Killing does not necessarily require violence, words do the deed just as well, and then there are instances when words are rendered superfluous as well. Ask Mammo. Is she alive? Is that really a living person who moves around the house like a silent ghost? Why does she not have a voice? Why does not anyone hear the stories her eyes are trying to tell?
Khayyam sahab, you might be a well-known poet and you might have the likes of Sonya Jahan swooning over your every word and you might have a daughter who thinks the sun rises and sets on you, but know that you are first a murderer, a killer responsible for Mumtaz’s murder. The Mammo you see today is a mere shell, someone who dies a new death every single day she is with you. That pseudo apology at the breakfast table might have appeased Sassi but after all these years Mammo knew better.
The praise for her parathas was an admonishment, a reminder, to never forget her place in his household. How dare she make the mistake of ever thinking that she could catch his eye. How dare she dress up like the Sonya Jahan he so admires. How dare she ever forget she belonged in the kitchen. Yes, that was her real place in his house, slaving alongside Kariman bua. And she better not make that mistake again.
I had ended my last review with a wah wah and I must begin this review on the same note – wah! wah!
I fell in love with O Rungreza in the very first episode. That last scene, Mammo and her heartbreak broke my heart as well and I thought it couldn’t get better than that – at least not any time soon, it was just that good. Well, I was proven wrong. And it didn’t even take that long – the very first scene of the second episode. Simply brilliant! Saji Gul, Kashif Nisar, Nauman Ijaz, Irsa Ghazal, Sajal Ali, and Bilal Abbas – taaliyan!
It is rare that one comes across a serial where every frame commands attention and every line demands to be heard atleast twice. Khayyam and Mammo have a brilliant dynamic together, and Nauman Ijaz and Irsa Ghazal are fantastic! But it is not just them. Sajal is so natural and so real that it is hard to believe she is not really Sassi and these are not actually her words. Her reactions when she was hanging on Khayyam’s shoulder, as Sonya put forth her request, for a script, were fantastic. Equally fabulous were her scenes with Bilal Abbas, who is really very good as the bechara Qasim. Actually it is really hard to pick one scene over other, all were not just written beautifully, but acted and directed in a way to that did justice to the written word.
Set designers and stylists have done fab job, the DOP is very good as well, except in Sonya’s entry scene where the lighting was very unflattering. The background score goes very well with the overall ambiance of the story and setting and is nicely overlayed on to the narrative. The OST is used very well. Editing was well done.
In a nicely paced second episode we also met Sana Fakhar as Sonya Jahan, her naz o ada and particular dialogue delivery making her a perfect choice as the woman who is about to wreak havoc on an already dysfunctional household. The scene where she knocks on the door and asks to be let in – her tanzia dismissal of Mammo, followed by a very quick summing up of the family dynamics and picking on Sassi as her ally in Khayyam’s household – was superbly written with lines that spoke on so many levels.
Another favorite scene of mine was when Kariman bua was berating Sassi for inviting Sonya Jahan in their house. In a brilliant piece of writing and directing, even though it was Kariman bua talking, she was actually giving voice to Mammo’s thoughts – yes, she wanted to say exactly that, ask exactly those questions. I loved Irsa’s expressions in that scene. There is so much to hear in Mammo’s silence and I for one am very intrigued to know her back story. Why do I think she is not really as jaahil or bewaqoof as Khayyam would have us think. Who was Mumtaz before she became Mammo?
Also noteworthy here is the subversion. Sassi is the sassy, badtameez girl and many are uncomfortable with the way she’s behaving. Qasim, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. I love the role reversal that Saji has put out here for us. Had it been the other way around no one would’ve questioned a badtameez larka and a bholi shareef larki. Flipped this way we are being asked to confront our own preconceived notions and expectations. It will be interesting to see how Sassi evolves as she steps out of the secure chaardiwari of her father’s house. For now heavily influenced by her father’s harsh treatment of her mother and massively starstruck by Sonya Jahan’s glamor Sassi has now declared her intention to be a star. There were a lot of things that wer set in motion in this episode and the precap promises that we are in for an equally engrossing third episode.
This second episode confirmed that my love for the serial was not misplaced – it is indeed that good. Ab hoping and praying that we are not let down. Looking forward to the next installment.
Written by SZ~