Tuesday, 4 August 2015

episode 177 where's the fire

"when an actor plays a scene exactly the way a director orders, it isn't acting. it's following instructions. anyone with the physical qualifications can do that. so the director's task is just that - to direct, to point the way. then the actor takes over. and he must be allowed the space, the freedom to express himself in the role. without that space, an actor is no more than an unthinking robot with a chest-full of push-buttons."

~~~ james dean~~~

jalan... havan... shyam's lopsided evil smile... there's a lot of fire in these episodes. and yes fire perhaps is what the storyteller wants the viewer to note, a refulgent sign of things to come. the night of annihilation... or whatever you believe it is.

visually, a play of blue and yellow/orange, dark and bright, the two colour zones of flames we usually see at home, on candles, matches, havans, etc. i remember from a silly game of flicking the finger through a candle flame we used to play, that the blue part is hotter than the more incandescent and hot looking yellow. as is the tip of the flame where barely any colour is visible. in fact, the practically invisible area just above what can be seen is ufff hot.

177 so reminded me of that flame game.

the yellow/orange parts with havan, guptas and raizadas in bright yellow and turmeric shades with yellow decoration lights, orange and yellow marigolds in the back ground, manorama's red lipishteek, shyam's devilish intentions, and the escalating tension between mami ji and khoon bhari taang had a certain heat.

but nothing compared to the blue parts of the night outside. the night with an irritation flecked with desire, an urgency growing, a desperation almost, and then a the first strike of fear. inflaming a wild fire overtaking the whole forest. burning everything down so that only that which cannot be consumed, the soul... remains, the soul of a feeling.

and that invisible part at the tip? which you can't really see but hold your hand there and you know it burns the hottest? that heat, the truest fire tonight was really in one man's acting. i am fond of barun sobti of course, and chances of being biased are always there. but that's my feeling having seen 177 a few times and flicking my finger through it.

for episode design, the makers had opted for the age old editing technique of inter cutting, meant to heighten drama and tension layer by layer. so we alternated between yellow and blue. the action in both areas moving up.

we went all the way from mami making faces to mami accusing payal and family of hiding the truth about payal's broken rishta from her. her stance getting more and more threatening.

while we felt perturbed by it, the writer eased our tension in stages too by making shyam's diabolic plan go phut... no he couldn't convert the havan kund into his wife's funeral pyre... all sorts of things came to foil his plans. i did have an urge to go and tell him if you really wish to kill her, a simpler way might work, bro. try strangling, holding a pillow to the face... but no, shyam has an inherent need for melodrama... he is dhaiya ho, after all. a puny, small creature with a terrible need to be more, be larger than life. never was it more clear or sickening than when he sat at asr's poolside, on asr's chair, and held forth on his own cunning and desire for khushi.

blue brought us on a drive in an suv going from man in charge to man in a moment he thought he'd never reach, yet that's where he was coming to all the time.

back to the fire that made me sigh.

every time asr reacted to the known and unknown thoughts within, about a woman, who he had no idea had come to mean so much. each time i felt the scorch, the burn, the glancing singe of his interpretation and performance. the unfurling energy he brought to the moment.

when episode started and asr failed in the bid to take khushi home to pick up the ghee, and later when he paced, in most cases that would make for a "cute" scene... but i couldn't go there, asr took me right into his feeling and i could feel "this is not FUNNY!" yes that cry on a cliff top several episodes down the road, started here or a bit before... nothing about this whole thing was cute... it was palpitating real and his terrible ache for her, his saddened and betrayed heart, his echoes of hurt within, his fear of losing someone loved, all part of it.

it was interesting to see how khushi wanted him to be the one to take her home. she looked at him the same moment when he started to come forward, but nk had pipped him to the post. khushi never quite stopped talking to him with her eyes still... as if she was worried for him, how would he take it, as if she was disappointed it wasn't him. he'd just been snide about her and nk's jodi being perfect, maybe she wanted him to suffer a bit too. complex feelings... so very lifelike. and a connection between two people that is hard to break, no matter what the circumstances.

