Jackson Heights ~ Episode 17 Review

J4Salma, Salma, Salma, lend me your ears …

Shakespeare koshish kartey kartey guzar gaye, Aliya ne bhi apni taraf se samjhaya, Bhatti bhai ne bhi kureda, hum ne bhi warn kiya … magar…. Salma ney nahin suni …

Magar woh sunti bhi kaise?

shohar’s house is a woman’s only true ghar, it is up to her to make the marriage work, doing susral ki khidmat and catering to their every whim is a part of her job description, giving up or walking out on a bad marriage is akin to sinning, sab theek ho jaye ga, mayoosi gunah hai…. just a sampling of what she probably grew up hearing.

The cacophony of all those simplistic naseehats and outdated mashwaras made it very hard for to hear the sound of her friends’ voices. Nonetheless, deafened as she was – lost in her own head and buried under the weight of her problems – defeated she was not. She had hoped and wished and prayed for the best, but when that did not happen, and she saw Sikander was not going to change she did start taking action … baby steps… one foot in front of the other.

Its so easy for us on the outside to judge – aisa kyon nahin karti, waisa kyon nahi karti – that we often forget that easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk. We are so busy criticizing them that we forget to applaud and appreciate their incredible courage and can-do spirit. They are not victims who wallow in their miseries rather these women are survivors.

No matter how much Sikander abuses her physically she refuses to submit emotionally. She is afraid, for sure, but that does not stop her from taking a stand for the things she values most. She could have easily gone crazy thinking about her miserable life, but she’s been productive, her family’s provider. Singlehandedly she’s raised a strong daughter, not only thought about her future but also protected it, ensuring her jewelry remained out of Sikander’s reach.

What she can be faulted on is hiding the extent of her problems from her friends, but then again bharam rakhna is such a huge part of our desi set up that is not hard to understand Salma’s perspective. That said, we saw her opening up today, and Salma, my girl, you had me cheering you on on every step of the way. But what happened later was just heartbreaking ….

This is where I think Vasay and Mehreen have excelled in narrating Salma’s track. One scene of unadulterated abuse and we see why Salma’s never talked about her relationship with Sikander, and perhaps also why she’s never been able to bring herself to report the abuse. We saw her doing what we all had been urging to do for weeks, but the price she ends up paying for that one breath of fresh air is excruciatingly painful to witness. For some odd reason, I am not getting a and-she-lived-happily-ever-after vibe from Salma’ track but here’s to hoping I’m proven wrong.

We knew Salma was being abused, but to see it like this, up close and personal, sans the glycerine and the loud background music, was horrifying. As a scene it worked brilliantly, the horror played up more so by tayi jee and Kash. Iman’s walking in, and tayi jee’s response to her granddaughter’s entry made for a brilliant juxtaposition. Clearly tayi jee has different chashmas through which she sees different people differently.

Aamina Sheikh is fabulous and we know that, her Ujala in Mora Piya/Piya Re is one my all time fave characters, but her performance here was in a whole other league. The gold star for acting for this episode must, however, go to Ali Kazmi. Sadly our awards are even more screwed up than Sikander’s head so I know not to get upset, but trophy miley ya na miley, all of us who have been following Jackson Heights ka psycho Sikander will not forget his performance here in a hurry. batesproperty01Today, in particular, his crazed, psychotic Sikander totally scared the heck out of me. Not just in that scene with Salma, but later with Kash as well. I don’t know about you all, but I’m still freaked out!

From psycho Sikander to jalebi Jamshed… what a contrast!!

Where Sikander acts first and thinks later, apne jalebi sahab soch samajh kar kaam kartey hain. Like Salma, Jamshed is another character we’ve seen evolve over seventeen weeks. Many dismiss him as a stereotype and he may as well end up being one, but its the exploration of Jamshed’s growth arc that makes this character stand out.

We’ve seen Jamshed go through through various stages: the angry young man phase giving way to a man who lands in the US with stars in his eyes, his starry-eyed enthusiasm phased out by gradual disillusionment leading to an eventual hardening, all points of his journey have been very nicely plotted and narrated. Adeel Hussain has done complete justice to this very layered character.

