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Firaaq Episode 3

RB . 13

Yeh main hoon: bejaan, berang…

Freedom.

That ever elusive thing that even the freest amongst us never truly achieve. For the lucky, though, it is – on that rare occasion – a feat made possible by fate, but I wonder at what cost? Firaaq, I find, is not just about relationships and moments, it is also a story about freedom, about the freedom to live, to laugh, to learn, to be, and most of all to love. Yet, often times, as is typical of life, with freedom comes rupture. A rupture that is still to be fully realized.

As Paiman walks with bhai-ji towards freedom (at last!), Maa-jee is left shattered but definitely not broken. After all, she’s made of tough stuff. In a beautifully shot sequence between Tabassum, Shams, Paiman, and that staircase, I could feel the anxiety all around. Maa-jee and her doubts, Shams’ quiet faith in his sister or at least her ability to finally stand up for herself, and Paiman’s one chance at a normal life. The way this scene was conceptualized, framed, and shot, it seemed we were almost there, behind the stairs, on the stairs, looking down at Shams, looking up at Maa-jee. The DoP does an excellent job of visualizing how Paiman felt in that house, like a stranger within very familiar walls. I can easily say this was one of the best scenes so far.

Leave it to HUM TV to make a rupture look beautiful, I’d even say poetic, but at the same time not shy away from its consequences.

Tabassum’s controlling ways have found yet another victim, on the same path as the previous one. Seeing her come to grips with yet another betrayal was rather telling. Her bleeding finger as a symbol of her loss. Shayad apnay khoon ka rang dekh kar Maa-jee ko kuch ehsaas ho jaye ga, if only about her zakhams. For a woman that’s strong willed and stubborn, I couldn’t see her reacting in any other way, as she lives with the guilt unable to come to terms with it. Was it really her fault? Did she drive both her children away?

Even though Maa-jee refuses to think of Paiman, going so far as to admonish poor Haider at zikhar karo-ing about her, Paiman can’t help but think of Maa-jee. As she walks out of the house – shy and insecure, as she speaks to Imroze and Rumi – in a flurry of ji’s and ji nahi’s, as she dresses up, as she carries herself, Paiman is firmly under the shadow of the woman who once nurtured her. A woman who refuses to think about her now lost daughter.

Haider, on the other hand, is yet to leave Paiman. His phone call was clearly that of a gentle, caring, and nurturing man, albeit sautayla, but by no means step-fatherly. Of all the people in Paiman’s life, Haider, is perhaps the only one who genuinely wants the best for her (with no ulterior motive). Shams’ wants to inflict pain on Maa-jee by giving Paiman a new lease on life, Maa-jee wants to keep her perpetually in qaid (and that is one literal and metaphorical qaid!), Imroze and Rumi have their own agendas, as does Sara, which only leaves Haider to cushion Paiman’s fall, and that fall will come. Seeing this dynamic between two people unrelated by blood but still bound by familial ties is a refreshing sight. See, HUM TV, normal people do form bonds with each other and it doesn’t take khoon kay rishtay either!

And rishtas there are many. Some that Paiman’s left behind, new ones she’s yet to fully explore, and still newer ones she going to make. I find the dynamic between Sara, Shams, and Paiman is going to come to a head especially when both her suitors will start lining up in front of her darwaza for more than just answers. I wonder, though, what it is about a girl like Paiman that a sassy painter like Rumi finds attractive or a qualified professional (take that with whatever pinch of salt) like Imroze finds irresistible?

She’s innocent, she’s naive, she’s inexperienced, but does that make her sought after? And if so, why? Isn’t this just catering to the neeyat of the desi man?

Speaking of men, let’s start with the fashion faux pas’ this week. What in heavens name was the costume designer thinking when he paired up Imroze’s (drab!) brown suit with black leather shoes? WHAT, WHAT, WHAT were you thinking? Similarly, Shams’ khakis were paired with patent leather black shoes. Seriously? Raza sahab, apnay costume designer ko bahar nikalain, s/he is a disaster! Although if the boys were given some lacklustre fashion choices, the girls were absolutely stunning. Cybil Chaudhry looks ever inch a sophisticated wife and homemaker, Maa-jee is all shades of anger personified, and Sanam Saeed does justice to the role solely by the choice of her dupattas. From plain orange and blue chiffon dupattas that hang off of her she’s branching out to more colourful, printed ones that channel her experiences, her fashion choices are changing from berang to rang-barang. This subtle shift so beautifully executed and portrayed by a piece of clothing is attention to detail that I find commendable.

Looks like that costume designer still has a job, but coming back to the boys.

Imroze and Rumi are one odd couple. Like friends in this part of the world (and believe me friends, especially desi ones, become just like family when you’re away from home), I see them spending time together not because they’re lonely or because they don’t have relationships, but because they’re able to understand one another, which is what friends do, but how long will that understanding last when love is the ultimate prize? Clearly, Mohib Mirza and Noor Hassan act well because they have everyone believing otherwise, as though there’s something more to that friendship. I personally find that portraying a comfortable friendship be it between two men or two women is important kyunki milna, khana na banana, baatein karna, is what normal people do!

