Tuesday, 21 June 2016

a june and a november


a man and a woman, a girl and a boy, a gussa and a sanka... a nafrat and a mohabbat... a beginning and an end.


two people

their last few shots together. no double, no ramanchi, just asr and khushi, and that thing between them. the thing that kept me awake at nights, made my mind into putty, and put a grin deep inside.

episodes 396/397/398 the end



some of their last shots together.

episodes 396/397/398 the end

it's hard to articulate what i felt as i watched the last three episodes of ipk. nobody had told me it would ever end. and that too this soon.

did he just say, "main chahta hoon ki tum mujhe abhi kiss karo"? i want you to kiss me right now... in that asr order giving way? i stopped breathing practically. i had forgotten where this went. i rarely watch these episodes.

so i was unprepared. i watched rapt, a part of my mind said silently... these are the last few shots of asr and khushi in the same frame. barun and sanaya together. these are so precious really. worth archiving, worth keeping in a safe place hamesha.

in episode 396, we have this sequence and in episode 398, we have the last kiss on the cheek. apart from these, i don't think there's any place where the two are together in these three episodes. doubles everywhere instead. sometimes both the doubles together in the same scene. khushi's double in a different earring... asr's double minus ring on his right hand. and in general, both of these stand ins nothing like the originals.

i wondered if ipk deserved this lack of care...

even as my mind worked and told me, nothing here was good or intelligent or funny or even watchable... it also said in a whispered layer that always played in me, just sit there and watch... this is asr and khushi... the beauty of that never diminishes. only the physical aspects of it, what can be touched, seen, heard does... but never what is felt.

they tried to make asr angry, get his gussa in. they tried to make khushi batty and bring in the sanka.

i felt like saying, "enough!" i felt like screaming, "koi matlab nahin."

these scenes were shot at a chaotic point in time, as fans raged, production house tried to absolve itself of all responsibility, channel confirmed nothing and tried to shut fans up with banks of telephone operators who gave the most ridiculous answers (my favourite: i also like barun sobti so much, i am also a fan, ma'am), and we all knew with a sense of deathly certainty, it's over. we would not be seeing barun and sanaya, asr and khushi ever again.

i had certainly not planned to let a show matter so much to me. any show, hindi, english, swahili, klingon. okay, the klingons have this way of staying in the memory and making me miss vulcans... but that apart.

really, how could a show matter so much?

sometimes hows have no answers. nor whys. nor what thes.

in those very few shots of the two of them together, i again felt their power. it's as if the rest of the ridiculousness just fades away, all you see feel touch hear know imbibe is these two.

a lithe young man, not too tall... but always that dominance in his frame, that stance which made you look and made looking away difficult.

a slim almost waif like girl with not the largest eyes or most perfect face... a bit too thin maybe and not exactly short, who was lovely and genuinely dotty and you had to shake your head and grin with her.

now they were quarreling and kissing.

no. they were not kissing. asr was on a trip... he was going to teach khushi how to say "no." ah these reaching out in frenzy and grabbing whatever one can get to get an episode going, some yarn, some tattered threads... if you have to grab, i say, do it like asr... be focused even in disarray...

my poor teep taap bootiphool: lauki??? me-too khushi move tch tch.

not this: mami with lauki doing an almost acceptance speech, mami/nk/nani/di all begging to go with khushi, natasha being the misunderstood good girl who finds her way again thanks to khushi (oh how wonderfully saas bahu serial), amrita the good girl turning out to be oh so bad (remember shyam? he too was friend who had that foe-ish smile), and of course ria and jay a couple in a mess, which khushi just might have fixed, but i guess they ran short of time...


or maybe they were planning for more time, since asr was going to die.

he says it to her somewhere again, should she be alone, she should know how to handle things.

maybe 398 was not supposed to be the end... till the very last minute.

i really don't know... i often feel, it was all about the beginning with them. that first episode. a man with an attitude. a girl with a dori... 

a rush toward each other. arnav singh raizada whose name means ocean. khushi kumari gupta whose name signifies happiness.

it is unfortunate that these two were not allowed to even have a last shot together at the end... flashbacks had to suffice. many of which are sitting pretty or striding tall and angry through me right now.


