Category Archives: Uzma Gillani

Firaaq Episode four

Lakeeron mein kismet ka haal chupa hota hai jo siraf dekhnay walay ko nazar aata hai... Yahan dekhnay walay bahut hain, dikhanay walay bahut kaam, or will have to I say wali.

So far as episodes go and I might even say tales, that is Firaaq's first hiccup. Regardless of development of narrative, I am stunned that no faster is Paiman out from her captivity that everybody round her needs to look her settled. Arrey let her are living her lifestyles, please and thanks! Imroze, who I've really extensive doubts about, is head over heels in mohabbat with Paiman. Rumi is as perplexed (one thing Noor Hassan is superb at portraying) as ever. Sara is matchmaking (and to assume I if truth be told favored Sara). Shams is gloating (to Maa-jee, who else?!). In point of fact?! What took place to consistency? To logical conclusions? To (dare I say it) sanity? Is that this the top of a just right collection? All we will get from you now's three "excellent" episodes, Hum TV?

Having stated that, I feel the explanation at the back of such fast revelations - one after the opposite - is (as I've said before) because Firaaq is a story of consequences and not actions. The quick narrative here allows Aabis Raza and Mustafa Afridi to dwell on what happens after these revelations. Mohabbat kay baad kya? Shaadi kay baad kya? Maa-je ka kya? Aur sabsay bada sawaal Paiman ka kya? It is these questions that (I believe) form the bulk of our story and I'm certain we will come back to them.

So essential is Paiman in this narrative that all plot lines emerge, revolve, and merge from, around, and into her. Is it any wonder, then, that everyone seems to be mandara-ooing around her?

Let's start with Imroze, a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist or jo bhi woh hai, who's fallen head over heels in love with our damsel in distress. Sadaf, my fellow reviewer, rightly brought up that perhaps, men need a victim, that they need someone to save. Is that why Imroze likes Paiman? From my point of view (nukta-e-nazar) and in my experience men, especially those settled in life at least professionally, prefer a partner that can complement them. As much as I see Paiman has been sheltered, and rather forcefully at that, from the world, seeing these two together as a couple is beyond me. How? Why? Moreover, no one falls in love in three episodes, this is not a Bollywood film! Hum TV get your act straight. Khirad and Ashar didn't fall in love until mid-series. Similarly, Kashaf and Zaroon couldn't stand each other before they were married and perhaps even after. To phir Paiman ko itni jaldi mohabbat kaisay ho gayee? Does she even know what mohabbat is? How do we know this charming doctor is not out to get into her shalwar only?

Which brings me to the whole "Do you trust me?" situation. Paiman, sweety, meri baat par gaur karo, jab koi mard kisi khatoon ko yeh lawaz kehta hai uskay do hi matlab hotay hai, pehla, ki woh aap ko dhooka dainay wala hai, aur doosra, ki woh aap ko dhoka day chukka hai. Of course, this is in relation to a particular kind of situation, i.e., between two lovers (or in this case would-be-lovers). Baaton mein yaad aaya, Paiman Bibi, aap ek qafas say nikal kar doosray qafas mein jaanay kay liye betaab kyun hai? Zara mujhe yeh samjhayeen?

This love game (I wish it was the Lady Gaga kind!) is yet to mark its third shikaar. Humara awaara and nikaara painter, Rumi, is being pushed to see similarities between Paiman and himself by Bhabhi Sara. Inasmuch as I find Sara to be hesitant about Imroze and his relationship with Paiman for her own reasons, I cannot help but think she's on to something. Both Shams and Sara have known Rumi for a long time, they all get along rather well, Rumi and Paiman share similar interests, he's immature enough to balance out her reserved and cautious ways, so, yes, I think Sara is right to suggest that these two should seriously think about the other. Noor Hassan's Rumi is an easy pill to swallow, his portrayal of carefree, no nakhara type of guy who's concerned how he'll manage to balance Paiman is wholly genuine. The fact that he's unconvinced even the second time around makes me think he just might have more depth than I previously thought.

