Love is cruel. Love is selfish. Muhabbat khudgharz hoti hai. Muhabbat andhi hoti hai. How often have we read all this? How may times have we seen this happen in real life? Innumerable times. Nonetheless it still comes as a shock, to say nothing of how saddening it is, to see age old games being played out again again. Looking at them today, I could not help but wonder if Ruqqaiya and Azam were any better than those cruel beloveds of classical Indo-Persian literature. Was Pari any different than those poor lovers who were used and abused at whim – jab dil chaha khel liya jab dil chaha utha ke phenk diya. The guise maybe new and the context different but at the core of it all we still have stone-hearted beloveds toying carelessly with besotted lovers’ hearts.
Pari was sick, we knew that from day one. From Apa Bi to Naseeban to Salma, all tried to help her as best as they could. Of all those who tried, Azam seemed like the one who was truly concerned about Pari for Pari’s sake. As it turned out, however, Azam’s altruism was not without reason. He loved Ruqqaiya but his beloved came with baggage. Smart enough to realize the only way to get though Ruqqaiya’s defenses was through Pari. He deliberately played on the younger girl’s affections and got her to trust him. Pari held the key and Azam was left no stone unturned in his quest to unlock the door to Ruqqaiya’s heart. From arranging for medical consultations to hastily promising that Pari would be a pat of their lives forever, Azam did and said all the right things – and won over Ruqqaiya. The instant he got his prize though we saw a new Azam. This one, though still mouthing politically correct thing in public, is privately thinking along very different lines.
As for Ruqqaiya, her bond with Pari is a very complex one. But unlike as was easily assumed by those in the haveli, Pari was not the sole beneficiary here. Infact if one were to look beyond the obvious Ruqqaiya gained more than she gave in this relationship. This imbalance, though, was never as clearly manifested as it became when things got heated at Azam’s house, when he confessed his love. Forgotten was Pari’s ongoing treatment and her ill-health, all that mattered was that Ruqqaiya felt uncomfortable. From then till this latest episode, we have seen Ruqqaiya using Pari as a shield – ruthlessly playing on Pari’s dangerous obsession for her to ascertain the veracity of Azam’s claim, that he loves her. It was only after Azam assured her that Pari would be a part of their lives that she agreed to his proposal. While consciously she might be doing this all for Pari, subconsciously it is Ruqqaiya looking to protect Ruqqaiya. Pari sees herself as Ruqqaiya, but have we ever really paused to think about how Ruqqaiya sees herself reflected in Pari as well? Pari is sick … but is Ruqqaiya 100% there?
Even though it was all about her, Pari was remarkably absent in all the back and forth between Ruqqaiya and Azam. Azam accused Ruqqaiya of treating Pari like a child, did he ever treat her like the tween she actually was? Even though the psychiatrist had underlined the gravity of Pari’s condition, we saw no real effort on Ruqqaiya’s part to push Pari to take her meds regularly. After that one time, did Azam take Pari to the doctors again? Did we see any serious attempt on Ruqqaiya’s part to prepare Pari for what was to come? Why then was she acting so surprised and shocked at Pari’s behaviour? It is now that Pari is coming in the way of her relationship with Azam, we see Ruqqaiya talking of Pari’s childishness and resorting to inanities like ab tum bari ho gayi ho … what about the part Ruqqaiya’s part in all this. She acknowledged her complicity once, but that was that – all empty talk. Can mere words fix all the harm she’s done to Pari? Who is going to pay the price for all of Ruqqaiya’s wrongdoings? Now for her to spout off filmy lines like hum yahan hain aur hamari saij par koi aur baitha huwa hai… sorry lady, you lost my sympathy vote a while ago!
While I am still enjoying the arc of the story I have to say this latest episode was the weakest one so far. To begin with, it started off abruptly with a scene that had no connection with the last week’s cliffhanger. What was the be-izzati that Azam’s mom was going on and on about. The 2+ minute scene was painful and seemed to stretch forever and set the tone for an episode filled with long-winded moments. In a serial marked by brilliant performances, Amber Wajid and the girl playing her daughter are simply unbearable. The conversation between Ruqqaiya and Pari came a little bit too late in the day for me. Ruqqaiya knows Pari better than anyone else in this world so why wait till after her marriage to have this Reshma jawan ho gayi talk. Forget about Pari, even I tuned it out as bhains ke aagey been bajaana. Pari is sick, she needs meds not lectures about improving her harkatein. The pool scene too went on too long. Since we did not see the scene that apparently caused the hullabaloo, Azam’s outburst seemed to come out of nowhere. The so-called romantic moment between Ruqqaiya and Azam was one of the unemotional scenes ever, Saba and Danish have zero chemistry as a pair. The scene where Azam carried Pari to another bedroom seemed uncalled for. On the one hand they keep telling her she is grown up, but in the next instant we see Azam carrying Pari around as if she was a five year old child. Wouldn’t it have been easier for the newly married couple to go to the next bedroom? On that note, hello people! Learn to lock doors!!
Pari’s infatuation for Azam is now taking a dangerous turn and the cliffhanger hinted at all kinds of dark possibilities. While I am eager to know what happens next, I have to say the impact of that particular scene was somewhat diluted because we had already seen it happen earlier. I so wish that they had edited out that first scene, or done it differently so as to maintain the shock value of the final scene. And on editing, why not cut down the torturous Ambar Wajid scene, trim the long Ruqqaiya and Azam scenes and give us more of Shauki’s back story? Why were we shown only one scene? That one sequence, starting with Shauki at the dargah going to the flashback and returning back to Shauki at the dargah, was the one wow worthy moment in an otherwise ho hum episode. Mehar Bano, Adnan Shah Tipu and Rashid Mehmood were simply outstanding here. Not be forgotten, Kashif Nisar’s direction and Rashid Abbas’ cinematography had a lot to do with the brilliance of the sequence. The way the scene was shot, framing Shauki behind the bars of the dargah underscoring his sense of being punished, to the near perfect pitch of the background qawwali, to the scene at taaya’s house, to Mehar Bano’s stunning beauty – everything came together just so- loved it!
So yeah, apart from that one sequence, Shauki’s back story, I was not sold on this episode… What about you all?
Written by SZ~