Monday, 21 September 2015

episodes112/113 how do you like your heartbreak

"how long does it take to reach heartbreak, bataiye hume?" 
"just two episodes, especially if you take the suv. shut up and sit in the car."

two taut, densely constructed episodes with performances that completely stole the show brought me to the edge of the tumult and left me in the dark, navigation systems down.

on the final two days of diwali, darkness ascended and seemed to win. the darkness of fear, betrayal, pain, terror, loss, within a man.

and the darkness that was the very being of another.

the most fascinatingly designed week of five episodes took us through a range of emotions, tremulous joy to heady excitement, to utter attraction and a heart thudding high, and then now, devastation. 

beautiful writing, screenplay, direction, music.

and undoubtedly the finest acting.

two people sitting next to each other in an suv cabin, a few dialogues... and this level of communication of a feeling, have i ever seen? has just a slow turn of eyes, or a quiver of a set of lips said so much ever. it felt as though barun sobti and sanaya irani held the air around them in sway with their intense delineation of two people slowly dying, their pain ricocheting off the hard glass panes and metal and wooden surfaces. a feeling of claustrophobia rising.

we have spoken about the genius of the poolside almost kiss scene, but really that scene of the two in his car as he drives her home and the one where she is going to pieces in her room and he in his sanctuary at the driving wheel, absolute award winning performances. the thing that always strikes me is how real they feel, if there's melodrama it's just up to the point that human beings like us would go to/have gone to in our lives.

and the other thing is that sense of youth, they both feel as young as they are supposed to be, their age seems to inform everything... like that buoyancy in the characters. one minute in the heart of hell, the next day again fighting back, repaired, almost whole. i find that an essential sign of youth, the energy within too high to clam up and descend into permanent grey. there's bright light, there's deep dark, there are streaks of red and blue and green and all the colours of the spectrum, but rarely a dull shade, a shade that feels effete or tired.

diwali was the most powerful week of ipk for me till now. and it was curiously satisfying even though when she said yes to the preposterous marriage i thought all was over.


soulful strains of rabba vey started the episode, their pathos seemed deeper than usual, had to be, look what he had gone and just done... "shadi kar raha hai", getting married... in the dead tense voice. she is looking at him... he is looking at her... the deed is done... he is marrying la... she walks away.

"chamkili tum kahan ja rahi ho.. kya baat ho gayi... you're crying... tum mere liye khush nahin ho?"
life is never easy. just as you are running from the sight of the man who touches and caresses your heart making a lifetime commitment to another, that another will stop you and ask, what's up, honey, where are you going, why're you crying, aren't you happy for me? and you, because you are khushi and have been brought up a certain way, believe in certain things, will have to stop, remember this girl is your friend, not her fault what happened, in fact it was your job to teach her stuff that would make her the ideal wife for him... so you will smile and congratulate her.

and let that smile mask your pain. in fact you'll smile and rejoice so much that only the one that gives you this intense suffering will know, you really are going crazy underneath.

just as he is. but he will hide that behind his habitual taciturn brusqueness.

khushi describes her tears to la as "khushi ke aansoo," tears of happiness. la plays on the word and says, i know, they aren't "lavanya ke aansoo," not la's tears. sad... because those tears will come and and claim their right soon. in his moment of terror, running scared from a feeling, asr had taken a decision that not only didn't consider khushi, it considered no one. not di, not nani ji, certainly not la. it was a horrible reflex action that would crash through many lives. the only thing that will mitigate the impact perhaps will be that heart of his, true and pure and usually brave, always honest. just for that maybe la will be able to forgive him. also face the fact that she herself had refused to look at the truth although somewhere she knew it all along.

he keeps watching her trying to overcome her feelings and be happy for everyone... when mami ji sneers at the girl offering her sweets from lucknow, "ab hello hi nahi bye bye kareke time hui gawa hai... naahin?" time to say bye bye not hi, he seems to blanch.

he hadn't thought of that.

she is still trying to beat it all with her chirp, rushing to offer sweets to everyone... and she's face to face with him. life will put you through the toughest tests won't it? and even if life relented, love surely wouldn't.

the car screeched to a halt behind her. she was startled.

what was he doing here?

khushi went into the happy act once more. she is trying to get above that pain. he glowered at her. grim, lips taut, eyes intense.

"arre aap yahan kya kar rahe hai... ap ko toh..." arre, so shrill and bright, what are you doing here.. you should be-

"gadi mein baitho." sit in the car... grim, dense.

magnificent counterpoint... she is "arre," chirpy and high pitched... he terse, low volume, clipped. both are shades of pain. no one suffers less. only one seems to have the power to create the pain, maybe because essentially, that's all he's got from life, that "bedard" heartless world he spoke of when they met the second time... perhaps that's all he knows how to deliver with expertise.

"mein ghar chhor doonga." i'll take you home.

i will take you home... you are mine, my responsibility, i won't let you wander alone on diwali night, i just need you, can't you see. even if she could, she was too young, too unknowing in these matters to act on that sensing of the situation.