"main chahta hoon ki tum mujhe abhi kiss karo!"

haw, how can you say that, arnav ji.

"arnav ji, agar aap nahin hote... toh kaise pata chalta ke pyaar kya hota hai..."

arnav ji, if you weren't there... how would i have known what love is.

what love is... after a long long time a simple serial on television came along to show us what that is... how powerful that is... how that is all that we really want in life... how that is more important than everything, certainly money... and it is perhaps faith and worship itself. 
in a language we all got... and minus any of the usual soupy heavy pontificating which does such disservice to this mad bad super essential feeling...


a terrible sadness as it all moved relentlessly toward the last frame.

"paas nahin toh usska yeh matlab nahin ki saath nahin..."

not near doesn't mean not with you, said asr from behind ghastly wings in red and yellow, looking pretty scruffy. i wanted to rush to him with a comb and yell at him for not looking his smashing dapper self... i wanted to stalk up to khushi on that ramp and tie her hair in an off centre plait, remove the bump and heavy make up, then march them up to each other and say, go on, fall... fall into his arms right now, samjhi tum.

this weird love (i believe that's what ipk is called in turkey) thank g, no one knows how to give it a name... otherwise how would we have an iss pyaar ko kya naam doon?

over and out... indi.


episode 395 a woman in his life

for some strange reason khushi reminded me of audrey hepburn in my fair lady... she had come down the stairs in her delicate floaty gown looking a little lost that night of the ball. she didn't have long dangly earrings, but there was a bit of eliza in this moment.

henry higgins. arrogant, chaotic, sharp. a man who'd "never let a woman in his life." shades of asr there. and that whole transformation of khushi thing. i wondered if a bit of the fabulous romance been "borrowed" here.

certainly, the first rabba vey was being tagged here. anyone who watches the show will be able to see the similarities. camera movement, screenplay, expressions... in so many ways a reminder of episode 22. we're reaching the end, time to tie up the story neatly, with references to the early moments.

there really was nothing remarkable about 395. but i did feel a funny twinge as i saw the two of them face to face in the dark in that improbable stapling khushi's torn gown scene. this was possibly one of the last times we'd see them together in the same shot.

there are a couple more. but that's all.

how perfectly the two vibe, even when nothing makes sense.

and everyone made sure nothing did make any sense whatsoever. they dropped all finesse too. twenty minutes of pretty bad writing unfolded. i watched. a sadness in me. have i ever seen a man look at a woman with that thing in his eyes?

and they weren't possibly even shooting together at that moment. some day, they might act together again. i'll wait... hopefully, natasha amrita jay sam bhaiya ria and the rest will not be following them into that show. 



Friday, 17 June 2016

episodes 393/394 salad days

curiously empty episodes both. like on a crash diet. not even salad on the menu, for certainly no crunch in them. things keep happening as if just to fill the time. there's an air of bewilderment almost on the frame. characters appear out of nowhere and in this terribly short time remaining... only four more episodes... they seek to be etched and accepted.

there's sam in red pants. there's i forget his name in black pants and mean look, the baddie whom khushi will tackle. there are of course the mean girls. and their unfathomable ways and very bad acting skills with awful dialogues thrown in. this is all about the bad bad fashion world which khushi who is so achhi will not be able to handle. needless to say, she of course will. the premise of this track is surely la la land.

when asr asked khushi had he not walked in when he had, how'd she have handled the swimsuit round problem, she blithely said, of course she'd have found a way. reminded me of our politicians. we are so busy negating the relevance of knowledge, why can't a tv show pay tribute to this very thing.

