Programming Update: Back to Schedule!

Adab nazreen.

Mazrat chahoon ga lekin pechlay kuch maheenay kaafi masroof raha hoon. Iss haftay say blogging ki raftar wapis shuru ho jayegi. Umeed karta hoon aap sab ka saath rahe ga.

Iss haftay ki pehli post Tanu Weds Manu Returns ka review hoga uskay baad shayad mein Mol kay weekly reviews bhi likhoon ga. Afia Nathaniel ki film Dukhtar ka review bhi post karnay wala hoon. Jaatay jaatay ek aur baat Jumah-kay-Jumah ek film review iss blog par zaroor post karoon ga.

Phir say mazaraat chahoon ga AWOL hoonay kay liye.

Padhtay rahein.

Rab Rakha

RB (Tweet me!)


Dastaan Episode 1


Aj akhan Waris Shah nu kitun kabran vichchon bol,
Te aj kitab-e-ishq da koi agla varka phol.

Ek roi si dhee Punjab di, tu likh likh maare vain,
Aaj lakhan dheean rondian tainu Waris Shah nu kahen.

Waaaay… dardmandaan day dardiaa, uth takk apnaa Punjab,
Aaj bele lashan vichhian te lahu di bhari Chenab.

Kise ne panjan paanian vichch ditti zahar rala,
Te unhan paanian dharat nun ditta pani la.

Iss zarkhez zameen de lun lun futtia zaher,
Gith gith charhiaan lalian, fut fut charhia kaher.

Aaj akhan Waris Shah nu kitun kabran vichchon bol,
Te aj kitab-e-ishq da koi agla varka phol.

Takhsim-e-Hind. Hindustan ka Batwara. The Partition of India. 


Sadqay Tumhare Episode 9


My man’s crazy and his mind’s a knife.  But I like him – fact, I love him – I can’t get enough of him, he knows only I can save him tonight!

I’ve been waiting on your love, baby, for too long now, too long now!

Sadqay Tumhare is like a Lana Del Rey song with its retro sensibilities, it’s dastaan-e-ishq wali mohabbat, it’s filmi aadaein, and pretty people thrown in for good measure! Yet, like Lana’s pronounced vintage, nostalgic, and sad sensibilities, “it’s gonna backfire, baby, gonna backfire!”


Firaaq Episode 7


Mein azad hoona chahati hoon.

Azaadi. Khudmukhtari. Freedom. Independence. A few weeks ago, I suggested that Firaaq was about freedom, and ghooma, phira kar baat wahin aa gayee hai. Even though the narrative clearly singles out Paiman, as she is the lead protagonist, in this elusive search, I would venture that every character is in search for freedom. Maa-jee from the demons of her past, unka mazi; Sara from her mistake of soliciting Imroze’s advise; and Shams from his fear, his insecurity, of what a child might do to him.

I left off last week fawning over Uzma Gillani and Syed Mazhar Ali, so this week I’ll pick up exactly there. It is clear to anyone who might regularly watch Firaaq, that both the older actors have performed their roles par excellence. Haider’s emotional state at the thought of losing the woman he is in love with despite her very obvious flaws had me break out in a tear or two (shhh, it’s a secret!). His tears, his gestures, his words, waqai Haider saab aap shaitaan hain ya koi farishtaa? Every week Haider and Tabassum give us a peek into a relationship that’s not perfect but still qayam. In a day and age where divorce, separation, egos, and azaadi are notions that govern even the simplest of minds, seeing these two stick it out together, if only out of some warped sense of commitment, makes me smile.

As Haider sheds a tear on behalf of a woman he’s unable to understand yet still cares for, as Maa-jee comes to one difficult realization after another and acknowledges him for the person he is, the man he is, now this is what I wanted to see on my television screen all year. I want to cry with Tabassum, I want to feel her pain, her longing, I want to travel with her as she transitions from a bitter, lonely, and angry woman to a loving, caring, and forgiving mother she can, and I hope she will be. Every dialogue that these two share is rendered to perfection. Again, thank you Uzma sahiba and Syed saab for you excellent performances!

The thought of Maa-jee passing away, and I can only say this in Punjabi, tussi tay meray trrah kad ditta. The one character I hope (no, pray!) that they don’t kill off at least not till they’ve arrived at some form of closure is Maa-jee. Her life has been incomplete in so many ways that I want her character to have some semblance of peace, some modicum of sakoonLekin iss ghar mein (in fact, zindagi meinhai koi sakoon? Is this offer of peace, this offer of re-conciliation, a step towards that ever-elusive thing called peace of mind. Indeed, like Haider, I can’t help but say: “Maine hameeshan tumhe samajhnay ki bahut koshish kari hai lekin aaj tak samajh mein aa nahi saki.