Waise khanay say yaad aaya Noor-o-Hassan sahab, instagram par to pakhwan bana bana kar post kartay ho aur apna aziz dost kay liye kuch bhi nahi. Ya phir drama mein thoodi maardani dikhani thi?

Doosri aur ittefaq ki baat hai: Saaaaaaaaruuuuuuuuu! Becharay Noor ki kismet mein hameeshan kisi Sara say hi dhokha khana likha hai kya? Yahan bhi Sara ko “item” kahe kar chaidna woh bhi uskay shohar kay samanay. Old habits die hard as they say. Although Shams I wouldn’t be scared, if I were you, aur kuch nahi to meri baat par hi yakeen kar lo. Here’s hoping Noor Hassan isn’t the middle man again. We’ve seen your Khizer now we want to see your Rumi, Mr. Hassan.

Three episodes in, Firaaq has me intrigued but I want to see more of Maa-jee and Haider, which we didn’t see as much this week. I want to see more of Paiman and Imroze too. Those two actually do look good together. None of this looking good, though, would have been possible without the adept camerawork and exceptional editing. These two strengths make Firaaq a cut above the rest this season and even this year.

I patiently wait for next week.

Till then,

Rab Rakha,

This is RB signing off (Tweet me!)

  • RJ

    Sub say pehlay meri terf say standing ovation lay lo ye fantastic review likhnay per :) …mere paas words nahi hain tareef k liay aur hamesha aisa hi hota hai… main hairan hoon sirf 3 episodes hoay hain aur aap story /characters /oon ki feellings /emotions ko jitni depth main jaa ker samajh rahay hain wo aap k behtareen reviewer honay ki nishani hai…abhi mujhay afsos ho raha hai k main jaldi jaldi episodes dekh rahi hoon aur aap k reviews ko sahi tra enjoy nahi ker paa rahi ..sub say ziada khushi is baat ki hai k BM k baad say ab tak aap nay as a writer kafi lamba safer teh ker lia hai..aur aap kaa style bhi kafi change ho gaya hai …ab aap main stream writer bun chukay hain jis ki waja say naa sirf readers k liay understand kerna asan ho gaa bulk aap ki readership main bhi izafa ho gaa…thank u so much..isi tra likhtay rahain…drama k baad aap kaa review perhna aur enjoy kerna ek alag hi exp hai …next review per miltay hain lekin oos say pehlay main ek baar phir ye review perhoon gi :) ..RR

  • Aisha

    Wow RB, I have no words for the beautiful and spell-bounding review you have written. Again, your use of words is brilliant and hits spot-on on all emotions and scenes. Love Firaaq too much. When Haider says” Mujhe lakta hai kay woh (maa-ji) mujhe pasand kar ne lagi hai” oh what a scene that was! I felt so sad for Haider, hope Maa-ji will realize his love for her. That background score when Maa-Ji realizes that she has now also lost her daughter was heart-touching. Another character I just love is Shams, his love for Paymaan and the line you said that he believed she would leave the house, wow once again. Btw, have you listened to Junaid Khan’s song called”Kyun” from the Dhoom album, love that song and love his voice.

    • RB

      You’re far too kind, Aisha. Thank you for reading! Aapko accha laga mujhe bahut khushi hui. This was definitely a good, good episode and deserved an equally good review. Are you looking forward to this week? Also, did you see Khoobsurat yet? No, I haven’t heard that song but I’m just youtube-ing it. Between the two of us we should start a linkshare, Aisha. Sharing links with people for what they should watch! :p

      • Aisha

        Def looking forward to this week! I haven’t seen Khoobsurat and don’t plan to either. There was a time when Fawad Khan looked great and that time was during Khuda Kay Liye, atleast till ZGH. First time I saw him was during that movie, man kya dikha tha Fawad! (btw did you see that movie) Now I see him, in the HSY show, he has changed look-wise and I know he has said that he’s an introvert but I just don’t see him as a humble guest when he’s called on interviews. He just doesn’t behave like how he would maybe behave normally and is so boring to watch on interviews. Waise did u listen to the song yet, how is it? Also, Khoobsurat’s story just doesn’t appeal to me, I also read reviews and they said that Sonam is super loud and Fawad plays his role brilliantly but hey, we have seen Fawad in a the super-mannered role before right? I wish he had done a more challenging role like Aamir Khan in Talaash. (Don’t mind Fawad fans, he’s one of the best actors, I am just pointing out to his role in Khoobsurat)

        Hey have you seen Aap Ki Kaneez on geo? Two episodes down, comes on monday and have to say love the pace and it’s interesting, do give it a try:)

        • RB

          Yes, I’ve seen that movie Aisha, but for me Fawad didn’t stand out half as much as Maulana sahab played by Nasiruddin Shah (who is married to Ratna Pathak Shah incidentally). That movie touched upon a lot of pertinent questions for us and I overlooked how good Fawad looked in it, solely because the narrative held me captive! Khoobsurat was bad, I agree, wait till you read my review! It’ll be up this weekend.

