A momentary slip in her otherwise mazboot hold on her emotions, one chink in her seemingly unflappable persona, an inadvertent unveiling of her inner turmoil …. just once…. and Kuku gets it from all sides. From her lover, the one who claims to love her but is marrying another woman: “Are you crazy? Apni zindagi ko tamasha mat banao, Kuku! Cheezon ko itna mushkil mat karo yaar! Main pehley hi bohot mushkil se in cheezon ko face kar raha hoon….” How dare Kuku inconvenience Mansoor, dragging him away from his wedding festivities…how thoughtless of her! From the otherwise benign Mrs. Khan she heard: “Hamari zindagi bhi kitni khoobsurat aur qeemti hai lekin hum us ka aisa khayal nahin rakhtey… bewaqoof hota hai insaan...” Seemingly kind words but delivered just so, making her unvoiced disapproval very clear. Yes, Mrs. Khan had gotten the salacious details from their mutual paaniwala, and what better time than this to walk in with a box of donuts and offer muft mashwarey. After all it was not everyday that her otherwise self-contained hairstylist tripped up. Usually it was the husband-pleasing Mrs Khan who felt inadequate in comparison, but today the shoe was on the other foot. Today Mrs. Khan felt she had the upper hand and this was her time to dole out advice.
The other person of note in Kuku’s life, Khurram, her husband, surprised her by sparing her a how-could-you-do-this-to-yourself lecture. But hold on … no, he wasn’t holding back out of concern for her well-being or because he was a sensitive man. No, quite the contrary. He is perhaps the coldest of ’em all. Not even a polite inquiry about her health, a question about her bandaged wrist. It is still all about him. With nary a penny to his name and good-time friends bailing out on him, who else was he to turn to? All said and done he was/is Kuku’s husband and wasn’t it her wifely duty to offer him emotional and financial support? What totally escaped him is the irony that he who had failed to build a home with is wife was making grandiose plans to build houses for the world at large.
Much as she may wish it otherwise, her thoughtlessness, her bewaqoofi, cannot be erased from life as easily as she cleans the bloodied floor of her terrace. Yes, she let her emotions get the best of her. She had thought she could deal with Mansoor’s marriage but as she now knows decisions which might seem easy in theory are very difficult to put into practice. Much as she is a mazboot aurat, at the end of the day this is not about being mazloom nor mazboot…or even an aurat for that matter. She, like every other human being feels pain when hurt. Her “suicide attempt” was no more than an outlet for her inner agitation. Her biggest mistake here, one that she probably will never be able to live down, was allowing her private grief to become a subject of public speculation, as essayed by Mrs. Khan’s visit.
Even as she is realizing the full extent of her folly, life and its problems are not easily fixed as a broken cellphone. Ignoring Mansoor’s texts and calls, trying to forget he was ever in her life is not an easy task. Much as she may try to wipe away his presence from her life, with just as much vigor as she does the mirror, he won’t allow her to forget him. This man will not go so easily, not till it is a time of his choosing. How cruel is he when he walks in to her saloon, dressed as a groom. “You don’t hang up on me, Kuku!” he orders. Amping it higher: “Main kal raat se tumhen text kar raha hoon, tum ne jawab dena kyon band kar diya? Ainda aisa kabhi mat karna!” And the final blow: “Zara jaldi main hoon, magar jaldi aaoonga… apna khayal rakhna.” All I will say is ke I’d better not run into this guy on the street any time soon!
From Kuku’s house Mansoor joins his young bride, Laila, for their wedding photo shoot. How stunning did Alishba look here?! The demure, somewhat confused, slightly nervous bride meeting her handsome groom for the first time. This was a beautifully done sequence. Mansoor’s disinterest and Laila’s shy hesitation were imbued with that more meaning as scenes of their photo shoot were interspersed with clips from Khurram and Kuku’s stilted conversation. Much as Mansoor may have decided to ignore his bride, that one glance, an involuntary smile, a glimmer of interest suggests that Mr. Mansoor’s may soon have to rethink his easy breezy I-make-my-own-rules lifestyle. For now though, he talks to his new wife just as callously as he does with Kuku: “Kafi khel liya yeh shaadi shaadi….” Laila is yet to speak, but the way she tamped down her instinctive call to Mansoor, to help her with the heavy jewelry, spoke volumes about this new entrant and her steely strength of character. This one is no Allah miyan ki gaye and thank the Lord for that!
Yes, I am totally into Bee Gul’s Pehchan – this is her story and every scene bears the stamp of her particular artistic vision. Along with Bee Gul, Pehchan owes just as much to Khalid Ahmed’s keen directorial eye and aesthetic sensibility. Each line, every frame is laden with meaning, the text and the subtext are a delight to behold and analyze. The scenes are beautifully lit up, Naveed Malik’s cinematography is top notch, the editors are doing a great job, and the background music is beautifully placed to enhance the feel of every scene. Among the actors, Iffat Umar is the perfect Kuku. She might look delicate but Kuku is no delicate darling, the strength in her eyes and her body language is a delight to watch. Sohail Sameer is a fine actor and a good choice for Mansoor. He was fabulous as he came striding in to the saloon demanding to know why he was being ignored, his earlier scenes with Iffat were great as well, and he was effortless in his scenes with Alishba. All this is good, but I do find myself cringing every time he speaks English… this not his comfort zone and it shows. Fawad Khan made more of an impression this time around, although I’m not quite sure when and how his hair went grey. Anita Camphor is hitting the right notes as Mrs. Khan. Alishba did not have much to say but her body language was fantastic. I am looking forward to seeing more of her in the coming episodes.
My only complaint, if I may call it that, has to do with the subpar picture quality. Talkhiyan’s success had a lot to do with the way it appeared on screen, it was an absolute treat to watch it. Given that I watch this online, I am not sure how it appears on live TV, but speaking on behalf of those of us who follow it online I would request APLUS to upload original HD quality videos on their FB page/YouTube channel, allowing us to fully enjoy and appreciate all the hard work and effort put in by the producers and the creative team, their attention to detail, that went into making this one a visual delight.
Written by SZ~
Pehchan ~ Episode 2 ( For alternative links click here)