Maa-jee ek kaisi paheli hain?

These realizations – of who you love, what you care for, and what did all this anger achieve – came at the cost of great confrontation and with it even greater ruptures. Paiman left not only Maa-jee and Haider, but also Shams and Sara. For her, all I have this week is a song, I hope you’ll see that azaadi (freedom) isn’t necessarily the same as khudmukhtari (liberty):

The other rupture that threatens to escalate is between Shams and Sara. Shams’ stubbornness, his inner sense of mardaani, cannot handle being challenged by not one but two women, his sister and his wife, both of whom have left him. One because she doesn’t want to be controlled, the other because she is tired of being ignored. Like Maa-jee, Shams is left to face his own demons and as Sara says, to find himself. Junaid Khan’s Shams is perfect every week. His acting never disappoints (truly!) but it never really gives one that oomph factor. Nonetheless, I enjoy seeing him on screen especially with Sara, those two are meant to fight! Cybil, I believe gets a lot of flak for her accent, for her delivery, for her acting skills, etc., etc. but I like her as Sara. She’s not timid, she’s not submissive, and she speaks her mind, which is what Sara’s character needs. For what it’s worth, Ms. Chaudhary, I think you’re fine, and with time you’ll be more comfortable in front of the camera. Haters gonna hate, right?!

With all this action ensuing, I can’t help but think that Rumi is at times used as a prop. As a person to seek advise, as a person to shout at it, as someone to fill in the scenes – what is his storyline?

Yet again a well-scripted, tightly knit, and well-edited episode with compelling dialogues and good direction. Firaaq, khawateen-o-hazraat, is a must watch!

Till next week,

Rab Rakha

RB (Tweet me!)

Jackson Heights Episode 2


“What a beautiful accident!”

With those four words, Nauman Ijaz just stole the show. Our cheery Imran Bhatti sahib keeps up his spirits and the lookout for new-and pretty-desis to befriend. That scene was priceless and Bhatti sahib owned it even if he was spinning the oldest line in the book.

All however, is not well on the home front and so it wasn’t our dear Jamshed, but his mamu who has the green card via marriage plan. It’s is hard to imagine any other possibility given the fractious nature of their relationship. She bulldozes him all the time and treats him with scant respect and her kids follow suit.

True to form however, Bhatti sahib takes his responsibilities seriously except when he is fraternizing (ha! not quite) with Salma. Salma, for her part is trying to rake in the cash by working the graveyard shift – what else would you call 8:30 am at a salon?! Perhaps it’s just that Aamina Sheikh is too damn pretty, but something about her conveys a very calm persona to her supposedly harried and worked to the bone working gal.

Even if the dialogues and those plain Jane shirts try to convince you otherwise, something is amiss here. Though bonus points for Nazia Hassan soundtrack!

And perhaps in time the Salma- Imran track will work better but the Rizwan-Michelle track is going smooth I have to say.  They share an easy camaraderie – thodi khatti thodi meethi and Vasay Chaudhary’s dialogues about muft ki cooking, pyar ka jaal, katal and kabza play up that underlying romantic interest though that Rizwan does seem to be breathing down her neck a bit, no?

Also minus points for the slip up on Bombay! Choose a side Ok?

There are other germs of ideas here – Michelle paying her desi staff a lesser rate than the legal norm, Hira beauty parlour undercutting their prices which hint at the lives of working desis in America, which I’m definitely looking forward to seeing that explored more.

Also the no man’s visa land of ‘in process’ and ‘clearance’, often euphemisms for security and background checks which are the bane of every desi’s immigration experience especially Muslim men in the post 9/11 era, is hinted at through Adeel’s visibly drooped shoulders and slight frustration at the process. Though was that Mehreen Jabbar’s voice herself on the other side?

Jamshed, is stuck in limbo and constantly dreaming of his brighter and better future. No doubt being at the mercies of his relatives have him longing for escape. Even his loving Nani and her protective gaze and loving parathas can only go so far.

A bit slow placed and focused on setting up the characters, all of whom have rich back stories, its nice to have that insight into what makes them tick, or holds them back.

All in all, in the words of Imran Bhatti (or should we say Vasay Chaudhary?) Impressive hai, bohut zyada impressive hai…

MM (aka A musing Muslim)