di said "haan yeh bilkul theek rahega," this will be perfect... and urged nk to take the car, she wanted to see the effect on her brother... she added ghee to fire with her helpful air. the fiery one didn't disappoint... naked emotion on his visage, nani and di both noting it delighted.

barun had all of 10 episodes maybe to signal the change, the acceptance, the vehemence of his emotions. so much had to be established between 170 to 180 taking pyaar to an all new level, so that the peak of forced wedding could even be attempted. he wasted not a single frame... in each a nuance, a shade, a side, a lick, of that feeling that's gotten hold of him.

he tried her phone, she'd left it behind. he tried nk's who never picked it up. "wo log abhi tak aaye kyun nahin?" why haven't they come back yet? tense/terse/rumbling.

when he paced bristling, and his sister asked why he worried so, the little outburst "kya zaroorat thi..." quickly changed to this may delay the havan... beautifully handled. a part of me said aww, but the other was hassled for him... not barun. asr.

shatir writers had a mirroring thing going on all along. on the one hand shyam was out to set on fire the woman he "loved", on the other asr was on fire for the woman who "meant nothing" to him. and of course, shyam was also ostensibly worried that the havan would get delayed, that's why he didn't want his biwi to change her oil spattered saree.

poor havan, how everyone used it as an excuse.

asr couldn't contain himself. he rushed off to pick them up.

sound of a car, tyres on watery roads, reflections, night...

"hello? haan di aagaye woh log?" have they returned! irritated head movement. a few seconds of a call from a car, with fairly ordinary dialogues, why should it stick in the mind, why should one rush to make caps, yet it does, and so does one.

"nahin buaji ke ghar mein nahin the..." no, not at bua ji's were they. the voice modulation here, always understated yet real not "arty." the pitching perfect.

he is tense and out looking for them. decides he might as well go back. switches phone off. the worry laced with that asr gussa, so much a sign of his tenderness really. his fear, his little barricade...

"kahan gaye yeh log," where have these guys gone!? almost as sharp as an expletive.

a tension is building, the fire at its heart far more inflamed than the havan physical fire. this fire will make and break, in this is will the phoenix burn to ashes and rise again.

and it's a barricade on the road this time. which was not there earlier.

a sense of foreboding. when you love someone, you often fear for them. in his case certainly more than others. with di, always this fear... now with the one he needs to touch him, open him, let him breathe.

well shot night scenes.

"excuse me, yeh... yahan kya ho raha hai?" what's happening here? he asks.

"yahan ek ladki ka accident ho gaya... abhi 10 minute pahle," girl had an accident here, about 10 minutes back, the casual bystander or maybe someone involved with the clean up... fairly unconnected, unemotional naturally.

his face registers his strange angst within...his world begins to feel shaken, the first tremor. premonition...

"ladki?" his voice is almost inaudible, fear out of nowhere choking him?

as he winds his glass up his eyes seem unable to look away from the road, he's afraid of what he might see.

and then he does see the broken pieces of bangle. for me, this particular little scene (i have it right on top with the james dean quote which a friend brought up while discussing our boy's acting) was the absolute highpoint of his delineation this episode. nothing was much lower. but this one, i could almost hear buzzing in my ears, the smell of panic filled the air, a draining of my breath.

a close up of a man beginning to be gheraoed and held in solitary confinement by the thought that the one he can't live without may be hurt... may be... no let's not complete that sentence.

acting acting acting. that's what it's really about. there are many people who are good looking, barun is aware of his looks and makes no bones about looks contributing to success in many ways. an untrained accidental actor who could have sat pretty enjoying the fandom he already had at this point. yet he tries harder. and he delivers something different, something special almost every day. i am not biased for nothing at least hyuk.

he remembers nk and khushi talking about bangles..

we cut for some orange flame. when we return from the paani sequence with mano and payal, with overflowing water and all sorts of symbolism... he is coming out of the car... jerky hastened motion.

you can feel the "khushi" forming back of his throat.

he sees blood on the road... the music grows urgent, a little claustrophobic, hammering.

