Ecstasy and Agony ~ flip sides of the emotion known as love ~
Mercilessly bounced around between these extremes is the ‘ashiq, the unwitting fool who dares fall in love. Unwitting because falling in love is not what the one afflicted chose, love chooses its own victims. Fool because once ensnared in this silken web called love, the ‘ashiq offers nary a complaint. Pain and suffering embraced just as warmly as are the rapture and euphoria of this multifarious feeling called love.
Such is the state of Shano’s mind. Glowing in the aftermath of a newly affirmed belief in the rightness of her feelings- yes, he is worthy of all and more of her affections – she happily shares not only the minutest details of their first meeting but also confides her fears in Humera. She knows this rishta is a hard sell, Rasheeda has an older score she wants to settle with Khelu’s father. Exactly why should a broken engagement from years ago continue to cast its shadow on today’s affairs remains a mystery, the details of which Shano is not privy to as yet.
What Shano does know, however, is that whatever happened then was serious enough that her otherwise straightforward mother is still unable to come to terms with the humiliation she suffered. She is still bitter and angry. Such is Rasho’s desire for revenge that she is willing to lie, unafraid to extent that she is willing to drag a venerated pir into this purani khandani jhagra.
For his part, Khelu is a changed man. Where Shano’s love was affirmed at their nazron ka milna, his has only just begun to make itself felt. New though he maybe to the ways of love, like Shano he too is sensing the path to their union is an unpaved one, uneven and rocky. Unlike Shano, who can only talk about love in the confines of her bedroom and is restricted in the ways she can convey her displeasure, Khelu not only expresses his love and voices his fears openly, but also makes known his desire for a one-on-one meeting with Shano. Where his mother gently calms him, his friend offers a metaphoric shoulder to lean on, Dr. Maqsood, very well played by Shamil Khan, stands out as the voice of reason, giving Khelu a much needed reality check. Though Khelu appears to pay heed, his next move is to show up at his love’s doorstep. What happens next is open to speculation till next week.
Four weeks in, and I am happy to report that this episode actually worked for me. Bar one lingering question mark, most of my complaints were addressed this week, as in better editing, shorter scenes (except the Dr. Maqsood and Khelu on the chhat scene, which went on forever, but the lines were meaningful enough to save it from feeling dragged), mercifully lowered volume on the background score, and the judicious placement of the OST. While all this is well and good, it is Khalil ur Rehman Qamar’s beautifully written lines, and the overall ambiance, the richness of detail that set this serial apart. Shots of the inner city, cricket match, cchat conversations, bus ride, and tanga ride, all were very well done, the filmy pardas in the bedroom not so much. And then of course there are the actors.
Director Ehtashamuddin is to be commended for understanding the characters and allowing the narrative to unfold at its own pace, resisting the temptation to over tell this story. The little, seemingly unimportant, gestures his actors add on to their characters leaves a lasting impression, at times more than the dialogues themselves. Rasho’s vehement biting off of the thread, and then forceful knotting of the leftover thread added so much more meaning, explaining visually her state of mind – yes, Shano’s bachpan ki mangni would be broken off just like that and there was no going back on her word. For his part, Amin, provided a much need lightness to Rasho intensity with his back-scratcher. I, and I think Rasho did too, loved the way he immediately jumped in to save Shano in the khyali pulaos that his wife was cooking. LOVE, LOVE the Samiya Mumtaz and Rehan Sheikh pair. The way Samiya can convey so much even in a seeming flub is quite amazing. Does any one else here also think that Rasho’s calling Shano and Khelu’s rishta najaiz was no mere slip of the tongue? Methinks there is a story there, one I can hardly wait to know more about.
Not to be left behind are the leads themselves, Shano and Khalil. Their second takra was just as spell-binding as their previous one. Khelu’s taking off of his sunglasses to gaze straight into his lady love’s jheel jaisi aankhen was a gesture as filmi as they come, but seemed just right for this very dreamy love story. Before that however, we saw Khelu displaying his hot temper at the cricket match, which made for a nice contrast against Shano’s much more controlled, but equally strong, response to her mother’s planning. The noise at the door, the banging of tray and her body language and expressions, all made for a very effective protest, one which was most definitely not lost on her mother. Needless to say Mahira Khan has proven once and for all she is not a mere pretty face. Adnan Malik too has impressed so far in his debut outing.
Mukarram Kaleem, not quite fitting in to the visual landscape. and Irfan Khoosat made their entries today and left a mark. Khelu’s reaction to the old tange wala knowing who was priceless. Adnan Malik was excellent in that moment. And this brings me to the my lingering question: Unlike Khelu, I get why the tange wala knew his name, and yes he is hot and hunky, but putting that aside, pray tell me why does everybody around think he is the cat’s whiskers? Aisa kya hai us mein? Even if he had all the tameez in the world and he salaamed and khuda-hafized me every time we met, and he came to meet me every month, I would still have doubts about his eligibility as the perfect match for a daughter as sughar and haseen as Shano (yes, ‘her’ hair needs a serious trim ASAP but lets not go there). More so, when there is a still single although slightly boring but almost as hunky, Dr. Maqsood hanging around? Why aren’t the rishtedars equally concerned about getting Dr. Maqsood’s rishta fixed? I know this is his own story, but still wish that outside of the fact that he is the hero, the writer had provided some rationale for us to like Khelu and/or root for him.
So yeah, overall a much better, tighter episode and am enjoying the ride so far … what about you guys? Still on board ya utar gaye pichley stop par?
Written by SZ~