Political shows are difficult to review, because there are so many emotions riding high from both sides. Still, the team of “Jo Bichar Gaye” seem to have done a great job presenting a story about the Pakistan-Bangladesh partition. Starring Wahaj Ali, Maya Ali, Talha Chahour, Nadia Jamil, Adnan Jaffar, Usman Zia and others, the story is based on the novel by Col. Farrukh (who is being played by Talha Chahour), while the script has been written by Ali Moeen and directed by Haissam Hussain.
As episode 1 took off, a cyclone served as the latest incident in East Pakistan that led to civil unrest. As Farrukh (Talha Chahour) settles into his life in Dhaka, he recognizes that things are not what they seem with rebellion on the rise. The first ten minutes of episode two capture the audience immediately. There is something absolutely sinister and fascinating in the way these ten minutes have been shot, emphasizing the atrocities that have come out of the rebellion taking place. The moments in Dhaka University where the “hunting” is taking place send chills down the spine. This scene highlights why Haissam Hussain is a master of his craft. The way calm builds into intensity and then, finally, fear is what good storytelling is all about. Credit to Usman Zia who is playing his role of political youth leader to eerie perfection.
Sonia (Maya Ali) is furious and, frankly, scared of what’s happening within university walls and approaches the army for help, where she continues to encounter Farrukh. Farrukh is clearly smitten with the girl, though she is still apprehensive. Rumi (Wahaj Ali), on the other hand, is furious at the friendship between Sonia and Farrukh, horrified by the accusations that Sonia is befriending the army. Rumi is almost as ruthless as his mentor and continues enthralling his captivated audience with chants of rebellion, riling up his forces, ready for attack – particularly after realizing their “fair elections” may not be so fair after all.
Honestly, the entire cast is wonderful. Whether it’s Wahaj Ali’s portrayal of Rumi, a determined young man who is willing to do what it takes to fight for Bangladesh, or Maya Ali’s earnest portrayal of a young girl unwilling to see her nation fall apart, everyone is putting forth their best effort. Talha Chahour is a natural, a performer who wins us over immediately. Usman Zia is terrifying and an actor who deserves a nod for his command over the screen. Adnan Jaffar and Nadia Jamil are always reliable actors and it’s wonderful to see them here as well. Nadia Jamil stands out in a moment with Wahaj Ali when he tries to pit her against her own daughter and she puts him in his place.
So far, there isn’t a thing to “critique” about “Jo Bichar Gaye” other than the “dimness” in dark scenes. It’s so dark in some moments that it’s difficult to see what is playing out. Otherwise, this is a show that can almost be called “perfect.” At this point, the show is certainly emphasizing the Pakistani point of view – which is okay, as it’s a point of view that has not been presented before. Still, one expects from this team that a balanced viewpoint will be presented – and as the narrative has now moved on to the unfair elections, there is a strong feeling of hope that this drama will do exactly that. The content and treatment of “Jo Bichar Gaye” has put it in an entirely different category, on a Netflix level. One can only hope it maintains this level of quality throughout.