"excuse me..." again, he's gone running to the same guy... "yeh accident kiska hua?" who had the accident? he so needs to believe it wasn't her.

told ya it was a girl, says the indifferent man, not bothered... then adds as an afterthought... there was a bloke with her.

the eyes jerk up.

the mind is making a connection that he is fearing the most.

car has been towed, the girl will go in the ambulance...

a flicker of his eyes as he sees the ambulance doors close.

he needs to be there... what if...

the siren starts to whirr and wail...

and a man takes his first step compelled... you can feel him rushing toward her in utter and absolute commitment. no going back after this.

he's running without thought, no idea who is in the ambulance, the slimmest of  chances it might be her, that's all... then he trips on something.

her sandal.

he remembers her tripping, her sandals.

and a terror is upon him, cold little breathless "khushi" escapes his lips.

of course, we cut to water drinking... more saas and bahu. and things.

he stands up and behind him the ambulance is leaving, he turns, his arm reaches out, his voice calls her, "khushi!!!" they are taking her away... he's got to reach... no thinking, just an instinct, a terrible undeniable pull... that's what she was to him. always. all the time. how very poignant the giving of this dark shaded man with an agony that is too deep to access, a heart too beautiful to understand. with all of him, good bad anything he needs this woman.

in the mean time akash has told anjali that he hasn't told his mother what he should have. but the decorators from lucknow, specially invited by nani, have recognised shashi ji's daughter and remembered her broken wedding.

nani had helped anjali stay alive with her insistence that she change her saree. yet the same nani's most loving act is about to jeopardise akash and payal's life... are we mere instruments in the hands of gods.

"shadi hui kahan thi, barat toh laut gayi thi... yaad nahin kya?" where did the marriage take place, the barat went back, don't you remember?

the damage is done.

mama ji is trying to manage the situation by letting the flower guys go.

the platter falls from mami's hand... like lady of shalott's mirror cracking it signals doom.

"tumra rista was broke?" in chaste angreji mami exclaims.

akash is finally ready to tell matey.

but, "tumri himmat kaisan hui... haaain, how dares you khoon bhari tang?" mami in high drama, sensing an irrefutable reason to back out of this marriage, wades in.

he stands alone in the middle of the road, looking out at the ambulance... his hand comes up as if to stop her, hold her... he has no idea what he should so.

"khu... khu", his breathing is laboured, kh on every breath... khushi, he looked around... lost, scared, what's he to do...

the building of unbearable terror in the heart and mind... his movements jerky, a bit frenetic, back of throat just sounds beyond a barricade, looking to escape.

panic, hysteria rising from within, overtaking, incoherent sounds just gushing forth, he can't breathe... a hand raised to his mouth, blow, blow, somehow induce calm... i bet no director directed that moment... that was interpretation and fully entering a frame of mind.

and he remembered... "tum samajhti kya ho apne aap ko, tumhe lagta hai main tumhari vajah se gussa hoon... ke main jo karta hoon tumhari vajah se karta hoon..."

who do you think you are... that i do everything because of you! ah the magnificent anger of arnav singh raizada. trying so valiantly to deny the truth.

how hard this struggle was for this character... how confusing for him... for her. he'd told her you don't even exist for me, d'you understand.
his eyes closed in agony at the memory... she doesn't exist?

he gripped her bangle and let it pierce his skin. breach me, make me yours, i can't exist without you, please don't believe a word i said earlier...

he winced, not at the pain of being cut but possibly his own words to khushi.

closed eyes opened, reminded me of the first day he'd seen her... it felt like an age passed, a chapter began, he was seeing her again, anew. clearly in the night.

in the janmashtami kitchen, on diwali, tonight... always in the dark it seemed his heart saw things... their story added light.

a moment of clear realisation. it is khushi... she is his. he can't live without her. then he will run after a speeding ambulance losing all barricades, all restraints. freedom at last.

on the orange side played storm and thunder music, while here the quiet deep call of asr's notes in in their "sad" rendition. 

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