Maa-jee say darti ho.
Nahi, unki umr say darti hoon. Betay kay baad agar beti bhi apni manmaani karnay lagi to woh nahi sahe paayen gi.
Moments – beautiful, everlasting, painful, striking, filled with love, and maybe even anger. We all have them.
Firaaq’s second episode gave me quite a few of these moments. I saw the initial curiosity between two strangers somehow tied by fate, circumstance, and familial bonds, as I saw Paiman and Sara. Then, there was the banter between Amroze and Roomi, which is somewhat telling of things yet to come. I felt Sara’s unease and Shams’ withdrawal at Maa-jee’s revelation. Momentarily, my heart went out for Paiman as she sat gardening with her sautala-Abbu, only to be suddenly shocked by Tabassum’s fit of anger.
In fact, I’m still reeling from that shock! Phew!
As I sit here typing, there’s a funny thing I just noticed, for an episode that had so many moments, the story is still held captive by Maa-jee. Kyun? Well, Paiman is still stuck in that house. From last week’s promo, I thought Sanam Saeed was supposed to leave suitcase in hand with bhai-ji, yet, we end with these stern words: “Tum yeh kamra chood kar nahi jaa sakti, bas.“
Maa-jee, mera ek mashwara maanay, hooni ko koi nahi tal sakta.
Even though I’m slightly disappointed at the stilted progression of the narrative (we all know Paiman is heading out, then, why the less than cliffy cliffhanger?!), there is enough in this week’s episode to keep me temporarily satiated.
As much as the narrative focuses on Shams and Sara’s relationship or Maa-jee’s crazy antics (really with that danda?), which are important to the overall structure, this is undoubtedly Paiman’s story. We see how she acts and thinks, we are made to feel for her, for her situation. Our voice resonates with that of Haider, “Iss ghar mein tum murjha jao gi.” Sanam Saeed breathes life into Paiman, and I know some may disagree, but her expressions especially her eyes convey far more pain than they are meant too. Paiman is a sad, quite, demure, and reclusive creature not by choice but by circumstance. And Saeed’s big glasses, scrunchie-d hair, printed suits coupled with the dialogues and her acting present a character that is at once conflicted by right and wrong, by perceptions and desires, and most importantly, by a question: should she live for herself or for someone else.
Sixteen years of living like a prisoner, no matter how beautiful the cage, can take a toll on anyone and Paiman is no different. She is bursting at the seams to leave, to explore, to experience, to make mistakes, to fall in love, to be heartbroken, and maybe even find herself. Experiences, as Haider rightly notes, she’s being denied by a mother who’s lived her life. Ironic isn’t it?
The source of Paiman’s earthly misery, Maa-jee, is an enigma (and not the good kind). Why is this woman so hateful, so insecure, so angry? If there’s anyone in need of Amroze’s services (and desperately at that) it is Tabassum. I still haven’t gotten over her danda antic (and this is just the beginning), I’m not sure whether to laugh, be horrified, or maybe feign disgust? Either way Uzma Gillani is a formidable powerhouse of acting in Firaaq, because this story needed a villain like her.
In many ways, Maa-jee is a warped and twisted version of Farida from Humsafar, which is why, I think, Shams left. His “betrayal” of mother and sister had nothing to do with Haider, in fact, Haider served as a ready and easy excuse for escape, but I could be wrong. Shams is a character full of anger, which bursts forth on occasion such as when Sara goes to the park or decides to visit her saas (of course, thanks to Dr. Amroze). Seeing Junaid Khan being every bit as dark as his Adam from Mata-e-Jaan Hai Tu, as he waited quietly for Sara and then just stood there looking at her: goosebumps (no, seriously!). Let’s hope HUM TV has insurance lest the character get into Juni’s head.
Getting into heads, though, is Dr. Amroze’s forte. After all, that psychotic couple is still in therapy. Waise, HUM TV nay itnay paisay kharchay, location par, kapdoon par, cast par, thoda paisa extras par bhi kharch laitay, baat yahni choodon ga, as they say, akalmand ko isharaa kafi. I have yet to see Mohib Mirza truly woven into this story, he seems (as of now) to be an outsider looking in, which is why seeing him in a rather candid conversation with Roomi was a tad bit revealing. These two have an odd friendship, they sit around while one paints the other, talking about tanhaai and women in their lives. Could this be yet another love triangle with both Amroze and Roomi falling for Paiman? Triangles or not, the boys looked good together, be it Roomi and Shams or Amroze and Roomi, their interaction wasn’t stunted but rather natural and impromptu (what with Noor Hassan laughing through his dialogues?!).
For an episode that had promised us a climax, we were let down, but by no means disappointed. The writing, editing, direction, and acting are in tandem with the overall narrative. The camerawork was equally flawless and the background score never disappoints. But I hope they’ll give us some silences (awkward or otherwise) – like they did today with noises of traffic, of the wind, of rippling water – because the story deserves them.
Till next week,
This is RB signing off. (Tweet me!)