A review on Pakistani Rom-Drama TV series, Jackson Heights (2014 – 15). Its Production House is Six Sigma Plus while its Distribution is done by Urdu 1 Television.
- Directed by Mehreen Jabbar
- Written by Vasay Chaudhry
- Cinematography by Nausheen Dadabhoy
- Creative Directed by Wajahatullah Khan
- Produced by Humayun Saeed and Shahzad Nasib
Jackson Heights aired on Urdu 1 from 19th Sep 2014 – 20th Mar 2015. In total, it consists of 27 episodes. The story revolves around six Pakistanis living in Jackson Heights a suburb in Queens, New York. The shooting locations is mainly Jackson Heights, Queens and Karachi; Pakistan.
Mehar Jaffri is the younger sister of the actress, Ainy Jaffri. The opening theme song, “Laiyaan, Laiyaan” is sung by Saad Sultan.
Jackson Heights was aired in India on Zindagi on 1st Sept till 24th Oct 2015. It was an instant hit.
Warning: There are SPOILERS ahead!
+ Main Cast
- Noman Ejaz as Imran Bhatti
- Aamina Sheikh as Salma
- Adeel Hussain as Jamshed
- Marina Khan as Michelle
- Adnan Jaffar as Rizwan
- Ali Kazmi as Sikandar
+ Supportive Cast
- Mehar Jaffri as Aliya
- Neelofar Abbasi as Sikandar’s Mother
- Naghma Begum as Bhatti’s Mother
- Monsoon Bissell as Kathy
- Almaas Hussain as Emaan
- Ahmad Razvi as Javed
- Taimur Syed as Kash
- N/A as Bhatti’s Brother
- Zareen* as Bhatti’s Sister-in-Law
- Taimoor Qureshi as Adnan
- Alma Moos Nunez as Isabella
- Theo Van Golen as Mark
- Rida Asfahani as Jamshed’s GF
- Fahad Ahmad as Jamshed’s Friend
+ Minor Cast
- Tara Mehmood as Jamshed’s Friend’s Mom
- Nausheen Masood as Maria
- Shehzaad Ali Khan as Jamshed’s Friend’s Boss
- Imran Mirza as Office Colleague*
- Zain Masood as Neighbor*
- Ahtesham Khanira as Stranger*
- Ali Murawat as Cabbie#1*
- Usman Mir as Passer By*
- Moin Ahmad as Man in Restaurant#1*
- Qazim Raza as Man in Restaurant#2*
- Muhammad Arshad as Cabbie#2*
- Shehryar Khan as Lawyer*
- Asim Rajput as Co-Worker*
- Aslam Mughal* as Bhatti’s Nephew
- Mehreen Jabbar as Customer (Cameo)
It follows the lives of overseas Pakistanis and Indian living in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of New York City in Queens.
+ High Points
i – Nauman Ejaz portrays as Imran Bhatti, the main lead character of this TV series. Nauman has ever given a performance which is less than great. His kind personality and to help others out of his way, have made Bhatti sb as an instant hit for the viewers to fall in love with his character.
ii – Aamina Sheikh as Salma, who is stuck with an abusive marriage within her relatives. She is tormented by her ugly hearted mother-in-law and ex-convict con-man husband. The only reason she stays behind is because of under 18 years of age step-daughter. Her daughter is the only ally of this ill-fated marriage. I have watched several works of Aamina Sheikh. But in JH, she has given an extraordinary performance as a responsible wife, a loving mother and a caring close friend to Bhatti sb. Thumbs up!
iii – Adeel Hussain portrays as Jamshed, as one of the antagonists of JH. Adeel has given a really convincing performance as a shrewd, cunning and selfish character. A person who will do anything to achieve his goal. As a reviewer, this is rare but I have never watched his TV work before. And his film work isn’t really great either. But this role of his, would always be the memorable one of his career. Other Honorable Mentions: Adnan Jaffar, Mehar Jaffri and Naghma Begum.
iv – Finally, after Ramchand Pakistani, I would like to give a high five to Mehreen Jabbar on her awesome direction. Her team work with the writer turns out to be a great decision.
v – The writing has played a great role to this TV series success. Vasay Chaudhry has able to write a perfect script which focuses on six expatriates working in New York City.
vi – The opening theme song, Laiyan, Laiyan sung by Saad Sultan is very well verse, good song to listen to. Soon, it was on the tip of my tongue. I was singing in each episode’s start and in its end during the credits roll.
vii – As far as the characters are concerned, they are well-written and given a meatier roles for their performers to play them. Such as:
- Imran Bhatti’s personality is shown as down to earth, simple and friendly nature. He is shown as good nature husband to his highly unattractive & rude foreign wife. Bhatti sb is shown as a very concerned & forgiving step-father to her children. He even intentionally keeps the dark secret to Salma’s husband’s illegal activities to himself and confronts her abusive husband very bravely. His ultimate decision to visit Pakistan in the exchange of the green card, to meet his dying beloved mother is something which leaves the viewers very emotionally attached towards him.
- The antagonist characters of Jamshed and Imran Bhatti’s Brother are kept it very true and closer to the reality. In their negativity, we were still able to see their genuine sadness and tears for their loved one. This is something very rare to see and acknowledge in our TV dramas.
viii – I am very satisfied with JH’s finale. Good job, I must say. Bringing such a wonderful TV series to a proper, respectable end.
ix – There are two best scenes in terms that I considered them most intriguing to watch. Such as:
- Where Jamshed fools Rizwan to spill out his anger and hatred towards him while Michelle is secretly listening.
- Almost, all of Imran Bhatti’s major scenes are interesting. Scenes such as his emotional scene with his bed ridden mother, his friendly chats with Salma and many more. But, I will go for his vital decision of losing his of green card for permanent basis and return back to his gravely ill mother.
x – It’s a good decision to see that an Indian origin character is not shown in bad light but rather, one of the Pakistani origin characters is. It shows that the writer is not biasis to admit that not all our people have a good heart.
+ Low Points
i – JH starts real’ slow. It will take approximately first 5 – 6 episodes at least to gain some interest.
ii – The small roles of Rida Asfahani and Fahad Ahmad is almost useless. In the starting of the episodes, they have some strong lead. After that, they almost make cameo appearances.
iii – Whenever I tell someone that JH consists of total, 27 episodes, believe me, they make a face. Honestly, 20 – 22 episodes for any TV drama is enough. Though, JH does justice with the number of total episodes. Still, I think that 3 – 4 episodes can easily be cut down.
iv – There are some continuity issues in the mid episodes. Such as, two characters interacting with each other. At one camera angle, they are standing only mere inches apart while at a different camera angle they are 2 – 3 feet apart. Other example if of the character Michelle. In one scene, she has old greyish hair. In the same episode, she suddenly has light brown dye hair. It keeps changing in the same 2 – 3 episodes.
Jackson Heights is a perfect example of a great team work between the director, writer, producer and star cast.
Rate: 4.25 out of 5 stars