fact is, what asr said is right... the world he works in is not known for its sweetness and navigating it is tricky as hell. you need to have some feel for it, some knowledge. just because you are such a lovely girl, you won't start winning contests.

both nani and di gushed, what's really good about khushi is that she can win people's hearts. neither said anything about her personality, her abilities... we women, if we mean to be achhi, we better learn nothing is about us, it's only about pleasing people and winning their hearts...

why am i even trying to make sense of things? did you see kamlesh khabri... in his third avatar? i love it, if asr has a double and khushi too - oh she was so visible in that pita sandwich scene - then kk ji has a triple. always ahead, our news hound.

i did like asr's easy smooth flirting with the wife in front of everyone... do you like jalebis? and that look.

their altercation on the road and khushi's handling of weird man were not that funny, but she did look cooky and he oh well, i can't breathe at times.

"haan dekha maine... for my sake, please come and sit in the car.." yeah, i saw... for my sake, please get in the car. okay, that was finny. and barun did a deadly delivery. reminded me also that he handled mami with a "haan, mere liye" the time she was all set to leave home but he convinced her she ought to go get some sleep.

finally we came to the scene which is possibly one of their last scenes together... by the poolside. the rabba ve... also known as yoga ve. i watched him watching her. he always liked that, didn't he? she brought something into his life that he had never expected, he had never known. just looking at her filled him with feelings that made everything seem worth it perhaps. his eyes always sought her... sometimes without him even knowing. and once they found her, they were always reluctant to move away.

you sensed he had an overwhelming, powerful feeling for her. one he perhaps couldn't come to terms with for a long time, buy once he did, there was no shying away from it. he perhaps even now didn't quite understand what it was or why it was so, but he knew it was there. and that's all that mattered.

in a script most strange and unconvincing, for just a few minutes asr made me believe he was looking at his nutty crazy wife whom he loved beyond reason beyond everything. she was all set to take part in a tough contest, and she'd have to face many things she wasn't ready for... she would also have to diet and do yoga. and he is overcome with a wild tenderness for her, even though he doesn't agree perhaps with her decision. he is also worried for her and wants to protect her. and at this moment as he stands gazing at her rapt while she looks a little lost trying her yoga moves, all he knows is he loves her.

as he leapt to save her, as their hands touched, as she started and then settled against him, as he nuzzled her gently as if to say he wants to make love to her, as her face contorted just a bit as if in a rise of desire... a beautiful love story reminded me why i am here at all, despite the bad episodes.

i wish they didn't do the customary fall and catch. there was no need for that here. just as there was no need for the song at this poolside that diwali night.  


episodes 391/392 the show goes on

they got him to get angry. she was made to pick up her sandals and run. they had dressing room shots and the music from the fashion show in the first episode... and other familiar tracks.

there were even some carefully choreographed shots of the family, and my sweet nani ji said, "all the best!" in a cool accent unlike her bahuriya... clearly the nani of our angreji amriki accent boy asr...
and yet.

and yet.

nothing really fell into place...nothing gelled... or told a story of asr and khushi. not even that coming close and lifting up in arms that at its best is an ode to love. 

for the heart is flown, the head is not in its place. dil and dimaag, we had them both and now they elude the story teller's pen, the cinematographer's lens, the director's "cut it!"

the same people who adeptly created the sense of a trendy fashion show under the stars in episode one... even though they neither had a really upscale collection nor exactly ramp models and certainly not the sort of money they had hoped for... now came up with this extraordinarily cardboardish so called mrs india set up.

nothing feels even faintly believable. yes, the viewer must suspend disbelief to enjoy a movie or a show... but to what extent. and for what.

the viewer really does it because something in the viewer is touched, allured, wanting to make the adjustment, leap into the story.

none of that here.

looks like someone is sitting with a list of ipk things to be shown in these last days, and ticking them off one by one. 

even his anger didn't get me in a tizzy. sigh.

and of course, he had to be the sponsor. ipk was never predictable, always a spark of canniness in it, intelligence... now disappeared like lakshmi ji. then just like the day they had met, she fell... but this time not into his arms. 

