Cuff links! To link cuffs together, to link the already linked twins together!
Magar Paul ki diye huey cufflinks mujhe aur Jugnu ko jor na sakey…
Na Jaane kab ye link toot gaya
Aur main aur Jugnu aik doosre se judaa ho gaye,
Aaj se theek chaudah baras pehle
Jab Paul hum se mile beghair chupke se chala gaya tha,
Aur Bibi Monty ke intezar mai saari saari raat jaagti rehte thi
Tab main aur Jugnu aik saath thay cuff links ke pair ki tarha,
Bibi ki zindagi se jurey hue…
By now its no secret that I’m in love with Bee Gul and Khalid Ahmad’s crazy Silverwood gang – be it the thaka hua Jaanu baba, who’s seemingly such a great boss ke female factory workers want to visit with him after hours as well, or the gorgeous but crazy Appo ji, who torments her grand niece and nephew for being neelay peelay, but still writes love letters to Father Albert, or the betay ke pyaar mein paagal Mama ji, who doesn’t seem to realize that she is being led down up the proverbial garden path by her beloved son, or the seemingly stoic Bibi, who perhaps unbeknownst even to herself, has inherited her family’s trademark vicious streak, and is now unconsciously passing on to her children the very value system she detests her family for subscribing to: don’t behave like clerks, this is not how aristocrats behave, sit like this, eat like this – Oh, Bibi! you are as much of an elitist as Appo, Mama ji and Jaanu are! In short, each and every member of the Silverwood gang is a bundle of contradictions. Much like peeling an onion, week after week, we pull back one layer to discover yet another one. Whether there are answers buried in there somewhere remains to be seen. Conversely, perhaps rather than being about Zoya’s quest to find answers in the present, Talkhiyan is more about Zoya’s look back in to her shadowy past … Why and how did the linked twins get un-linked? Mehak Khan is lovely as our interlocutor, her narration setting up seamless segueways between Zoyas memories and her present day search for her lost link.
And when the shooting star sparkles through my night sky,
let me not feel the ache of a lost wish
And when the colors of rainbow fade in the blink of an eye,
let me not feel the fire that my tears unleash
And when the moment to be cherished poisoned my vein
let me not feel the void that you left behind
And when battling my agony I resent the summer rains,
let me not hear the melody that the song birds find…
It is a testament to Bee Gul’s writing that by the time Bibi finished reading Paul’s letter, my heart was aching for this man’s unfulfilled desire to see his children one last time. Up until last week I hated Paul for being the drunk, abusive and neglectful husband and father that he was, but despite all that, his anguish here was real and his repentance so heart wrenching. I hated Bibi for bad-mouthing Paul to his children. Yes, she was doing it out of insecurity: What if the children chose Paul over her? What if he managed to take them away from her? Would she be able to live without them? All valid fears, and she was justified in her behavior towards him – he had treated her abysmally during their years together – but, seeing him here as a frail, sick person, it was hard to reconcile that evil, creepy guy with this bechara-looking man. The shots of him walking around the old school building, running his hands along the walls, and then seeking the elderly Kamoo’s help, to negotiate the hilly terrain were beautifully done. That superb play of shadows and lights, when Paul covered a sleeping Kamoo with his shawl, was simply stunning. Abdul Rasheed, the actor playing Kamoo, is perfectly cast and very effective in his part as Silverwood ka namak-khawar mulazim. Summer Nicks was simply amazing as Paul. Never thought it was ever even possible, but for once my sympathies lay with an abusive ex-husband!?!
Monty baaraat le kar agaya magar shadi kab hai?!
Nawab Monty, the shining knight – the bright headlights bathing him in an otherworldly glow – returned to make good on his promise to marry Bibi. Given that he is such a catch, as Appo keeps reminding all and sundry, one cannot help but wonder why he puts up with Bibi’s quick silver moods. On the other hand, Bibi too is a bundle of contradictions, misses him when he’s not there, but when he is around she gives him the cold shoulder. Whether Paul’s surprise visit had something to do with this change in Bibi is something that remains to be seen. Meanwhile Monty remains unfazed in his single-minded pursuit – be it charming Appo ji to the point where she is reduced to blushing and giggling like a silly schoolgirl, or giving in to Mama’s request that he listen to her play the violin, or astutely tapping in to Zoyee and Jugnu’s loneliness, becoming their best buddy and taking them out for late night ice-cream parties – nothing and no one will be allowed to stand in his way. Why do I keep thinking that our Luckhnavi charmer has an extra card hidden up his sleeve? Sarmed Mirza is effortlessly suave as Nawab Monty.
While Monty forges on in his mission to marry Bibi, the storm clouds gathering on the far horizons seem to signal that an already complicated situation may become murkier in the coming weeks. Baloo’s entry has been beautifully set up, via Kamoo’s by now annoying reiteration of his do bete, ek beemar doosra shehr main…With Baloo’s pictures in the newspapers, and Azad riling up the villagers against the factory owner Jaanu baba, its seems like the scene is being set for a Marxist style peasant uprising. The homegrown hero Baloo leading the charge against the money-hungry, exploitative capitalist. How is the red saree clad Bibi (love the double-edged significance of the color) convinced to break her own rules, about the differences between social classes, is something that I am really looking forward to in the coming episode!
Yes, this was yet another one out of the park by the Talkhiyan team. From the most senior to the youngest, this ensemble cast is simply stellar. The writing and direction continues to raise the bar with every episode. Naveed Malik’s camerawork is just stunning – no other way to describe it. The behind the scenes technical crew, the production team, all deserve acknowledgement. A special shout out to the person responsible for Sanam’s look and makeup. I don’t think Sanam’s ever looked prettier – and to think she’s constantly being cast as the girl with average looks!
Thanks to what I’ve seen in Talkhiyan, Bhurban is a definite stop on my next visit to Pakistan. How I wish that Express had arranged for a chat show to introduce the project and the Talkhiyan team to the general public. I, for instance, would’ve wanted to know more of the challenges faced by the writer in adapting this story to fit Pakistani sensibilities. I would’ve also liked to know more about the places shown here, are they easily accessible? What were some of the challenges of shooting in such a small town, etc… All is not lost however. Express still has plenty of time to stir public interest and drum up publicity for this superb serial, drawing attention to the quality work being produced in our country, even in these days of formulaic, assembly-line dramas…
Talkhiyan ~ Episode 10
Written by SZ~