With a windfall of dramas releasing very soon, it is a wonder that creators are struggling for attention from Pakistani audiences. There’s more, there’s better and there’s different. Yeah, that’s the mantra this year as 2023 ushers in a new era of limited edition dramas, with Sar e Rah being the trailblazer. Jurm is the next one on the block folks and we asked director Mehreen Jabbar to give us some behind the scenes info on what lies behind the new Wahaj Ali x Dur e Fishan x Tooba Siddiqui starrer. Scroll down for more.
Jurm has been on our radar since last year, 2022, to be precise. But since the production wasn’t ready for release, we had to keep it under wraps too. Finally, and thankfully, director Mehreen Jabbar came forth to tell us more as the drama unveiled its first look, trailer and more.
Here’s what to expect and the inspiration behind the project. Mehreen takes our questions, giving nothing away, yet telling us enough to pique our curiosity, it’s an art and she’s acing it!
Were you part of the storytelling, or you just got the script and you decided to go for it?
Written by Shah Yasir and closely worked with myself (Mehreen Jabbar), the story got the green light when Geo showed interest in a mystery thriller. It is very loosely inspired from a true story,
What made you pick the story?
“It’s a limited series thriller, a compelling story, layered, interesting characters, told in a non linear way, different from what we’re used to in dramas though we have seen it on OTT platforms, but non linear storytelling is still new on the Pakistani drama horizon.” – Mehreen is always up for challenges so if someone’s going to try something different, we’d rather it be her. And Jurm it is!
Assuming that the murder will take place in the first five minutes of episode one (non linear story telling and all), but that’s just our prediction, don’t count on it!
And there, she’s got us guessing already, what about you?
Did you change or tweak any part of the plot, script?
“The script went through changes and workshops and discussed as a process.” Mehreen has always been one for workshops so no surprises as this one stayed true to form. Looking forward to the cast dynamics and performances with a well-knit script. Yes, expectations are high, but so is the expertise behind the lens, with Shah Yasir having many shorts and dramas to his credit, Baira Gharakh the most recent, (also directed by Mehreen Jabbar) and Mehreen having many under her belt, also Ek Jhooti Love Story recently, we can’t help but keep our hopes high.
Casting. Why Wahaj and Dur e Fishan?
“Not just Wahaj, and Dure and Tooba, but the entire ensemble cast was brought on for a reason, and the entire team was cast to fit the characters. No one has been brought on for no reason. They all have important parts to play.” Mehreen retorts with full confidence in her casting decisions. And this, she did repeatedly as she praised the talent and craft of the entire Jurm team – It’s a team effort and no one actor can make it happen, and this is perhaps one of the reasons, her projects achieve a degree of success.
How many episodes, we ask, reeling from some ‘not so short’ series currently on air!
“Jurm has 4 episodes” , replies Mehreen. Surprise, surprise, and let that sink in …
“It didn’t take long to shoot. It was shot last summer and Geo was waiting for the right opportunity to release.” Mehreen went on to explain: ” Limited series are not common on television, it’s a brave and risky thing for production channels to do and we must continue to do that and field different formats and genres. We are too used to long series that never end, which can continue but there is also an appetite for other genres and formats like there used to be in the past.”
Limited series have for sure, taken on a new life of recent. From Jo Bichar Gaye, Khaab Toot Jaate Hain, Sar e Rah and others now treading the same ground, this genre has certainly made a comeback so catch it while it’s hot, that’s the limited series mantra and good to know it has infiltrated from OTT to Pakistani dramas like a breath of fresh air!
Did Jurm take long to shoot, what was the challenge? We understand the project has been under covers for long now.
Mehreen elaborated: “The most challenging thing for sure was shooting for television so we were constrained by time, budget, multiple locations, characters, especially when shooting a thriller. It is a challenge to do justice to the story with a limited budget and the resources we have available. This is not a corporate video, or a TVC or a film and we did have limitations on budget and how TV dramas operate, which is what we are faced with Television dramas. But we hope we have pulled it off.” She replies confidently. And we hope so too!
Where did you shoot the drama. The venue?
“The venue is multiple locations, but the drama has been shot in Karachi.” So watch out Karachiites and prepare to replay a murder mystery in your mind through a different lens.
Is it downright scary, fear factor level?
“It’s not a scary, high fear factor kind of thing. It is a thriller,” responds Mehreen.
