Ranjha, Ranjha kardi wey main,
Aape Ranjha hoyee.
Ranjha, Ranjha saddoni mainu,
Heer na aakho koi.
Waris Shah once wrote an epic for a true deewani. A lover so besotted by her beloved she lost herself in him so completely that even she couldn’t distinguish between Heer (herself) and Ranjha (her beloved). Such is the power of true love. Woh baithay, baithay, acchay, acchoon ko abaad kar daitay hai. Ya phir… barbaad.
Kuch aaisee hi kahani hai Shanno aur Khalil ki…. Shanno ka Khelu. Khelu ki Shanno.
The moment we’ve all been waiting for, the moment that our lovers have been anticipating, hoping, perhaps, even bay-sabri say intezaar karo-ing, that moment when their eyes meet, their hearts melt, and they are but each others for all eternity. As the baraat makes its way so do our lovers and what a sequence it was! Hai ray hum sadqay tumhare, indeed. It is no secret that Khalil is just as smitten by Shanno no matter his nakhras or bahanas. This is a man who, try as he might, cannot deny the existence of his very beautiful fiancé. Just as Shanno is in seventh heaven after she’s finally seen the man of her dreams – apnay sapnoo ka shazada – for a full ten minutes no less!
Anwari’s gentle teasing brings Shanno back to earth (and secretly me as well!). At least now we know that Shanno can ru-ba-ru with Humaira! All this in but one look. Something tells me if looks could kill, Ms. Khan, you’d be right up there way past Khalil, haina? Lekin muu say baat nikli naa to jism say jaan nikal jaye gi ka kya hoga? Kis ki jaan? Aur kyun? Perhaps, as a testament to the genius of Waris Shah, our love stories must always end on a bitter note. What’re the odds that Shanno will meet a sad and tragic end? Any wagers? Teray uttay mardi, pyar tainu kardi can have only one outcome, the same outcome that Heer, Sonhi, Sahiban, and Sassi had in store for them.
Be it Heer’s poisoned ladoo, Sohni’s mitti ka ghadda, Sahiban’s talwar, or Sassi’s earthly grave in the mountains, death in all its forms is a befitting end to a love that dare challenge the status quo, and here not only does it challenge Amma-ji and Abba-ji but also their misplaced sense of pride. In these tragedies, though, eternal love reigns supreme. For your sake, Shanno and Khalil, and for ours, I hope your love isn’t eternal, if only to save you from what lies ahead.
Lekin mohabbat jab apna shikar chunn laiti hai uska nishana kabhi chukta nahi. Shayad yeh Shanno aur Khalil ki kismet ka almiya hai…
Barhal, jahan ek taraf Laila aur uska Majnu ishq kay bukhaar say taap rahe hain wahin doosri taraf Rasheeda aur Amin ka para bhi sabar kay paar ho raha hai. As much as I like Samiya Mumtaz, and I really do, how could her ‘Sheeda be so insensitive, so unkind? Is she blind to her daughter’s dreams? Is she deaf to her heartbeats? Jo maa-ein apnay bachoon ki khushiyon say andhi, unki khawhishoon say beheri hoti hain akhir mein woh unki tabaahi, unki barbaadi par goongi ho jata hain. Seeing ‘Sheeda seething with anger as she slaps Shanno into submission, seeing her connive and plot as she threatens Amin to leave Tooti Chukk, and simply seeing her being the hate monger that she is, I cannot help but wonder what better rishta the thakaydaar and his wife hope to get for Shanno than her bachpan ka mangaytar.
What do they have against Khalil? He’s rude, arrogant, and jobless, but since when did all that stop marriages in our dramaland?! I mean, Khalil’s perceived rudeness (and I’m not defending him!) could be, as Amin’s maanji-mate rightly noted, because he doesn’t know who is actually who. After all, isn’t this his first wedding? His future might not look bright but he’s young and as soon as he finishes school he’ll be well on his way to a career, are they going to begrudge him his haseeyat? Isn’t his mother Rasheeda’s sister, so, whose haseeyat is ultimately in question? As if this blind belief in Khalil’s incompatibility with Shanno and her gharwalas wasn’t enough, Amin, of course at ‘Sheeda chaabi lagaoo-ing, makes it clear to all and sundry that Shanno is not engaged to Khalil. Nor is he willing to consider the commitment they all made at the time of Shanno’s birth. Yet, he “Sau Bismillahs” Lahore-walay Khalu for what? To humiliate him and his wife? To insult family, to people he’s related to not just by marriage but also by blood?
Inasmuch as I understand the complex dynamics of a joint family, I am hard pressed to comprehend why Amin and Rasheeda despise Khalil? Aakhir kyun? For an episode that was building up to a spark-filled mulaqaat, Shanno and Khalil couldn’t have done better than the fireworks that ensued even before they exchanged a word. I guess, aankhon hi aankhon mein ishara ho gaya.
In an otherwise perfect viewing experience, there is one thing that has been bothering me for the past three weeks and I think it’s time I point it out. Every time I see Tooti Chukk on screen, Mahira in her bright shalwar-kameez ensembles, Khalil and his kurtas and sherwanis, the spectacled doctor-to-be Maqsood, the vintage Beetle, I cannot help but think of 1942 A Love Story. This is not a period drama, in fact, I don’t think HUM TV or any other Indian/Pakistani channel can truly execute a flawless period drama, nonetheless, a little easy on the vintage, we’re in the 80s not the 40s. Please and thanks.
Other than throwing me off in terms of time period, the camera work is gritty enough to make me believe that Sadqay Tumhare is indeed set in Punjab’s rural hinterlands. The background score could be better utilized. Did anyone notice the tablas as the men discussed the impending betrothal? Costumes and art direction deserve an honourable mention, and something tells me its going to be more of the same. As for acting, in many series, it’s easy to pick apart the best actors in the cast, here, at least in this episode, I found perfect synthesis. Rehan Sheikh was more than convincing as Amin, Samiya Mumtaz was absolutely perfect as Rasheeda (and she was only on screen very briefly!), Farhan Ali Agha, even though he’s a bit too young to be Khalil’s Abba-ji, was a picture of composure and calm in a house that was otherwise chaotic, and Mahira and Adnan share excellent chemistry, perhaps, because we haven’t seen them together as yet.
But togetherness brings with it its own consequences. I started with Heer so I’ll end with her, as a reminder of what this coupling is leading to:
Ohh Ranjha, Ranjha na kare Heere,
Jag badnami hoey.
Patti, patti jhar jawey,
Par khusboo chup na hoey.
Till next week,
This is RB signing off. (Tweet me!)