It is a testament to Bee Gul’s excellent writing, Khalid Ahmad’s directorial skill and the actors’ superb performances, that our sympathy and empathy for various characters has shifted with every episode. Over the course of the past twelve weeks we’ve loved and hated the suave Nawab Monty, have been alternatively charmed and repelled by the silver-tongued Jaanu baba, and have felt Mama ji’s pain but then also questioned her blind devotion to her son. While we might have vacillated in our affection for all other characters, Appo ji’s is one character we’ve all universally hated. But after this latest episode, I will confess to being teary eyed as I watched Appo literally crumbling under the weight of the news of Father Albert’s death. I might be reading her all wrong, but I think I finally get a bit of why Appo is as acidic as she is, particularly towards Bibi and her kids.
Appo, as beautiful as a woman can be, made one big mistake in her life, if it can called that, to fall in love with the wrong man. Father Albert, a man who had take a vow of celibacy, was her choice, a man she could never marry. Her beauty, family background, social graces, education, all counted for naught as the man she wanted was already committed elsewhere. In sharp contrast to Appo’s bad luck, as she probably sees it, Bibi, her niece, got it all. Despite her average looks, she fell in love and was fortunate enough to marry the man of her choice. So what if Bibi had it rough later and her marriage failed, initially she did have the complete package – a husband of her choice and two beautiful children, joys that would forever elude Appo. It was perhaps easier for Appo to deal with her sterile life when she lived with just Agha ji and Mama ji.
With Bibi’s return to Silverwood, however, Appo’s unfulfilled life comes back to taunt her as she now can no longer fantasize that all is right in her world. Zoyee and Jugnu’s childish games seem to mock her. The only way she can deal with all these unwanted reminders of her empty life is to lash out at the neelay peelay “dirty demons.” Her constant jibes at Bibi too seem to be a product of her jealousy. Wile the gorgeous Appo remains unmarried and pines for her unrequited love, the average looking Bibi manages to get not one, but two men to propose marriage to her – first Paul then Monty. What would she not give to have Bibi and her children out of Silverwod.
This latest episode trained the spotlight on Appo as she learned of Father Albert’s death. Now, her fantasies, where Father Albert might one day be so moved by her letters that he might reconsider priesthood, will remain just that- fantasies. Father Albert will now never be hers. Hina Bayat was simply magnificent in conveying Appo’s feelings as she received the shocking news. The range of emotions that flitted across her face, and her body language as she wilted under the heavy weight of emotion was fabulous. Seems like this was the last appearance of our colorful Apo, I wonder if from hereon we will see her in her unmarried widow avatar. The entire sequence, revolving around Father Albert’s death was handled really well.
While this was Hina’s episode to shine, the children, Sabina and Sagar, were outstanding in their confrontation with the highly upset and angry Appo ji. I love Sabina and Sagar’s chemistry with Sanam. All those moments, when Bibi reads to the kids, are so tender. Its funny though to see how Bibi is always reading the classics of English literature to her children, it was Treasure Island this time around. I guess no Dastaan-i Amir Hamza or other Urdu literary greats for these kids! By now we know Bibi is as elitist as the rest of her family, but it was interesting to see her very cold and uncaring reaction to Appo’s distress and grief, reminded me so of Jaanu baba’s uncaring dismissal.
Though he dismissed Appo’s anguish easily enough, it is going to be harder for Jaanu baba to ignore the declining revenues, turn a blind eye to Azad inciting his factory workers, and overlook Baloo’s all too conveniently timed return to Silverwood. Even as the Silverwood people might want to maintain a distance between their ashraaf personages and the latrine cleaner Kaamo ka beta Baloo, the two groups seem likely to have a face off in the coming episodes. Zoyee and Jugnu are already enamored by Baloo and it seems like Bibi will be next in line. Hassan Niazi has made his presence felt among the truly talented ensemble cast. My big problem with him as Baloo is that he does not look the part. Everything about his getup looks affected. In a group where everyone is living their roles, he is the only one who seems to be acting out his character.
Whether Baloo impressed me or not is a whole other matter, but the older Zoya’s reminiscing seems to indicate that he does manage to impact their tightly knit family unit in more ways than one. By now we know that there are not too many happy moments in the lives of the Silverwood people, but for the sake of the kids, I hope they have a few more precious moments together as a family before they are torn apart forever. Looking forward to what happens next!
Written by SZ~
P.S. Seems like Express forgot to upload the latest episode of Talkhiyan on their YouTube channel, so I’m adding a link for DailyMotion Video. It is not of a great quality but the best I could find. If anybody has a better quality link, please do share…
Talkhiyan ~ Episode 12