And this one keeps getting better and better!
For a girl that many among us had pegged as the chalu or the tez one, Shagufta Shehzadi is actually turning out to be the bholi-est of them all – the masoom Goshi that her father saw in her. She might have had the sharp tongue and the go-getter attitude, and might’ve used it to her advantage when it came to matters of the heart, but in matters of the world, even now, after all that she has seen and been through, she remains an absolute babe in the woods.
Not that she cannot see through the oily charms of her ‘mentor’ Suleri, but the extent of the darkness that surrounds his soul and the lengths to which he is willing to go, to win this game of chess, still escapes her. For her, everything, was and still is, all about being with her beloved, Shams. Even the daughter, whom she adores from the bottom of her heart, Noor is nowhere near the pedestal she’s put Shams on.
For Shams, on the other hand, Shagufta was always an interesting diversion never the main goal, which was to be a politician. That which had happened – trumped up charges, stretched out jail term, Suleri’s ‘inability’ to get him released – was all now water under the bridge, or so he thought as he walked out of jail. All those disquieting moments, those niggling thoughts of doubt and despair, all that he had managed to brush aside and kept firm his belief that Suleri was looking out for him, now re-surfaced. Was he miserable then when in jail or is he more pareshan now on the outside? Then it was easier to pretend otherwise, but with cold harsh reality staring him in the face it is impossible to rationalize otherwise.
For Suleri, Shams’ release has opened up a whole new can of worms. From the minute he realized Shagufta’s potential it was obvious that he’d lost all interest in her husband. Who cared if the guy ended up spending 5 years or 15 in jail – it was all irrelevant. He had what he wanted – a well-loved, popular candidate – everything else was immaterial. 15 years later, it did seem like Suleri had won the game he had set in motion all those years ago. Or had he?
Where the master manipulator went wrong was in his reading of Shagufta. Like many others, he too took her at face value, a woman who was in it to win it, the world be damned. Where he failed was in his inability to look beyond the facade of strength, too see the very scared girl who shed her tears in the dark, who only wanted to live a fairy tale life with her husband. All this, the glamor and power of politics, was never her cup of tea, it was her husband’s. And, that’s exactly what she told Suleri. It is a whole other matter that Suleri has never had anybody say NO to him. That he is cold and manipulative we already know, but the depths to which he will sink to achieve his goal is something we will have to wait to see. Or perhaps not. Shams has always been a loose cannon, perhaps his ego will unknowingly do the dirty deed for Suleri ... dekhtey hain.
So busy are these three – Suleri, Shams and Shagufta – figuring out their next moves on the chessboard of life, that the fact that a new pawn has entered the game seems to have not really registered. Noor, Shams and Shagufta’s daughter, grew up in the shadow of all this game-playing, with an absentee father and a mother who was never really emotionally available. That Shagufta loves her daughter has never been in question, but there has also never been a doubt that Noor was always second in her mother’s life, which always revolved around Shams. Case in point, when Shams went missing. So far Noor has been content with her life, dealing with the cards she was dealt, but what about from hereon forward? What role is Rumi going to play in this emotionally troubled girl’s life?
If all this wasn’t complicated enough, we have Shams’ bhai, bhabhi and pehli biwi still very much in the picture. Will the pehli biwi be used as a handy dandy masseuse to massage her husband’s hurt mardana ego? If so, I can’t even begin to imagine how this infidelity will break Shagufta’s back; will it push her back into Suleri’s corner? Love how this gaon track has been skilfully woven in, keeping us guessing as to the utility of these three characters to the overall story. And speaking of characters, I missed Ilyas, Maryam, Bhola and chachi. At one point I did wonder if Roomi was Ilyas and Maryam’s son; guess that’s yet another mystery waiting to unfold.
All in all this was another action packed episode with a fluid narrative. I am enjoying the way Amna has knit this very complicated story, with clearly etched out character that have their own distinctive place in the narrative. Rehan Sheikh is fabulous as Suleri, and Hira Salman again nailed it as Shagufta. Noor Khan is very aptly cast as the young Noor, and for once we have an actor who looks and acts the age of the character she is essaying. Her camaraderie with the actor playing Roomi came off as very natural and effortless.
I deliberately left Ahsan Khan for the last, because I wanted to emphasize what a pleasure it is to see Ahsan the actor make his comeback with a bang in this serial. In the past few years, since Bilqees Kaur, I think, I have only seen Ahsan play one unidimensional lover/hero after another, to the extent that it is all now a big blur. Here, Ahsan is in his element as Shams; every nuance of this very interesting character, every thought in that pea-sized brain of his has been essayed to perfection. Kudos to director Ehteshamuddin for getting such commendable performance from his actors.
While narrative wise everything is going great, I will say that I am very disappointed that given how tech savvy this production company is otherwise, MD Productions has not yet bothered to invest in proper makeup to show aging. Like we saw earlier in Diyar-e Dil, here too there is a circa PTV’s simplistic reliance on [50 shades of] grey streaks in hair and ugly, unflattering black glasses to denote aging, all the while the actors’ skin remains perfectly unlined. I hope somebody reading this will get to task and update MD’s makeup department to meet the demands of TV production in the 21st century.
That said, with tension continuing to build up, Preet Na Kariyo Koi has me hooked and I am eagerly looking forward to the next episode – what about you all?
Written by SZ~