tries to do anything .

    PS. Your acting is superb !!

    • @Deeba: Haina! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Yaarm can I request you to your questions as sep comments, i.e, 1 question per comment .. thanks!!

      P.S, Lady you’re a tough cookie! Salma seriously needs ppl like you around her!! 😉

  2. Question for Salma .
    1. Salma , why do you put up with Sikander ?
    For God’s sake kick him out of your life and stop fretting about emaan , she’s not your headache and I’m sure she will be fine .

  3. 2. Why haven’t you told Bhatti sahab about your problems , he’s your friend and I think you should have confided in him .Also why do you not tell Aliya everything ? Why must you always say ke alls ok when it’s not.

  4. 3.Can you PLEASE please get a can of pepper spray and use liberally if
    Sikander tries to do anything next time.

  5. Dear Aamina I adore u a lot. U r my most fav actress ever. I havent seen anybody act the way u do. U r so real in wateva u play.From the tym zindagi channel has bn started in India i havent missed a single show of urs.i havent seen jackson heights so dnt knw much abt it. I admire u a lot. Just wanted to ask u dat do u have any future plans ta act in Hindi movies?? U will rock the bollywood industry for sure. 🙂

  6. Hi Aamina, a big fan of urs from India, since Zindagi started airing pak shows here 🙂 and currently watching jackson heights online and absolutely in love with the show and salma 🙂 have couple of questions –

    1) the Vibe I sofar got from portrayal of salma in salma-bhatti saab (btw Nouman sir and aamina, u both totally rock it ) scenes is that she finds him her humdard but is not romantically inclined towards him? is it true? does salma have any romantic feelings for bhatti saab?

    2) one advice you would give to the domestic violence victims? its a pleasure to watch salma deal with the situation in a mature and strong manner

    3) your favourite co-star from the sets of JH :)? Adeel, Nouman sir, Marina maam, ali kazmi or adnan jaffar ? 🙂

  7. Will she anwer these question here or in video? Tell her to answer in video plzz

    My question is what do you think of the state of Pakistani dramas right now?


    What made you say yes to JH and the character of Salma?

  8. Love Jackson Heights ..portraying the true colours if desi life in North America ..Each and every character seems real except for Salma who at one end is being shown as a hard working lady supporting not only her useless husband and grumpy old saas but also her taking care of her step daughter like her own and on the other side flirting around with another married Pakistani man ..If she s stuck badly in an abusive relationship with Sikandar she should have left him already ….Shes living in US not in Pak where reporting ddomestic abuse is a complete no no …To me its quite hypocrite of her hiding her flirtation with Bhatti to her husband. ..Its like cheating …An absuive relationship doesn’t give any one the right to srart flirting around ..As a Pakistani living abroad myself for 14 years never encounterd any Pakistani woman who flirts with another married man comfertably like Salma …and still being portrayed mazloom and bechari …

    • I would hardly call that flirting .
      she’s just escaping her crappy home situation and spending time with a fellow pakistani who is easy to talk to and kind to her and cares about her .

      • she has already got a female friend Aaliya to discuss her problems including her abusive husband and his criminal past. .Why in the world she needs a “male Pakistanialready married fellow” to hang out in parks and celebrates his birthday ,giving and aaccepting presents from him,even eating cake from his hands??No typical Pakistani woman who is already going through enough stress and hard work have this much time to “flirt ” and yes again i will say “flirting ” around ….Totally crap character. ..

        • Oh ho , why must some people have such closed minds !!!
          There’s nothing romantic going on between them , they are just 2 people who are unhappy in their lives so no harm in sharing sob stories .
          And why can’t she have someone beside Aliya to share her problems with ??

          • Ladies: How about we wait for Aamina’s responses to the carious comments and see what she has to say about Salma and her harkats! 🙂

            • haha ..so you think they will exchange Rakhi in the end of the drama and Bhatti will announce Salma as his sister !!
              lol some people watch dramas with CLOSED eyes ..A child can also tell frim their scene and dialouges that theres fishy going on between them ..Even Aaliya is teasing Salma about being Flirting with Bhatti and Bhatti as romeo etc etc .and Salma acknowledging it ….

    • After watching Jan 9th episode absolutely no sympathy with Salma …If you opt to keep on living in an abusive household with a minor you are putting your and the minor’s life at risk by your hands .Should have gone to ask for a restrsining order immediately. …This is the legal and wise way to solve this problem and thats why there are shelters and family case workers are in US …Shame on Salma for not adopting the right step for Whatever reason ..

