Pinjra ~ Episodes 9 & 10 Review

With the basic story comfortably established it is now the characters’ turn to step up and take center stage. Jahanzeb, who had seemed relatively bland, when compared to the in-your-face Aurangzeb and the Dudley-Do-Right Shahzeb, is now shaping up as quite the character. Was his earlier avatar his true self or is this ver. 2.0 really him?

Whatever Jahan’s eventual game might be, for now his turnaround has certainly made an impact on Bibi and Zulekha. For Bibi he is now a man she can now depend on, to not only carry forward her legacy of power and control but also a valuable pawn in this intricate game of chess she has going on with her younger son. Whether she ends up using him or he manipulates her trust in him to serve his own nefarious agenda is something I hope to see unfold in the weeks to come.

For Zulekha, Jahan’s behaviour has given her a lot to chew on. He is not as unaware as she had thought him to be. This man knows of, or at the very least suspects, her interest and/or involvement with Mubashir. It is not so much that she is afraid of what he might do or say but more what Bibi would do to her if her son were to seriously share his suspicions with his mother, hence her attempt to stroke his male ego.

For now Jahan has these two ladies right where he wants them but for how long? Bibi and Zulekha are two very sharp cookies and have been playing this game for a long time and it will, therefore, take a lot of sharp maneuvering on Jahan’s part to ensure that he does not let trivial matters get in his way before he reaches his goal, whatever that may be.

And what bigger trivial matter than his lust for Asiya. Whether he was drunk or merely playacting there is no hiding that he is more than interested in this girl who is his legally wedded wife. Add to this the complication that Shahzeb the social crusader is also interested in her and we have on our hands an impending showdown between the two brothers, both equally matched in economic, political and social terms. Hassan Niazi is very good here as he and director work together to create a very nice arc for this interestingly layered character.

Where Jahanzeb’s character twist intrigues me, Shahzeb’s one note character so far has been a tad bit disappointing. I wish his declaration of love had not come at this early stage in the game. As it stands, now his efforts on Asiya’s behalf will appear to serve selfish purposes not a genuine desire to help a distressed person. That said, I do appreciate the Team’s efforts to highlight the difficulties of trying to bring social change. If things are so hard for a person of Shahzeb’s standing then one can only imagine the challenges faced by laymen as illustrated by the person refusing to help set up the school. Bibi’s cruel punishment for Sakina is another example of the high personal cost paid by those daring to go against the wishes of those in control.

On the issue of punishments, how the how does Bibi’s brain work? And then all the cruel and inhuman punishments? Does she stay up nights thinking of ways to torture people – physically and/or mentally? Her given name might be Jannat but kis ki jannat aur kahan ki jannat! I wonder if we will ever get to see her back story… who is this woman and what happened to her that she’s turned out to be this way. Does she ever have a warm thought for anybody? I say this every time but it bears repeating: Samina Ahmed is fabulous as Jannat Bibi.

Trying her best to match Jannat Bibi’s cruel streak is the wily Zulekha. Why would any girl choose such an unlikely role model is very telling of the patriarchal feudal society, where the only way a woman can get access to power is either via a man or through cruel and underhanded manipulations and machinations. Asiya or for that matter Sakina have done no harm to Zulekha, but inadvertently their actions can cause her undoing hence the need to eliminate them as threats. There is no justification nor rationalization except that if Zulekha’s behaviour is wrong then the societal system that must to bear a fair share of the blame. Kiran Haq is makes for a great Zulekha.

As for Asiya, the girl at the center of this maelström, like a bird she’s gradually adjusting to a life with clipped wings. Shahzeb compels her to rebel but so far she’s afraid. Its easy for him to say the words, but, for a girl who has seen her family wiped out in one go, she is rightfully afraid. For now Shahzeb has pushed for change mainly through his words, does he have the guts to actually do something dire? Is he brave enough to risk Bibi’s wrath?