Whether Hassan's Rumi can provide Paiman what she needs is another story altogether. After spending an eternity with Maa-jee, Rumi will be a gentle breeze who'll draw Paiman out from her shell in ways Imroze never will, but the sad thing is Paiman will never trust the painter as she does the shrink. So, for once, I'm going to agree with Maa-jee: "Pagaloon ka daktar" indeed. Mohib Mirza looks the part of a young professional (even with that rather odd shoe situation). He's confident, sauve, dapper, and sophisticated, adding a dimension to Imroze that no other actor could have. It doesn't hurt that he looks good with Sanam Saeed, and boy these two do look good together. His Imroze is (for the time being) the centre of attention.

As is evident, there is a certain hesitation around Imroze from all quarters - Shams because he's another man interested in his baby sister, Rumi because they're friends, Maa-jee... well Maa-jee hates everyone, and Sara for her own secretive reason. Its his profession that brought these individuals together and maybe it'll be the reason that breaks them up too.

Breaking up, though, brings me to Sara. If anyone is going to feel the repercussions of this relationship it is Sara. When I first reviewed Firaaq, I hated Cybil's accent, but as they say things grown on you and I've realized her accent isn't half as bad as Kanza's in Numm. Not to mention she can act! Cybil's Sara is always well put together, she seems and comes across as mature, and balances out Shams very well, which is why I think she wants Rumi to settle down with Paiman. Cybil's acting is not perfect but it isn't bad either. Accents, voice work, diction these are things time, experience, and classes can take care of, screen presence, maturity, the ability to fit a role are things that one can't buy as easily. Imagine if Meera was playing Paiman?

Oh the horror!

Horror brings me to Maa-jee. And boy was I disappointed to see just a snippet of her. What did I say last week: The only person who genuinely cares for Paiman is Haider and this week Shams made it very clear that his reasons were far from philanthropic. A beautifully shot scene which captures the essence of a rather fraught meeting (kudos DoP!) Shams intentions are rendered visible. My only concern is what will happen when Paiman falls? Who will pick her up? Kaun? Haider? Rumi? Shams? Maa-jee? Sara? Imroze? Kaun?

Here's hoping this is just one hiccup in a smooth meal.

Until next week,

Rab Rakha

RB (Tweet me!)

Firaaq Episode three

Yeh primary hoon: bejaan, berang...

Freedom.

That ever elusive factor that even the freest amongst us by no means really reach. For the fortunate, although, it's - on that uncommon social gathering - a feat made conceivable by using destiny, however I ponder at what price? Firaaq, I to find, is no longer with regards to 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!)

Firaaq Episode 2

Maa-jee say darti ho.

Nahi, unki umr say darti hoon. Betay kay baad agar beti bhi apni manmaani karnay lagi to woh nahi sahe paayen gi. 

Moments - stunning, eternal, painful, putting, full of love, and even perhaps anger. All of us have them.

Firaaq's 2d episode gave me relatively just a few of those moments. I noticed the preliminary curiosity between two strangers someway tied by means of destiny, circumstance, and familial bonds, as I noticed Paiman and Sara. Then, there was once the banter between Amroze and Roomi, which is moderately telling of issues but to come back. I felt Sara's unease and Shams' withdrawal at Maa-jee's revelation. Momentarily, my coronary heart went out for Paiman as she sat gardening along with her sautala-Abbu, simplest to be all of sudden stunned by way of Tabassum's match of anger.

Actually, I am nonetheless reeling from that shock! Phew!

As I take a seat right here typing, there is a humorous factor I simply seen, for an episode that had so many moments, the story remains to be held captive through Maa-jee. Kyun? Neatly, Paiman remains to be caught in that home. From final week's promo, I believed Sanam Saeed was once supposed to go away suitcase in hand with bhai-ji, but, we finish with these stern phrases: "Tum yeh kamra chood kar nahi jaa sakti, bas."