      BTW Amina Shaikh …simply love your acting in today’s episode ..Keep foing the great work …I love Ali Kazmi (Sikandar) ”s acting too ..hats off to director Mehreen Jabbar for the best characterization …

  9. Wow thats something real cool…getting chance to ask questions directly from Aamina Sheikh is whopee 😀

    First of all Aamina you are such an amazing amazing actor… Keep working so awesomely.. U can just own any character n skin in so easily.. stay blessed

    Q:1 ok i wanted to ask that all this while was just Eman the reason that was not allowing you to step out from this marriage?

  10. Q:4 salma is working with Aliya from i guess the time she got married.. Howcome not even once she gave ear to aaliya’s voice of reason?

  11. Q:5 what made salma to trust sikander this easily after he return back from jail.. I mean those sweets talks or change attitude can b one of the reason but not the only reason, so was tht love towards sikander tht she followed her heart n not used her brain k howcome anyone can change just like tht

  12. I simply adore AAmina and that shows in my comments and thank you SZ for this opportunity
    What do you find common in Salma and Amina ?

  13. Q2) Eiman is not your real daughter but Salma adores her;don’t you think it is unusual
    I mean loving your husband’s children is other thing and bearing all the abuse’work really hard for them is another thing?

  14. overall the story is good and different. but why salma gives too much importance to her step daughter although her husband didn’t consider her as her mother and always think what he is doing for her daughter is best?

  15. 1) Is it frustrating that most people are criticizing your character for staying in an abusive relationship rather than discussing that domestic violence is wrong?
    2) If not Salma and you had the chance to play another character in JH (regardless of gender) who would you choose?

  16. Not related to JH!

    Aamina, you are wonderful, articulate and a powerful performer! And I sincerely thank you for always bringing something new to the table.

    1) It has been said female characters in the past have been categorized as “mad bad or sad” do you think Pakistani dramas as a WHOLE are still living in that time-frame?

    2) In recent times, who’s performance has just blown you away?

    3) Is there any actress that you look at and think “thats the level I need/want to be at” or I aspire to be?

    4) Whats the best/worst advice you have been given in terms of acting?

    5) What are New Years resolution? (Please don’t say New Year, New Me! ;))

  17. @SZ wow! a wonderful post!

    Amina absolutely loving JH and your performance is top-notch like always! especially loved your Daam, Mora Piya. Your chemistry with Adeel was fab. We haven’t seen any scene of yours here (in JH) with Adeel, but I’m hoping we might just get a bonus one, just for good old time sakes lol…..

    Any chance of seeing you two together here? Salma bumping into Jamshed either in Central Park or at the diner?.. perhaps at Michelle/Jamshed wedding?.. (I’m beginning to sound desperate now lol)

  18. Why didn’t Salma warn Bhatti Sahab about her husband? Surely that would have made things easier for her. I was particularly concerned about her reaction when she was in the park with Sikander and Iman, and Bhatti Sahab turned up. Why did she hide from him that she was with her husband, when they had already decided there was no point meeting each other’s partners?
    (i was panicking more than Salma herself at that point lol..)

  19. Amina you have been fab throughout, but today I was seriously freaked out! Brilliant performance by yourself and Ali Kazmi. Last time Salma got the beats i was getting nightmares and this week it sent shiver up my spine & I could feel the pain right here!! .. iss baar tou na jane kitne din asar rahe ga!

    My question is: did it hurt? (because it just looked so soooo real!) & How do scenes like these affect the actor psychologically?

  20. Ok I’m gonna sound like such a desi auntie now lol , but here we go…

    Salma, iitne saal ho gaye shadi ko, why haven’t you got a child of your own? .. I love your relationship with Iman and you have raised her like your own, but apni aulad kion nahin? medical complexities, sikander was never around, sikander didnt want one, or perhaps you didnt want to bring another life into these circumstances.. akhir kion?

    Tha na typical aunties wala sawal! lol..

  21. I meantioned the hurt and psychological effects on the actor in my question above.
    Psychological element wala sawal apni jagah, but let me be very specific and ask bluntly.. how many bruises did u get?
    Honestly the way AK had your face in his fist.. uffff!

  22. Would love to hear how this scene in particular was shot. The intensity on the set, rehearsals, how many takes, techniques, after effects etc..

  23. 1-Aap salma k character say kis hud tak relate kerti hain?…kis hud tak aap oos ko sahi samajhti hain apnay actions / reactions aur decisions mein?

    2-Bohat say viewers kaa kehna hai Salma kaa character unrealistic hai?..aap iss per kia kahen gi?

