Shows like “Jeevan Nagar” come along once in a blue moon, a show which has been filmed like a movie and yet follows the guidelines of a stage play….but on television. And it’s this unique mesh of ideas in presentation and story which set “Jeevan Nagar” apart, creating a “different world” sort of experience. Starring Sohail Ahmed in a double role, “Jeevan Nagar” also stars Rabia Butt. Noor Ul Hassan, Kashif Mehmood, Khalid Butt, Tahira Imam, Kinza Malik, Amna Malick, Saqib Sameer and others. The story has been written by Awais Ahmed and directed by Kashif Nisar.
In episode 16, we saw the removal of Babu, Babbar Shah’s most loyal sidekick, from Babbar Shah’s side. In a moment of recognition, Babu seemingly understands that “Babbar Shah” is, in fact, someone else. How will this come into play at the end of the drama? We are all rooting for justice for Babu and hope he sweeps in as the true hero. In Babu’s absence, Billay (Saqib Sameer) has stepped into his shoes and is turning the entire business upside down with his ruthless tactics. While Bagga, Babbar Shah’s other faithful aid, notices Billay’s quest for power, he isn’t in the position to take any steps against him yet, possibly internally realizing how Babu’s actions against Billay backfired.
Unfortunately, Yasir (Hassan Mir) is facing the brunt of Babbar Shah’s absence, as Faizan is friends with Billay. The two jointly manipulate the situation against Yasir, which ultimately leads to Yasir and Nida’s (Amna Malick) marriage being called off. Faizan is easily the most hated character in this entire show, a bad human being without any manners or aim in life. In the meantime, Munni (Rabia Butt) finally sneaks into Babbar Shah’s residence, tired of being kept away, and confesses her feelings for him. Laali (Sohail Ahmed) is visibly caught off guard, but given how Munni didn’t really know Babbar Shah very well before his death, she doesn’t catch on to the difference in personality – though it’s evident to the knowing eye. Rabia Butt is so lovable as Munni, a woman enchanted and fixated on the enigma that is Babbar Shah, but falling in love with the man beneath the exterior.
“Jeevan Nagar” is at a point where it could either wind up being a really great show or it could lose its grip entirely along with its audience. At present, many have been complaining about the show’s slow pace and the lack of a strong male lead after Babbar Shah’s demise – and this is true. Sohail Ahmed as Babbar Shah had an aura, a strong presence and while Laali is hilarious, yet another performance which cements Sohail Ahmed’s brilliance, Laali is unable to reel the audience in with the same pull. Honestly speaking, the question at present is how will the story end? How do we want it to end? How can it end in a satisfactory way? Laali isn’t a strong character, a character who is controlled by Billay and his associates. Yet, in episode 17, we see a glimpse of strength in Laali, an understanding of how much power she holds as Babbar Shah, a power where he no longer needs to listen to Billay. In the next episode, we will see her reunited with her “girls” – and will this be the moment she no longer fears for their safety? Will this be the moment she turns against Billay and begins to fight for good? Is it possible that Babbar Shah is still alive? “Jeevan Nagar” is a treat for viewers who crave something different and it’s being executed nicely. However, right now, “Jeevan Nagar,” despite some really great performances, desperately lacks one thing – a male lead.