Haissam Hussain’s involvement in a project is enough to make any Pakistani drama fan sit up and take notice. The director of several brilliant dramas, such as Dastaan, Durr E Shahwar, Ishq Gumshuda, Kuch Pyar Ka Pagalpan, Akbari Asghari, Aunn Zara, Bin Roye and so forth, it’s Hassam Hussain’s return to direction on television that is the true pulling factor of “Jo Bichar Gaye.” Written by Ali Moeen, the story is based on the novel by Colonel Z. I. Farrukh. The cast includes Maya Ali, Wahaj Ali, Talha Chahour, Nadia Jamil, Adnan Jaffar, Sajid Shah and others. The first episode does a great job of establishing the premise.
Episode 1 does not waste any time diving straight into politics. There’s a particularly moving opening with the faces of many of those who passed during the war of 1971. In episode 1, we are introduced to Farrukh (Talha Chahour), a young captain stationed in Dhaka as uprisings appear to be breaking out in (then) East Pakistan. Farrukh is surprised, upon his arrival, to see a different picture than what he expected and it’s clear he struggles with his conscience over those thoughts. Meanwhile, we are introduced to Sonia (Maya Ali), a college student in Dhaka who is a passionate Pakistani and is against the idea of uprising against her country – a thought which her close friend Rumi (Wahaj Ali) stands against. Rumi is a Bengali activist and Rumi and Sonia often find themselves on opposite sides, their ideals clashing. There are several other talented faces seen in the first episode, such as Nadia Jamil, who plays Sonia’s mother, and Adnan Jafar, who plays Farrukh’s supervisor.
The best part of “Jo Bichar Gaye” is that it immediately pulls the audience in to its story, a story which highlights that fact is greater than fiction. It’s the cinematography that is alluring, feeling every bit the 1970s in which it is set. The visuals are beautiful and, most importantly, a lot of attention has been given to details, such as accents and the attitudes held by certain characters. The beginnings of a romance between Farrukh and Sonia is endearing, while Sonia and Rumi’s butting of heads is charged. It’s always difficult to judge first episodes, as it’s only a starting point for shows, but “Jo Bichar Gaye” has successfully drawn in its viewers with a story that promises to be intellectually and emotionally charged. Stories based on history always find themselves faced with a lot of room for critique, but with Haissam Hussain at the helm, “Jo Bichar Gaye” is sure to be a blockbuster.