After a few weak episodes, in terms of pacing, editing and other technical issues, this was a much tighter installment. Yes, the background score still needs some serious fine tuning, and the sound quality leaves much to be desired, but overall this was the first week where I sat through an episode without straining my ears, or getting exasperated with seemingly never-ending scenes. In terms of the narrative, Neelam presence was bound to stir up things and it certainly did!
Neelam’s re-entry in to Wali’s household has been eventful to say the least. Carving out a space for herself in her husband’s already complicated life is not as easy a task as this young besotted girl had willed her in to believing while she was away at school. Now that she is back, though still a child in many ways, Neelam is woman enough to pick up on the shift in the status quo between Wali and his vani. Her clunky attempts at taking over the affairs of the household, failed attempts to make an impression with her cooking, and her constant sniping with Wali, all point to the fact that pretend as she may that all is well with her life, deep within she knows that nothing is right. Wali, who just last week had assured her that nothing was going on between him and Mahjabeen, was unable to look her in the eye today and deny the undeniable – yes, Mahjabeen may be his vani, but she was also his wife. Baray Sahab’s acknowledgment of Neelam’s status as his bahu, even as he rudely dismissed Mahjabeen, and his very generous gifts might have won one battle for Neelam, but the war is nowhere near being won.
The silences that were an integral part of Wali and Mahjabeen’s life are now a thing of the past. So habituated was this couple to each other that words were rendered unnecessary. A lift of Wali’s brow or a questioning glance from Mahjabeen and the other immediately understood what was being said. But one stormy night altered their relationship forever. Now try as they might they can never go back to the bond they had once shared. Consequently, Mahjabeen is left confused and unsure about where she stands. She had always known things would change, but never had she thought she would be left standing where she finds herself today. While Neelam finds her being there a constant irritant, her absence causes Wali’s eyes to search the house looking to find her. Caught between two opposing forces, there are no easy answers for Mahjabeen. Will she ever be allowed to breathe freely, live a life of her own choosing?
Equally frustrated but even more confused, since both women look to him for answers, Wali is caught between the dictates of archaic traditions and that which his rational, educated mind tells him is the right way. But of course, as the wise know, it is well nigh impossible to ride in two boats at the same time. How long can he appease Neelam with sweet-talk, but then also expects Mahjabeen to be always present in the house, take care of his laundry, and bend over backwards to accommodate the whims of a very prickly Neelam. In his quieter moments he realizes he is being unfair to Mahjabeen, but his musings are of no real help to Mahjabeen. When push comes to shove Wali can only stand there and watch his vani being insulted by his bratty wife. Wali can be wishy-washy for only so long. He needs to arrive at a decision – soon!
For now, Baray Sahab, who is as yet clueless about what has happened, is thrilled with the reassurance that his grandson is picking up riding again, and formally hands over the rein of his empire to Wali. And here, Wali is faced with his toughest challenge yet. Now that he is officially freed of his grandfather’s iron hold, will we see a new Wali next week, someone who is not unafraid to speak his mind, and stand up for what he believes to be right? Or, now that he has the money, will he sit back and continue enjoying the luxurious lifestyle? The stage is now set for the real Wali to step up and make himself be known and heard.
Running parallel to Wali’s story is Qasim’s track. While Wali is the pampered grandson of a very well-known man, and has spent his life enjoying all the benefits that his family status bring him, Qasim comes from a much humbler background. Unlike Wali he enjoys no benefits because of his social connections. Mahjabeen might be related to him, but Qasim cannot claim a relationship with Wali and reap any social capital because of this connection. Due to as yet undisclosed reasons, Mahjabeen is forced to meet him in private, and despite the boy’s repeated exhortations cannot leave everything behind and come live with him. Thanks to the vani system she is duty-bound to live with Wali, unless he releases from that long-standing contract. However, that is much easier said than done. Much as he might resent/hate/be confused by their relationship, there is something undefinable about their bond – something that compels Wali to look up at Mahjabeen when Baray Sahab casually dismisses her as he would a servant, something about her presence in his life that makes him miss her when she is not in the house. Now that Neelam has entered his life, is Wali ready to let Mahjabeen go?
Myra Sajid is to be applauded for giving us such richly nuanced characters that one cannot help but feel for them. Though Kanza is yet to impress me as an actress, her character is so strongly etched that even as I detest Neelam, for all her badtameezees and white lies, I cannot help but feel sorry for the little girl hiding beneath all the bravado. In terms of acting Sania, Fawad and Usman Peerzada were simply fabulous. It is such pleasure to see them breathe life into Mahjabeen, Wali and Baray Sahab. As for technical issues, the background score needs to be tinkered with a little more. All in all I found this to be an engrossing episode and enjoyed it. What did you all think? Looking forward to your thoughts!
Written by SZ~
Numm ~ Episode 10