“Jo Bichar Gaye” is a current viewer (and reviewer) favorite with most other shows simply paling in comparison. Focused on the fall of Dhaka and the Pakistan-Bangladesh partition, this is not an easy story to tell nor is it one that has been told from Pakistan’s side until this year, where we’ve suddenly seen 4 projects in the past 4 months on the subject. Still, it’s “Jo Bichar Gaye” that’s making the greatest impact, not only due to performances, but also the treatment of the entire show, many stating that this is Netflix-level material. Add to this is the wonderful cast, including Wahaj Ali, Maya Ali, Talha Chahour, Nadia Jamil, Adnan Jaffar etc. who are being helmed by brilliant director Haissam Hussain. The story is based on Col Farooq’s memoirs, the script penned by Ali Moeen. Reviewing “Jo Bichar Gaye” is a case of “choti muun, badi baat” – it’s just a very difficult feat.
Episode 6 shows the plan put into motion to choke the Pakistani army by not only putting limits on their finances, but also instating curfew as the army men are being hunted, along with withholding necessities such as food. Things have become very difficult for the army and this is depicted through beloved characters like Farooq (Talha Chahour) and Kabir (Ahmed Abbas). And while one could say this is painting sympathy for the Pakistanis during the struggle, we are also given a window to the difficulties faced by Bengalis at this time, not only within their country, but also internally. These are people who fought for their rights and were denied despite winning those rights democratically. It’s Wahaj Ali’s performance as Rumi that tears the heart apart as he struggles internally. He fought with so much passion for Bengalis and their freedom from oppression, but despite the peaceful way in which he conducted his duties as student leader, the revolution has been taken from him – and has now been replaced by a violent fight, one which is tearing him up inside with both guilt and pain of being removed from his once-high standing.
There are many great moments in this episode, particularly those between Farooq and Sonia (Maya Ali). When invited for dinner, which requires him to sneak out and break curfew to arrive, he is greeted by Shabnam in a most humorous way. Farooq’s dilemma at being stuck at Sonia’s house provides viewers with the opportunity to witness Rumi, Sonia and Farooq together, which gives us interesting insight. It almost appears as if Rumi and Sonia have feelings for each other – not one sided, but almost as if they did want to be together, but were torn apart due to political beliefs and differences in nature. Is this a relationship that could have been, but cannot be? The moment when Sonia gives Farooq and Rumi their tea feels telling with Sonia looking at Farooq as her potential future and Rumi as her past. Or are we simply reading into it? One thing is certain and this is that Rumi does have feelings for Sonia and is acknowledging that this will remain a distant dream for him. Wahaj Ali’s performance as Rumi has been riveting and, as always, Wahaj emotes through his eyes. Whether it’s Rumi, Hamza (Fitoor), Jamshed (Dil Na Umeed Toh Nahi), this is a gift Wahaj Ali has always had and it’s a real indicator of his pure talent. He has put his all into Rumi and made us feel for his plight – both losing politically and personally.
This is Maya Ali’s best role since….ever? This may just be her career best and she is a pleasure to watch on-screen as Sonia. Talha Chahour is a natural and easily one of the best newcomers we’ve seen on Pakistani television in the past couple of years. Can we just pause to applaud Nadia Jamil as Shabnam? The relationship between Shabnam and Sonia is one of the highlights of the show. This mother-daughter duo are on different planes and they do not agree on much due to Sonia’s serious nature and Shabnam’s frivolous one. Shabnam’s reactions are laughter inducing, even in serious moments and that’s due to the brilliant way Nadia Jamil has adopted this role.
The episode ends on a highly intense note with Captain Kabir being shot while trying to get necessary supplies to those relying on the army for food. This leaves the audience in shock, bringing us back to reality and reminding us that though this is a television show, this is a show about true events in times of turmoil. Are any of our beloved characters safe? The way “Jo Bichar Gaye” is playing out is engrossing and leaves the viewer wanting more. If the story continues at this pace and with this level of quality while also keeping the narrative true to reality, this has the ability to go down as a classic and take our dramas to the next level.