Thursday, 29 September 2016

episode 83 i can do it (vm)

sharp writing, a very different actor, real comedy, four memorable scenes, all this in a 20-minute episode of a daily soap. some days i feel very lucky.
i'll start with the shortest scene.
he called jp, jp. is this the first time? oh it's cute. but what comes next is one for the books.

after much preparation, he starts his apology in a stern voice... "mujhe tumse kuch baat karni hai..." i need to talk to you about something.

"jo bolna hai boliye, sahab... ab toh adat si pad gayi hai," say whatever you have to, sir... now it's become a sort of habit to listen (to complaints/harsh words). hapless, male voice answered... in resigned submission.

someone go hug the dialogue boys. a whole culture and a commentary on the everyman's life in that one sentence. a delivery that is so neat, tickles the funny bone, yet touches the heart too somewhere. while you laugh, a part of you says, oh i know this guy and i've done this to him at some point, i think. this unknown actor gets my respect for capturing a whole personality in a moment, one scene, two lines. i can see his sharp tongued wife, his three kids, and his ironing board beside a heap of clothes in a tiny little tenement in one of the jhuggi jhopri colonies of delhi somewhere.

"tum kaun ho?? aur yahan kya kar rahe ho?" who are you and what are you doing here, all his pent up tension releases in surprised, shocked yelling (where there's asr there's got to be some of that).

"main banwari... aapka dhobi," i'm banwari, your washerman.

ah, the lord is here again. another name of krishna bears the washerman, the ipk ankh micholi continues. krishna is never too far from the moment. either he strides it in the form of slither shyam, or sweet nk, or mohan the driver, or hai re nand kissore the call, or in khushi's fantasy of bankelalji, of course, as bal gopal, and radha's krishna, and now as banwari.

the writers had a great time doing this krishna thing. i wonder why. well, it adds a dimension to the story, and makes you think, good enough reasons i guess. who are you? i am banwari, your lord.

maybe that's what happened, krishna gave asr a visit, before he went off to fight a terrible battle. with himself. arjuna and his charioteer. in fact, at the beginning of the episode the ultimate liar had brought us a glimpse of the ultimate truth... "dhan aur man chanchal hai, mrityu satya hai." wealth and the mind are restless, death is true. death is the only certainty in this life krishna had told arjuna in that brilliant dialogue between the two in the geeta. well, bad or not, his name was shyam and some good, however unintentionally, he had to do. writers never cease to amaze me.

as he stood there disconcerted and seething, di came hurrying in and asked, "chhotey, kya hua, kya kiya banwariji ne?" chhotey, what happened? what did banwariji do? till now i was clutching pillow and laughing, at this i just hooted. what a fabulous final pirouette. reminded me of the classic old kishore kumar and mehmood movies with a punch of pulp fiction in it. yeah, what did banwariji do, chhotey?

next, a scene i could happily do without, but it was an instance of good writing, smooth, nothing forced, taking the story to where you want it to go.

anjali for once is not to be mollified. in fact she picks a fight over this constant absence of his, words lead to words till he yells at her, so what should i do, nothing? hang around you 24 hours?

and with this, the screenplay takes interesting steps toward one of ipk's most memorable interludes. asr in the throes of getting an unthinkable word out of his mouth: sorry.

but for that, first we must see slither sliming around his gullible rani sahiba, making her accept his apology before the entire family. in my effort to not look at el creepo, ugh in romantic cutesie vein, my eyes darted to all other corners of the screen. and the sweetest peeping in by fam was on. nani, mami, akash, no one paid any heed to their privacy, and why should they, slither wanted all the attention anyway. the ladli daughter of the house, everyone wanted her happy. and he wanted to turn that to his advantage. so made sure peep show wasn't curtailed, taking it all the way to lifting her up in front of everyone.

of course, i wondered why chhotey didn't rush to di's rescue. don't tell me he was being sensitive, giving his banished jijaji a chance to be di's caretaker. and while pondering thsi i noticed the sweetest peeper of all. ah, the newspaper boys, has a prop ever been better used.

say those three little words. wha!!! anjali looks startled and embarrassed, in front of everyone!... ah the cleverness (shudder), he means... "jao, maaf kiya," there, forgive you.

work done. shatir writing. as asr watches this elaborate mea culpa, forgive me scene, his eyes stir, he's remembering things, realisation dawning.

two thoughts come back. buaji saying the night he went to insult khushi with money, "pehle itna sunaya, aur phir maafi maangne..." and he cut in, "arnav singh raizada kabhi kissise maafi nahin mangta..." buaji: first, you insult, then you come to seek forgiveness-" he: "arnav singh raizada never seeks forgiveness from anyone."

(digression: sorry is important in many belief systems. among the jewish people, every year, on the day of atonement/yom kippur, you seek maafi from everyone you know. it is meant to be given, cleansing both receiver and giver. and strangely enough, as someone passes away, you give forgiveness to that person. again, something to do with lightening and cleansing the departing spirit, i guess.)

asr also remembered telling her the most hurtful words that finally broke her: today is an important day for me, and today to have to see your face is not something i like. he realises he has pushed everything too far. he had no idea she was an orphan and was flying of the handle, somewhere taking out his angst on the one he felt he had a right over, of course, why he had no idea. and anger is an issue with the man, he just can't control it, especially when his immense and intense hurt converts to rage and gushes out of him. rampant, wild, out to burn all in its path.

tiny eye movements. what's cookin', asr?

morning brings resolve, and we are at the scene which made me respect this actor for something completely different... not his acting, nor his looks. in fact, the reverse.