Ten weeks in I am still engaged and intrigued. Writing, directing and acting are all gelling really well here. I just wish that we didn’t have to so much of Jahan lusting over Asiya, the long scenes are off putting in a drama so elegant otherwise. Also, by now we get that Bibi is cruel so please spare us the creative punishments each week. As Bibi puts it so well: No need to go loud and dramatic to make your point. In earlier reviews Icomplained about the music and I don’t know if by now I am getting used to it but the overlaying of the two OSTs seemed a bit more restrained this time around and the background score too seemed gentler on the ear.

All in all Im still onboard, what about you all?

Written by SZ~

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20 replies

  1. Wah zabardast..enjoyed your take on Jahahzeb.. tbh i was bit bored watching this episode that i ffwd last few mins n watched promo for next epi.. mainly cuz of Shahzeb and Aasiya romaance.. it annoyed me.. could be because it was too quick n without giving any logic from shahzeb side.. aasiya we knew it was love at first sight…

    But yes Jahanzeb bits were really interesting.. the way he made saleem spill the beans was too good.. more than lead track.. jahanzeb and zulekha are something to look for.. zulekha so know kis ke button kaise dabane hain.. blackmailing chokidar (?) To her interest is something baayen haath ka khel

    Jannat bibi.. when she said ek din me do panchaet.. i was like Allah kher… n tht punishment.. lagta he ye sab bibi k saath hua he tabhi in no time she gives such punishments… i agree with you @SZ on her back story n i was quite amazed in last epi.. where only cuz jahan came home drunk n was kinda fearless.. bibi was proud of him …shows the mentality of feudal family

    • Rehmat, really enjoyed your comments yaar, uff next time I see Zulekha on screen I’ll remember your button comment 😀

      You are so right about Bibi – either someone has done these things to her or to someone close to her (maybe her mother?) That’s why she’s so full of this inexplicable venom inside her… She is one of the most interesting characters in recent dramas and SA has played her perfectly. How can the eyes be so menacing? And the voice just sends chills down the spine. I honestly watch the next day during day time because it really disturbs me at night…

      How is Baby Z? I hope the “ishqaaawaay” is not scaring her… Sending you both lots of love.

      • @VZ Yaar you are too sweet..seriously.. ..hahah Baby Z is doing great.. she reacts in hilarious way whenever she hears loud voice/song.. so if all of sudden ishqaway ka volume goes up she widens her eyes will stop doing any moment n stare at me….as if saying for goodness sake bachi ki jaan lo ge😂😂😂🙈
        Sorry got carried away..
        Love back VZ khala (hope its ok to call u that:)

        U recognised Sakina rightly..she is same.. who played mira’s sister:) i know.. you are so right about Bibi.. her menacing voice give chills.. i so want to know why she killed her husband? You know these punishments now look nothing as compare to what they did with nazu’s husband.. burying alive.. ufff

        • Baby Z is so cute MA! Yes of course Khala is fine, lots of duas for her 😘

          Bibi is uff, what a character! As SZ says don’t care who the “leads” are, we at least get to enjoy these wonderful artists get roles that do them some justice.

          How versatile these actors are, they are equally at ease playing a village lord or a city person, kind person or absolutely cruel, every character gets differentiated beautifully…

    • Haye haye Rehmat you not liking Chotu’s brand of romance? 😜
      Zubeda and her buttons too funny now that’s how I’ll picture her next time I watch!
      So agree with you on how intolerant feudalism is of those perceived as “soft” remember Aurang and how he was teased by men in his family because he was not a part of their boy gang.

