Can parents love their children less? Do parents have to love their own children the most? Are there rules as to whether parents can love others’ children more than their own? Bechari Zoyee! Ever since Bibi’s unthinking threat, that things would change if Zoyee didn’t behave, I doubt if the poor child has stopped thinking about the what-ifs for even a second. Bibi might’ve said it in jest, but from Zoyee’s perspective this was as real as it could get. After all, it was her beloved mother who’d said this. Later, when she questioned her again, Bibi did not offer an unequivocal affirmation of her love. That a child has to spend sleepless nights worrying about whether her only parent, that too a double one, loves her a little less, is something no child should ever have to go through.
Jugnu on the other hand has his own private demons to fight. Sadly, a childhood that should have been filled with unconditional love, infinite joy and an unquestioned sense of security was instead spent thinking and worrying about these concepts – what did these words even mean for this neeli peeli angrez ki aulad? Standing on the periphery of the family circle, as they watch Lizzie celebrate her birthday, these twins have seen it all. They’ve been separated from their father, harshly treated by their grand-aunt, generally ignored by their mostly absent grandmother, looked on bemusedly by their uncle, molested by a pedophile, and now threatened to be loved a little less by their mother. What were Zoyee and Jugnu to do? Other than depend upon each other and plan for a quick getaway in case of an emergency, what other options did they have? There was nobody else around for them…
Mehr Sagar and Sabina are simply superb here. The range of emotions they portray is simply amazing: Jugnu’s troubled nightmare, Zoyee’s fretting, their playful moments with Lizzie, their teasing Baloo, Jugnu calling him pickled Baloo and Zoyee asking him to bow to Queen Elizabeth aka Lizzie. Conveying so much requires a huge amount of effort from these two youngsters, and it is to their credit that they give it their all, following their director’s lead like seasoned performers. These two naughty demons are truly superstars in the making.
Mehak Khan, another star in the making, is impressing here as Zoya. Her soliloquy aptly conveys Zoyee’s pain and anguish. All those previously unvoiced feelings of anger, rejection, hopelessness, bewilderment, betrayal, stand out in rich relief as we see the past come alive through her eyes. While we still don’t know what drove the once joined twins apart, there is no anger in her description of Jugnu. Jugnu is someone she protected more fiercely than a tigress protects her cubs. The way she never tells anyone Jugnu’s secret is so telling – and this from a girl who earlier could not but blurt out to her mother about the origins of the mysterious chocolates, even though Monty had told her to keep quiet about them. What is clear though is that no matter what drove the twins’ apart, Zoya has now decided that its time for them to meet. From the tantalizing glimpses we got in the previous episode, it seems like Jugnu is not unaware of his sister’s presence at Silverwood. Looking forward to when they meet up!
In her narration, as a grown woman Zoya seems to empathize and sympathize with Bibi, but as a daughter there is a definite censure in her otherwise loving portrayal of a brave woman who had thirsted for even a drop of love in her life. It is perhaps the barrenness of her life and the betrayals, she feels she has suffered at the hands of those she thought she could depend on, that compel Bibi to momentarily put aside the aristocratic values she is so fond of instilling in her kids, and consort with somebody from the very class she abhors. Interestingly enough, though she has lowered her standards, seeing the two together it is very clear as to who calls the shots in this relationship, if one may call it so. While there was zip, zilch, zero chemistry between Sanam and Hassan Niazi, the scene with Bibi studying her reflection in the mirror, replicating her lover’s touch was sizzling hot – Sanam was magnificent in that scene!
And yes, speaking of magnificent, how can I not mention Appo in her full fuming glory. Just loved the way she responded to Kamoo’s shocker. There was a whole gamut of expressions that ran across her face as she heard, comprehended and later responded to news of this scandalous affair. The quiet menace with which she warned Kamoo to keep it zipped up made it crystal clear that this woman was not kidding. Baloo to marey ga hi, magar ab lagta hai Bibi ki bhi khair nahin…
Her furious conversation with Mama ji was just brilliant. While Appo was infuriated with Bibi for putting the khandan ki izzat at stake, Mama ji was lost in her own confused world, trying to comprehend the very real possibility that she might lose Jaanu once again to Margaret. Watching Hina Bayat and Shami Hilali match each other every step of the way was like watching a beautifully choreographed dance. Add in to the mix the fabulous Nargis Rasheed, who conveys so much with just a smirk and a lift of an eyebrow and you have a classic sequence. Loved this one!
Talkhiyan just keeps getting stronger and stronger with every episode. There is not one line of dialog that seems extraneous, nor a scene that seems like a filler. Now, with three more episodes to go, it seems like the puzzle pieces are beginning to fall into place and a hazy picture is beginning to emerge. Despite the very dark story and the variety of taboo subjects addressed, the narrative has never faltered and the aesthetic sensibility never wavered. Kudos to the writer/director combo of Bee Gul and Khalid Ahmad. Looking forward to seeing how the story winds up. What happened to Bibi and how did Zoyee and Jugnu separate?
Written by SZ~