Jaan-E-Jahan Episode One Weaves A Story About Power Struggles And Sibling Rivalries

Jaan-e-Jahan’, the hotly anticipated romance drama just aired its first episode last night on ARY Digital. The show sees not only the return of Hamza Ali Abbasi to the small screen but also his first collaboration with Ayeza Khan since Pyarey Afzal years ago.

So, naturally, we were just as hyped about it as any audience member. Qasim Ali Mureed directs here, who is hot off of ‘Tich Button’ last year. The script is penned by Rida Bilal who is best known for her writing in ‘Khudgarz‘.

The show, which was marketed as a romance drama above all else, took us by surprise as the narrative unfolded in this first episode. As it turns out, the show is a modern retelling of classic succession stories with kings and queens. Let’s discuss.

The Plot

So, let me explain. The story, when broken down to its core, is of a royal family and a struggle for power amongst siblings. We have the benevolent king in Asif Raza Mir’s Mir Shah Murad who runs a textile business. Abbasi’s Shehram is our righteous elder prince. Savera Nadeem’s Kishwar plays the evil stepmother and the second queen who wants her own sons to ascend the throne.

Like the hit HBO show ‘Succession‘, ‘Jaan-e-Jahan’ also takes the archetypes of those classic stories and successfully weaves a modern retelling of it. There are even shades of a gender-bent Cinderella here with the evil stepmother and the stepsisters, brothers in this case.

Shehram is a kind and sensitive man who lost his mother when he was a kid. Abbasi turns up the earnest charm up to an eleven while playing the role. His scenes with his onscreen father Asif Raza Mir are heartwarming to watch and they already make you worry about all the troubles that will befall them.

Savera Nadeem plays the matriarch Kishwar, Mir Shah Murad’s second wife after Shehram’s mother passed away. Kishwar has two unruly sons, played by Haris Waheed and Raza Talish. Kishwar, who secretly despises her stepson Shehram, is vying to get her sons on his level of importance in the family business.

Her sons, however, only seem to be interested in being spoiled brats. This is the central conflict of this first episode which sets up every character dynamic for further episodes. Rida Bilal could write a spoiled brat son in her sleep after her impeccable writing in Khudgarz and that’s exactly what she does.

The two stepbrothers are only focused on burning their father’s cash and harassing women on the street. Whereas Shehram is constantly trying to diffuse every argument between the two parties. Savera Nadeem is mostly a silent observer so far, keeping her hatred for Shehram at bay at least for this first episode.

Where’s Ayeza in all this?

Well, she and her side of the story are relegated to being more of a subplot in this pilot episode. Ayeza plays the role of Mahnoor who is from a humble background and soon to be married.

The conflict in her story is a most cliché one, with her future in-laws causing financial problems for the family every step of the way before the wedding. It is nice seeing Ayeza playing a character who, albeit simple and humble, doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind when she sees something wrong going on.

This habit of hers is bound to cause more problems in the future for her. Her link to Shehram is her father being an employee at one of their factories. However, a direct connection has yet to be established between the two.

Mir Shah Murad, after having an episode, finalizes his will which is also bound to cause a major conflict in the coming episodes.

The performances are incredible across the board with Hamza Ali Abbasi, Ayeza Khan, Asif Raza Mir and Savera Nadeem being the main standouts. Ayeza’s role may be cliched but she’s an incredible actress who proves her worth and keeps it fresh and interesting.

Hamza also goes back to ‘Pyarey Afzal’ basics and plays Shehram with an earnest. It is also great seeing Asif Raza Mir return to dramas and do so with a role like this where he gets to show both his soft and assertive side. Savera Nadeem is a veteran, and she gives a nuanced performance here since a lot of her character’s motivations are bubbling near the surface.

Haris Waheed and Raza Talish’s performances feel more one-note and they seem to be doing the same thing in each scene, but hopefully, their characters will be fleshed out further in the coming weeks.

Overly Dramatic Moments

One critique to be had of the show is its hyperbolic approach to some of the scenes. Establishing Haris Waheed’s character Tabraiz as an antagonist is understandable but the constant Star Plus-esque shots were not necessary. They just took you out of the moment and were overdone.

It was also a little drastic seeing Raza Mir’s character get a heart attack or something of that sort over the smallest argument. The set-up for that conflict and the culmination could’ve been better executed as it all just seemed so drastic.

So, the pilot episode of ‘Jaan-e-Jahan’ is quite a strong one. All the character dynamics are perfectly established here, and you can already sense the seeds being planted here for further episodes. We cannot wait to see how this story progresses in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to Galaxy Lollywood for more ‘Jaan-e-Jahan’ reviews and coverage. 


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