Growing up, Alice in Wonderland was one of my favorite books. The concept of a fantasy world – where nothing was what it seemed, time had little or no value, each characters lived in reality of their own making, people grew and shrunk randomly, what made sense was nonsense, and 2+2 equaled everything but four – held a lot of fascination for me. Every time after I read this Lewis Carroll classic I would spend hours daydreaming about what such a world would look like – what would those fantastical characters be like, how would they live and behave in a world which lay outside of time, a place where disorder was the order of the day. Needless to say I never found answers to any of my questions.
Its taken a while, but I think I got answers to all those long ago questions today. The world of Zindagi Gulzar Hai is no less mesmerizing than that of Alice in Wonderland. I feel as lost here as I did there. This episode in particular was truly remarkable for its similarity to my favoritest story. As confused as I had felt then, throughout this latest installment too I kept trying to figure out answers to a whole range of problems….
How did Rafia know about Kashaf’s pregnancy last week, when Kashaf herself found out this week? And if it was Sidra who was expecting last week, then was this a case of immaculate conception or did time fly exclusively for Sidra, whereby she was able to go to the US and return back pregnant? And if it was Sidra, then where were she and her baby this week?
How long have Kashaf and Zaroon been married? Sara said something about an imminent wedding anniversary… so give or take a few months, does this mean our lovebirds have been fighting for months?
Why hasn’t Shehnila finished her engineering program and why is Hammad still “studying”? Yes, Hammad is a bad student and a loser, but then we all knew that. Why then are his parents getting so upset about his non-performance now? Why is Murtaza blaming his wife? Isn’t he equally complicit in his son’s poor upbringing. At his point Murtaza and Junaid are sounding eerily similar – khud ko na dekho, sirf biwi par ilzaam dharey jao. Echoing his brother-in-arms Murtaza, Junaid too had his by now familiar tum dono ki tarbiyat main kami reh gayi hai moment today.
Asmara, why was she back again? After Zaroon had a complete amnesia about his meeting with her the week before, why is she back again? Isn’t she married? Didn’t she send him to hell a while ago? Wasn’t she the one who broke up their engagement centuries ago? If all this is not a figment of my imagination then why this periodic interest in Zaroon? If there is a larger purpose to her presence in the story then perhaps the makers should have spent a little more time weaving her in to the narrative.
And as for apney Zaroon sahab, I have yet to see a more confused character. After spending about an episode and a half on a basically baseless narazgi, forget about us, even he’s forgotten what was it that he was upset about! Last week he told Kashaf he was upset because she did not confide in him about Osama’s proposal. Today he told his father he was upset that his wife had been proposed to by others as well. At the very end, after Kashaf’s pregnancy resulted in an instant patch-up (anybody surprised?!), he told her that he had been upset because she had confided in a third person about their marital problems. Forget about the fact that Zaroon too had discussed his issues with his father, I love how the reasons for his narazgi changed as whimsically as everything else does in this gul-o-gulzar world. Overall I thought the issue of ego-clashes was very relatable and true to life, but the way its dealt with here makes the Mad Hatter seem ever so sane when compared to apne hero sahab.
Putting aside the Alice in Wonderland deja vu moments, I enjoyed the way Zaroon and Kashaf’s naraazgi was shown as a photo montage of Sara’s wedding – now this creativity and out of the box thinking I really enjoyed. Ayesha Omar looked lovely; seems like Sara’s caught quite a hunk in Ghufran, who looked so much more interesting than how he was described last week. I loved all the warm moments between Kashaf and her in-laws, and have to say that no matter how much we are told that Ghazala is bad, she keeps proving it otherwise. There are not too many mother-in-laws around who would acknowledge that despite objections their son chose a good wife, and then to top it off even thank the said bahu for helping out with a family function – many if not all, would simply expect this as a given. Full marks here to Ghazala Aunty – now if only she could buy your bahu a few more clothes. That unflattering yellow jora, from the day after her wedding, was back again today – someone please help her!
Apart from all the going ons in Kashaf’s household, this was also the episode where finally Rafia received her due acknowledgment from Murtaza. This was her moment of triumph, and indeed well deserved one, loved that she finally got to say her part.
Samina Peerzada was very good here and Waseem Abbas equally so. Much as I harangue about Zaroon and Kashaf, the way Fawad and Sanam enacted their characters and Fawad’s expressions at hearing Kashaf’s pregnancy news were fantastic. Ayesha Omar, Hina Bayat, Javed Sheikh all are doing a great job, its the incoherence in the screenplay and the editing that leaves a lot to be desired. Honestly, I would enjoy this one so much more, if I spent less time after trying to piece the various parts of the puzzle together.
Twenty three episodes in, and Zaroon has not yet faced up to his hypocrisies, Kashaf has yet to give birth to her twin girls, who then have to grow up and pose for the happy family portrait, Zaroon still needs to understand Kashaf’s issues with her impending motherhood, and there is yet be some kind of a resolution of Kashaf’s insecurities vis a vis her abba in particular and men in general. Any guesses as to how many episodes more?
Written by SZ~