Drama serial Jalan and its never-ending controversies have been a frequent topic of discussions over the past weeks. However, regardless of them all, the drama continues to go on. Its ratings and views are not affected by all the criticism the drama has been getting from the drama critics and netizens. With the kind of popularity the drama is enjoying within the audience the chances of Jalan being a learning lesson on how not to make a drama, appear to be quite slim. However, for one of the main cast members of the show, Jalan has been a huge learning opportunity.
Areeba Habib, who played the character of Meenu in Jalan, recently expressed her displeasure at how her character was killed off in the drama. More specifically, she was not happy with the kind of message the drama showed to the audience through her character’s end.
Agreeing with criticism
Speaking to Galaxy Lollywood, Areeba addressed the criticism that the drama has been getting lately. Meenu was being shown as a weak woman who was driven to depression because her husband divorced her. Her inability to accept the fact that her husband left her for some another woman, that other woman being Meenu’s own sister, led Meenu to end her own life. And she does so by choosing to burn herself, leaving behind her new-born baby and grieving old parents.
This development in the drama was heavily criticized by people as it was sending a completely wrong and downright pathetic message to the audience. And Areeba agreed.
“This thing had been bothering me a lot as well. There are hundreds of ways to show a character’s death and death by suicide. Meenu’s end could’ve been shown in any other way to establish that the character was over but showing her burning to death? I just don’t agree with it. It sends a very wrong message to the audience.”
Well, then one must ask Areeba that if she was so bothered about it, why did she choose to do it in the first place?
“People are under the impression that as actors we have a big say in how things turn out for our characters. But I have to clarify that it is not the case. As actors, we are helpless in front of our directors, and often the directors themselves are helpless in front of the producers and the content heads. And I am a new actor on top of that. I had repeatedly expressed my concerns about this issue to the director as I am quite a finicky person when it comes to my characters. I care about all the details related to my character.”
Areeba also talked about how this situation and the backlash that Jalan is getting on Meenu’s ending is making her regret not taking a stronger stand for Meenu when she had the chance.
“I remember how I had questioned the director repeatedly for a few days regarding Meenu’s ending. But now seeing the reaction of the audience, I am regretful that maybe I should’ve continued to pester for not just a couple of days but a couple of weeks. Maybe that would’ve worked. I gave up too quickly.”
But Areeba is making the most of the situation by treating this as a learning curve for her. If anything, Meenu’s pathetic ending in Jalan has taught Areeba Habib how to be braver in her profession as an actor.
“Professionally I have learned that I should be more vocal and commanding when it comes to making changes in the character and its journey. It is okay to take a stand, it is okay to lose a project but it is not okay to allow your point of view to be dug underground.”
Doing her part
But this Areeba has learned after her character’s ending in Jalan. As per Areeba herself, she was not comfortable with the direction her character was headed for right from the start. Did she not have any concerns about the drama in general? The drama has been heavily criticized and received backlash from the netizens right from the start. How has she dealt with the negative response she has gotten for being a part of a project like Jalan?
To this Areeba said that she did not care for that kind of criticism because she was part of the project in the capacity of an actor. And on her part she performed her role with utmost sincerity.
“I dealt with the backlash with the mindset of a performer. I was offered the script which gave me room to depict my versatility. I did a negative role (Koi Chand Rakh) and this was a chance to show how good/bad I can be in a positive role and I guess I did a great job because everyone is deeply involved with Meenu and her life.”
Areeba is well aware of her limitations as being an actor, and the fact she cannot control how a drama is conceived and executed. As an actor, she is handed a script and her job is to perform it. Which is exactly what she does.
Jalan has now taught her how to do this job with more responsibility.