Jamshed has played his cards very smartly up until now, but after all that he’s done today I’m not sure if Michele is gonna be fooled much longer. Or at least, that’s what I’m hoping. My girl Salma showed quite a bit spine today, tau Michele ab aap bhi aa jayen maidan mein… can’t wait to see you two ladies mil ke bajao these guys’ band, aur woh bhi zor se!  

And jahan band bajane ki baat hau, as in tooting your own horn and woh bhi zor se, tau how can we forget our bandmaster Bhatti sahab. Much I give him shabashi for looking out for Salma, I can’t still help but be a bit miffed by how he went up to Aliya and accused her of not doing anything to help Salma. Bhai jee, aap bhi tau dost they? How much had would you have ever known about Salma’s domestic situation if Sikander hadn’t literally run into you?

Bhatti sahab, maan lijeye aap bhi Aaliya jaise hi dost hain. You have the resources to dig up the dirt on Sikander, who do you think is waiting around to help Aliya do the same. For that matter, you’ve scolded Aliya for not being friend enough, magar aap khud?  I’m so glad that at least aaj Bhatti sahab admitted was so busy with his pity parties that he had never really listened to Salma, paid heed to the absence of what was left out of all her convos.

Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but hadn’t Bhatti implied in an earlier episode that once his immigration went through he would return to Pakistan and possibly rethink his situation with Kathy? So then why was he lying to Kathy and saying he wouldn’t leaver her? Kathy may not be his ideal wife today, but looking at how Jamshed is manipulating Michele one can easily discern what happened so many years ago between mamoon and maami Bhatti. Needless to say Nauman Ijaz is Imran Bhatti to the tee. I can’t imagine any other actor managing to pull off such a complex character and making it look so effortless.

So from apni Aliya, to shareef Salma, to Bhatti bhai to jalebi Jamshed to muhabbat mein andhi Michele to psycho Sikander, to terrible tayi jee, sab ke sab full form mein they aaj. making for one heck of an episode.

Overall, I am enjoying the coherence, clarity and fluidity with which Vasay Ch and Mehreen J are telling their story. So much of all that had been subtly hinted at before is now coming together with exquisite timing. The lead actors have all done a superb job bringing to life their very complicated characters. Others like Neelofar Abbasi Meher Jaffri and Adnan Jaffar may not be on screen much but they have all made an impact.

Seventeen weeks in and I’m more than hooked – two thumbs up Team Jackson Heights!

Written by SZ~

P.S. Dont forget to leave your questions and comments for Salma … only a few more days left! Post your questions here:

Salma Se Sawal ~ Your Questions and Aamina’s Answers!

14 replies

  1. Thanks indeed for brilliant comprehensive Review. This drama deserves all applause and awards.
    I love the story, that brilliantly covers external and internal lives of all and sundry. Hats off to writer and director, and to actors for goving their best. I sincerely hope people appreciate this extraordinary drama.


  2. GREAT review SZ!! this one is going strong even if it is CREEPILY strong 🙂 I don’t know why Imaan can’t call 911 – script mein nahi hai 😦 I am seeing Salma land in a hospital bed soon with a gunshot wound or broken ribs.
    For Michele’s sake, I hope she finds out sooner than later the jalebi of a mess she’s about to get into. Rizwan Bhaijaan please come back and talk some sense into this lady.
    And Naani is going to be exiting from the stage soon too – I have a feeling. Neither Mamu or Bhateeja have done anything for her. Shame on them. Buss baatein bananay mein dono agay agay hain.
    I love how all these actors are playing their parts so well.


