For an episode that should have been an absolute thrill ride – questions answered, mysteries solved, steps taken to remedy past wrongs, and spine regeneration pretty much complete – this latest installment was yet again a mixed bag. Ending on a highly suspenseful note, this latest installment of Numm began with a sequence that I can only describe as being inspired by a bad action film.
I had been expecting a lot from the much awaited Wali and Qasim confrontation. The precaps from last week and the promo for this week promised a nail biter of a scene, with all of us, Wali included, getting a much needed verbal confirmation about Mahjabeen and Qasim’s relationship. Was he really hers and Alamgir’s son? If so, where had he been all these years? How would Wali react to the news that he was no longer the sole successor to Baray Sahab’s fiefdom? Most importantly how would this confrontation, between the badbakht men of the Bakht khandaan, impact the very profound relationship between Wali and his vani, Mahjabeen.
And, we did get answers to all our questions: yes, Qasim was indeed Alamgir and Mahjabeen’s son; yes, Wali had been unaware of what had happened in Mahjabeen’s life before she became his vani; Qasim’s existence had been a secret for all these years because he had been living in a gaon, and had been unaware of his mother’s whereabouts, and had only recently tracked her down. Qasim’s bombshell was enough to shake Wali, the otherwise self assured feudal, down to the very core of his being. For all those times when he had thought of himself as a victim of archaic traditions, here was Qasim, whose pain and suffering made Wali’s own frustrations seem so trivial in comparison. Wali had thought he understood his vani, she was after all his sazaa ki sathi, but today’s conversation revealed a whole new side to Mahjabeen. She was not only his vani, but also a mother. It was now up to Wali to right the wrongs of those before him. He had to take the first step and break this unending cycle of cruelty – the time for talking about change was over, it was now time to walk the walk.
While all this was really great and just what the doctor ordered for this badly flailing serial, I could not help but laugh out loud at the very mediocre execution of the entire sequence. To begin with, why the heck did Wali have to pounce upon Dawood. Where was the need for all the cloak and dagger stuff?? There was nobody at home expect Salima, and clearly she saw it all (from God alone knows where), since she knew exactly ke Wali sahab Dawood ko gunpoint pe ley kar gaye hain, so then why was Wali hiding in the back seat? The comedy compounded when Dawood was literally given a dhaka by Wali when they entered Qasim’s house. Why push Dawood into the house? Actually, let me rephrase: Why was Dawood even there? To wag his finger at Wali and Qasim? The confrontation between Wali and Qasim too did not carry the import it should have. Fawad’s gaunt appearance made it seem like he was going to keel over any minute. The final nail in the coffin was the classic expression on Dawood’s face as the scene ended. What was that smirk all about? Forget about Wali or Qasim, with the amount of attention lavished on him, Dawood was clearly the hero of that very important scene.
The scene which followed was one of those that have turned so many off of this serial – Neelam’s scenes. Why is this girl still in the hospital? How long does it take for a sprain to heal? And why was Wali touching her forehead? Like us, did he too think to check for some head injury? ‘Cause surely there has to be a medical reason for why a soon-to-be-mother continues to pout and behave like a spoilt brat. Apart from all my usual Neelam complaints, this hospital scene was off in the sense that it seemed to come out nowhere, and was riddled with continuity issues. It was pitch dark when Wali went to Qasim’s house, but then when he was driving to the hospital it was daylight, his scruff was gone and lo and behold Fawad looked radiant, as if he had just returned from a much needed weekend at some vani/biwi free spa. Moreover, the voiceover we heard in the car contained a lot more information than the actual Wali/Qasim confrontation. Was there another later meeting? Or did Wali go back in to talk some more with Qasim?
After all these important disclosures, I was rooting for an intense Wali/Mahjabeen one on one. Instead what we got was a very tepid scene, with our maid du jour, Salima, now with a sixties ki heroines ke style wala dupatta tied around her head. By now we’ve figured out that Salima is an important member of Wali’s household, but still, she should have excused herself and left the two alone. Khair, we know Salima was never hired for her deductive skills, isliye she did not leave the room and all we got was just a teeny tiny glimpse of that fabulous chemistry that Fawad and Sania share. The way Wali reassures and comforts Mahjabeen with just his eyes and the way he comes further in to the room, to respond to her unsaid concern was just fabulous. Why oh why do we not have more scenes between the two?!?!
Skipping over Neelam and her family scenes (by the way wasn’t that such a miraculous recovery from Neelam), to the brilliant Wali and Baray Sahab scenes, it is an absolute delight it is to see Fawad and Usman Peerzada together. It is only in scenes with the senior actors, Usman and Sania, that we see Fawad Khan shining; all his other scenes seem so very run of the mill, uninspired if you will. My favorite moment of the episode, apart from that blink and miss moment between Sania and Fawad, was the scene where Wali signals his coming of age in no uncertain terms. Gone is the laid back Wali who always addressed his grandfather deferentially, with downcast eyes and polite low tones. Today’s Wali is not afraid to go toe to toe with his grandfather and look him directly in the eyes as he softly but firmly informs the old despot of his decisions.
Today’s exchange between the dada and pota signaled a changing of the guards in the Bakht haveli. Baray Sahab is now realizing how wrong he has been in reading his grandson. More than his feudal genes, it is Mahjabeen’s tarbiyat that is shining through. Wali’s words and deeds pay homage to all the years that Mahjabeen put in. Now, as Wali goes about thwarting all of Baray Sahab’s plans, I am eagerly looking forward to seeing how this duel between the two pans out. Baray Sahab is not the kind of man who allows anyone to make a fool of him, even if it is his own grandson. Seems like the bad bakhti of the Bakht khandaan has begun in earnest. Baray Sahab has decided to take off the kid gloves and take on Wali as seriously as he would any other opponent. War has been declared. Who will be left standing at the end – Wali or Baray Sahab?
Written by SZ ~
Numm ~ Episode 15