O Rungreza ~ Episode 4 Review

We are all individual entities complete in and of ourselves, but so much of our sense of self is derived from those around us. We see ourselves, understand ourselves and value ourselves not in terms of that we see reflected in the mirror but in terms of that which we see reflected in others’ eyes – we value ourselves based on others’ evaluation of us. That others’ this perception is based on how we perceive ourselves in the first place is a fact sadly forgotten by most. Lifetimes are spent trying to please others, be what others want to see, that which does not exist.This when all that is needed is to be true to one’s own self. Freedom comes only with this realization otherwise there is not much separating humans from puppets, dancing to tunes played by others.

Qasim is truly hopelessly in love with Sassi. He sees himself though her eyes; she calls him worthless, he thinks he is worthless. She makes fun of girls whoflirt with him and lo and behold he sees an unattractive person staring back at him in the mirror. He knows she is not likely to miss him, yet his face lights up when she comes by to pick yet another fight. He’s lived with Khayyam all his life and knows his uncle’s opinion of him, but he still craves his validation. Why? Not because he wants or cares for Khayyam’s wah wah, but because this would elevate his status in Sassi’s eyes.

Sassi sees the world through her father’s eyes. Khayyam treated Qasim like hired help and that’s where Sassi got her cues.  Khayyam had no value for Mammo so Sassi treated her like trash.  A woman not good enough to win her father’s approval was certainly not someone on whom Sassi wished to waste her time. She would rather seek Sonya Jahan’s approval – she’s the one her father deems worthy of his time and appreciation. But now Sonya is saying things that do not make sense. What is this business of creating and destroying that Sonya talks about? What is this that she is saying about her father, is she saying he is less than perfect? And why does Sonya think that it is not her but Mammo who Khayyam wants?

Where before everything was comfortingly familiar, distinctly black and white – Mammo = bad, Khayyam = good – now things are not quite as clear. Sassi is confused. Her perfect father looks less than perfect when seen through Sonya’s eyes. Her world thus muddied and muddled Sassi turns to her role model – Sonya. She is confident, bold, unapologetically glamorous and most of all Khayyam’s choice – what more could a young girl lacking a strong female presence in her life want? And when the choice is between a drab Mammo or the glamorous Sonya, is there even a question?

Sassi has decided she wants to become the next Sonya Jahan. That Sonya tried to get her to look beyond the obvious is something that flew over Sassi’s head. She heard only what she wanted to hear, the rest left by the wayside. Even what Sonya said about Qasim was left unprocessed, because thinking requires soul-searching, and Sassi does not have the time or inclination for anything with the potential of coming in the way of realizing her ambitions. She is most certainly not dumb, as Khayyam rightly said, she is zaheen like him. Both experts at rationalizations.

Unlike the deluded father daughter pair Mammo is not a fool. They both might think they know it all, but Mammo is the one grounded enough to see and sense the going-ons. She knows Sassi’s infatuation with Sonya is a sure shot disaster in the making, but when she brings her fears to Khayyam he trivializes her concerns and is dismisses of her fears. But as the precap indicates Mammo was right to worry. It is one thing to write qaseedas about a bahir wali aurat but to have his own flesh and blood, his izzat dancing in public inviting other men to write qaseedas about her beauty?!? No way?!

He may be an intellectual, a man of letters, but Khayyam is as stereotypical a desi mard as they come –  the kind who have different play books for women outside and inside their char diwari.  Mammo has learned this the hard way, now it is Sassi’s turn. How Sassi respond’s to her father’s ire is something I am waiting to watch. Will she allow him to control her as he does her mother? Khayyam is not the type to get easily thwarted but then neither is Sassi is a walkover. What is Sonya’s interest in Sassi? Will she become a pawn in her hands? Whatever the case may [or may not] be, lots of fireworks coming our way!

Yes, plenty of food for thought in this latest episode. I am loving how we are looking at a very familiar story in a completely different, very innovative manner. Saji Gul’s writing has a lyrical quality about it, and is as beautiful as it is thought provoking, the screenplay is fabulous. Kashif Nisar deserves a round of applause for his narrative style and for the phenomenal performances he has gotten from his very talented cast.

Sana has not had much to do so far, but in this episode she was magnificent, and Sajal’s expressions as Sassi tried to understand the depth of Sonya’s words were equally outstanding. Both of them were magical together, and the stand outs in this episode. Bilal was so good in the scene when Sassi comes to Qasim with the saman, the range of expressions that ran across his face as he went from happy to confused to despondent to angry were fantastic. Irsa Ghazal was great as Mammo and Nauman Ijaz solid as ever as Khayyam.

