Lagta hai hamari tange wali sawari ko kisi ki nazar lag gai… the so far pleasant safar on picturesque rural roads, through charming gaons with oonchi havelis and glittery band baje wali shaadis therein, came to an abrupt stop as our tanga hit a major pothole… bas phir kahan ke nazarey aur kahan ka maza … yaad raha tau sirf khalas aur khalus ka jhamela … kaun kis ki biwi aur kaun kis ka shohar …
In a story that has been pretty well narrated so far the long unbroken sequence with Shano and maulvi sahab came as quite a jolt. Director Ehtishamuddin who had so far earned quite a few brownie points for his filming of long sequences, even today the minute by minute recap of Khalil’s mulaqat with Shano was beautifully shot from various angles and expertly edited, seemed to fall far short of the standards he has set with this serial. Why choose to convey such pivotal information in one go? Why not break it up? Or narrate it in a series of flashbacks?
That said, the director does deserve applause for getting his actors to deliver the goods. Qavi sahab and Mahira deserve a standing ovation for keeping the audiences’ attention riveted to the screen. Loved how maulvi sahab seemed to literally double over as he tried to make sense of the sordid details of Rasho’s past. His facial expressions: squinting eyes, raised eyebrows, grimacing, shaking his head, all were very naturally delivered. For her part, Mahira conveyed Shano’s hesitancy, discomfort and subsequent relief superbly. By the end of it all, not just maulvi sahab but Shano too had earned herself a glass of water.
Before we get to the details of what all was discussed, we had yet another messy opening sequence, with Mahira’s very distinctive voice replaced with somebody else’s. I get that there must have been technical issues, but still these little things make a world of difference to the overall presentation of the story, to say nothing of diluting the impact of that particular scene as well.
In an episode filled with various versions of the younger pair’s do din pehley ki mulaqat, Shano to Humera, Khalil to Dr Maqsood, Fayyaz to his cronies, the scenes that really stood out were those connected to the unfolding of Rashida’s less than innocent past. According to Shano, her mother’s refusal, for Khelu’s rishta, stemmed from way back, back when she Rasho been held responsible for breaking up her older sister Inayat’s marriage.
As per the details Shano gave to maulvi sahab, all this happened when khala Inayat was pregnant with Khelu and had sent for her younger sister Rasho to help her out with her other four elder kids. It was at this time that Inayat’s husband succeeded in seducing Rasho and having his way with her. This would have perhaps continued but they were caught by another khala, who threatened to blow the whistle on them. It was at this time that Inayat’s unfaithful husband promised to mend his ways and Rasho was sent packing.
Pregnancy had not hampered Inayat to the extent that she could not figure that something had gone very wrong somewhere along the line and so she sent for Rasho to get to the bottom of the story. Again, despite his promises to the contrary, her husband continued his dalliance with his 15 year old saali. Hell broke loose once Inayat found out the truth and she moved to her husband’s nephew house, who was also Rasho’s mangetar.
Far from being repentant, the unfaithful shohar took Inayat’s moving out as khuli chutti and soon after married another woman. The cat was now out of the bag and everybody heard about this, as did Rasho’s mangetar, Abdul Rehman, who in turn got so infuriated that he broke off his engagement and married Inayat after her iddat was over.
While this story makes sense on its own merit, it did not quite gel with the later events that happened in this episode. If Rasho was actually guilty of all that Shano made her out to be, then why would Inayat be so eager for her son to get married to the daughter of the woman who played a huge role in destroying her marriage. Similarly, why would Abdul Rehman want to have anything to do with Rasho’s daughter, don’t we in the subcontinent tend to look to a mother’s character to ascertain the kind of woman her daughter would grow up to be? More importantly, how did such a sordid past explain Rasho and her entitled, angry attitude towards Khelu and his family – almost as if they owed her?
Instead, in rather sharp contrast to what we would expect, in a fabulously directed sequence, we saw a thrilled Rasho come out to greet Inayat and her husband, Abdul Rehman, also her ex- mangetar. Her deliberate insistence that he bless her like an older brother would, her body language as she deliberately positioned her seat such that her face and body was turned away from Abdul Rehman, her contemptuous slights, making them wait for Ameen, him just “happening” to bringing his elder brother to reject the rishta – all pointing to a story yet to be told. What Shano heard, and discussed with maulvi sahab, may well be the truth, but only a part of it. There is a lot more yet to be revealed. A person as experienced as naani would not be so gung-ho on the rishta, if things had really happened the way as they did in Shano’s story.
So far all we’ve heard is a young 18 year old girl’s understanding of what she has been told, and who told her this story is something that is still a mystery. It will be interesting to wait and see how Rasho remembers the past. I am expecting her version to explain the hate and bitterness that we see in Rasho today. How does a girl who is in love with her mangetar, get so easily swayed by her older married man? Surely glittery bangles and glitzy earrings are not enough to sway a girl, no matter how young she might be, to enter into a relationship with her behnoi?
Sadqay Tumhare, for me, is as much Shano’s story as it is Rasho’s story, and hats off to both Samiya Mumtaz and Mahira Khan for playing their characters so well. Samiya Mumtaz in particular is simply magnificent. Where Shano is simplicity and innocence personified, Rasho is complicated and layered, nothing alike temperament wise in these two ladies, but that is all today… what happened way back when? Was Rasho once a Shano too, dreaming of her very own swashbuckling hero, a larger than life man , one who would not hesitate to knock down anyone who stood in his way? Where then did it all go wrong?
The fact that I have theories galore but don’t know what happened when and where and to whom, makes this serial a great watch, and apart from the dubbing glitch and the over long maulvi scene, this episode delivered the goods. While the two leading ladies are exceptional, the men are no slackers either. Rehan Sheikh in particular is fabulous. Adnan Malik is doing well as the swaggering, tell-all Khelu, Shamil Khan is good as Dr. Maqsood, but please! Can someone find this guy a life? Doesn’t he have better things to do than listen to a much younger cousin’s dastan-e ishq? No wonder he’s still stuck in second yr med school!
Mukarram Kaleem is a great Fayyaz. All that talk about wasting each other away was pretty funny, especially when hearing it two perspectives, Khalil and Fayyaz. Farhan Ali Agha has really made his presence felt, even with a few dialogues, he and Samiya Mumtaz were particularly great in that rishta scene. Among the ladies, Tahira Imam, Khelu’s mom, is quiet but an effective foil to the other show stealers. If there are any layers to her character, I cant see them as of yet.
In Humera, we have a female version of Dr. Maqsood, the friend par excellence. No life of her own, always available to hear even the minutest details of Shano’s life. I have to say this is Saniya Shamshad’s most likeable role so far. Naghma ji is an absolute delight as naani, and it will be interesting to see what role she played in the past and what she will do now that Shano has openly taken sides. So yes, all in all quite a happening episode, opened up a whole Pandora’s Box worth of questions ab lets wait and see jawab kaisey, kab aur kahan se aatey hain...
Here’s to hoping for a smoother ride next week!
Written by SZ~