"nahin... hum chale jaayenge." no, i'll go by myself.

"shut up and sit in the car." that familiar rudeness, his right over her. from forever. why, why. does he ever ask himself why it feels ok to speak to her as though she is a part of him? no need for "laukikata," social niceties.

asr music is blasting. he is here. he will do what he feels is right. he will not care what anyone thinks...  anger crocheted with desire and a feeling he can't name. he will use his anger to get past this scary feeling. she will try to use her laughter her ability to be happy no matter what. who will succeed. who will die tonight.. the night of decisions, after all.

in the car, a tense silence, they look at each other... such a superbly felt scene, she looks at him first, she has no need to hide her eyes and she hasn't inflicted this pain. i wonder will he look at her. then, so very slowly and with the slightest little movement, he does. he needs to see her. and not only that, he needs to see if she is ok or not, holding up or not... even when he is hurting her like mad. tu hi bata mere maula.

to make the moment bearable if not palatable, khushi rushes into a spiel about how happy she is. oh she is so happy he is marrying, happy about everything everybody, happy happy...

"toh tum khush ho." so you are happy. husky, flat.

if there's one dialogue that meant the episode to me, it was this.

he doesn't believe her of course, but why does he want to push her with this question, what is it he yearns to hear?

"hum bhi toh yahi chahte the..." the smiling one says, that's what i wanted...

"oh really," a deadly drawl. he is freaking out.

so contrary, so male. first you get completely attracted, then you lose control, you are scared stiff, then you do something colossally silly to  convince yourself you can handle it, then you are completely mad because she says she is happy for you. kitni koshish he is doing to push her away, but his heart refuses to let him.

complicated. and way too much for this young girl.

"tum yahi chahti thi..." you wanted this, like hell i believe you.

he watches her with her heart breaking plastic smile saying what could be of greater happiness than this... that he and la are getting engaged.

"thodi der pehle tum mujhse kuch poochh rahi thi," a little while back you were asking me something... oh he wants to really give her some more hell, how dare she enter his sanctum sanctorum, his heart... even worse perhaps, his head. his precious prized dimaag. he couldn't think straight. so attractive was she this evening, so pulling him on a string. he couldn't think straight. no!

about what?

about the payal.

oh that... that was nothing... not khaas, "khaas baat toh yeh hai ki jis kaam ke liye hum aaye the... woh ho gaya." oh that's not important, what of consequence is what i came to do is done. yeah, in a funny kind of way it is, isn't it.

"toh tum apne payal ke baare mein nahin jaanna chahti," so you don't want to know about your payal. where that payal story had started, with khushi mentioning it to payal one day i think. then that evening when she came back and her payal stayed on by his pool. and he picked it up later, to look at it for many minutes and never to speak of it again. and now tonight, adroitly it enters frame and becomes a central motif. expert picking up of a note by creatives and making it pertinent just where it fits.

she is not entering this conversation, she prattles on about the impending nuptials... "aap done ki jodi kitni acchi lagti hai," you two will look so good as a couple.


"get out."

shut up then, now get out. okay he can stop being so cootchie coo now. censors censors.

hey hey... that sudden interjection cuts into her forced gaiety and dissolves it.

"dekh kya rahi ho... i said get out..."

the realisation they are at her place...

she loses all her chirp, desperate to get out and run away from this grilling. why won't the damn seat belt open? desperate hands try again and again. he unlocks the belt for her... she is torn to shreds inside, no need, no strength to hide any more. he swallows looking at her state, but he leaves.

but there's that bag.


na door ja sake yeh, na paas aa sake yeh.
"tumne gadi mein chhor diya that,"

he is at the door. her eyes widen. he has come back with her purse. why, i want to know, why can't he just leave her alone, why this inability? how hard his dil struggles with his dimaag. a heroic battle of titans as it were. all inside him. the smooth gorgeous exterior, the battle scarred interior.

he hands her the purse, eyes still, yet a lick of a flame within. "tumne gadi mein cvhhor diya tha... " a tiredness in his voice.

kaun hai... buaji intervenes. she is delighted to see their benefactor... on diwali night, and what's with khushi, she doesn't speak since her return, but

come in... babua. babua?!!

"namaste," he is meeting her father for the first time, the most important man in her life. how is he, tell me if you need anything... "mujhe chalna chahiye, happy diwali."

her mother prompts her to go see him off.

"shukriya..." thank you she said... shuru kiya, started, la had said i recall.

tension. he stops, clenches his jaws, she's dishevelled within, you can feel it in her gait, her voice, her discomfort.

"humara batwa lautane ke liye..." for returning my purse.

he breaks... you can almost see it. maybe that prim little look on her face, maybe her seeming resilience, something just seems to crush him, and he decides of course turn it all against her, break her that's it. what is this thing in us that makes us hurt the thing we love the most?

