If last week we traveled on a bus then this week’s narrative pace felt like a leisurely tanga ride, from Shano’s ghar ka darwaza right up to the hustle n bustle of androon shehr. After a long safar, both literally and metaphorically, out from the tanga jumped a fresh as a daisy Khelu, his clothes whiter, brighter and more istree-ed than they were when he had left home earlier in the morning, no signs of tiredness on his glowing face. Ji, aap sab ko mubarak ho, after much ado our hero sahab finally met his heroine sahiba and had his first one-on-one meeting with her. Ab kahan ki thakawat and kahan ka ghussa. Now its all about counting down hours and minutes, till she sends her jawab, and pilao-ing meethi si doodh patti to the postmaster to convince him to deliver his personal mail personally to him. Yes, Khelu is well and truly smitten. His lady love was all that more than he had expected. Shano was no jahil gaon ki ganwar gori, quite the contrary. His bachpan ki mangetar has grown into quite the girl, with a mind all her own.
Be it her merciless bhai-zoning of her cousin Fayyaz, her halting but kuch–ankhon-se-kuch-zuban-se-sab-keh-diya conversation with Khelu, or her standing up to her parents, Shano is no shrinking violet. In a time where we see one roti dhoti heroine after another, it is great to see a leading lady not afraid to assert herself and make her choices known. What is fascinating about this beautifully written character is that even as she has a spine, she is at the same time as naazuk and as sharmili as they come. Mahira might not look like a 12th grade student, but she is the perfect Shano. Her understanding of her character’s various dimensions shows in the way she portrays Shano.
From a girl who cannot even stand to look at her reflection because she sees her lover reflected there, who blushes at her friend’s mere mention of Khelu, to the one who respectfully but firmly reminds her mother she is only following a path with which they, her parents, had marked out for her all those years ago – all facets of this girl’s character have been beautifully essayed. Mahira, sadqay tumhare!
While on the one hand Sadqay Tumhare is Shano and Khalil’s love story on the other hand it is also, if not more so, Rasheeda’s adhoori muhabbat ki kahani. Whether she’s onscreen or not just her name is enough to send a shiver up my spine. Her malevolent smile, the hatred in her eyes, fleeting expressions – blink and you miss them – all point to a woman who has spent an entire lifetime planning and plotting her revenge. That her daughter might get caught up in this revenge saga is a price that I think she is quite willing to pay. Such is this multifaceted emotion called love. We usually associate it with feelings of happiness and joy and a measure of accompanying sadness and pain, but here what we see is the flip side. This is absolute love turned into pure hate. And it is in his exploration of this aspect of love that I would deem Khali ur Rehman’s Sadqay Tumhare in a class by itself. And, doing full justice to this very complex character is a phenomenal Samiya Mumtaz – brilliant!
Playing the perfect foil to menacing mommy is thandey thekedar sahab. Rehan Sheikh is so fabulous that I wait for his scenes. All his little touches: the way he tears himself away from whatever non-existent thinking his head is doing to question his wife’s slips of the tongue, his raised voice when talking on the phone, his expressions at the end of that phone call, the way he drives, his unquestioned love for Shano, all make him such a memorable character. Little does he know that after all these years of being married to her, Rasho remains a stranger to him. Whether she loves him or hates him, her ex-mangetar is the only man who has ever really touched her soul. It is this understanding of the power of love that had Rashida smiling today. Yes, using her daughter she will make Khelu, and through him his parents, suffer, just as much as she did and still is. With more of an insight into Rashida’s mindset, I am now onboard with this serial. I may be totally off with my reading of Rashida but that is for time to tell, for now I wait in anticipation.
In terms of this episode, acting honors were shared equally by Mahira, Samiya and Rehan Sheikh. What a fantastic trio these three make – all their scenes are magnificent! Among others, Adnan is doing well considering this is his debut. There were a couple of places today, though, where I felt he went overboard – that singing scene, although the ghazal was lovely, felt unnecessary. In his scene with Mukarram, tum chup rahtey ho ya tumhen chup lag gai hai, I felt Adnan was a bit too flamboyant, and by the end of it all Khelu came out looking like a bit of a chichora. That said, I did like the symbolic marking out of territory and dispatching his rival over the boundary. Mukarram Kaleem, his 21st century beard not withstanding, was a lot of fun to watch. His shikayati phone call to khaalu was a lot of fun. Similarly, scenes with Saniya Shamshad and Mahira were nicely done as well, needed some trim there though.
What I did not quite get today was how did Fayyaz’s brother/friend know of Khelu’s writings? This was the first time ever that we heard anything of this sort. Shouldn’t Shano have brought it up earlier? Or perhaps somebody at the shaadi?
It is in the visual presentation that Ehtishamuddin shows his skill as a director. Khalu’s car breaking down, Shano was sitting, hiding behind a pillar, Khelu at the pillar and Fayyaz literally on the outside, Shano and her parents, androon shehr aerial shots, overhead shots of the intersection of the roads, POV shots of khalu’s stalled car, Khelu patao-ing the postman, all were very lovely scenes. What did not quite gel with me were those never ending gazes exchanged between the lovebirds – Itney lambey!
Finally, just want to give a shout out to the people in charge of the background score – thank you! Not only was the music softer but some of it actually worked really well – the one for the car scene was a great match up. Baqi, overall I would still like to see tighter editing and have the narrative pick up a bit of pace. Other than that, yes, took me a while but finally sadqay tumhare … ab please MD, please don’t disappoint!!!
Written by SZ~
Thought I’d share the ghazal that apna Khelu was singing for Shano today. This version is sung by the late Asad Amanat Ali – enjoy!