“Jannat Se Aagay” is a highly awaited show for many reasons, the first being that it’s written by Umera Ahmed. That alone is always a reason for high anticipation, as Umera has written so many beloved Pakistani dramas in the past – and does not write as often anymore. Next, the cast is a talented one, including Ramsha Khan, Kubra Khan, Talha Chahour, Goher Rasheed, Saboor Aly, Hina Bayat, Shabbir Jan and many others. Third, the show has been directed by the talented Haseeb Hassan. And last, the premise of the show, a devoted fan aiming to reach the heights of her idol, is something different from what we’ve seen on our screens.
In episode one, we see that Tabassum (Ramsha Khan) is a dedicated fan of Jannat Ali Khan, a morning show host, and one could say her life revolves around her. She dresses like her, watches her show dedicatedly and keeps an impressively obsessive scrapbook dedicated to her, complete with handwritten letters to Jannat (rather than a personal journal). Tabassum is a nicely layered character with her intense, slightly unhinged love for Jannat – but she also has her own family problems, particularly revolving around her brother, Munna, going abroad and her own love story with the sweet Farooq (Talha Chahour). Tabassum isn’t a negative character, despite her obsession. Rather, she’s a very sweet, kind-hearted girl with middle class values who seems to just genuinely admire Jannat, seeing in her an answer to her problems. But when Jannat lets her down, which she ultimately will, what will happen to Tabassum’s kind heart?
Kubra Khan is a great actress, but the “natural” feel of a morning show host is lacking in her performance during the on-air scenes. She feels particularly rehearsed and one would question how she became the number one morning show host. In contrast, the actress playing her opposition is a more natural fit in that role. However, that being said, once Jannat’s “real” side is exposed off-camera, Kubra slides into that role with ease. The menacing, dominating, go-getting attitude with little care for the feelings of others is performed to perfection, Kubra making the audience sit up and take notice of her change in demeanor. Jannat Ali Khan is a woman who aims to win and stay on top and does not care who she tramples along the way. This gives the character an interesting edge and Kubra Khan essays this convincingly. It’s also amusing to see how these morning shows are portrayed, the hilarity of the situations playing out on our screens.
This is not a perfect start, though it’s absolutely engaging. There are visible flaws, the most obvious being the confusion surrounding Jannat’s “morning” show. More often than not, Tabassum is seen watching Jannat’s show at night, even seen leaving a wedding event to watch the broadcast. Her set also appears to be a primetime set rather than a morning show set, but it’s reiterated over and over again that she is the host of a morning show. Next, the color grading is, as usual with high budget Geo shows, very…..brown. Is this necessary? Can we have a high quality, nicely lit production? What is the obsession with a dim “sepia” canvas? Last, it would’ve been better had Kubra Khan played a superstar rather than a morning show host. It’s understandable to see why that choice has been made, as Tabassum looks up to her for her “social work,” but it’s also a stretch of the mind to see a young girl so obsessed with a morning show host.
Now let’s discuss the positives. Ramsha Khan is the heart and soul of the show with her sweet Tabassum. Ramsha has proven many times that she’s a strong actress, but hasn’t been given roles worth her caliber since “Ghisi Piti Mohabbat.” Here’s hoping “Jannat Se Aagay” allows her to add another stellar show to her resume. So far, so good, as she is fitting the mold of the perfect Umera Ahmed heroine with promise. Talha Chahour is such a perfect fit into this show as the lovesick Farooq, a man willing to do anything for his Tabassum, making it his mission to send her to Jannat Ali Khan’s show. While his role here seems similar to his role in “Wabaal,” there’s a lot more focus on him as a character this time around and Talha is showing, once again after “Jo Bichar Gaye,” that he’s an effortless actor. His sincerity and simplicity honestly reminds us of a bygone era and that in itself is refreshing. “Jannat Se Aagay” is off to a promising start and the cast is doing a wonderful job. This is a show with a lot of promise to be a memorable one in the long run.