Pehchan ~ Episode 18 Review


Chaar diwari ~ four walls forming the boundary line of a house; meant to keep outsiders at bay and protect insiders from that which goes on on the outside. Though made of brick and mortar these lifeless four walls take on a whole new meaning when p6seen from a woman’s perspective. For her these walls are more than just a sum of their ingredients, to her they symbolize parental love and affection, and spousal respect and acceptance. What is often left out of this otherwise rosy picture is how conditional all these things are – hers without asking as long as she toes the line, knows her place in the family hierarchy, and does not demand more than is seen as her due. The day she crosses the implicit limits, however, the chaar diwari ceases to exist for her, leaving her open to all and sundry’s disapproval, slurs, questions, and judgement. Kuku and Laila have both transgressed and now their lives are no different than that of the goldfish in the glass bowl – laid bare for the censure of the duniya and duniya waley.

p3Walking out on her husband would have repercussions she knew that, but her family’s response to her separation shook Laila to the core. Her brother turned against her, that she would perhaps get over in the long run, but to have her mother present her with this either/or ultimatum was something totally unexpected. Wasn’t a mother’s love supposed to be unconditional? Why then did she feel so alone? Why was Mummy handing over her baby’s toys and not responding to her pleas for emotional support? Is a mother-daughter relationship that fragile? And if a bond as strong as this could be so easily threatened and cruelly manipulated, where then was the point in fighting with her brother? Having lost her faith in relationships what was she to gain by fighting for her share of the property?

While the property itself held no meaning for her those signed documents are priceless for Laila – they represent her hard fought independence. First Mansoor and now her brother, one p10by one she was cutting off the ties that bound her to the whims of the men in her life.  Laila saw first hand how her mother’s insecurities were being exploited, and though she is still young, life has taught her enough to not allow herself to be played that way. This new Laila is a woman in her own right, no longer a marionette dancing to the whims of those who pulled her strings.

Laila is now a woman confident in and of herself. She likes Sa’di but she’d be damned if she succumbs to his charm that easily. If he loves her as much as he claims to, p8then he should have no problem in giving her time and space. Wait and allow Laila to arrive at a decision that not only makes her happy but is in her and her daughter’s best interests. Ameer loag, bara ghar and suljha hua khandani larka, these are not the measures by which she will assess a prospective spouse. When and if Laila decides to marry she would be looking for a shareek-e hayat, a partner in every sense of the word. Whether Sa’di fulfills this deceptively simple criterion remains to be seen.

10579258_10153126004988662_84238285_nLaila is not the only one evolving. Supporting the younger girl has helped Kuku move on as well. Having made her peace with Khurram and recognizing Mansoor for the pathetic man he is, Kuku is no longer looking outward for emotional support – she alone is responsible for her happiness.  And this is the hard-earned lesson she first imparted to Laila and now shares with Mrs Khan.

With Pehchan Bee Gul points to not only the shortcomings of our social setup but is p41also asking us to reconsider the role we women play in perpetuating and preserving the status quo. Granted we live in a patriarchal society, but why do we as women allow our insecurities and love for creature comforts to rule us to the extent that we become playthings in the hands of men. Despite all his advice to his daughter, Laila’s father made no special arrangements providing for either his wife or his daughter, leaving his son in charge of disbursements thus allowing him to manipulate his mother. For her part, rather than putting her son in his place, Aunty ji allows her owns fears to affect her relationship with her daughter. Who do we blame – the dad, the son or the mother?

Mrs. Khan has problems with her husband, but so scared is she of social repercussions that she puts up with his p19ridicule and ill-temper. We were introduced to her way back when in the first episode, but since then, in all this while what do we actually know about her? Forget about other stuff we don’t even know her name! Her only identity is her husband’s name – take that away and she as an entity ceases to exist. It is this fear of non-existence, of being turned into a nobody, that keeps women like Mrs. Khan hanging on to marriages that are way past their expiry dates. It is this knowledge, that overnight they might go from living in a palace to living in a hovel, that keeps women like Zari up at night. Much as she might want to, as long as her son doesn’t allow it she will continue to turn a deaf ear to Laila’s pleas for understanding.

p13Much like Zari and Mrs. Khan, Ammi ji, Mansoor’s mother, too is all about maintaining the status quo. No matter how her son may have ill-treated Laila, she will continue praising her son. After all yeh sab karna tau ek mard ki fitrat hai, us ki shaan hai, her words to Laila seemed to imply. Khair koi baat nahin, tu nahin aur sahi, aur nahin tau aur sahi, the mother and son remain unfazed. They have learned from their mistakes – the door to the cage will never be left open again.