below may be the dishiest shot of a man in a mirror. but i don't think many actors would allow it. what the camera doesn't notice that much, the mirror picks and magnifies instantly. relentlessly. look at him, the downward drag at the right side of his lips clearly visible. his one major defect in features many might say. and this young man is at the beginning of his career really at this point... shravan has become popular but not hugely so, asr is becoming a phenomenon, his fan base consists of girls who are majorly into his looks. how many actors playing a romantic lead would be comfortable with a shot where they're looking less than perfect? he not only is comfortable, he performs fabulously while looking at himself, flaw visible, and touches me deep. this actor deserves to succeed. so much of himself he gives.

confession: i find hotwa utterly so in all his mirror shots. the lips as much a thing that is fascinatingly him as his scar on lid. maybe barun knows this too, having affected several girls no doubt in his life, but still it is a risk. salaam to the man for taking it.

apology cookin', good lookin'? a determined asr, focused on job at hand, bone structure accentuated in the reflected image, and in bright green an absolute...

"dekho meri baat suno, kal ghar mein jo bhi hua wo..." er stuck. see listen to me... whatever happened at home yesterday...

no, no you can do it. he keeps trying to get it going. i mean tumne... stop, rattle... matlab... kal jo bhi hua, mai usske liye (yeah boy, you are there i knew it, you can)

he is helpless. but he tries, again and again. barun flawless in performance. funny yet strangely touching. this ability to evoke layered response again and again, beautiful. very often sanaya hits the same note.

this is doable. "sirf... sorry kehna hai. bahut asan hai..." only got to say sorry... it's very easy... he's struggling, almost breaking into cold sweat.

"asr!" a smiling la enters. and in seconds, she goes "sorry sorry sorry." he's nonplussed. how do these guys do it?

he is in his own world and unthinking toward her, pretty rude really. la would often accept this off hand, uncaring behaviour. right from the beginning. why i wonder. is this love? or is this determination? or did la see her mom getting treated this way at home and to some extent thought it was normal. really his behaviour at this point was pretty bad. in season 2 he better say sorry to la properly. and to banwari too.

my next scene is from the evening before.

khushi sits forlorn on the steps outside, hands folded, pleading with the eternal, not to take her babuji away. she couldn't handle this loss of parents a second time. hand on her shoulder signals the entry of her saviour at this moment, jiji. if asr had di gather him into her arms and help him return the night before, tonight it's khushi's elder sibling doing that for her beloved younger one.

she's terribly close to her parents. even amma, not a word against her from anyone will she tolerate. not buaji, not dadi, not asr, nobody. this anchoring of khushi's part of who she is. she is not all of herself without them and will do anything for them. in that, a similarity again with asr. anything for di. right at the end, even put up with the man who lusted after his wife, kidnapped him, lied, cheated, stole. all for di. without her in his life, he doesn't feel complete somehow.

payal is a capable jiji, she always knows how to reassure khushi. she takes the conversation to lightness. "batao tumhara aaj ka din kaisa raha," tell me, how was your day. oh, wasn't it thanks to payal that khushi met asr in the first place?

as her question slipped out, it happened again. two star gazers got connected just on those words.

she remembered him saying no one understands anything and looked up at the sky, thinking of her parents, his, no one understanding, so much... segue beautifully to him standing by the poolside, also looking up. there at the sky.

the sky which will help them speak to each other one day by telepathy. the conversation has perhaps already started taking shape. on the day of the tut-ta hua tara; and now, the night of looking for a ray of light while the darkness of loss grips you and you fancy there's something, something in those stars up there.

why do we always look up i wonder when seeking answers. he recalls he'd said, never to tell him again that she understood, and then di asking her if she missed her parents. she understood alright, just that the smiling, nutty, prank laden khushi hid it so well.

the fourth scene.
he hears woh ladki who comes to train lavanya, you know uss khushi, won't be coming today. what? not coming? cut her pay... she doesn't get salary to take leave. asr needs some education in labour laws clearly. but for now i am too enamoured of the man on the phone (pronounced khushi's way with soft ph sound) so will go on morcha later. ridiculously cute conversation,  not a word comes out. this is the brave, shatir, indomitable, master of all he surveys, ok you get the point, asr. and he is completely done in by one word.

"sorry toh bolna hai. itna difficult bhi nahin hai." sorry i will say, not that difficult. ah well. the time the poor guy is about to open his mouth after the courageous blank call, some nice tightwa comes careening from uss ladki. sanaya just too good in these scenes, eyes flashing, tongue lashing, choti flying, even babuji looks up in astonishment at the out of nowhere tirade against who knows whom.

"ghar mein ma behen ma behen nahin hai kya..." don't you have mother and sister at home, a very popular hindi dialogue, usually flung at lafangas/louts in buses and things. don't think asr's ever got that one. has to disconnect, barun brill at this affront.

"phone kat diya!!"
indignant, she bangs down the phone.

but suddenly an awareness, something is triggered, a magic twirl of rabba vey like fairy dust circles around the two, both in their own homes. separate, yet somehow together. arnav aur khushi ek doosre se kabhi alag nahin ho sakte. in the middle of high comedy, a sudden leap into emotion, and its funny tug. so ipk.

and was it my imagination, or the opening scenes where she sits with her dad, thinking of asr suffering at the loss of his parents... while the prayers go on, there was a suggestion that a part of her was also there, the one with which she was thinking of him. clever clever makers.

sorry, for the rather long post. i have rambled.

vm hello love here.


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