She understood the need of the times and explained further: “It was important for it to be fast-paced, to be to the point, not drag the scenes, (often done in dramas), to keep the audience engaged, keep the audience guessing, keep it to the point, and gradually reveal aspects of the story as we go along. That’s what makes a thriller work. I think audiences are receptive to thrillers. People watch on other platforms, YouTube etc, so people are watching this genre already.”
Mehreen J’s secret thoughts on casting? Was it “Thank God we took Wahaj, he’s already trending on insane levels – Or, OMG maybe people have had enough of him? Is this a good time for Jurm?”
Mehreen retorts with her own take. She throws light on the present Wahaj Ali dynamics and explains:
“Regarding casting, Jurm was shot way before Tere Bin was released. We shot it in June maybe. Wahaj was taken because he was a good actor, he was great to work with, his years spent behind the scenes have made him appreciative of the craft and what goes into making a project. He’s coming from that place of knowledge and hard work so it was a pleasure to work with him.”
She admits that: “I think we are very lucky that Tere Bin was a success and Wahaj is deservedly doing so well now. It definitely helps Jurm for sure. That was not our intention when we cast him, but it definitely helps the eyeballs on Jurm for sure, because of this success.” – A humble observation, and one that fans are quite happy to submit to. After all, when you’re a fan, you’re a fan so Jurm is definitely under the spotlight for all the ‘Wahaj’ reasons!
But Mehreen went on to add, make no mistake, that:
She is quick to give credit where it’s due and casting is not just about the big stars but the entire team – we couldn’t agree more!
Detective escapades, murder mystery, or just a mind game, how would you describe Jurm in 3 words or phrases.
“Jurm is a murder mystery. Simply put. You will keep guessing, I’m hoping, as to who is the guilty party. You think it’s someone, but then, it’s not that person, and then you think it’s someone else. I’m hoping we succeed, let’s see.”
So where was the thrill behind the scenes? We persisted, wanting some more to tease the mystery buff in us. We got some, not sure if it was the stuff mystery thriller is made of!
“Hmm, she contemplated. here’s what I can tell you. There was this sequence we were shooting in the Lines area in Karachi. It was a running, chase scene. It was a public school holiday … but .. wait for it, there were literally 500 children that one had to hide from each kona because they were everywhere. They were behind us. So pehlay toh the cameraman, the assistant and me were running followed by the actors and then about 500 children!”
“Then there was this time when we had to shoot an action-packed scene at night. We usually time our scenes so we get escape the sunlight, but the sun decided to come out early that day and we missed the window. Challenging for sure!” Yeah, the life and times of a director, we muse!
And then Dur e Fishan’s challenge
Poor Dure had to do a lot of running in this one scene. “So maybe don’t wear slippers, there’s a lot of running in this scene, I had warned her, but … she still wore slippers, and that was a tough night for her”. Mehreen reminisces with a chuckle!
So folks, if you spot the sequence where Dure makes like Usain Bolt through the streets of Karachi, maker sure to catch her footwear! That’s a lot of hard work there, so don’t miss it!
The vibe on the set
“It was a fun set. Great camaraderie. Everyone gelled which was great. I want to specifically point out that, what makes a project gel is when everyone is on the same page. In promotions, the other actors get left out as the stars are always mentioned. I have to say that apart from Tooba, Dure, Wahaj, the performances of Kashif Hussain who plays the police inspector, Wajdan, Maha Hassan, Zhalay – a lot of them are theatre background artists from NAPA and they surprise me each time because they’re so wonderful and they know the craft of acting so well. This was Tazeen’s first play after several years, Yunhi got released before Jurm, but Jurm was shot earlier. It’s lovely to have her back and to work with her after so long.”
And that’s all from Jurm folks. We hope to see a thriller of a 4 episode drama keep us on the edge of our seats, wanting more, and guessing who did it! So look no further than 28th April, the wait is nearly over!
Jurm will be screened on Har Pal Geo on 28th April at 8pm
The drama is produced by Geo TV, Abdullah Kadwani and Asad Qureshi, it features Mehreen Jabbar’s direction, written by Shah Yasir & produced by 7th Sky Entertainment. It is a murder mystery, limited edition thriller. As far as we know, the ensemble cast includes Wahaj Ali, Tooba Siddiqui, Durr e Fishan, Atiqa Odho, Mohammed Ehteshamuddin, Zhalay Sarhadi, Tazeen Hussain, Maha Hassan, Kashif Hussain, Wajdan among others. Catch the Jurm trailer here.