Like its predecessors, this latest episode too was a pal main tola pal main masha kind of an installment. From scenes that were brilliant to average to mindbogglingly mediocre, within a span of about forty minutes we pretty much saw it all. Though the story is progressing steadily and much of what I had hoped for – Wali coming into his own, more focus on Wali as an instigator of change rather than a weak man caught between two wives, war of wills heating up between Wali and Baray Sahab, Mahjabeen standing up to Baray Sahab – is now happening, I am getting increasingly frustrated with the Neelam & Co. scenes. Seriously, which self-respecting tween would be caught dead acting like Minahil does – begging her sister for chocolates?!?! How old is she – two??? And just when it seems like things can’t get any worse, we have Neelam going all pouty during her phone conversation with Wali… no wonder the guy chooses to stay away and keep working at the mill.
Despite all my aggravations, and yes, I am more than annoyed, with these supposedly cutesy scenes, and trying to figure out how Neelam got so big within a span of five months, why can’t Qasim find a job rather than mooching off of his biryani cooking friend, and why does chocolate cake cost more than vanilla in Pakistan, the reason I continue to watch Numm and find myself enjoying it is because of Sania Saeed, Fawad Khan and Usman Peerzada’s stellar perfiormances. Every scene of theirs has so much intensity and meaning and is so beautifully done that its hard to believe that this is the same Numm that aggravated so much just moments before.
Picking up from last week, still reeling from the import of Wali’s statement, Baray Sahab spent this entire episode trying his best undo what his grandson had done. What a sleight of hand Wali had pulled off! Had the old despot had even an inkling of what Wali was planning to do, he would have never handed over everything on a silver platter. What a fool his grandson had made of him, and he would pay the price for it… but that was later. For now he was going to deal with Mahjabeen.
But even on that front Baray Sahab was thwarted. No longer the acquiescent vani, this new Mahjabeen is not afraid to look the feudal lord in the eye. Her head held high, Mahjabeen was not the one who blinked first. Gone was the vani, this was a wife and a mother confronting her nemesis – in as much as it was possible Wali had initiated the process by which she would be free, a woman with all respect and rights restored.
First Wali then his vani, both looking him in the eye and challenging him – this is certainly a first for Baray Sahab, and going by the previews seems like the next time that toy pistol is fired it wont be a hawayi fire. No, I don’t see Qasim killing Wali, I think its more likely to be Baray Sahab’s goons trying to get rid of the fitnas as per his instructions. Mahjabeen is wise when she warns her son to lay low, but Qasim being his father’s son, laughs off her concerns. It is easy for him to laugh off her warnings because to him this is still not real. Had he suffered through the pain-filled life that Mahjabeen did, he would not be sporting that casual an attitude.
While most of the time Qasim comes across as carefree teenager, reveling in his newly found mother’s love, his legal right to the Bakht name is still very much in question. Even an unthinking remark about Qasim’s singing bringing a bad name to the family name raises the question: what family? Though Qasim claims to be Alamgir’s son and by extension a member of the Bakht clan, the legality of that claim is still in question. I am hoping that the coming episodes will help clear the confusion surrounding Alamgir and Mahjabeen’s marital status.. were they or were they not…
Call me a sucker, but I loved the phone conversation between a much relaxed Mahjabeen, one who actually smiles, and a mature Wali who has grown so much from when we first met him. Gone is the confused, ambivalent Wali, the man we see today is confident and sure of himself. Putting his money where his mouth is, he has stood up to his grandfather, done right by both his wives, and is slowly but steadily introducing a change in the working environment.
So much of Wali’s outlook on life is a tribute to Mahjabeen’s upbringing. Theirs is a relationship that has evolved over time. There were those moments when Wali chafed at the ties that bound him to her, and at others he rebelled against her emotional hold on him, but they survived through it all. Now it is his turn to give back to her what she had been giving him all these years – love. Not the kind of love that is easily categorized as that of a mother, wife, lover, friend, rather this is love borne out of a shared experience. Unlike Neelam who demands more than she gives, Mahjabeen wants or expect nothing from him. Though he cannot return her all those years that she spent looking after him, what he can and is doing is to return her dignity.
The most poignant moment of the episode for me came after Wali ended his conversation with Mahjabeen and looked out the window. Though he had assured her he was fine, he did not seem all that good in that moment, rather it was as if the weight of the world had just settled on his shoulders. For as long as he can remember Wali has always had Mahjabeen around him; he’s been the center of her world and she his. But with the new entrants in their lives, first Neelam and now Qasim, their world is no longer the same. Though he wants to do the right thing and let her go, where would this leave him? She would walk away with her son, but wouldn’t he be left empty handed?
As I see it, his marriage to Neelam has always been a sham. Their incompatibility has never been a secret and his decided lack of enthusiasm about his wife or his unborn child has never been hidden. With Mahjabeen’s impending departure he would be basically left alone, without anybody around who understands him in all his complexities. Till now we had always seen Mahjabeen looking out of windows, longing for the time she would fly solo, but today for the first time ever it seemed like Wali was doing the same, albeit with a different thought. While Mahjabeen had sought an end to her imprisonment, Wali seemed to be prepping himself for a life long sentence.
With Baray Sahab sending his minions after Qasim and Mahjabeen, Qasim refusing to take Mahjabeen away and Wali retreating into his shell, it is hard to foresee a happy ending for anybody in the Bakht family. Amtul was right… the badbakhti has begun…
Written by SZ~