she sat there awkwardly staring at him, the whole room acting weird. people really don't behave like that. and what was that about khushi's falling being "improper"? strange dialogues.

i missed a young man walking out onto a ramp in black and utter cool, with two women in red, leggy and modelish, a tad haughty, flanking him, striking a pose..

i missed a girl in green looking fragile, scared, yet strangely untouched and lovely, wondering what she was doing on a ramp, her high heels making her stumble.

there was a heady feeling in the air, a mystery in the night. now we are in a strange oblong room with an even stranger ramp, and the two are at either end of it... an element of slap stick in everything. any deeper emotion or good acting so out of place here, and who is the art director these days... what's with that colour sense.

just mulling, since when is our angry young albeit a bit tired asr so restrained in his behaviour. he sees khushi, she trips, falls, he just decides not to leap to her rescue, he doesn't even say he knows her, she's his wife... arnav singh raizada?

poor fellow, sar pe 102 ka bukhar i bet.

i feel like yelling and saying, bring me back my asr khushi, my ipk... even my nk. c'mon, the guy does nothing but hang around with the women and pass not so funny comments and play khushi ji's best friend?
it's a pity, the extreme games off screen at this time interfered with what was getting on screen. but i must say, the actors tried to make the show all that it had always been, even when the script was patently weak. for that i am grateful.



episode 389/390 missing the mehsoos

i kept watching, hoping to see something nice, something ipk. we have come this far, to suddenly lose touch is disconcerting. i wonder how the creatives who brought about such fixed in the mind moments of attraction, desire, wrenching chaotic mystical absolute love... or was it hate... or maybe that thing it was which cannot be named... how those creatives could be so lost.

but they were.

in 398, i still felt like making a few caps, in 390, not even once did i want to stop and catch a moment.

a completely unreal mrs india thing is suddenly on. lots of dialogues, much action. nothing really works though. actors are trying hard to make it all seem normal, but their voices are pitched a little off, a little hysterical. their expressions don't quite hit the right note.

mami and nk have been homed in on to provide mirth, make time pass without anyone noticing.

i am noticing. 

okay, there's asr in his office. suddenly a switch to something familiar... he is still sounding like himself.

in rm, khushi looked for a moment like she used to... innocent lovely happy untampered... but the scene had no meaning.

but then on the stairs with asr with nk, i am giggling... that look on his face at the hyper k... that muttered "are you on drugs?" so inalienably ipk.

no other hindi serial has ever had that swish style, that intelligent air. here, even amid a collapsing imarat (isn't that what khushi had said way back post guest house?) a fractured epic (there, i used the word for ipk at last... it was that, and maybe the great epics need to get smashed so that we can go to another arena and learn something else, who knows... i know i am rambling, but i must i must)...

back to what i was saying, even in this state, there are moments unlike anything hindi tv and pure absolute cool.

are you on drugs?

yeah, maybe i am.

pure narcotics. no chance of rehab. 

a snapshot in the bedroom. two people, a stance, a thousand and one memories.

"watch the tone, khushi.." a low dangerous murmur.

"kya tone, kaisa tone!" what tone, what kind of tone, a snapped back, loud answer. i am laughing again. these guys together, that vibe... even in the finest of films i sometimes don't get this.


khushi was weird and cute, "aapki dadi chubti hai!"

she complained about his stubble. is this the first time? yeah, his stubble looks more aggressive, prickly... okay, let me not go into this at all. there are children on the thread.

