Wednesday, 29 July 2015

episode 13 there once was a bimari

i have read here and there and it's a fairly well known fact that barun sobti and sanaya irani were not the first choice for their roles. i look at the absolutely unspeakably good looking man, fresh clean flawless face, perfect body language, anger and sexiness wrapped in equal measure around the most lithe frame ever... i see the girl in tight fitting churidar, her face untouched by any sign of the big city; her innocence, keenness and unchecked gutsiness contrasting with her decidedly strange get up and unreined expressions and i wonder how could anyone else have ever been even considered... but even more importantly, where did they find these two actors? and how did this vibe get created? i have never ever seen a heroine like this or a hero like that in any hindi serial. they are totally physically unlike anything on my tv screen, and they are so naturally their characters, you forget their real names practically. by episode 13, he is asr in my head and she i the totally unabbreviated "khushi kumari gupta hamara poora naam".

a young small town girl, with an extremely sheltered middle class upbringing, adopted after tragedy at a young age, loved deeply by her adoptive family who make all allowances for her strangeness and absolutely treasure her sunny brave and untampered heart, and who has never ever worked in a corporate set up in her life, with all its not too tender and caring side, finds herself in the full brunt of it while she is saddled with a peculiar personal challenge that needs to be resolved.

she owes a large sum of money to a nasty young man, who turns up in her life at the oddest of places and moments; mainly because she has, with her own brand of don't care and certainly don't bow before the arrogance of wealth, promised to throw this money at his face. well, she has dreamed of doing exactly that. yeah, she has started seeing him as i said earlier at the strangest of venues.

arnav singh raizada may not be nice and sweet and gentle, as she always possibly imagined a "good" man should be, and definitely when she's thought of the ideal man as she must have at times, even if subconsciously, not a single trait of the man she meets by chance on a night like none other, would have featured in her list. not even rich and darkly handsome. she might have thought a man should have a decent gentlemanly look, but hot bothering and unsettlingly good looking? no, khushi kumari gupta would not have that on her list.

perhaps that was the whole point. he was nothing like anyone she'd ever met.

in her loquacious world with loads of interfering and closely knit neighbours and acquaintances, apart from family, where a circle of safety surrounds you and comfort is found in a milieu of non threatening characteristics and everyone sort of blends and melds within an idea, even their sharper edges filed to fit in, was there any chance or place for an arnav singh raizada?

maybe that's why she had to go to sheesh mahal, a place most definitely not a part of her life, to meet this man. maybe life had decided it was time she stepped out.

that meeting with the completely unexpected man struck her instantly. of course, his egregious behaviour was one reason he cut through and entered her inner world. but that was not everything. it was also his utterly unfamiliar nature. that individualistic streak, that sense that he definitely didn't blend in. he stood out. and he didn't care who thought what, he was the way he was, take it or leave it.

that difference stuck in her mind. it rankled, it irritated, it made her grit her teeth and want to face a challenge. but it didn't leave her alone and in peace and she couldn't leave it. he kept coming up in conversations, in dreams, and if she met him she couldn't walk away, she chased him the first time and threw this challenge of i'll give you your money the next.

interestingly, he didn't really think of her as much as she of him. he in fact just wanted to get on with his world which he had carefully constructed in a way where he felt he had control, that control which he'd had none of and perhaps craved for on a brutal night when he was a young boy of fourteen.

he instinctively perhaps knew when he set eyes on her that she was trouble, she had made him lose his temper beyond belief. something registered, something possibly niggled. he would do everything to leave that and resume his life the way he wanted it, the way he had set it up.

in his neatly put together life, his sister was his central emotional attachment, his work was his panacea and source of strength... also wealth which is essential for that control, his girl friend was a nice girl of a similar contemporary mindset and he would keep their relationship within a certain  framework he found he could deal with. subconsciously or maybe in a calculated way, he had chosen a girl whom he could control even without asking to. la was the boss with pam and sim and on top of things as such, but when it came to asr, she was willing to even harm herself because she felt that much for him. felt exactly what she may not have examined, but the feeling itself was very powerful.

but back to asr, the only thing a bit out of control really in all of this was a grandmother who, as stubborn as him, had decided the time had come for her grandson to find a life partner and was up to many tricks, accompanied by a goat, to unsettle his life. in this episode we see some totally inescapable and unforgettable asr expressions and grimaces leading off this situation at home.

and that gripping, ignited anger when he thinks lavanya has done something she wasn't meant to... it interfered with his arrangement of life. sent him flowers? some devilishly muddle head making expressions while gripping a phone. phone as instrument of driving women crazy... a thesis can be written on that. the piper had a pipe, asr has a phone, at times just the bluetooth ear piece is enough. (sorry, if it's asr that should be ENOUGH!)

