“Jhok Sarkar” is a show about the fight for justice in a lawless land, specifically between law enforcement and those who have taken the law into their own hands. “Jhok Sarkar” has been winning over the masses and the classes alike with its excellent performances, strong writing, gripping narrative and high quality presentation. Starring Farhan Saeed, Asif Raza Mir, Hiba Bukhari, Usman Javed, Hassan Niazi, Saad Azhar, Sakina Samo, Mahenur Haider and others, the story has been written by Hashim Nadeem and directed by Saife Hassan.
In episode 23, Arsalan (Farhan Saeed) finds himself in a difficult position when he finds himself framed for conspiring to murder Mukhtar (Adeel Afzal). With pressure from Peeral (Asif Raza Mir) and Meeral (Asif Raza Mir), the area’s chief policeman are arrested and put behind bars, which leaves the village folk unprotected. This is a huge blow to the force, especially because the force was finally beginning to find their confidence to perform under Arsalan’s leadership and those in the area who were beginning to feel secure. The power struggle here is frustrating to watch, because while Meeral and Peeral are not necessarily the most intelligent individuals, they have powerful people in powerful places to do their bidding. Asif Raza Mir is simply excellent in his role as Peeral, menacing and sinister – however, with his weakness for Noori, it’s evident that Noori herself will be the cause of his downfall. As for Meeral, Meeral isn’t as intelligent as he believes himself to be, stuck in ego and a desire for power. With Noori now aware of Meeral’s connection to Shaukat’s death, his downfall is inching closer.
Of course, what’s great about “Jhok Sarkar” is that while the men are strong characters, both the negative and positive ones, the females are equally well-written. Sassi (Hiba Bukhari) is a joy to watch in her brief scenes. While Sassi is a sweet, kind young girl, watching her wield a gun as Meeral’s men enter her home is both anxiety-inducing and applause-worthy. Sassi is now a pawn for Meeral, choosing to attack her in Arsalan’s absence. But is Meeral aware of who he is up against, a woman who holds him accountable for her brother’s death?
At a time when there’s a diverse range of dramas currently on air with unique storylines, “Jhok Sarkar” does hold its own with a unique story. The strength of “Jhok Sarkar” is not only its writing and direction (both of which are excellent), but also its performances. Each actor, from Farhan Saeed as Arsalan, Asif Raza Mir as Peeral, Usman Javed as as Meeral or even Malik Raza (Jahan Dad), Saad Azhar (Ramzan) or Asad Mumtaz Malik as Kundan, everyone is excellent in their roles. Now here is the point of criticism. While everyone is doing a great job and the story is interesting, “Jhok Sarkar” has failed in one way – not allowing the audience to emotionally connect to its lead characters. We do not quite understand Arsalan – and this has been the case in many moments, particularly in his scenes with Lubna and Sassi. We should be able to understand who he is as a person aside from his straight-and-arrow work attitude. Arsalan should be more than his job for us as viewers, but despite having a loving family background and us even being briefly privy to his sister’s wedding, that emotional connect has not been formed. Unfortunately, this is simply the fault of writing and pacing. It also feels as though the show needs to shift into high gear regarding action now. The past two episodes have felt sedentary in regard to story movement. Here’s hoping the next episode picks up in a big way now that Noori is ready for revenge. Despite the sluggish past two episodes, “Jhok Sarkar” is a quality show – but needs to pick up the pace.