“Jalan” has been at the center of controversy for weeks now, this past week taking it to its peak when PEMRA banned the show from airing on television. As always, a decision to ban any form of media always increases interest in that very thing, so the interest in “Jalan” has only gone up since then. As PEMRA’s decision has been overturned and “Jalan” will continue to air, the entire scenario has only been a beneficial move for “Jalan” with more interested viewers flocking to watch this “controversial” show. Directed by Aabis Raza and written by Sidra Sehar Imran, “Jalan” stars Minal Khan, Emmad Irfani and Areeba Habib in the central roles while Fahad Sheikh, Hajra Yamin, Mohammad Ahmed, Nadia Hussain, Maira Khan and Sajida Syed star in important roles.
As we last saw in episode 13, Misha (Areeba Habib) has been discharged from the hospital and is at her parents home while Nisha (Minal Khan) has essentially run away from home to move in with her loving brother-in-law, Asfandyar (Emmad Irfani). The two are talking about Nisha’s “uncomfortable” living arrangements, because this bold, unstable girl who can run away from her own wedding suddenly can’t stay alone in a house, because she gets “scared.” Suddenly who arrives but Kinza (Nadia Hussain), who is shocked to see Asfandyar with Nisha. Raging with anger, she questions Asfandyar, but he brushes it off saying Nisha is a good girl and his sister-in-law, but Kinza doesn’t buy it. Later, Sabra, the house help, fills Kinza’s ears with her own marriage troubles, which gets Kinza’s mental wheels turning. Kinza and Asfand have a blow out when Asfand tells her he no longer wants to be with Misha and suggests, quite ruthlessly, that Misha should have an abortion since he doesn’t want the child. Nadia Hussain is the best part of “Jalan” at this point, being the voice of reason in an absolutely insane scenario. While her acting could be seen as loud, it could also be argued that there is no other way to play Kinza at this point. Could she be anything but loud? Kinza has walked into an insane situation blindly where she discovers her beloved brother wants to leave her pregnant sister-in-law and suspects that he’s having an affair with his wife’s sister. The entire situation is crazy and Kinza essentially voices the thoughts of the viewers.
“Jalan” has entered a strange realm over the past two weeks and that realm is women bashing. Whether it be Sabra, Kinza or Misha, these three women have something in common – they are all blaming the woman and treating the men as though they are gullible buffoons to be led astray. Sabra and Kinza share a (weird) discussion about how, on the words of his second wife, Sabra’s husband beats his children. Why doesn’t Sabra put that blame solely on him as a bad father? On the other end, Misha (Areeba Habib) has turned into an absolute mess. The fire viewers saw in her when she discovered the affair has long been extinguished and Misha has turned into this grieving lovesick puppy who believes her big bad sister has lured away her sweet, innocent “Asfi.” Mind you, this is not claiming Nisha is anything other than “big and bad.” She is an absolute sociopath and one can only wish bad for her. But Asfandyar is a man who confidently said he would rather abort his child than stay with Misha – and while Misha doesn’t know this, how can she defend a man who looked her straight in the face and said he wanted to be with her sister?
Mohammad Ahmed’s dialogues continue on their cringe streak from last week. While we saw him stating that he should’ve buried his female daughters at birth last week, this week he declares that his grandchild will be declared fatherless at birth without even giving a thought that Asfand may still want to be a part of his child’s life (he doesn’t, but his father-in-law doesn’t know that). The positive about Misha’s parents is that they haven’t even thought about sending her back to Asfand; rather, they are fighting Misha on her silly notions that Asfand will come around and she will be able to convince him to stay away from Nisha.
“Jalan” isn’t a story that’s much different from what we’ve seen before in the sense that it has turned into misery-squeezing for TRPs. What sets it apart is the styling, presentation and slick direction which has given it an entertaining feel – until now. While the episodes have been action-packed until now, this episode focuses heavily on Misha’s misery and wallowing, which makes one suspect the upcoming events. Will Misha be a heroic character that bounces back and recovers from this trauma? Or will the writers turn Misha into another sacrificing character with a tragic end?