"apne cheezen yahan wahan chhorne ki aadat hai tumhe. jaisi apni payal mere pool mein chhori thi... tumhari payal mere paas iss baat ka koi galat mattlab mat nikal lena... yeh mat soch lena ki ek amir aadmi tumhari payal ko apni seene se laga kar baitha tha..."
the tirade builds, stop leaving your things everywhere. like you left your payal by my pool, don't read the wrong thing into your payal  being with me...don't think some rich guy was hanging about holding your payal to his heart... oh telling telling words and harsh as hell.

"mujhe iss sab se koi faraq nahin padta..." all these things make no difference to me

and the last blow

"doen't mean a thing."

she remembers him putting on her payal, all the care, the tenderness, the want, the respect, everything... she remembers his lips approaching her... inexorable...

four words wrenched out of her... "koi matlab nahin hai?" the signature dialogue of the last diwali episode.

doesn't mean a thing.

suddenly it struck me, this is the first time in her life she's had this sort of a sexual, sensual, emotional encounter with a man. not his first time, but hers... and this is its denouement... and the first man to make her feel like this is saying this to her... that meant nothing, she means nothing.

"shayad tumhare liye hoga..." maybe for you it is... ah the rich brat act. "tumhe toh laga hoga ki tumhari zindagi ban gayi." you must have thought life's made now. going in for the kill, aggressive, ruthless.

"mere liye uss baat ki, ya tumhari... koi ahmiyat nahin hai." for me that whole thing, and you... neither have any importance.

her eyes flash, stricken by this abject rejection, you as a person are of no consequence to me. the man who was gently putting on her payal, holding her heel firmly not releasing, wanting to kiss her, the man who couldn't stop looking at her, has said she doesn't mean a thing.

rabba ve... tuhi bata mere maula...

she jerks up at the slam of his car door.

he hated her tears, yet he never could stop giving her these very gifts. pearls dropping, scattering on a cold hard floor. some meetings are telling, and yet you can't predict what they really mean to say.

when payal asked her about her payal, again she remembered.  "uss baat ka koi matlab nahin tha, jiji."

she went into her room, a dazed broken girl, and the tears flowed endless. he sat in his car, stone faced remembering her again and again. caught between pyaar and takraar at a crossroads that seemed impossible to negotiate. tuhi bata played its appeal to maula, to rabba, what is to be done with these lovers that can neither come close nor distance themselves from each other... the tempo increased taking emotions higher. cascade of khushi in his mind, she is sobbing in heartbreak, he can't bear anymore. he stopped the car and agony shot across his face, he closed his eyes and felt all the pain he was trying so hard to keep away from.

he has just gone and killed a beautiful feeling that had started perhaps showing him some dreams. dreams that he had sworn never to see.

he remembered: a tear releasing and falling from her eyes as he announced his intention to marry la; her embracing la and looking at him, eyes moist; her tears just now.

tears only, that were his gift this diwali.

and the darkness played a deadly game. knavery, fraud, scam nothing left out in the game to persuade a middle class family that their girl's honour was at stake if she weren't married off to him. and to force her hand, the using of her weakest spot... her babu ji. he couldn't tell her the truth, and so hurt she was, she couldn't read his eyes. the pressure built.

she remembered the payal, the doesn't mean a thing...

"theek hai," ok, she said.

"hum taiyaar hai." i am ready. no, he hadn't been able to break khushi after all, she was made of sterner stuff... yes her heart was broken, but not her sense of duty, not her innate strength. a streak of asr in her too. and i look forward to it the day she asks him what's it to you whether i'm engaged or not. she has taken a decision too. she. is. ready.

a circular pan around her. chakravyuh closing in.

my hope lies in sweets. bina shakkar.
that we heard of the very first day of festival. an excited girl with her special treat for a laad governor that gives her acidity.

what must he have gone through at the party when his sister said, "pata hai yeh khushi ji ne banai hai.. tumhare liye... bina shakkar wali mithai." do you know, khushi ji has made those sweets for you, without sugar.

and what must he have felt when khushi cut in at gh later,

"nahin, amma, unhe meetha mana hai," no, amma, he's not allowed sweets. her voice urgent, sharp...
unhe meetha mana hai... my husband isn't allowed sweets, in hindi that's exactly how you'd say that too.

who belongs to whom really. does a hurtful decision obliterate pyaar?

sometimes ipk reminds me of a fabulously composed symphony. perfectly released beginnings, a strong melody tying piece to piece moving on, rises and falls, movements, crash of cymbals here and there, strings, percussion, wind all laid in harmony. heart stopping climaxes. i don't know much about classical music, but who hasn't heard beethoven's fifth. 

the first episode of ipk was certainly a dha dha dha dhaaan. the dhaaan reverberates through till now till here, you can never forget that pearl string snapping. and today we are passing through a climax which will end on a note of percussion fading to silence just a bit of reverberation knocking the airwaves, dying slowly. all sound will fade till you think it's all over, and then out of nowhere a strain of music in and up and we're back in the middle of a high. must listen to the fifth and find that exact point.

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