Jashn Ka Din Hai ~ Independence Day Special ~ Review of a Mini-Serial

For the past week or so my social media news feeds and timelines have gone green with Jashn-e Azadi mubarak posts. And yes, like many of you I too am humming along with the milli naghmey and enjoying the mera pyara watan, meri sohni dharti type feel good videos put out by various brands and corporates.  All fantastic.

But is this all there is to azadi? What does jashn-e azadi really celebrate? Is this a day to celebrate the independence we gained from British rule in 1947? If so, then where is the accountability for all that we’ve lost since? Surely if we are celebrating wins then shouldn’t we also be taking time out to contemplate the losses?

Taking inspiration from Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s nazm  by the same name, Jashn Ka Din Hai is a short serial, ten episodes, that aired in 2012 from Express Entertainment. Qazi Wajid, Badar Khalil, Khalid Ahmad, Adnan Jaffer, Hiba Ali, Humayun Ashraf, Suhaee Abro and Mustafa Afridi star in this serial which is written by Bee Gul and directed by Khalid Ahmed. This is a story about freedom, a simple word with multiple meanings and complex interpretations.

It is in exploring the various facets of freedom that Bee Gul’s pen shines bright. Khalid sahab understands the intricacies of this script and in very sensitively narrated story we meet retired Professor Liaquat, his wife Parsa Begum, their daughter Insha and the young Deema; intertwined with theirs is the story of their neighbor Islahuddin and his son Hasan. Running parallel is the track of Murad, Sofia and Hashim.

As events unfold these various strands meld together in a multi layered narrative that touches on issues such as class differences, societal conflicts, social taboos, corruption, hypocrisy, censorship, art vs commercialism, and so much more. Unlike those feel good jashn-e azadi mubarak videos that we are used to watching around 14th August, Jashn Ka Din Hai paints a very realistic portrait of modern-day Pakistan, bitter and critical but hopeful and determined in equal measures. Finally, though this story is set in the Pakistani context, the issues addressed will strike a chord with those across the border as well, we are after all cut from the same cloth.

Though this serial aired 5 years ago, it remains just as apt today as it was then, if not more so as we celebrate 70 years of independence. So yes, let’s commemorate and enjoy the Jashn-e Azadi festivities but lets also not forget to pause and question: Azadi ka matlab kiya? Kiya hum waqa’i azad hain?

Written by SZ~

Jashn Ka Din Hai ~ OST 

 

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8 replies

  1. I really enjoyed this short series. Indeed, I was quite moved by it, and I thought it packed quite a punch in just 10 episodes. So many little things were so great here.

    1. After watching a few shows with sets that seemed a bit too colorful and/or designed, it was nice to be in a typically middle class mahol where everything from the way Hajra Begum buys her milk to the professor sahib constantly complaining about his neighbor stealing his water, electricity, and even dignity felt so real. I swear I’ve met these exact people in my life before.

    2. I didn’t quite get the love triangle between Murad, Sofia, and Hashim, (and Episode 6 wasn’t available, so I missed some actual plot as well). But equally, I appreciate the writers didn’t spend too much time on the romance plot, or make it revolve around Sofia’s choice. I also thought their interactions were a bit theatrical, i.e. even when they weren’t in a play, they were in a play on some level. I have a feeling this was a deliberate decision by the writer/director.

    3. The acting was all terrific. For me, the highlights were Mustafa Afridi as the frustrated writer, the tortured artist inside warring constantly with the cynical social commentator; Adnan Jaffer as the smooth foreign-returned suitor who turns out to be sort of spineless in the end; and Suhaee Abro as the professor’s daughter, but also his conscience in absentia.

    4. Finally, there’s the ending. No conclusion with neatly tied up loose ends here. There’s hope and celebration on one end and utter devastation on the other, and no questions about azadi are really answered, except perhaps that man is free to think and to express himself.

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  2. @RK: Oh no! I am so sorry that the 6th ep was missing .. I couldve sworn it was there when I re-watched it to write this .. I checked after your comment but it is well and truly gone :/

    Thanks for following up on my recc and watchign this. So glad you enjoyed it, otherwise I was fearing andas and tamatars coming way.

    Haina! This is a little gem of a mini-serial which hides a lot of hard hitting issues under its very relaxed and gentle style of story telling. I enjoyed going through your list of highlights and you have hit on so many of the exact things I enjoyed as well.

    I dont know if you felt this way, but after watching any of Bee Gul/Khalid sb combo projects I come away feeling so indulged and pampered as a viewer, to paraphrase Ranbir Kapoor in Ae Dil Hae Mushkil, aisa lagta hai ke dil ka pait bhar gaya .. and then for a bit I find it very difficult to go back to the regular dramas..haye haye!! Now waiting for their next one “Dil Ara” on Bol, coming later in the year…

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