    • @Annie: Naani is not exiting soon, at least I dont think so .. one of the scenes in the promos showed Jamshed cuddling up very happily with Naani … and I dont think we ever saw him happy before he left .. and she who’s survived 15 yrs of her bahu’s nagging is not gonna pass away anytime soon.. Waisey I figured out why the bahu is always mad … if you look at the bhai bhabhi and naani carefully you see both naani and bhai have jet black hair jab ke bechari bhabhi has a bad dye job which is pretty much faded .. so basically she’s in a permanent state of snit because maa beta have spent the entire household budget on buying cartons of Kala Kola and bechari bhabhi ke liye paise hi nahin bachey … ab batao banti hai na us ki naraazgi??? 😦


  3. SZ what wonderful review, I love the story , and so real. I was so scared to see salama and SIkender . ( Idios Mios) . I cannot imagine how one can go through,so sad. Jamshed is showing his Real side .hope rizwan come soon , and save my girl. Bhattisab is great!!!! This is so real and it does happen in here too. I have heard a few cases like that and it gives me the chill.
    Comming back to freezing cold (home) fun is over !!!! Thanks for explaining the meaning of Ahmedsab phrase ( from zid) .thanks again


    • @Ranjan: Hey! Awww! Chalo now you are feeling our pain too 😉 Its been so frickin’ cold ke its ridiculous!
      Exactly, like you I too am loving how real all these guys are and how there are are no good bad guys rather what we are seeing here is 50 shades of grey .. and te other thing I;m loving abt this is that the dir and writer have not imposed a single vision of their absolute truth, hence you can read Bhatti Jamshed, Salma Kathy all in myriads of ways … and isnt that such a fab mirroring of real life where we all see the same thing so differently ..
      I think Rizwan will reappear if not this week then perhaps next week .. I cant imagine Michele not telling him about Jamshed’s proposal and even if she doesn’t we know that Adnan will def go complain to Rizwan, telling him how Madam M has lost her head .. .looks like a lot more yet to come -So looking fwd to tom! 🙂


  4. Your reviews are such a treat to read.. Have already read it twice… Keep writing awesomely 😊

    Right from episode 1 JH is doing wonders… Not even a single episode up until now have bored me and i am 100% it wont bore me in coming weeks too.. this week’s episode was just class.. Thrilling i must say.. Aamina Sheikh and Ali Kazmi were rockstars.. That intense scene between them freaked me out too.. That scene had all MJ chahpp over it…. At one side i was getting scared with salma and on other side i just couldnt stop praising how that scene was shot.. The buildup and then emaan coming for rescue.. All in all a great quality work to be seen.. It was great to see Salma sharing her story with Bhatti Sahab but not on the price of this.. 😦 for Bhatti its always easier said then done.. Pehle khud tou amal karain before preaching others.. Totally agree with you @SZ k how Salma no matter how much she gets physically tortured but her mental strength is very much there… That scene with Emaan proved that.. And even confrontation with Taee Ami too.. But Salma sweetheart they are laaton ke bhoot, baaton ka time gaya.. And hayee aisa na kahon SZ.. Sab ki happy shappy ending ho na.. 😀 The last scene was terrifying to the T.. Uff these kind of villains make you to pray k hope aise characters sirf fiction hon.. Not waqai me in real :/

    Jamshed and his julebi like harketein.. Aisa le doobegi na k yaad rakhega.. Watching AH and MK together is amazing.. Marina khan is such a brilliant actor.. i was totally going aww on her scenes.. The way she acts so naturally makes you think ahh some things never change.. She is still same as she was in Tanhaiyaan.. (Hope u know what i mean) baqi aisi hasti muskrati rahe bus.. Desparately waiting for Rizwan to come back.. Things then would get spiced up seriously..

    I always have such a huge smile on fridays and saturdays .. Ek tou weekend upae se u get to see quality dramas which makes you happy shappy 🙂


  5. Wow! i watched the ep yday and im still getting goosebumps thinking about the scene! I really hope bechari Amina didnt end up with any bruises.. The way he had grabbed her face! ufff! we see action in movies and mar peet in dramas, but this was so real! No ott-ness.. no loud bgs.. infact an eerie silence by the spectators.. almost egging him on quietly.. I do wonder how hard it is for the actors..

    The kash scene was just as intense! Lol @ the perfectly apt award for our Psycho Sikander!! Chalo ji that brings MJ at par with Hitchcock lol ..

