Starring Sohail Ahmed in a double role, “Jeevan Nagar” focuses on many social issues such as class divide, caste discrimination, misogyny, attitudes towards intersex individuals and so forth. “Jeevan Nagar” has been written by Awais Ahmed and directed by Kashif Nisar. Along with Sohail Ahmed, the show also stars Rabia Butt, Noor Ul Hassan, Kashif Mehmood, Khalid Butt, Tahira Imam, Kinza Malik, Amna Malick, Sagib Sameer and others. This drama takes a unique turn this week after Babbar Shah (Sohail Ahed) is shot and Laali, his look-alike, is forced to step into his place – unknown to anyone but his enemies.
In episode 12, Babbar Shah’s faithful companions – and Munni (Rabia Butt) – await news regarding his recovery. While the audience is aware that Babbar Shah is long gone, murdered by his enemies, everyone else is unaware – and overjoyed when Babbar Shah is declared stable. The differences immediately become visible though, as Laali has a hard time slipping entirely into Babbar Shah’s persona. Honestly, is any amount of time really enough to “become” someone else? How can one become familiar with all the nuances in the behavior of another? How can Laali know how Babbar Shah interacts with his mother? How can Laali know about Munni, a fairly new relationship in Babbar Shah’s life?
And yet, what’s particularly interesting about this episode is Laali’s behavior itself. At times, we find ourselves questioning Laali’s motives. Laali is a good person, coerced, manipulated, and abused into agreeing to fill Babbar Shah’s shoes – only to keep her girls safe. Yet, at times, while we see a soft Laali admiring Munni’s makeup, we also see a hardened Laali in brief glimpses, making commands for things (such as getting Babu Bhai replaced) which almost seem to be a test. The confusion continues to move us in circles, leaving us wondering – is this Laali playing Babbar Shah or is this Babbar Shah playing Laali playing Babbar Shah? Confused? So are we!
Sohail Ahmed’s performance is absolutely hilarious as Laali takes the reigns, giving a humorous speech which leaves Babbar Shah’s well-wishers furrowing their eyebrows over his unusual behavior. Sohail Ahmed has done an exceptional job bouncing between two roles and has now left viewers confused as to whom exactly he is playing at this point. It must be said that Babbar Shah, who has been the highlight of the show as a character, is sorely missed in his absence. The show simply does not feel the same without his strong, commanding presence and stern yet soft demeanor.
Billay, played by Sagib Sameer, is behind this betrayal and continues to manipulate the situation to his advantage. Adding to the villainy is Nida’s (Amna Malick) cousin, who is simply unable to take rejection. It works in his favor if Babbar Shah is “handled” and controlled by Billay, as Babbar Shah is what’s keeping Nida and Yasir’s (Hassan Mir) engagement together. What will happen if Babbar Shah/Laali, backs away from supporting Yasir? What will happen if Laali/Babbar Shah does not decide in favor of Hanif (Khalid Butt) and family in regards to the jewelry? While we’re missing Babbar Shah, his honesty and sincerity horribly, we can’t deny that the story has taken an interestingly messy turn in favor of the wayward.