Ok, so by now we know Falak is an idiot, Falak is willfully blind, Falak is self-centered, Falak is arrogant, Falak is …, well, let’s just say Falak is a Falak… but no matter how much of a Falak she might be, no woman, or rather no person, deserves to be treated the way Salman dumped poor Falak today. I mean come on, pehle khana khilaya phir kaha ke hey by the way, listen, I’m dumping you… and want to get married to this other woman Tabinda??!! Say what?! Mikaal was fabulous as the asinine Salman!!
Didn’t think I would feel as much as I did for Falak in this episode. Mahira was absolutely brilliant, first as the desperate wife trying to come to grips with the harsh reality that her beloved husband was no longer interested in her, then as the shocked woman who’s cold-bloodedly informed by her husband that she is being replaced very soon with a woman whom he loves, and finally as the woman who comes face to face with her competition, and finds the very core of her existence shaken by the harsh reality staring her in the face. For Falak, the fact that she is gorgeous is one that is a given – nobody’s ever questioned or challenged that – she’s been loved all her life. Though she’s probably never sat and thought about this, subconsciously she does believe that her looks have a lot to do with who she is, the way people respond and relate to her. It defines the very essence of who she is. For Falak, therefore, physical beauty is central to the way she perceives the world around her. Hence her first question, when Salman informs her of his interest in Tabinda, is to ask whether this other woman is more beautiful. Wrapping her head around that which she is familiar with is the only way she can begin to process the bitter truth that her fairy-tale of a marriage (in her head) has fallen apart.
Her breakdown in the bathroom, after she could no longer delude herself that Nasira’s taveez’ were working, was beautifully executed. Mahira owned that sequence. I love what Sarmad does with mirrors, and when I saw the big mirror in the bathroom I knew we were in for a fabulous moment. And yes, it was indeed all that BUT how I wish that the sequence had been done in one go rather than turned into a jumble. The innate sense of a building up to a climax was ruined, for me at least, by a weird juxtapositioning of long shots and close ups. Mahira’s eyes were telling a thousand tales, but each time we got close enough to hear/read them, we were rudely taken away from that moment and shown a long shot. Not cool!
Another thing I found jarring was the language of the dialogues of the voiceover in the bathroom. No doubt they were lovely lines, but they seemed to belong to a character other than Falak. Since when has our flighty Falak ever thought so deep and in such literary language? Yes, there have been lovely moments of introspection all along, but they’ve been predominantly conveyed through expressions. Here too, I thought Mahira expressions were so spot on that there was no real need to have her expressions translated. For me these lines, coupled with the loud background score, represented overkill. Surely, we as audiences are mature enough to comprehend the drama playing out on our screens. Why do we need hand holding and be told what to feel and understand. I have watched this scene a couple times since, the last time with the sound muted, and I have to say my viewing experience was so much more enhanced, with no aural distractions to mar my enjoyment of that brilliant scene.
Today’s episode also revealed the identity of the mystery woman, Tabinda. Once again, loved the confrontation scene – Mahira and Nadia were excellent. I’m a huge Nadia Afgan fan, so looking forward to seeing what she does with this role. I wish though, that she was not the “ugly” woman…. I sincerely hope some of the harsh language, describing Tabinda’s physical appearance in the novella, has been tempered in the serial. Hope that someday soon we will see Nadia playing a central role in a serial where she is portrayed as the beautiful intelligent woman she is, rather than the dumpy character she is playing here, or as the mazloom Mumtaz in Bilqees Kaur.
Overall this was another fab episode. I love the way the story has progressed, the time spent earlier on establishing Falak’s character, her relationship with her family, her friends, her rejection of Hamza’s affections, her infatuation with Salman and their subsequent marriage, complete with its ups and downs, all have led very nicely to this mid climax, Falak’s first breakdown. Thanks to the earlier build-up, whether we agree or disagree with her, we know and understand how Falak feels and thinks. Given that this really is a single track story, with no other side distractions, the fact that we remain hooked speaks volumes of the strength of the story and the ability of the story-tellers – Umera and Sarmad, and the cast and crew of Shehr-e Zaat. Excellently done!
Written by SZ~