Whether Laila was lucky to have walked away or did she commit a blooming blunder is a matter of perspective. From her brother’s point of view Laila’s is a10615666_10153126005553662_1147642514_n transgression that cannot be forgiven. For Mansoor Laila is the one who got away, and now he’s made it his mission to break her. From Laila’s perspective giving up on a bara ghar, ameer shohar and baba ki jaidad was a price she willing to pay for the freedom it offered in return. For Kuku helping Laila helped her understand herself and allowed her to come to terms with her insecurities, and for Mrs. Khan the calm on her two friends’ faces, despite all their travails, is perhaps the biggest eye opener she’s ever gotten, compelling her to assess her life choices in a whole new manner. Whether she too is willing to exchange her cushy lifestyle for a no-frills life in a cheap glass bowl remain to be seen.

This then to me is the success of Pehchan: the questions it generates and the debate it opens. Whether we agree or disagree on the direction of the story or the choices of various characters is immaterial, it is the issues it raises that are important. Kudos to Bee Gul and Khalid Ahmad for not only entertaining us but pushing us out of our comfort zones and making us think – way to go Team Pehchan!

Written by SZ~

Pehchan ~ Episode 18 (For alternate links click here)

16 replies

  1. “Mansoor Kee tau awaaz hee nahi nikalti”. Epic scene

    It was nice to see a happy and accomplishes Laila. She has finally bought a roof over her and her daughters head. All on her own.

    The wounds of her old relationship appear to be healing with time and as she navigates her journey of self discovery. If he is the right person for her, I really do want to see her with Saadi. I found the tie grabbing scene cute. I felt that was the moment Laila realized she wanted him rather than needed him. She’s shared a very difficult phase of her life with him and I hope to see a happy, content and healed Laila share happier times with him as well


    • @Sonia: Yes, that was epic! And kya aunty ji, she’s un such a hurry to get her son married ke hasnt even bothered talking to her son abt divorcing Laila or anything.. and she still has her jewellery as well! Waisey it was great to see Sumbul back after an absence of a few weeks.

      I enjoyed that pulling back scene as well 🙂 and you are so right, thank you for pointing out the difference between needing and wanting.. which is what will make the difference in her marriage (if she marries him) this time around .. and dont you love how exquisitely Bee Gul has handled this period after Laila’s separation, sans any rona dhona, name-calling or mud-slinging, allowing Laila to grow with her dignity intact. So yes, after this week I am okay with her marrying Sa’di, cause now she would do it for the right reasons, whereas last week the option of the second marriage was being presented to her as the only choice ( Mrs. Khan saying Laila should consider herself lucky .. ) so yeah well done @BG! 🙂


    • @Sonia: i also loved that scene.. Too cute.. And as you and @SZ said.. This episode showed laila wanted him for her own happiness.. That will be her decision purely hers 🙂

      Hahaha at mansoor ki awaz hie nahin nikalti .. That was wow.. His frustration was treat to watch.. LOL..


    • oh forgot to mention mansoors frustrations.. epic!
      @SZ thanks for connecting the dots – the cage and Laila.. i didnt see that at all.. i was too busy enjoying mansoors frustrations!


  2. Marrying saadi would be like reliving Kuku’life. Young immature jobless dependent husband. No these women dont need a man in there life they can survive without men.
    But thats my opinion.
    Great review tho as always.


    • @Annie: Its interesting, you know if you’d said this last week I would’ve absolutely agree with you…. but now having seen the sparkle back in Laila’s eyes, I do wonder as to why cant she have it all? Why cant she expect to find and marry a man who respects her, loves her and sees her as an equal? And so far Sa’di seems to fit the bill and apparently seems to make her happy, so why shouldnt she go for it and enter into this relationship because she “wants” to rather than “needs” to …

      That said, I do agree with you in that ke as a mother I wouldn’t exactly be thrilled if my daughter brought him Sa’di as her choice of a life partner. As you rightly said he is seemingly jobless, and though charming he does appear immature, live in the miment kinda guy, and seems to have no family around him, so basically a drifter – def not qualities you’d want to see in a hubby … but again, Mansoor was all things Sa’di is not – responsible, mature, financially independent, and he didnt work out all that well either … so yeah… I don’t know, aits difficult call! What do you say?


    • @TSBindra: Great to hear from another fan of this lovely serial. Welcome aboard! Thank you for reading and commenting much appreciated. I hope you will continue joining us in our weekly discussions and I look forward to hearing more of your take on the issues raised in Pehchan 🙂


  3. Your review gives some very interesting point of views and soo enjoy reading your depth ful analysis 🙂

    I absolutely loveeed the episode.. I will start from last scene.. How it gave such a feel-good factor.. Laila the tigress roar back to all those worth less people.. The twinkle in her eyes and happiness on her face showed that the price she paid to keep intact her dignity and self respect was some what compensated.. Laila my dear, aunty ji proud ho na hon but we are totally proud of you 🙂

    Most amazing thing to see was Kuku and her last step in self realization.. The dinning table scene was wonderful.. Ab mujhe kisi ka intezar nahin.. Thats it.. Everything comes to calm for Kuku.she have stopped expecting things and thats the most toughest part. Both Laila and Kuku were a great strength to each other and it was an excellent thing to show that women are not always insecure of each other.. They give security, love and respect too… Kuku was brilliant in giving Mrs Khan a much needed reality check.. So damn excited to watch next instalment 😀

    SZ, your take on Zari is agree with that.. Its very disappointing seeing a mother like that but she was the one who gave an open hand to her son always…she also must have cared for Laila but that became so small infront of her desires and her insecurities.. These all things made Laila more and more strong..