Four episodes in, O Rungreza continues to raise the bar week after week. Here’s to hoping and praying it stays the course.

Written by SZ~

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8 replies

  1. This episode was terrific in every way. Sassi as a young woman on the cusp of adulthood is so perfect. She has just the right mix of a teenager convinced that she’s 100% right about everything, and a young woman confused by the various directions that her head (and her heart) are pulling her in. What a fabulous talent Sajal Ali is.

    I’d like to know more of Mammo and Khayyam’s back story, because I suspect there was a time when he was rather enamored of her. That offhand remark he made about Mammo never gracing them with a happy expression said a lot more than he intended. I suspect that Sonia Jahan is right and that deep down, Mammo is exactly the kind of woman Khayyam wants and needs. I think that–like many great artistic talents–he craves order and control and he’s much more likely to get that in a household run by a woman like Mammo than in the glitz and glamor of Sonia Jahan’s life.

    Also, I love the relationship between Mammo and Bilal, and how well they understand each other even though one hardly ever says anything to the other. That scene where she congratulate him on his exam results was just perfect.

    Major props to the writer and the director of this show!

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  2. Kia kehnay. Kia kehnay.

    Good pacing.
    Excellent editing.

    Bring on number 5 please.

    PS: bus woh manager Aur Sassi wala scene samajh Nahi aya. The one with the bucket of water.
    Anyone?

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    • Hello!
      Re: the bucket scene, IMHO itvwas intended as a badla for him messing with her with the dog when she went to see Sonya. It could also be read as her “coloring” him in her color, as in they were now inextricably linked – how thar happens is something time will tell .. the process has already Starr’s since she’s publicly said that she wants to be another Sonya and where Sonya goes her manager goes too ..
      Btw, it was not plain water, it was yellow/orange colored water and the importance of that color is well known in Sufi lore..

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      • It was rangeen, yes. Just wrote water cos no other word was coming to mind, other than coloured water. 🙂

        Ah, okay. That’s an interesting take.

        Which begs another question, if there is so much introspection and symbolism as you’ve mentioned in your reviews, how would the main stream audience connect with it? Would they get it?

        I, for one, wouldn’t have been privy to the subtelities (sp?) and to the homage, if you will (can).

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        • I can’t answer on behalf of the writer, and I may well be wrong, but for me that’s the skill of the writer .. to make it simple but not simplistic, to make it accessible to viewers across the board, for them to enjoy it however they read it, and it works on all levels. For me the qawwali and the particular wordings chosen for that scene, and the color of the water, were the reason I read it the way I did.
          For me this is the hallmark of great writers, that they dont hammer the reader/viewer on the head with a particular message that they want to convey.. that’s a very reductive approach in my view.
          Re: mainstream audiences, this is the standard response of channels when you ask for more complex stuff: mainstream audiences won’t get it, hence the constant dumbing down of content on tv, where a single idea is repeated 5000 times..
          hopefully the success (so far) if this serial has conveyed the point that if presented well, by a team that understands the depth of the content, mainstream as well as niche audiences can and do enjoy the same stuff equally, albeit in diff ways ..

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          • Makes sense.

            It is indeed a hallmark of a great writer to convey the story in a way as is being done here. In the end, it does fall on the audience what they take away from it. What they do, is probably down to each person’s level of interest and perspective. If they find something that they could relate to or identify something that can trigger that response, depends on the viewers.

            I think that is also why a lot of times, people involved with the production – writers, directors, actors, people in front of and behind the camera say that they themselves don’t know what connects with the audience; something that what they didn’t think was extra ordinary becomes super hit and sometimes vice versa.

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  3. Absouletly loveed your review..
    Sajal Ali is giving such a flawless performance.. her scenes with everyone turn out to be just great.. this time with Sana mostly..thery were terrific.. specially the last scene.. when sonya says these lines are by your dad.. those expressions by Sasi were too good..

    And talking about expressions.. Irsa Ghazal was fab in selfie scene.. how can be they soo mean.. Biilal Abbas is absouletly brilliant as Qasim.. he has made it so Qasim so effortless. Felt alot for him.. but cant he talk nicely with Ramzan.. itna khyal rakh raha tha bechara.

    So looking forward to next epi.

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