Kitne ka hai yeh?
Nahin aap mujhe yeh kam kardein
Das mein den
Kitne ka hai yeh?
Nahin nahin aap mujhe 50 ka den
Peeche mujhe 50 ka keh rahe they
Please aap bas de den…
With her fashionista sunglasses, yellow shopping bag, her mother’s black crossbody bag and a ramp-ready walk, young Zoyee was ready to take on any super-model and give her a run for her money. She was absolutely fantastic as she shopped her way down the aisle of this imaginary bazaar. Stopping here, looking there, bargaining with shopkeepers, and haughtily condescending to answer the commoner Kamoo’s questions, Zoyee might be annoyed with Appo for telling her to cover her legs, but she has clearly picked up more than tip or two from her grand-aunt. Even as Bibi called out to her, Zoyee took her time, bending down to check out one last piece of merchandise before going to her mother. Similarly, the scene where the kids danced the night away with their mother, celebrating her birthday, was so moving. Given that Zoyee and Jugnu live in a very adult world, these nods to the last vestiges of childhood were very bitter-sweet. Brilliantly scripted, directed and acted, these were just two of the several fabulous scenes from yet another excellent episode.
The older Zoyee’s moving reminiscences set the tone for this fifth episode. Walking through Agha-ji’s abandoned room, going through his things, she dispassionately described how his suicide had been understood and processed by Zoyee and Jugnu’s young, inquisitive minds. Jaanu baba’s glib rationalizing – this happens to retired people, he was depressed anyways, nothing to worry about, I’ve taken care of the police inquiry, I’m here to take care of you all – could not reassure Mama-ji as she sobbed her heart out, causing Zoyee and Jugnu to compare her to a trussed-up qurbani ke jaanwar readied for skinning – not an analogy I would want to touch with a ten foot pole!
Indeed, the children are very disturbed, but how can one blame them? Appo has made it her life mission to make life a living hell for these muye ungraizon ki neeli peeli aulad. She never misses a chance to berate the talaaq ki wajah se sakht-dil Bibi for marrying an ungraiz, and sheds a ton of crocodile tears for her bechara ek hi bhai, but then the minute she’s alone she starts writing her I-love-yous to her long lost love Father Albert. Clearly what’s sauce for the goose is NOT sauce for the gander in this case … Hypocrisy thy name is Appo!
Agha-ji’s exit marked the entry of a couple of new characters. We were formally introduced to Bibi’s mysterious, charming friend – Monty. Sarmed Mirza is doing a fabulous job here. Turns out he’s their first cousin and his mother was kicked out of Silverwood. Seems like the dearly departed Agha-ji was an equally opportunity baddie – nobody was spared his wrath. His daughter still carries the scars from his belt. However much Appo calls her hardhearted, Bibi is the one who visits her father’s grave. Here, I must applaud those responsible for scouting out the absolutely stunning locations. The graveyard, Monty’s house, the pickle factory, the family bungalow, all provide a perfect setting for the unfolding of this fascinating saga of the crazy Silverwood people.
Baloo is the other character we met, albeit in absentia. Kamoo, his father, has been with the family for ages and is completely beholden to the Silverwood people for sustenance. I thoroughly enjoyed how Kamoo’s character was subtly eased into the story, class differences firmly established, and Baloo’s name brought up as a random tangent. After seeing the kids talk about Bibi’s constant reprimands about decency and public behavior, I am really looking forward to seeing how her relationship with Baloo plays out. Wonder if he is the person Azad mentioned as being held on charges of suspicion. I was not familiar with Bee Gul’s writing before Talkhiyan, but I have to say after just five episodes I am a fan.
While Appo keeps calling Bibi a loser and blames her for all her karda va na-karda gunahs, seems like Bibi has her hands full at the moment. Not only does she have two kids to look after, but Monty, the prince of Lucknow has also made it clear that he is still carrying a torch for her. So yes, plenty of action going on here as momentum continues to build. Naveed Malik’s visuals add a whole other dimension to the narrative unfolding onscreen. The actors are all doing a marvelous job. Shamim Hilali, Hina Bayat, Adnan Jaffer, Sarmed Mirza, Nargis Rasheed, Sanam Saeed, all are putting their best foot forward. The honors, though, must go to the youngest members of the cast – Sabina and Sagar. I cannot praise these two enough. They are so natural as Zoyee and Jugnu that is hard to believe these are fictional characters. Sabina was fabulous as the shopping maven and Sagar is excellent as the more subdued Jugnu. Presenting a gift to Bibi, the impromptu birthday dance (anybody noticed the nightgown blooper?), the car ride with their uncle, the prayers at the Milad, all were praiseworthy scenes. The chemistry these two kids share with Shamim, Hina and Sanam is pretty amazing. Kudos to Khalid Ahmed for extracting such natural performances from his actors, and for keeping the story moving along at a rapid pace. Looking forward to next week!
Written by SZ~