      • Hahaha ab banda ya tou chotu ki tarah romance kare ya shahzeb ki tarah firm mind of bringing change.. dono cheezain nhn hosaktein 😂

    • Can someone explain what’s the history between zuleka and mubasshir ? It seems he used to be engaged to the lady who is now a widow (jagga’s wife).
      Have I missed something here as there was no backstory on zuleka and Mubashir, are they cousins ?
      Thank you in advance

      • Hello Libby, I am fuzzy on their back story as well but it seems like they are first cousins and Zulekha was in love with Mubashir but was forced to marry Jahan instead ( in account of their higher socio-economic status maybe). Mubashir on the other hand was engaged to the now-widow and probably loved her as well, then she got married to Ranga who took fancy to her and once he took an interest then a pre-existing mangni had no weight. That said, Ranga showed no qualms whatsoever about throwing her previous relationship in her face any time she displeased him.
        If anyone else has more of an insight into this complicated web of relationships please help out. Thanks!

        Also, I am almost caught up with stuff. Will start posting from this weekend onwards. Thank you all for your patience 🙏🏼

  2. Fabulous (and very detailed) review, as always, SZ! I don’t know how you do it. But lots of taaliyan and much thanks!

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one disappointed by Shahzeb being a bit one-dimensional and also just a bit too good to be true. I was hoping he’d prove to be a proper opponent for his mother, combining her spirit and determination with his own reformist zeal. Instead, he’s a bit of a sap, sadly. I found his whole izhar-e–mohabbat for Aasiya tacked on and rushed. It would be nice if there could be a show where men don’t fall in love with women without the whole swooning and staring into each other’s eyes sequence. I was rather hoping that Shahzeb would be the sort of guy who cared more about his planned reforms and spent his time zealously advocating for change only to realize much after the fact that he’d fallen for the girl trapped in his own home. But alas, it only took one ishqaaawaaaay to change all of that.

    As for Aasiya, I think she’s been written in a very interesting way. On the one hand, she’s the frightened child, this show’s trademark bechari mazloom. But on the other hand, she’s also very practical and mature when it comes to both her brother and Shahzeb. The promo scene involving her character in the next episode was very interesting indeed.

    But Jannat Bibi takes the cake here. She is utterly fascinating to me. She wields a lot of power in that world but her stock in trade is fear, not wealth. I found the bit where she explains the difference between a spent bullet and one still in the chamber to Jahanzeb chilling. But here’s the thing with winning respect and compliance out of fear. Eventually, when people are pushed too far, they stop being afraid and then they have nothing to lose and will come at you with everything they have. Sakina may be cowed and humiliated now, but she seems like a lioness licking her wounds, so Bibi better watch out.

    Btw, the Sakina humiliation scene reminded me of a scene from the BBC’s very camp and slightly silly Robin Hood (of 2006 vintage), where the Sheriff publicly humiliates Maid Marian after she goes against his orders. If interested, you can watch it here (from about 29:05 to 31:55): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUr6mXaoSUw&t=12s&ab_channel=MaritastorsveenHansen

    Basically, the Sheriff tells Marian “if I were to say that you were right, then I would lose face. But that can’t happen. We must have authority.” Bibi even looks a bit like the Sheriff, with all the all-black attire and menacing facial expressions.

    • RK, Shahzeb has been a bit of a disappointment na? That romance track isn’t sitting well with me either, because it all seemed too quick. Is it an unwritten rule to have a compulsory love track in every drama these days? Then at least I wish they develop it organically…

    • Love your reading of Asiya .. so true.
      Aah! Bibi is in a class all her own isn’t she! I love how we are getting to see brilliant actresses one after another ( SeMM and now this) and see how they make words come alive on screen .. their pauses, enunciation, little nuances they add all brilliant stuff! I feel sorry for all the younger actors who might be getting to play the “leads” but are really missing out on the good stuff.
      Yes Bibi better watch out, but somehow I don’t see Sakina as leading the charge .. she will join on def but I will be surprised if she instigates anything. I remember in an earlier ep (1st? ) she had talked abt coming from a humbler background hence being used to being overlooked etc .. I think she’s more like Mubashir in this respect who has internalized the system so much that he cannot think outside the box .. if he had been able to he could’ve put up more of a fight to save his sister and if it that then atleast not given up on her quite as easily.
      That said I would be happy to be surprised in this instance.
      lol at the sheriff Bibi comparison. I haven’t had s chance to look at the vdo as yet but will in a bit.
      Btw, your ishqaway line .. wah wah

      • You’re probably right about Sakina. Maybe there’s no fight left in her. But I just feel like she’s one of those people who will finally wake up when pushed just a bit too far. Maybe if she feels one of her sons is threatened in some way?

