Hamza Ali Abbasi and Ayeza Khan have been winning our hearts as Shehram and Mahnoor over the past several weeks. “Jaan E Jahan” offers that old-school charm, a romance for the ages that is pure and not simply based on appearances. Starring Hamza Ali Abbasi, Ayeza Khan, Asif Raza Mir, Noor Ul Hassan, Savera Nadeem, Haris Waheed, Raza Talish, Srha Asghar, Emmad Irfani, Maryam Nafees, Nawal Saeed, Kinza Malik and Zainab Qayyum, the story is written by Rida Bilal and directed by Qasim Ali Mureed.
When Zeenat (Maryam Nafees) first entered the scene, we immediately assumed she would blindly listen to everything Kishwar (Savera Nadeem) instructed her to do, even after realizing the manipulations taking place within the household. On some level, many of us thought Zeenat should be able to sympathize with Shehram’s misery and treat him with compassion, possibly even becoming a good friend rather than trying to win him over romantically. Fortunately, that’s exactly where the story appears to be heading as Zeenat emerges a winning character in this episode. Zeenat has subconsciously felt suspicious of Kishwar’s behavior for a while, but when she spots Saleem pouring a strange substance in Shehram’s tea, she is suddenly on high alert. Later, she spots Kishwar and Saleem pouring the same liquid in Shehram’s food. While many “third wheel characters” in the past would’ve allowed this behavior to continue if for their own benefit, Zeenat is refreshingly different…..refreshingly human. She not only steps in, but also takes steps to dump out the food and present Shehram with “untainted” food, allowing him to gradually return to his normal self. In these moments, we see Zeenat not only losing respect for Kishwar, but also softening towards Shehram as a person, bonding with him as a human being rather than a prospective spouse. It would not be unfair to say that Zeenat is the true hero of this episode, being the savior Shehram has so desperately needed. But how long will it last before Kishwar realizes what’s happening? And once she does, what will be Zeenat’s fate within the household? Maryam Nafees has done a great job performing in this episode as well, making the audience pull a 180 in regards to their feelings for this character.
There’s also a very sweet moment between Abdul (Raza Talish) and Shehram. Abdul is visibly the neglected child within these walls, one whom Kishwar pays no attention to as she cannot “get” anything from him the way she can through Shehram and Tabraiz (Haaris Waheed). Abdul is always searching for validation and, in the most important moment of his life when he wants to share his joy at graduating, it’s Shehram who steps up and praises him the way he has always wanted to be. It’s Shehram who makes him believe that he’s capable – and we can see that this is the beginning of a strong bond. Will Zeenat and Abdul unite in this goal – and possibly otherwise?
Meanwhile, Mahnoor (Ayeza Khan) is given permission to once again work at Shehram’s school – but remembering Kishwar’s words, she herself is wary on how to do so without becoming her target once again. Credit has to be given to Kinza Malik as Mahnoor’s mother. Rarely do we see such strong, supportive mothers on our television screens, but while Mahnoor’s father is busy blaming his daughter for the wagging tongues of others, she stands by her daughter and forces her husband to change his mind. Good things appear to be in Mahnoor’s future – but will that future be with Shehram or our new architect, played by Emmad Irfani? It works in his – and our – favor that this new character is an immediately kind, likable one and, regardless of where the story is headed, we hope he remains that way. The episode ends with Shehram sleeping outside Mahnoor’s home all night in an attempt to meet her, leaving both Mahnoor and the viewer with a smile.
“Jaan E Jahan” isn’t innovative in its storytelling, but there’s something truly special about it. First off, the casting is just perfect with each character doing more than just justice to their roles, they have “become” their characters. Whether it’s Shehram, Mahnoor, Kishwar or Tabraiz, these are all well-written characters with an interesting story arc. Even side characters like Zeenat, the new architect and Abdul come with a personality and a backstory. Credit here must be given to the writer, Rida Bilal, for fleshing out her characters like this. Of course, the visuals only enhance the beauty of the narrative, the soul of which is the love story between Shehram and Mahnoor. There’s little to complain about with “Jaan E Jahan,” we can only hope it continues with this level of quality and doesn’t grow stagnant down the line.