but my favourite from asr this episode was that casual, off hand conversation he had on the phone as he got onto his steed, also fondly called suv. nothing of much significance was said, yet it was totally significant. his very air was that of a tycoon, the tycoon... assured, giving only a fraction of his mind to this call as if he's deep in thought about something far more important, a raging energy about him even as he sits behind a wheel in a stationery car. hard to imagine this is only a not yet twenty seven year old from a not very wealthy background with not an empire he runs.

this call's stated purpose in storytelling was that it would bring him back into ar while khushi is still there... he'd walk past her, neither realising the other was around, an oft used device in many shows yet a nice touch to the story. they are constantly in each other's ambit but out of sight. 

my second most favourite asr moment, that top shot. the owner of a company striding into his domain, not looking left or right... aware he is ruler of all he walks through... no blend, no meld, only asr.

sim says quaking, "asr!"

khushi comes back sharp and quick and totally misunderstanding sim, "asr? yeh kaunsi bimari hai?!"

asr, what sort of disease is that? it was funny and yet it had a basis in fact. this was a disease almost and she'd got it pretty bad. she kept sensing him around her, he never too far from her mind. just the day before, her ears had tingled at the mention of an arnav, a chhotu, she had then seen him in her early morning dream... and in this episode too, she'd instantly take note of his voice... this voice seems familiar she'd say. yes, khushi had a bimari and it's possible name was asr.

the girl who had never worked, had never lived in a big city, who cringed and covered her eyes if she saw women in short skirts or revealing clothes, yet did not balk when that crucial question was asked by an impatient boss to be with a french manicure drying on her pampered nails.

"haan ya na...?"

in a wonderful way of things that same question, those very words will be asked of her in a much much more difficult situation months later, by that man whose voice seems "suni suni si" now. again a terrifying challenge, this time it could take her life.

"haan ya na, chamkili! take it or leave it!" lavanya is peremptory, in a rush, she needs an assistant quickly and certainly not one that can get close to asr behind her back. well, this character in shiny gota is definitely not cool she assesses, not an asr kind of girl, would do perfectly... for now.  her openly calling khushi "chamkili" was a clear sign that she is not considered important enough to be given the respect of her own name even, in fact, ragging her a bit might be fun, because she would never be anything more than an object triggering mirth and a handy assistant one could order around. at this point it wasn't clear how lavanya would handle it when the truth turned out to be somewhat different from her expectations, yet in her handing khushi a pencil in her bossy but not totally unkind way hinted at a girl who may not be who we think she is... 

characters were often interesting in ipk. just look at sim, shades of the janakpuri behenji who is curiously vulnerable before the more brassy pam who is from a non-behen ji delhi addresss likely. the power structures in the la pam sim triangle also well designed and neatly enacted.

khushi gawked. the trio waited. la trying not to show her need.

then she said, "h... hum yeh naukri karenge!" i will do the job.

a character in a sentence.

not backing away, she has a commitment, however flaky her need may seem, but she is going to brave an entirely new planet so that she can get something done. i actually enjoyed the fact that she had this slightly don quixote air and was not always doing everything to save the world and its sasural... she didn't want anyone to belittle her... she had self respect... this one was for herself. nice.

jai devi maiyya ki! and an office full of people, all strangers, all dressed in an unfamiliar way, talking different, quite unfriendly, laughed at her. but she didn't crumble. she set about organising her desk at her karyalay, calling herself "hum" to sim and pam's confusion. we? but she is just one person... nice dialogues coming in from time to time, lovely crafting.

there were computers which she knew nothing much of though hers got a chunari lovingly draped, there were women in skimpy clothes that had her saying shocked yet sassy things, thee were city prices to cups of tea which had her almost shouting... poor girl, how'd she even drink tea here. whatever came her way, she mumbled and talked nonstop about but took in her stride. including that phone call from a man who shouted, whose voice she seemed to have heard before, but who needed to be told off now.

like that bimari man, khushi didn't blend or meld either. in this new milieu, she showed her real core... a curious strength there. a strength to be exactly who she was.

and the way sanaya portrayed her, even in her signature chamak dhamak and bakbak, she was the coolest girl on the screen. casting was brilliant i felt, an essentially metro girl with flowing limbs, a graceful sophisticated demeanour who seemed to have a khushi deep in her somewhere and never let phoney city girl doing small town girl condescension touch her portrayal. 

khushi made her way to manju ji who'd become her champion during the "office track". nani ji kept trying to find her way to la but got stopped again and again, her "kauno love letter toh naahin?" had me grinning, the lady loves romance i had a feeling though she says otherwise. devi maiyya found a place in ar. and an angry young man felt irritated by all sorts of things including the news from home, no idea who had just got employment in his karyalay.


oh and i found another name for my ailment... buddhuram.

a beautiful scene, that sudden noticing of a shiny, most un-ar object on a table while yelling at la. throws him off... he has to ask what's that. it was like there was no question of not noticing her. so different they were from each other... never ever in the normal course of things such people meet and fall in love... or maybe we are wrong. what the.

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