        Mubashir…ugh. He sits on his charpoy in his fields everyday feeling sorry for himself. Do you think he’s realized yet that he could have just given Bibi the land she wanted and all the women in his family would still be alive and well? Stupid mard log and their mardana and all that “zamin aur hatyaar mard ka zevar hai” nonsense!

  3. SZ, when I was watching this week’s episode, I was thinking that something was definitely wrong with me, because I enjoyed everything except the 💓… It felt like all the romantic talk was eating into precious minutes of the episode, I wanted to them to move on to more interesting things, especially since some of the dialogues​ given to Shahzeb were so cheesy. Turns out that all of you felt the same so I’m not the only one ☺

    Your review, going through each character’s motivations and analysing what they are up to, is very well written SZ – your insights into Zulekha are particularly interesting to read. Z is almost the younger version of Jannat Bibi, but the latter has gone through something cruel in her life to end up like she is, whereas Z is just absolutely tempted by the sheer power wielded by her phuppo – was Jannat Bibi a vani too? How did she become what she is? Who will loosen her tongue to reveal her past? Aasiya?

    Jannat Bibi might not be so pleased by the level of interest we are showing in her backstory – we better watch out, too much curiosity and she might devise one of her trademark punishments​ for us here 😛

    Jahanzeb is another surprise package – he’s really coming into his own after Ranga’s death isn’t he? But bhayee Mubashir, you should patent and sell your unique formula which makes girls fall right left and centre for you *slowclap*…

    My pet peeve with this play is the makeup/styling. Aasiya’s perfect one strand of hair, Baji Sakina’s beautiful French manicure – little things that spoil what is supposed to be the rawness of the play, especially given how much they’ve brought in with the locales and accents. By the way is the actress playing Sakina the one who played Mira Sethi’s sister in Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai?

    But all in all, this play is quite a good watch, it punches you in the gut when you are least expecting it. Looking forward to next week SZ 🙂

    • Haha! VZ, RK, Rehmat: we are sounding like an anti- lurve brigade 😂
      I get the feeling that the lurve angle is a tacky add on to satisfy the demands of that section of the audience who want a “lead couple” to ship. I was reading comments on some forum abt the chemistry between the lead pair and how cute the looked together .. it actually took me some time before I got who they were talking abt … i was confused because I couldn’t figure out who they were calling the lead pair since there really is no lead pair per se ..
      exactly, I too have the same questions abt Bibi – her backstory interests me .. and . I hope we get one here … sans the punishment 🙏🏼
      Haha! I know Mubashir’s formula:: the fake mustache! Qasam se it’s the worst one ever! And yes the makeup taubah!!! It’s not just Sakina, even Asiya has nails in better shape than mine💅🏼 Agree with you that these guys could spend a bit more time undoing their look rather than enhancing it ..

  4. Just to let all UK friends know that A Plus is now available on Sky TV, channel 859. I’m watching Pinjra on TV today 🙂

    Also, Urdu 1 is also available on Sky TV, channel 861.

    • Hello @ Syeda
      Thank you for writing in. So good to hear from a silent reader and a fellow Pinjra follower! Welcome!
      No haven’t given up on it all! I’ve just not able to get back into a blogging schedule after my vacation. I am def watching though and am trying to work on an overview. My apologies for slacking off!
      But wah kiya story hai, nahin? I’m riveted!

  5. Dear All: I had full intentions of posting the long overdue overview for Pinjra but I have been nursing a migraine all day. Ab all things remaining equal I should have the post up tomorrow #fingersntoessotightlycrossedtheyhurt!

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