After seventeen weeks of ranting and raving – counting every step Mahjabeen walked in her garden, making note of all the times she checked her reflection in the mirror, criticizing every word that came out of Neelam’s mouth, trying to understand why a sprained ankle needed a never-ending hospital stay, being amused by Dr. Baji’s flop attempts to flirt, wondering why Minahil was the twit she was, laughing at our rich, aloo gosht eating feudal’s failed audition for the next James Bond thriller, bewildered by Dawood’s smirk, keeping track of what each and every servants was up to (and fretting about the mali’s absence), and sighing endlessly over the sheer magic of the Mahjabeen- Wali scenes – it was with bittersweet feelings that I sat down to watch this penultimate episode. Feeling somewhat senti I decided ke chalo second last episode hai, lets just go with the flow and not question anything … ab jaaney waley musafir se kiya gila …
Magar alas! Itne hafton ke baad bhi I had not learnt my lesson. In all my senti-pan I had forgotten that buried under all the nonsense is a very compelling story, add to this some of the best actors in the business and what you get is something that cannot not be taken seriously. The flip side of the coin though is that with all the omni present Numm-oonas it is hard to take this serial seriously… So yeah, ten minutes in I knew exactly why I was sad and happy about Numm ending next week.
The episode opened with a beautifully done phone conversation between a solicitous Wali and a reluctant Mahjabeen. After all those years of reconciling herself to living her life out as Wali’s vani, here she was yet again being expected to uproot herself and start all over again. After her initial misgiving she concedes, less out of fear for herself and more out of her giving in to Wali’s concern. Moreover, even though he puts it that way, it is less about her than him. Her being there and Wali’s undeniable closeness to her is causing Baray Sahab more than a few sleepless nights. She knows the old despot well enough to know that he is more than a little furious at Wali’s sleight of hand regarding the transfer of property. Hence the longer she sticks around, the more danger there is to Wali’s life.
Abhi tau I wasn’t even done savoring the exquisite Wali and Mahjabeen conversation ke it was back to the twit of a twat Minahil and her inane conversations. Neelam’s character seems to have evolved in the past few months, the bratty teenager we met in the first episode is now an almost mother. She is no longer the same girl who was coerced into marrying an already married man. Today’s Neelam is more mature and in love with her husband. Unlike before, when she took pride in spurning Wali’s efforts, she now wants his attention and looks back with regret at all those wasted could’ve been/should’ve been moments. For her sake I hope its not too late.
Along with Wali and Mahjabeen, Neelam’s character has to be one of the more interestingly sketched out characters on TV these days, sadly though Kanza has failed miserably at conveying Neelam’s complexities.
She was slightly better today, but now after seventeen weeks its a case of too little too late. More than her, I also wonder about the director’s role in working with Kanza and the other two ladies in Neelam’s family. In what should have been a very emotional scene, Neelam with her mother, rather than being moved by Neelam’s vulnerability all I could think about was how ridiculous the mother was and what the heck was this jhanjhat that she was so busy with, so much so that she didn’t even have time to go shopping for her first grandchild – seriously?? No wonder Neelam and Minahil are crazy, un ka qasoor hi nahin hai!
More than Mihahil and Co. (if that is possible) what first perplexed and then annoyed me were Wali’s expressions in the car, when he was thinking about Neelam. So far we have seen no emotional connect between Wali and Neelam. Other than that one breakfast in bed and perhaps the so-called “romantic” moment, there has been nothing indicating the existence of a warm bond. Wonder what must’ve happened between the two that the memory of it would bring such a sweet smile on Wali’s face. This again brings up the issue of choppiness we’ve been complaining about for so long. If there had to be scenes cut then I wish the director and editor had hacked away at Minahil, Mom, Rukhsana, Salima, Dawood, mali, Mahjabeen walking in the gardens, Mahjabeen looking in the mirror, or the endless car ride scenes. Was there a point to those painful, not to mention repetitive moments?
Now to the scenes that made sense… I LOVED the Wali Mahjabeen conversation. Sania is just so brilliant and Fawad has upped his game that much more to be able to meet her standards. Whether there is a name to their rishta or not, will they ever come out and say what they are for each other, or where their safar will end, can they ever be together, are all questions that I feel I don’t even need answers to…. there is so just much raw emotion here that to put any kind of a name to it would do injustice to the depth of what they share. I was literally swooning when Wali was trying and failing to come up with the appropriate words to express how betrayed he felt when he came to know all that Mahjabeen had kept from him. Responding to unsaid hesitation, the way Mahjabeen sits very close to him, and invites him to open up and share his thoughts, and how she tells her side of the story.. all that was said and unsaid in those five minutes was something that I will go back to watch many more times – simply brilliant stuff!
While Mahjabeen and Wali have a bond that transcends words and worldly labels, Qasim and Mahjabeen still have a long way to go. Mahjabeen’s unthinking leap to Wali’s defense and slapping Qasim said so much about the depth of her feelings for Wali. Her own son came second to Wali. Qasim’s belligerent questioning brings up stories of past hurts and in the process clarifies so much in the process for all of us. All this tragedy came about because of a feudal patriarchal mind-set still prevalent in various parts of South-Asia, wherein a woman has no value on her own merit, but becomes an unwitting, not to mention an invaluable pawn in the hands of male family members when it comes to games of one upmanship played in the name of preserving khandaani izzat and shaan.
From the way Mahjabeen was wailing about mera ghar ujaar diya I wonder if Alamgir and Mahjabeen were secretly married and this is what caused her brother to go ballistic. We also saw how Wali’s father died and Mahjabeen is dragged out and packed away to Bahawalpur, where she presumably gave birth to Qasim, and that’s where he was living till he found out about his mother and came looking for her. What was left unexplained was why Mahjabeen chose to be a vani. Was this her way of extracting revenge on both feudals, Dilawar and Baray Sahab? I hope more clarifications are coming our way in the final episode.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. After a seemingly long time we got a relatively cohesive episode. We had the typical jaw clenching, teeth grinding moments, read Minahil, mom, and the lame as heck Qasim pointing a gun at Wali, moments, but then these were offset by some very powerful Wali and Mahjabeen moments. Heck maybe I’m going senti again as I wind up my second last review of Numm, but even Neelam seemed more likable today.
Now that the countdown has begun for next Saturday, lets hear it from you all and lets start listing all the mumkins for what’s going to happen with Mahjabeen, Wali, Neelam, Qasim, and Baray Sahab…
Written by SZ~