For an ostensibly slow episode this was one heck of a fabulous ride – loved it!!
Every week I find myself falling a little bit more in love with Numm. The story telling is fantastic, and the main leads are fabulous. Every time Fawad and Sania stand in the same frame its like sparks flying all over the place – come closer and you might get singed as well!
Though Mahjabeen and Wali have yet to have a one on one conversation, one that does not involve someone else, why is it then that every time Mahjabeen looks up at Wali there is a whole other story etched on on her face… her eyes holding Wali’s gaze, searching his face for answers to questions that are perhaps best left unasked. On his end, Wali barely ever looks her straight in the eye, but his stiff body language and his hooded gaze signal that he is is not as unaware of this woman as he would like to be. He is unable to ignore her silent presence or simply walk past her.. he comes near her and his steps seem to slow down as if by their own willing.. he finds himself compelled to stop and respond to concerns he knows she will never voice.
It is in her that Wali confides his innermost thoughts. For a private and proud man like him it is not easy to confess to a mistake, but he willingly bares his soul in front of Mahjabeen. Yes, he shouldn’t have lost his control. He was not embarrassed about slapping the brat, she was asking for it, but he shouldn’t have let her get to him. That he was offering an explanation and an almost apology to Mahjabeen is something to ponder over later, but for now it was Neelam’s disappearance that was the focus of this latest installment.
The episode opened with Neelam having already gone AWOL. Here, I have to say I am really enjoying the writer’s creatively oblique mode of story telling; rather than spending time on scenes which are unimportant on their own merit but lead to crucial events, we hear about them instead. Hence, rather than seeing Neelam’s getaway, we heard about her escapade from various characters, all of whom helped construct a vivid enough picture that we the viewers were not lost. Similarly, Wali’s meeting with Rahat, Neelam’s mother, was another scene we did not see, but him getting furious with the chauffeur made it pretty obvious that Wali had not appreciated being reprimanded for his bad behavior. Rahat’s later conversation with Mahjabeen confirmed that indeed Wali had not taken too kindly to being samjhao-ed.
Exquisitely interlaced with the present is the story of Mahjabeen’s past. Mahjabeen’s coquettish smile, her uninhibited sense of self, the easy confidence of the young, and the inner glow that comes with the sense of being loved, all are in such marked contrast to quiet, hesitant woman we see today. Afraid of even her own shadow, Mahjabeen lives in constant fear of things going terribly wrong yet again. This window into the past also confirmed that Mahjabeen had indeed been in love with Barey sahab‘s younger son, a typical feudal to boot. Speeding around in his fancy jeep, armed with a killer smile and possessing an easy charm that could knock your socks off, here was a man who thought the world was his oyster. He was after all the younger son of the much respected and most feared Barey sahab – who would dare cross his path! In an otherwise dark episode, Sarmad and Sania’s beautifully executed interlude was absolutely a pleasure to behold.
Very intelligently juxtaposed against this flashback of Sikandar Bakht’s younger son and his carefree attitude towards life was the scene with Wali thinking back to his grandfather’s taunts about the fancy lifestyle, his frustration with Neelam, his annoyance with himself – could there be two men any more different?? One not questioning the system, simply living in the moment and thriving in the luxurious lifestyle, and the other hardly able to breathe under the weight of responsibilities that come with such luxuries. Again, kudos to the writer and director for staying true to the story and not simplifying the narrative.
Neelam’s is the character that questions the status quo; she asks the hard questions that others are perhaps not in the position to ask. Her conversation with Rahat was a well-written scene, but sadly the badly delivered lines spoiled the impact. How I wish that somebody had worked with Kanza on her pronunciation and dialogue delivery – would have made such a world of difference! That said, the scene with Neelam running away and Wali catching her, warmed the cockles of my romance loving heart. Wali’s whispered apology was full on filmy and should have seemed incongruent here, but it was handled really well by the director and his actors, particularly Fawad. For once there was actually a semblance of chemistry between the pair!
For me, Wali’s apology was a fantastic hook and the episode should’ve ended there, but strangely enough it went on for another scene, Neelam laying on her mother’s lap and Wali glancing back at her time and again. Not quite sure why the editor let it go for that extra scene, but it sure did dilute the impact of the very powerful apology. I do hope the editing stays on par here, because an extra scene here or there will definitely lessen the impact of this story, which relies so much on the visual narrative. Another technical aspect that really needs attention is that of the background score. To give them credit it was a much quieter episode, but the background score still needs a lot of work. It is horribly mismatched in many sequences and at times it is so loud that it drown out the dialogues. Also, I’m not sure if it was just the copy I watched, but there was actually no sound in a couple of places – I could see Fawad speaking, but no voice. Would really appreciate it if somebody could look into these issues – thank you!
Finally, before I sign off, a special shout-out to the director, the DOP and the lighting people. The chase scene was very well choreographed and shot. Also, the scene with Wali and Mahjabeen and their beautifully synchronized moves, the un-moving cold stone pillar a visual analogy for all that lay between them, the unsaid they were both skirting around, was a visual delight – fabulous framing and composition of scenes!
Written by SZ~
Numm ~ Episode 4