Yeh main hoon: bejaan, berang…
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.
This is RB signing off (Tweet me!)