"isse punishment samjho..." think of this as punishment. rumbly, wanna get closer to you voice.

what. my mind is flying to horribly chaotic places. and how does barun sobti get that look on his face when asr sort of flirts with his wife and loses his own moorings as things get a little... you know? please, mister, you can't act so well. aapki acting chubti hai.


again all that kissing on the cheek... no way, he kissed her hard on her lips just then. lifted her up and took her to that perpetually ready bed. bas. sorry, i don't care what sweet tv safe stuff you wrote, dear writers.

safe... brings me to the mehfoos mashroof conundrum posed by nk. yeah... you guys are all very mashroof as in busy i can see, but alas ipk is not mehfoos, that is, safe.

even so, i shall go to 390 and sit through 20 minutes of really meaningless stuff. the mrs india set up is so lacking in just about everything. tacky, unrealistic, vapid. and why the attempt to introduce "story" in the interaction between the judges. were they supposed to be a couple whose marriage was messed up and thanks to khushi they patched up again?

as you can see, my mind is in a state of cringe always, anticipating horror from all directions.

and those contestants, just out of the blue meanness toward khushi... why? terrible dialogues... no feel for the scenario, weird camera and direction. then suddenly some so called "mehsoos."

khushi spoke to herself about their "mehsoos," that feeling they have, how they sense each other when they are close to each other, and never get it wrong. felt like something from another serial. poor creatives, really really lost.

but mehsoos is a crucial thing... i can sense ipk somewhere nearby, just that it's a bit hidden these days behind all the shenanigans.


~ what does nani ji mean by, "shadi shuda auraton ka ek maryada howat hai..." married women have a certain status?

she never had a mind like that, not nani, that's dadi talk... and would nani say it in front of anjali? this is so tv soap nonsense. i absolutely abhor this reduction of women as a gender. we don't have to be married to have maryada, thank you. a host of privately held, money making, mostly foreign owned channels are underscoring a patriarchal mindset, taking us back to which zamana who knows, not respecting girls as girls, enough in themselves... this obsession with marriage... ridiculous. why do we even have things called mrs india? do we have a mr india contest for married men? why is it okay to show such biased bilge? recently, nurses have protested against being portrayed badly, made fun of, on tv... i wish i could really take up the issue of how women are portrayed and relegated to roles like wife and mother only on tv... yes we are or can be that, but we are not only that... and if we chose not to be either, also fine, we could still be fab people... i am incensed as you can tell by that maryada line.

~ yeh project tumhara baby hai.

while asr's hindi has a lot of english mixed in it, there's always elegance in the way it's done. this was a pretty strange sounding line. he'd just say, this project is your baby... that sudden "baby" in the hindi sentence was funny, as if someone meant to put that in here... usually marriages in hindi soaps lead to baby soon, that is if sex has not been banished on some pretext... was this some sort o f a take on that? the ipk baby being different from the other babies... whatever the reason, clumsy syntax. even more weird, the offer he makes... he is not stupid. why would he suddenly make her head of fashion shows or whatever? beside he has given her a company... so what nonsense, really. and please would he choose such an ugly room for the one he punishes with his chubti stubble? LOL


episode 388 all ipk is a stage

as i watched, i felt a pall of sadness, both in me and the screen i was staring at. last days i guess are never easy. that too, acrimonious last days. someone on the forum had said at the time that she had visited the sets during this phase and there was a desolate air about it... not her words, but what she'd written had made me think that. seems a girl was smoking and screaming at someone, then the director came out and there was more shouting. i sensed anger and frustration. 

no matter how much make up you put on, the real picture always comes through. there are chinks in the war paint, there are hearts breaking and not exactly rabba veying. you may don red, you may want to be joker to make everyone laugh, including yourself, but the heartbreak is always the end note, the note that lingers, that got felt even when everything had been done to mask it. 

in a funny twist, what arnav singh raizada had said once, seemed to be true. "iss duniya mein jisske paas paisa hai, ussike paas taqat hai... just remember that!" in this world, the one who has the money, has the power. a story that compelled us to look at love in all its names, including hate... which made us yearn to romance, made us feel the power of an emotion...of attraction... of desire that draws us toward another no matter what... that brought love centrestage, not money in a world going dizzy counting only that...  such priceless things, yet ultimately deep pockets called the shots.

i should have trusted asr i guess... i got carried away.