Maa-jee, mera ek mashwara maanay, hooni ko koi nahi tal sakta.

Despite the fact that I am relatively upset on the stilted development of the narrative (everyone knows Paiman is heading out, then, why the not up to cliffy cliffhanger?!), there's sufficient on this week's episode to maintain me briefly satiated.

As a lot because the narrative makes a speciality of Shams and Sara's relationship or Maa-jee's loopy antics (in reality with that danda?), which can be essential to the general construction, that is surely Paiman's story. We see how she acts and thinks, we're made to really feel for her, for her scenario. Our voice resonates with that of Haider, "Iss ghar mein tum murjha jao gi." Sanam Saeed breathes existence into Paiman, and I do know some could disagree, however her expressions particularly her eyes bring a long way extra ache than they're intended too. Paiman is a sad, quite, demure, and reclusive creature not by choice but by circumstance. And Saeed's big glasses, scrunchie-d hair, printed suits coupled with the dialogues and her acting present a character that is at once conflicted by right and wrong, by perceptions and desires, and most importantly, by a question: should she live for herself or for someone else.

Sixteen years of living like a prisoner, no matter how beautiful the cage, can take a toll on anyone and Paiman is no different. She is bursting at the seams to leave, to explore, to experience, to make mistakes, to fall in love, to be heartbroken, and maybe even find herself. Experiences, as Haider rightly notes, she's being denied by a mother who's lived her life. Ironic isn't it?

The source of Paiman's earthly misery, Maa-jee, is an enigma (and not the good kind). Why is this woman so hateful, so insecure, so angry? If there's anyone in need of Amroze's services (and desperately at that) it is Tabassum. I still haven't gotten over her danda antic (and this is just the beginning), I'm not sure whether to laugh, be horrified, or maybe feign disgust? Either way Uzma Gillani is a formidable powerhouse of acting in Firaaq, because this story needed a villain like her.

In many ways, Maa-jee is a warped and twisted version of Farida from Humsafar, which is why, I think, Shams left. His "betrayal" of mother and sister had nothing to do with Haider, in fact, Haider served as a ready and easy excuse for escape, but I could be wrong. Shams is a character full of anger, which bursts forth on occasion such as when Sara goes to the park or decides to visit her saas (of course, thanks to Dr. Amroze). Seeing Junaid Khan being every bit as dark as his Adam from Mata-e-Jaan Hai Tu, as he waited quietly for Sara and then just stood there looking at her: goosebumps (no, seriously!). Let's hope HUM TV has insurance lest the character get into Juni's head.

Getting into heads, though, is Dr. Amroze's forte. After all, that psychotic couple is still in therapy. Waise, HUM TV nay itnay paisay kharchay, location par, kapdoon par, cast par, thoda paisa extras par bhi kharch laitay, baat yahni choodon ga, as they say, akalmand ko isharaa kafi. I have yet to see Mohib Mirza truly woven into this story, he seems (as of now) to be an outsider looking in, which is why seeing him in a rather candid conversation with Roomi was a tad bit revealing. These two have an odd friendship, they sit around while one paints the other, talking about tanhaai and women in their lives. Could this be yet another love triangle with both Amroze and Roomi falling for Paiman? Triangles or not, the boys looked good together, be it Roomi and Shams or Amroze and Roomi, their interaction wasn't stunted but rather natural and impromptu (what with Noor Hassan laughing through his dialogues?!).

For an episode that had promised us a climax, we were let down, but by no means disappointed. The writing, editing, direction, and acting are in tandem with the overall narrative. The camerawork was equally flawless and the background score never disappoints. But I hope they'll give us some silences (awkward or otherwise) - like they did today with noises of traffic, of the wind, of rippling water - because the story deserves them.

Till next week,

Rab Rakha

This is RB signing off. (Tweet me!)