    Its such a great feeling when you watch women with such strength, caliber and no mazlomyat at all .. For this Bee Gul you just are amazing and to whole team of Pehchan.. A whole round of applause 🙂


    • @Rehmat: Thanks 🙂
      Yes, I too loved the final scene and the glow on Laila’s face and the sparkle in her eyes, Also loved that dining table scene as well, and even before that when Laila is sitting and Kuku comforts her, I loved how hat fish bowl was lit up.. highlighting how like the fish, these two women were also living in metaphorical glass houses where every passing Tom Dick and Harry would feel free to look in and pass judgement on how they chose to live their lives …. but dont you just love how both if them have so far not done any rona dhona or main bechari scene.. they fall but then they pick themselves right up and continue on their path. So yes kudos indeed to Team Pehchan for giving us these

      Haan, like you too am happy that we are being shown a balanced narrative where its not just men who are to be blamed but women are equally complicit as well!


  4. @All: With only a few more episodes to go before this wonderful serial ends, how do you think the end will play out.. Here are some questions to consider.. and would love to read your thougt abt how you see the story playing out ,,,

    a) Is Laila gonna marry Sa’di or not?

    b) Will Mansoor ever realize the error of his ways… or

    c) Will he just go ahead and remarry and play the same game all over again?

    d) Will Zari Aunty “forgive” Laila and reconnect with her daughter?

    e) Will we ever learn Mrs. Khan first name?

    f) Will Kuku be left all alone at the end, or will she find somebody potentially interesting with whom she could potentially spend her life?

    g) Will Laila’s daughter ever get named? Will she ever be given her pehchan?

    And the most imp question (for me atleast;) ):

    h) Will Laila’s daughter ever grow????


    • cant believe where the time goes! poora hafta guzar gya!.. been meaning to drop my two pence here..
      Absolutely loved the ep! the comparison of the three ladies is brilliantly done. For a while i also thought that laila is re-playing kuku, and to some extent i still think she is. but atleast she is happy. i just hope its not just out of the fear of tanhai.
      Now this aunti ji – hadd hoti hai yaar!! I cant believe we have been comparing her to DeS!!! .. agar mansoor mard ke naam pe dhabba hai tou yeh maan ke naam pe dhabba hain!!!
      Whats interesting to see is how Laila has eveolved .. shes now standing on her own two feet. kia bhai kia shohar ..independent in true sense..

      as for @SZ’s your questions, now thats the fun bit! (this is before watching the latest ep..)
      a) Is Laila gonna marry Sa’di or not? –
      she wont… she will see the khurram #2 in him (Although if im not wrong he does have a day job – right? so hes not a total nikamma like khurram ).. but does this mean all women r better off single? hmmmm! theres gotta be some hope.. no?

      b) Will Mansoor ever realize the error of his ways… or
      kutte ki dum kabhi seedhi hui hai???

      c) Will he just go ahead and remarry and play the same game all over again?
      he will try but laila and kuku will warn and scare away all the future bechari brides.. what have they gotta loose now?!

      d) Will Zari Aunty “forgive” Laila and reconnect with her daughter?
      nope .. if it was AA id bet that she wont until her beloved son sells the house and auntie ji is homeless… but this is Pehchan so id say nope!

      e) Will we ever learn Mrs. Khan first name?
      Sophia!!! (maiden name wasnt loren ofcourse!)..

      f) Will Kuku be left all alone at the end, or will she find somebody potentially interesting with whom she could potentially spend her life?
      the chinese takeaway kid.. or likes of Mr. Corleone .. abb someone needs to take care of her closet!

      g) Will Laila’s daughter ever get named? Will she ever be given her pehchan?
      i just hope she doesnt become another mrs Khan! … should we save her the misery and call her Thumbelina?

      h) Will Laila’s daughter ever grow????
      A week went by so quickly and its pehchan night again! if only our poor Thumbelina could catch up!

      looking fwd to tonights ep!


  5. Hi SZ. I love your crisp and insightful writing. I am Features Editor The Friday Times and would love to get in touch with you regarding a paid assignment. How can I contact you?


  6. unrelated but hey SZ, are u still watching Gar Maan Reh Jaye, didn’t like the 1st ep but loving it till now,, has gotten interesting.


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