khushi looked at a scrap of paper in which her channe were wrapped and got to know of the mrs india competition. i have been a copywriter for years... i know, you always try and go back to the beginning as you end. it's a classic ad writing thing. it is supposed to tie things up neatly. give cohesion, unity. makes the reader decode the main message better...

we started on a stage on a dark mysterious evening of sixth june. we will end on a stage. she had been lost and scared and confused on that ramp, but now we shall see her confident, on top of things... character growth. he had looked at her with inert eyes. now his eyes will be full of love... a whole story told.

and so, hey, where to find a stage? why, a mrs india contest of course... see, we are so clever, khushi kumari gupta who has an a in her name, aaa, aaa... now she is a srimati, a missus, what a journey.

and of course we must deploy all her little elves to bring about this fairytale to its conclusion.. come on then, channe, jalebi, recalcitrant shoes, love of food...

might have even worked, if people's minds and hearts were not so troubled. after all the first episode, it had enough and more improbable moments... which fashion show director would make a mistake like that. she was just a girl in a lehenga at the wrong place, so he yelled and screamed, while others flew about putting on make up, changing her shoes, throwing on a dupatta... and there she was, pushed onto the stage.

such things don't happen.

yet, it never really mattered. because there was pyaar in it all. now paisa rules. and all it does is tear the heart asunder. not just the viewer's... everyone's.

there was a beautiful moment captured in that fight of theirs... he had called her ridiculous in his own way... weak, not in touch with reality. such fights do happen. and even the most loving people say miserable things to each other. it hurt khushi. asr understood that. something sweet about him wanting to make it alright... he kept trying, but he didn't manage to hit the right note. happens. she was upset... i can understand.

but was that the best way to explore these emotions?

also, what the h is a mrs india competition? and how the h does taking part in it establish you are a confident person who can face the world and run a business and earn money?

and since when did khushi have a self esteem issue?

of course, she can walk on heels, dammit. she only trips when strong arms can shoot out and gentle hands land on her shoulders and a deep voice say "come!" huskily, yes so huskily, and she can be propelled backward, made to sit on a chair by the pool, two concerned eyes looking at her, a man kneel before her, a pair of searching hands lift up her saree just that much and hold her foot, and you know... thoda dard hoga.

in all other situations, khushi walks perfectly on heels.

she loves to dress up... go back to the day of teej and watch her confidence while getting ready. she has  a great eye for accessories and is a master of putting together the most unfashionable, behenji things and looking totally irresistible. ask asr. ask shyam. ask nk. ask me.

as for confidence, don't you remember how good she is with pratiyogita, her yaalgaar yaalgaar call during sangeet? she has never lost a competition on stage.. she can even step right into the raizada arms and twirl away perfectly, not a step missed, in front of a whole room full of strangers, despite acidity hitting her hard.

and anyway, she never had a problem with facing the world... or tackling difficult things.

so if she were feeling hurt by what her husband had said, i am sure she'd have found something far more interesting than this to calm that feeling within her.

but the writers needed a stage and a denouement within ten episodes, their dil was not in it, their dimaag just wasn't functioning too well. 

tum theek ho? asked the tycoon. and i have to say, he sounded sweet, a man who just must worry about his ladki, who has said what he really didn't mean in that way... an old habit really.

nahin, arnav ji, hum theek nahin hain... replied ipk.

Broken Heart

i did laugh out loud though when the classic rabba vey pose pulled out to fairly astounded onlookers and mami brazenly asked about the romancing that doesn't end. i also had to give credit to the team of fine actors that tried to keep cool through the absurd days and do what they could to keep the show going. note, nk from kidney never had any job/pastime/occupation of any sort. no one even bothered to comment on that. LOL 

and sanaya managed to look lovely in that innocent way of hers, making me so want to see them again... khushi, the batty cute mad sassy one. asr, the rude insolent autocratic one. and a story that was completely weird and such abs fun.