A newly married couple, looking every bit in love as one would expect young lovers to do, go out for a romantic dinner. The husband gifts the wife an expensive piece of jewelry as a sign of his love for her. He also surprises her by taking her to the roadside dhabba which holds sentimental value to her, further cementing that his affection for her is not superficial but genuine and devoted.
The husband is attentive to the wife and also caring towards the driver by not making him feel left when the two lovers enjoy the wife’s favorite piping hot cup of Kashmiri chai. He’s the perfect man and she’s a lucky girl for having found such a sensitive, caring, and devoted man as her life partner. But then, the magical night turns nightmarish when their car gets attacked by a group of masked men who kidnap the wife, beat the husband and leave him bleeding on the side of a secluded road.
This is how the story of Geo Entertainment’s mystery thriller mini-series Jurm kickstarts. Jurm stars Wahaj Ali, Durefishan Saleem, Atiqa Odho, Tooba Siddiqui, Mohammad Ehteshammudin, Tazneen Hussain, Zhalay Sarhadi, and Maha Hassan. Written by Shah Yasir and directed by Mehreen Jabbar, the mini-series is a rather unconventional offering from 7th Sky Entertainment. Unconventional does not mean bad though because the first two episodes of the show have us sitting up and crying out, ‘where have you been all our lives?!’
For the explicit reason of keeping this review spoiler free we won’t be mentioning any major reveals that have happened in the two episodes so far.
Switching Between Past and Present
In a mystery-thriller genre balance is of utmost importance. Say too little and the audience will be much too confused about the happenings. Say too much and the audience will feel belittled with their intelligence being questioned. Jurm, thankfully, strikes the balance perfectly and it is all thanks to Shah Yasir’s tight screenplay and Mehreen Jabbar’s expert direction.
The narrative of Jurm switches between the past and the present. Any development in the present is accompanied with a flashback to the past giving the audience a new context and point of view of feeling about the development. Some of the flashback scenes have the helpful text on the screen telling the audience at which point of time that particular scene is happening but not all flashback scenes have that. However, that doesn’t cause any confusion as the color grading of the present and past sequences is distinct enough that we can recognize the difference of time.
The Art of Direction
The brilliance of Jurm lies in the masterful way the story is shown, not told. Not once does the drama info-dump about the characters or their situations. Instead, it shows us these characters revealing their layers little by little. The direction style has been linked to that of 2014 Hollywood thriller Gone Girl by many eagle-eyed viewers.
For instance, Ayla (Durefishan Saleem) has been raised by her single mother Naseema (Tazneen Hussain) to be a confident woman who doesn’t take kindly to being treated rudely. The audience isn’t told that but it is shown in the way Ayla reacts to her future mother-in-law Shahana’s (Atiqa Odho) dismissive remarks for her.
Every Character is a Secret in Jurm
In Jurm’s world every character has a secret and there is more to the characters that meet the eye. What the characters appear to be and what they actually are don’t necessarily coincide. One theme of the story is how humans are perceived not as individuals but how they are connected to others.
The young vlogger and budding crime journalist Ashley Victor (Maha Hassan) is the only person who bothers to question who Ayla Nadeem was beyond being the multi-millionaire Mujib Zaman’s (M. Ehteshammudin) daughter-in-law? The answer lies not in the obvious but in the hidden that people often don’t even want to bother digging into.
Wahaj Ali as Daniyal is Impressive in Jurm
Undoubtedly, the biggest draw towards the show is nation’s current heartthrob Wahaj Ali. However, Jurm is a great reminder of what actually makes Wahaj a great addition to any drama’s cast. He doesn’t try to stand out but completely blends himself in the canvas the story is trying to build. His character Daniyal appears to be, for all intents and purposes, a harmless fellow who is bit of a loner.
He doesn’t have his father’s ruthlessness or his mother’s low emotional intelligence. However, Daniyal too has many secrets that peek from the shadows now and again. Is he really that innocent? Or does he have anything to do with Ayla’s kidnapping? The drama keeps the audience questioning both his innocence and guilt.
How Will Jurm End?
For all keen viewer there are hints sprinkled all through the episodes hinting at the possible ways the story might end up going. Instead of having disjointed scenes or character moments that don’t get anywhere like most of the mainstream dramas, Jurm has a cohesive screenplay in place that is leading the audience one step at a time towards the destination it has already planned for itself right from the start. Not many dramas do that, frankly more dramas should start doing it.
The mini-series is set to conclude this week. We suggest if you haven’t watched it yet to most definitely check it out. And try to avoid any spoilers if you can; more than half the fun of this drama is to experience the reveals first hand. Not doing so will be a jurm in its own right.