“Jhok Sarkar” is a story which hangs in the balance between loyalty to one’s country and corruption. How easy is it to sway a government employee from doing his job with dedication when a standard for bribes and crookedness has been set? “Jhok Sarkar” is the story of Arsalan, an honest officer, not only trying to do his job with dedication, but also free the locals in his area of their shackles. Starring Farhan Saeed, Hiba Bukhari, Asif Raza Mir, Usman Javed, Saad Azhar, Hassan Niazi, Mahenur Haider and others, “Jhok Sarkar” has been written by Hashim Nadeem and directed by Saife Hassan.
In episode 20, Arsalan (Farhan Saeed) gets a much-deserved break to go back home, but it starts off with an unexpected attack on the train. Fortunately, his team is there to help, but this only alerts them all to the danger they are now in after the confrontation with Peeral (Asif Raza Mir) and Meeral (Usman Javed). While Arsalan enjoys the comforts of home with his parents and sisters and is able to temporarily put Meeral and Peeral out of his mind, Meeral plots to have Mukhtar released in Arsalan’s absence. In the city, Arsalan once again comes face-to-face with the politician Junaid, who requests Arsalan to join his team. While Arsalan refuses, he does attend Junaid’s party where he meets Lubna (Mahenur Haider) and their past is revealed to Junaid. Junaid reacts surprisingly pompous about it and it becomes clear why Lubna chose to keep her past a secret from him. He could wind up being a problem in the future. Arsalan, on his part, handles the entire situation fabulously, not only revealing the truth before Lubna and Arsalan found themselves buried in lies, but also making it clear to Junaid that he has moved on in his life and so has Lubna. There’s a finality to his tone and it only makes us more appreciative of Arsalan as a human being that he does not want to create problems in Lubna’s life or be a point of discussion.
Farhan Saeed is just excellent in this episode, playing a morally upright character while still remaining believable. Arsalan isn’t a figment of the imagination or a character who cannot exist in real life. There are Arsalans out there in the world, and in Pakistan, they are just not discussed as much as the corrupt are. Arsalan makes us have hope for the future of Pakistan and the future of humanity while still being a part of reality. It’s Farhan’s performance which makes Arsalan so endearing and he downplays his own performance without any over-the-top character traits or behaviors. Arsalan is just your run-of-the-mill middle-class man with values and we love that. Of course, we cannot praise “Jhok Sarkar” without praising Asif Raza Mir, who is a star as Peeral. This man is strong, powerful and sinister and when Peeral is on-screen, it’s difficult to tear one’s eyes away. This is the star power of Asif Raza Mir and he is excellent. Usman Javed is a great talent to watch out for, an actor who has really made Meeral his own, a character we both fear and laugh at all at once. It’s not just the performances which make “Jhok Sarkar” work, though we certainly missed seeing more of the talented ladies this week. This is a well-written story which keeps us on our toes, wondering what will happen next, so credit must be given to Hashim Nadeem. Saife Hassan is at the top of his game with direction, the visual product of “Jhok Sarkar” being one of high quality while remaining true to reality in presentation. Overall, “Jhok Sarkar” is a high quality product, a show which has yet to let down its audience. We can hope, with the latter bulk of episodes airing, that the show remains as strong to the end.