          No, I haven’t see Aap ki Kaneez or Noorie yet. No time, Aisha. :(

      • Aisha

        bm’s episode 18 was too good, do see

        • RB

          Thanks for the heads up, Aisha! Will do.

  • Great review for yet another fantastic episode . This is again that wonderful moment when the director , the writer and actors have done all the hard work for us and the viewer can sit backk and relax. All the characters are well etched , their back stories and motivations have been well thought out and move the story forward . Normally I sit through episodes of dramas thinking , why did he do that , or how could she say that it makes no sense but here the story just flows . Beautifully pictured by the DOP and Aabis Raza . Uzma Gillani on those wrought iron steps was unforgettable …
    Now RB thanks for raising the most interesting question , why are the two Men fighting over her ?What happened to the other women in Panam city ? I think men just like a maiden in distress , they may like to feel wanted .and needed..OR Sanam saeed is just really pretty .
    Go for Noor Hassan I say becuase he is cute and bohemian and just sweet …BUT then Mohib is so nice and caring and he has a job and a car . We may need to divide into teams over this … Seriously great episode , thank you team Firaq !

    • RB

      Thank youuuu, Sadaf! Aap nay pada aur comment kara (dono jaga) mein aap ka shukarguzar hoon. Firaaq is a rarity, I must agree, which is why I’m scared it won’t live up to all these expectations it’s building.

      You haven’t had a moment with “Why is Mohib Mirza wearing black shoes with a brown suit?” LOL Other than those somewhat flawed fashion choices all seems to be working well here. Haider and Tabassum, Paiman, Shams, and Sara, and even Rumi and Imroze all are neatly defined – motives, backgrounds, intentions (well I still am a bit iffy about Imroze and Rumi). Kudos to the DoP and Aabis Raza for cinematography. Simply brilliant!

      Men do like a woman in distress for some odd reason, which is why confident, self-assured, and successful women scare them and are hence labelled: “insert word of choice here”. Disgusting. I am on TEAM NOOR! Really, Sadaf, with that question? And you know why because he’s porous – inside and out he’s the same and easy to figure out. Imroze is the secretive one and you know what they say about the secretive ones…?!

      • Do you really think Imroze is the secretive about something …hmmm ? Naah he is just too nice , btw not all psychologists are this kind or nice .. if only he would stop over dressing Mohib is playing his part really well. Sorry I did not catch their shoes but what did you think of that t shirt Noor hassan was wearing ? the one with the slightly askew tie printed on it ? is it me or was that a kind of witty foil to our elegant psychologists suits ? Ok My heart says team Rumi because he is a bit of an amatuer psychologist and all around caring person who is always there for his friends but painter , bohemian types are they reliable ? So head says Kind and gentle Imroze …. lets see .
        Actually I maybe contradicting myself but some Men do hate betcharis .. and tend to “sister zone ‘ them .

        • RB

          Yes, Imroze is gentle, well to do what with that aalishan porticoed and pillared mansion jahan he’s left voice mails by desi called Mike, Tom, and Sara, but there’s something sinister about him. I know he’s a psychologist but what else does he have connecting him to the sotry and Paiman? Team Rumi please! I’ll come back in a bit about Rumi’s t-shirt. ::wink::

  • A musing Muslim

    wonderful review RB! Rupture it is, with tearing away of familial ties and slicing away of khoon et al – am surprised that scene played as well as it did – it cld have been boderline cheese -khoon dekh rahi hoo…credit to Ms Uzma Gellani here. She and Haider share a nice chemistry too. And as you pointed out nice to see his and Paiman’s caring relationship.

    Firaaq is definitely entertaining though that title in place of Mohib’s eyes freaks me out – yes, every time! Saarrruuu isn’t so bad. Also Sanam Saeed though subdued is self aware to props to her and pass the Tabasco, so I can eat my words.

    But am not getting why both the boys are lurve with her? Haina? What did I miss? For the artiste type and as you say professional type they are smitten by a sehmi hui si ladki. Waiting for the taking the glasses off moment of transformation btw but I mean Imroze and Rumi have more chemistry than either of them with Sanam!

    Chalo at least something to watch on Humtv bohut dino baad, at least your well thought out reviews are worth coming back for even if am not fully sold on the story.

    • RB

      Thank you, MM! Uzma Gillani has amazing screen presence because even when she’s not in the drama all we can think of is her performance! The amount of screen time she had is clearly disproportional to unki aadkari kay charchay! Paiman and the two oldies have yet to come full circle, there’s more here.

      Saruuuuuuu! What’re the odds that someone will dies in this series too? Love trinagles seldom end happy, you know. Tabasco?! What happened to Maggie Hot & Sweet?!

      Sanam and Mohib look very good together. There’s something about MM (Mohib Mirza for the uninitiated) that balances him out with SS. As for Rumi, I don’t see him as Paiman’s type or vice versa. I’m waiting for the story to pick up as well, yes. And I’m so excited you’re doing Jackson Heights!

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