Shukar Alhamdulillah!! Finally after a very long time I was actually able to make it through an episode without having to rewind a thousand times and straining to catch the murmurs and whispers. In terms of the sound quality and background score, therefore, this latest installment was a surefire winner in my book. This should not, however, be read as a thumbs up for the episode as a complete package. Though coherent in terms of narrative – the insightful conversation between Baray Sahab and his lawyer, and excellent acting by Sania Saeed and Farah Shah were all plus points – the inordinate emphasis on catfights and OTT theatrics from the khaandani bahu and her partner-in-crime Rukhsana left me sorely disappointed.
The one question that was answered from those horribly melodramatic confrontations between Mahjabeen and Neelam was that Wali was unaware about Qasim’s existence, and it is this secret that has held Mahjabeen a prisoner for so long in the Bakht household. If it was just her, much like Amtul, she too would’ve turned her back on all this madness and sought refuge in the deepest recesses of her mind. Unlike Amtul though, Mahjabeen is not a khaandani bahu, mother to the publicly acknowledged heir of the Bakht khaandan. Rather she is a vani, a woman handed over to the enemy by her own family members. More importantly, she is a vani with a dark secret. If Baray Sahab had gotten even a hint of Qasim’s existence he would’ve been dead long ago.
Though we still don’t know how Mahjabeen was able to keep Qasim’s existence a secret for so long, but after the filmi threats from Wali’s Star Plus inspired wife, she is afraid for her son. Though Mahjabeen implores him to stay away Qasim laughs off her concern. Much like Alamgir, who lived life as he pleased and never knew what it meant to live on somebody else’ terms, Qasim too makes light of her warnings. Feeling more alone than ever, Mahjabeen can only look longingly towards the wide open sky. Will there ever come a time when she is freed of the seen and unseen shackles that keep her bound to the Bakht household?
Earlier Neelam had appeared like a breath of fresh air; she was bold, unafraid of questioning the status quo, but after seeing her in the past couple of episodes one is left to wonder if she is indeed any more different than the other feudals around her. Enjoying typical wadera pleasures, wallowing in the joy of owning property, getting her legs pressed, involving maids in gharelu matters, have them spy on family members, and deriving pleasure from watching others squirm, she seems to be turning out to be more like Baray Sahab than his own flesh and blood, his grandson Wali. Now that she is pregnant, God help everybody in the household when the prima donna returns after araam-ing at the hospital, not that anything seems to be physically wrong with her!
The most meaningful scene today was the one between Baray Sahab and his lawyer. Though the writer/director seem to have chosen to highlight the useless tussles between the biwi and the vani, for me the clash between the past and present, tradition and modernity, which is taking place between Wali and Baray Sahab is so much more interesting. Baray Sahab might have thought of the sugar mill as no more than a harmless toy to pacify Wali, but clearly he has underestimated his seemingly quiet and submissive grandson. I hope we get to see more of this track as now Neelam’s inheritance is also coming in to play. I don’t think Wali will take too kindly to his grandfather’s continued interference in the way he runs his business. The boy who played on his grandfather’s lap and looked to him for assistance is now showing that he is a man with his own mind. Wali’s transition, from his laid back foreign returned pants/jeans wearing avatar to the stiff-backed wadera, wearing starched shalwar kameez-es, has been handled very smoothly.
For a serial that I have been raving about for its subtle approach, the over loud scenes between Neelam and Mahjabeen were jarring to say the least – what the heck was that with the “boy” bit?? Neelam seems to be losing her marbles pretty fast! Moreover her “fall” was pathetically fake, and the maid attempt to spy on Mahjabeen walking by the pool was was even more useless. Another very poorly executed scene was the one at the hospital. We have more than enough problems with the portrayal of working women in our drama serials, was it necessary then to show the twit of a lady doctor flirting with Wali? Yes, Fawad Khan is pretty irresistible, but surely the actress in question could have tried to appear a bit less smitten?
Finally, a shout out to the the DOP for the lovely night time shots. The scenes, Amtul walking in the gardens, perhaps the only time where she allows herself to come out of her self-imposed shell, Mahjabeen looking up at the moonlight sky, and her meetings with Qasim were beautifully shot. Also nicely done are the exterior scenes in Baray Sahab’s haveli. Overall, a mixed bag, getting there but hunooz Dilli door ast ….
Written by SZ~
Numm ~ Episode 13