Jaal is a show that can best be described as junk television, a show that can quickly become a guilty pleasure for any viewer. With a strong cast and great acting, Jaal presents a wildly dramatic storyline that keeps viewers watching with raised eyebrows. However, at the end of the day, one does have to wonder what sort of message shows like Jaal are sending out? These harmless shows are fine as they keep viewers entertained – but are they fine? What is the message being sent in such shows where logic tends to take a backseat and emotional blackmail hops in the front?
In Jaal, starring Ali Kazmi, Imran Ashraf and Sumbul Iqbal in lead roles, logic tends to take a backseat. To summarize, Esha (Sumbul Iqbal) is married to Arsal (Ali Kazmi) and as their families begin discussing the preparations for Arsal to take Esha home with him, Arsal begins having an affair with Zonia (Sukaina Khan), his wife’s younger sister. On the day of the wedding, Zonia breaks her silence and refuses to “allow” Esha to marry Arsal, as she wants to marry him herself. In a dramatic scene, Arsal divorces Esha and marries Zonia in her place – and the stress from the situation causes Esha and Zonia’s father to pass away. Arsal and Zonia are disowned, but as both are lazy individuals, they are unable to make it on their own. Forcibly, Zonia and Arsal move into Zonia’s mother’s house, now sharing a roof with Esha and her mother. This creates a complicated scenario, one that even illogical characters like Zonia and Arsal should have spotted a mile away. After their mother’s death, Esha is left in her home with Arsal and Zonia (Sukaina Khan), an arrangement that quickly turns into suspicion from Zonia’s side. Accused by Zonia of attempting to have an illegtimate relationship with Arsal, Esha takes the difficult decision to marry Zaid (Imran Ashraf). Of course, now married to her ex-husband’s brother, drama is a certainty. However, is drama in a show like Jaal poised to drive home illogical plot devices?
In the latest episode, Zaid’s mother decides that she does not like the idea of a bride and groom riding together on the wedding day on the walima, so she picks up the phone and asks Arsal to take Esha to the parlor. Excuse me? What logical, self-respecting, moral woman would ever believe this to be okay? Her own daughter in law is visibly uncomfortable with this suggestion and Zaid tries to stop her, yet she persists in making that phone call and having Arsal agree. It also must be noted to Arsal and Zaid’s mother decidedly doesn’t like Esha anymore, making her a villain for Esha, even though she spent the entire first half of the show mourning the loss of Esha as a daughter In law. The negative mother-in-law plot device is one that viewers are fed up of and in a show like Jaal, it simply does not fit, as the only one to blame in this situation are Arsal and Zonia themselves – not Esha.
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In a logical world, characters like Zonia and Arsal would have some shame and keep their distance from Esha. However, they are purposely written to be “dheet” (thick) and selfish, unable to look beyond their own nose, only acting upon what they feel keeps them afloat. In a humorous dialogue, Arsal’s father points out that God paired Arsal and Zonia together because of their similar bad habits and personality traits.
What makes “Jaal” entertaining is watching these two terrible human beings, Arsal and Zonia, adjust to one another. On the other end, the budding love story between Zaid and Esha is endearing to watch and it has to be said that regardless of the role, Imran Ashraf gives his 100% to each and every role he portrays on screen. While Jaal cannot be termed a masterpiece, it’s the type of show that draws in viewers due to the dramatic nature, with an entertainment quality similar to watching an episode of “Bigg Boss” – instantaneous drama, loud characters and entertaining fights, along with a budding romance.