I have to hand it to Mehreen Jabbar, Farhat Ishtiaq, and the rest of the Mataa-e Jaan team. This drama just keeps getting better and better. I have been raving about this serial for the past few weeks now, but I have to say his week’s episode surprised even me. Not because it was good, that was a given in my book, but because of the very intelligently done critique of those who vaunt the superiority of so-called Eastern culture. Even as Uzair blustered on about “our” Eastern values and how Ibaad had been corrupted by the “behaya” Western values in the short time he had lived in the US, ultimately it was Uzair who ended up with egg on his face. His own rant exposed him as a hypocrite, a stubborn and arrogant man, for whom his pride, his given word, his ego, reigns supreme over everything else– even the happiness of his one and only child. By refusing to even entertain the thought of listening to Ibaad, forget about consenting to his marriage with Haniya, Uzair demonstrated that even as he hid behind the rhetoric of the superiority of one culture over the other, his anger had more to do with his damaged pride than with any kind of cultural value system, Eastern or Western. Excellent job guys!
The breakfast scene, where Ibaad tries to reason with his father has to be one of the most well-directed and acted scenes in recent memory. The moments between Hajra and Ibaad were truly special. The unspoken communication, the exchanged glances between the two, while Uzair ranted, hinted at a very strong bond between the mother and son. I could not help wondering about how many similar battles had been averted before this one, just because Ibaad had let his father win – was the past now coming back to haunt him? Had he not been such a dutiful son all along, would Uzair have then expected him to toe the line unquestioningly? Moreover, the way Hajra posits herself as a silent referee in this battle of wills between the father and son hints that this is not the first time this has happened. Her silent pleas with Ibaad, her half-seated posture, ready to rise and step in if necessary, indicate that Uzair must indeed be a very hard man to live with, and she’s probably spent a lifetime trying to smoothen his rough edges. So much was said while left unsaid. Even though she had almost no dialogues here, without resorting to any melodrama Hina Bayat quietly made the scene her own. I could barely move my eyes away from her face, it told a thousand tales!
Apart from this blockbuster scene, this episode was filled with other equally well done vignettes. Yamina talking to her lawyer and Adam trying to sweet-talk Haniya kept us updated on the second track of the story. Other scenes—Mama Jaani and Haniya, while the former is in the hospital; Haniya and Ibaad, where he draws a parallel between Haniya and Uzair; the phone conversation between Ibaad to his parents; Ibaad cooking for Mama Jaani and Haniya—were all great moments. Ibaad was the uniting factor that brought the story together in this episode. He is no longer the one-dimensional cardboard character we all accused him of being. This is a man who gets as angry as the next person, he loves as deeply as anybody else; what set him apart is his compassion, his patience, and his sense of justice. That’s why he cannot help but defend his father to Haniya even though he is himself at a loss to come to terms with his father’s pigheadedness – excellent characterization by Farhat Ishtiaq and brilliantly played by Adeel Hussain. This has truly been an exceptional performance from him.
Adding to the deliciously textured drama being played out on the screen was the lack of any background music for most part of the episode. Thank you for giving us credit for being intelligent enough to figure out the high points, we do not need musical cues in every scene – silence is indeed a powerful language in and of it itself. Finally, I have to give credit once again to the magician behind the camera, Shehzad Kashmiri. Hina Bayat has never looked this gorgeous before and Adeel never as drool-worthy. Back to the drama, every eyelid flicker, every glance, every move was brilliantly captured. I don’t think this episode would have had as much impact if the camerawork had faltered. Overall, an excellent outing yet again!
Written by SZ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
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