    3-Salma aur Sikendar k relation kaa future kia hai?…kia hum ek logical ending ki terf jaa rahay hain jis mein salma apnay rights k liay struggle kray fight kray yaa phir hamesha ki tra ek sudden dramatic twist k zeriay sikendar salma ki life say hamesha k liay nikal jye gaa?..aap kis ko prefer kren gi?

    Thanks in advance

  24. Firstly, amazed at how well AS is playing Salma. The scene from the latest episode had me close to tears.. My question(s) for Aamina Sheikh are (apologise if these have been asked already):

    At what point did you make the decision to play Salma? Was it at some point whilst reading through the script?

  25. In what ways, do you feel that you relate to Salma? Do you think you have her endurance and strength?

  26. I’ve heard that it is harder to cry whilst acting, than to laugh. During the scenes where AKs character is abusing you, would you ever end up laughing amidst the serious takes? Or were those scenes serious whilst shooting?

  27. What do you think Salma’s view would be on finding out that an older lady (Michelle) from her community is married to a younger man (Jamshed)? Seeing as she’s always with Bhatti Saab, (although I cant tell if Salma loves him yet) even though there is a significant age gap between them?

  28. As-Salaam-o-Alaikam,
    kesi hain Meri Sweet Aamina G? Hamesha ki tarha Different Role, Outstanding Acting, Zabardast Expressions,,,, Aap ki acting k yehi RANG har CHARACTER ko yun SAJA dety hain, k jessy role bana hi AAP k liye hy,,, iss mei raaz hy kya???

  29. Salma mature hoty hoey b (jewelry k liye) achanak sy Sikandar ko change hota dekh k Sikandar ki baaton mei kesy aa gai? Jab k jewelry sy pehly aik baar Sikandar Salma ko maar b chukka hy. Kya aik wife itni foolish hoti hy, k wo Sikandar jesy Husband ki baaton mei itni jaldi aa jaey?

  30. Salma ko apni job sy hi life aur ghar chalana hy, to phir Salma iss mahool sy alag Q nahi ho jati? America jesi country mei rehty hoey b, apni life ko Q aik Pakistani Aurat jesi life guzar rahi hy? Jis k paas Susral mei rehny k elawa aur koi choice hi nahi….

  31. Nothing like sneaking in at the very last minute.
    So I must say that Salma is not a sympathetic character for me. Several reasons why I find this situation difficult to stomach:
    She lives in a place where cops are at the door in minutes and are trained to evaluate domestic violence situations;
    She’s the earning member of this family and yet has relinquished her self-respect. At least studies indicate that economic status/ability for women helps balance the scales in family power structures;
    Episodes where it is SHE who raises the jewellery issue (I cringed) when she has lived with Sikander for years and he has returned from jail make Salma look plain stupid.
    Eimaan is now becoming vocal about this situation. So we are seeing a dysfunctional relationship where the child is assuming the role of the caretaker for the adult.

    So here’s my question:
    If Salma’s qurbani i.e. enduring the violence, is because of her love for Eimaan, how does she reconcile the fact that this situation and her role in it only gives Eimaan a sad and very likely debilitating example for her own future?

    Still tuned in…though skipping the violent scenes.

  32. Chalte chalte, even though you guys have asked most of the questions I was thinking about let me add in my two cents before we close off the comments on this thread…

    @Aamina: What did you as an actor add to the character, as in what quirks./characteristics/nuances did you give to Salma that would be uniquely yours… something another actress playing Salma wouldn’t necessarily have thought of adding to this character…

  33. 2. How much freedom or leeway do you as actor have to make or request changes to the script you are handed … are directors open to suggestions from their actors or are you guys supposed to stick to the written word no matter what …
    So suppose that you know that some stuff that Salma is doing is totally bogus and nobody in their right mind would do what she is being made to do … how then would you deal with such a situation?

  34. 3. I asked you earlier what did Aamina bring to Salma, so now if we were to flip it, what if anything did Salma give/teach Aamina?

  35. 4. One last question that many commentators have been wondering about: Chalo Salma tau is abused and battered and a desi woman so lets give her a free pass, but why hasn’t Iman called 911 as yet? Kids in the US are taught from day one to call 911 in case of any emergency, and idhar tau poor Salma keeos getting beaten up but Iman does, says nothing.. in the last episode she dialed and even started talking to them but then hung up .. why was there no follow up from the cops or something like that … should we chalk that up to dramatic license or did the writer director have a well thought out reason for her not calling 911 and no official follow to her botched call ..

  36. @Aamina Sheikh: Thank you!! Thank you for being such a fabulous sport and agreeing to respond to our questions and being so very generous with your time – much appreciated! 👏 😘