“Jalan” is the sort of show that infuriates me week after week – but in that fury, I’m left waiting for the next episode. The show has been directed by Aabis Raza, written by Sidra Seher Imran and airs on ARY Digital. The story follows Nisha and Misha, two sisters, and the chaos that occurs when Nisha sets her sights on Asfandyar, Misha’s husband.
Episode 11 is an eventful one to say the least. Asfand (Emmad Irfani) is seen deep in thought over his predicament, being stuck between Misha and Nisha. The predicament is a ridiculous one, but we’ll discuss that later. Nisha (Minal Khan) decides to take off to Misha’s (Areeba Habib) home, saying Misha has called her there to help during her pregnancy. Suspicious of Nisha’s behavior, Misha wonders about Nisha’s intentions, fueled by her household help’s conveniently timed family stories. While Nisha and Asfand continue their affair right under Misha’s nose, the situation is not lost on Misha and she begins keeping tabs. This whole scenario begins to unravel rather quickly, which comes across as unexpected for viewers, but also makes for an action-packed episode. After Nisha’s father spots Nisha with Asfandyar outside the house and catches Nisha in a lie, he demands Nisha come back home. When Nisha cries to Asfand about her father knowing the truth, Misha catches the two in a compromising moment. Again, unexpectedly, Misha has a strong reaction and drags Nisha through the house before throwing her out into the street. When she confronts Asfand, he states he wants to be with Nisha, leaving Misha heartbroken.
What’s interesting about this episode is that this has been the moment the audience has been waiting for, the moment Misha truly realizes the level of her sister’s deception. Up until now, Misha has been seen as an overly-trusting, blind-in-love and almost “too pure” of a character. However, here, it’s refreshing to see that Misha is much more than that – she is also intelligent and capable of putting her foot down, not only with Nisha but with her husband as well. She is not the doormat Asfand (or viewers) expected her to be. While violence on television isn’t something I enjoy watching or agree with, it is difficult not to laugh out loud as Misha slaps Nisha across the face not only once, but several times. Misha doesn’t simply blame her sister, but also turns her wrath on Asfand, making it clear in that moment that he is not to interfere or try to explain away the situation. Nisha is a character who did not waste a moment before deciding to ruin her sister’s married life for her own personal gains and even when confronted, instead of showing shame, she tells Misha to get out of the house, claiming the space as her own. So one does not feel an iota of sympathy when Misha lashes out and treats her in the appropriate way. Minal Khan does not impress as much this time around – one would honestly have expected better reactions from Nisha after suffering such humiliation and being exposed, but we only see the same looks of flat anger and half smirks. Areeba Habib, on the other hand, shines in this episode. She is emerging to be a strong, confident actress and despite playing the “good” sister, she enacts Misha’s emotions really well in the confrontation scenes.
It’s hard to digest a character like Asfandyar. Men have affairs, that’s understandable. But in this day and age, in a time when mental health is a prevalent topic and men and women are aware of the warning signs, toxic relationships and suicidal behavior, why would Asfand show his loyalty to Nisha over Misha? This turn of events is almost laughable, because this choice makes Asfand completely irredeemable. When a woman asks a man to marry her by having emotional melt-downs and threatening physical harm to herself, a normal man would run for the hills. Here, Asfand decides his sister-in-law who tried to throw herself out of a window out of “love” for him is more important in his life than his loving pregnant wife. Emmad Irfani is a great actor, but what is this role? There are a lot of red flags surrounding Nisha and for any man to be blind to those flags…..well, one can’t say Asfandyar is an intelligent man, that’s for certain.
I complain about “Jalan” every week, so what keeps me hanging on and tuning in? Well, one can’t claim “Jalan” is a victim of bad writing. The show is gripping and leaves viewers wondering what will happen next. Quite honestly, this is what many viewers are waiting for as “Jalan” is only on episode 11 and the Nisha-Asfand affair has already been exposed. What turns will the show take from here onwards? There’s a glimmer of hope that, with this unfolding so quickly, will Nisha and Asfand meet their downfall sooner than later? One can only hope!