    Jalebi Jamshed!!! too right abt -ve growth! the badla from the cousin was wow! and i kinda enjoyed that, but then we see its not just the revenge tip, guy is now getting too big for his boots! It’s like that nau-daulatia-type reaction.. when the money/power comes too quick, they just don’t know how to handle it! It gets to their heads.. It will be interesting to see Michelle’s reaction now.. That was exactly the kinda thing she never liked about desis, and look what she has landed herself into! the jalebi junction!.. Waiting to see what turn Michelle takes next week at the proposal..

    the holier than thou Bhatti bhai ko bhi award milna chahye aaj.. I love salma, but not like that! ufffff! What a character he is! And NI absolutely nails him! I think he is equally confused (like us) about what he actually wants and where he is heading.. much like jamshed the only thing he ‘actually’, ‘really’ cared about in life so far was the immigration status.., and little does he realize that Salma ji might just over take that..


  6. As you have put it SZ team JH is in full form. This story does not have elements of being a blockbuster as it is not larger than life story instead a very day to day happening story but with MJ being captain of the ship, the perfect pace of narration along with apt script all the actors are delivering to the point. Amidst of these I am in love with Imran Bhatti, yes a perfect father, brother, boyfriend, friend all rolled into one. He wants to be a good husband too but with Kathy’s put off attitude he seems to have given up on it. I like his big brotherly attitude towards his desi bhais and at times he seems to be a guardian of Salma and Aliya soon turning into a concerned friend/ boy friend where he innocently confesses he likes spending time with Salma rattling out his troubles and waiting for her words of assurances. The actor playing Sikandar…even though I have been following Pakistani serials for last 4-5 years I don’t seem to recollect having seen him before. Oh what a fabulous job he is doing. Though Jamshed and Michell’s story is interesting, for me expecting a known outcome of their romance at the back of my mind is keeping me off from their track.

    This serial once again proves, a story, no matter how mundane it may seem, if narrated well backed up with fabulous performances will keep viewers hooked. Take a bow team JH 🙂


    • @Tinni: Re: Ali Kazmi, he has indeed been away from he PK drama scene for a while, but you can see a few of his older serials’/long plays on YT: Vani, Phir Youmn Love Hua, Kaisa Yeh Junoon, Ehsaas, etc ..
      If you don’t already know this then you might be pleasantly surprised to know that he is Rahat and Sahira Kazmi’s son … yes the actor director of the unforgettable classic Dhoop Kinarey!! And so in that sense Jackson Heights is kinda fun to watch because you have Rahat Kazmi’s son and Marina Khan acting together .. would be great to see them together in a scene or two together, no ? 🙂


  7. Seventeen weeks in and Jacjson Height is going all strong,but this latest installement was the best episode so far.Brillainty executed,well written,naturally acted and of course it has MJ in every scene.Like you Ujala is mine favourite too and I strongly agree if it wasn’t Aamina the character would have long forgotton but it is her and she wears the characters.Ali Kazmi and Amina Sheikh they both were superb together,Sikander gives me “eww” feeling.The way he was holding Salma’s face and Salma’s expressions it was all real.Salma has got some courage finally she is showing mirror to Tay jee that it is not them but her who has done “ehsaan” on them.Kudos to Jackson Height team.

    Jamshed his new manager status has gone into his head ,he is not aware but he he has landed himself in trouble.Jamshed scene with supervisor was hillarious the way that poor man keep saying”Tum mujhe baatein sunao gay,tum mujhe job se nikalo gay”I feel Rizwan is gonna come back soon and may be he will put some brains in Michelle’s head;I love how he never brings his proposal again and they have put that thing aside and have continue their friendship.Adeel Hussain as usual was great in all his scenes.

    Bhatti saheb I can see he ia not gonna get his immigration now,he could have talked to Kathy about all this but he chose to walk out.17 weeks in and 7 more to go I am completely hooked.


    • @Ruba: Ohh!!! Don’t remind me! I keep trying to forget that this one’s gonna end so soon 😥
      Re: Rizwan, I think if Adnan has any sense of loyalty to Michele he will call Rizwan and tell him ke kya kya tamasha ho raha hai un ke peeche … And uff what an ass Jamshed was being when ke said ke I get his job because of my hard work! Konsa hard work kiya bhai sahab ne?? I just love the swag AH gives to Jamshed ,,, itna attitude ke had nahin!!


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