Thursday, 29 September 2016

episodes 86/87 the gussa of asr

we keep talking about barun sobti's hotness, and there is no denying his extreme temperature. but what makes me catch my breath really is the power of this young man's performance. two scenes from these two episodes particularly crashed into me while i watched. here is asr as he is, with his unconventional beliefs, his inability to really give himself to an emotional relationship, his arrogant air, his unyielding stance, and above all his out of control gussa, anger, and the nasty tongue it catalyses. no softening of edge, no cutesie pie nuance. he is scathing as he lets his rage ride untrammeled. he is refusing to marry, saying he doesn't give a damn, not even interested in going and coaxing his girl friend to return.

pretty hateful really. yet, i feel complete empathy with him.

sure, the writing had intended that, but the actor it was that made sure this
journey was done by the viewer; no gaps, no compromise.

i was thinking of these scenes and the character as such this morning and was reminded of jeremy irons playing the utterly unsavoury humbert humbert in lolita, and anthony hopkins doing hannibal lecter. okay, i don't mean to equate asr with these two creeped out characters. but in both instances, the actor managed to connect to us and even elicit a sort of empathy, in humbert's case a trace of sympathy too. purely from a performance point of view, i felt jeremy irons and anthony hopkins were flawless, in complete sync with the character they'd taken the responsibility to bring to life.

that syncing with character.

i guess that's what took me from asr to the two above. for i find that integral, visceral connection between barun sobti and his asr. and this no holds barred adhering gives us a performance that is at the level of a classic in a daily soap on a general entertainment channel. by an untrained actor. i can't thank barun sobti enough for giving all he could to this khadoos he had to take all the way to our hearts. given the kind of guy he is, chances are that when he dated he wasn't being caressed by dupatta, catching falling girl, hearing rabba vey back of mind, carrying the lady in his arms and striding purposefully, or giving her long intense looks lasting several seconds every once in awhile. to convince your cool, trendy young mind that this can be done with conviction is pretty tough.

to go ahead and completely immerse yourself in it and do it like it's what you do, is just hot damn mind boggling.then the gussa. how fabulously he owned it. no fearing anything when he entered it, allowing his voice to go where it needed to, his whole body get involved in expressing fury, his mind feel its kick, and all the while not any generic anger, but asr anger. the sudden decibel blow outs, then the drop to even cold iciness, the seething tension in the body, the hand tense and index finger jabbing air downward, the eyes going flat ice with lavanya, but dark smouldering with khushi, and a lashing screaming black with shyam manohar jha... oh i bet i can't really count all the things that he did to elucidate asr's anger, but i can swoon at the magnificence of it and get really mad with the girls for doing this to the poor boy, and that too when he has a headache.

"what the."

gritted teeth.

flaring nostrils.

fire breathing creature. beware.

"yeh sab kya ho raha hai lavanya"
what's going on here, he exclaims in terse voice, exactly as khushi had predicted. lavanya sits decked up as a bride on his bed. this is the latest idea from khushi to get him to agree to marriage.

slate gray gritty voice, end of day tiredness soaked. he has a headache. again. "what the hell is this lavanya?" he drags her off the bed and when she tries to argue and make him listen, he bellows, "nahi TUM suno!"

he is angry, she is not getting it.. "kaha tha ki nahi..." did i tell you or not that i am not interested in seeing you as my wife...
his music is fanning the flames of his anger. there's no getting away from it, lavanya cringes.

"pehle bhi kai baar bol chuka hoon... BOLA HAI KI NAHIN!" i have told you many times before, told you or not! oh the loss of control, the rushing into forte. waves crashing in a tempest on the ocean.

then la's constant turning in her direction brings khushi right out, and face to face with that wildfire anger. cold sleet fury building into fire within as he sees khushi at the bathroom door. brilliant direction and acting of this singular asr trait. gussa. did he just hold her hand and drag her after him? first time? just the way he pulled her along that night of the angry temple.

as she is about to leave. "ek minute." smooth quiet, too quiet.

la reads the signs. "asr... asr," she tries to intervene. his head turns in a smooth swing toward her, there's  something lethal in his gaze.

la shuts up.

purposeful steps toward khushi.

"main samajh sakta hoon (cool low voice with edge) ki jis mahaul mein tum pali badi ho wahan ki soch alag hoti hai... par tumhari iss (gritted teeth) lower middle class mentality ki yahan koi jagah nahi hai... yahan kissiki personal life mein interfere karne ko... badtameezi kahte hain." i can understand that the environment in which you were reared, the thinking there is different... but there's no place for your lower middle class mentality here... here interfering in people's personal life is considered uncivilised.

so he called her "badtameez" and with complete conviction.

eyes filling with tears looked up. but just this once, it seems even that didn't make a difference. a line in the sand has been crossed by khsuhi and la. his decision not to marry cannot be played with. it is a strongly held belief and any violation is abbhorent. he had even taken nani on when she had interfered. this is unbearable to him.

"shayad tumhe yeh baat samajh nahin aayegi... galati shayd meri hai... ke main tum (stress) jaisi ladki se expect karta hoon ki tum mera lifestyle samjho." perhaps you won't understand this, perhaps it is my fault... to expect a girl like you to understand my lifestyle.

"apni kamzoriyon ko... apni lifestyle ke peechhe mat chhupaiye," your weaknesses... don't hide them behind that excuse of lifestyle. how does khushi decide this is his weakness? isn't that judgmental? so if he has a misconception about her character so does she about him it would seem. a couple of days ago, character dheela, today kamzori.

he took a step forward threatening, she stood back.

"please get the hell out of this room."

after khsuhi leaves, his words stinging her insides, he turns on lavanya. and a crazy fight escalates till la refuses to take any more and leaves the house crying, leaving him. the screenplay called for intercutting between scenes; expertly taking the fight up one notch at a time breaking it with shots of the family reacting to the chaos reaching there ears. brilliant management, gets you on the edge of your seat, tense as hell.

"hum jaantey the ki hum saath rahenge par kabhi shaadi nahin karenge." we knew we'd live together but we'll never marry. i have never made false promises. and he hasn't. that's the point. his experiences had made him reach a point where he just did not believe in marriage any more. he  was clear about that. and when la agreed to move in with him she was completely comfortable with the idea.

one of the most tense scenes of ipk. unmitigated. no let up. i feel for la. she has all too easily relinquished her notions of living in which she was so good at explaining, all  because she suddenly realised that her hold over asr is slippery, thanks to khushi's vivid description of old age and hinting at the unfaithfulness of man. while we laughed and joked about it, see the situation from asr's point of view and it is really untenable. he has not fudged or disrespected anyone, he has a right to live the way he wishes to as long as it doesn't mortally hurt anyone. la knew the deal. and now to try and arm twist him into marriage, that too with this ridiculous ploys... unbelievable.

"dar? tum sochti ho ki main darr-" fear... you think i am scared...? la is pushing to find out why he won't marry.

"toh kyun nahin..." then why not?

"kyun nahi kar sakte hum shaadi." why can't we get married?

and he avoids her gaze. looks away. he will not answer this question. this is his life. his knot of pain, his inner world.

"pyaar nahin hai mujhse asr, koi parwah hai meri?" don't have love for me, nor care? a touching moment.

"haan nahi hai tumhari parwah!!!" yes, i don't give a damn for you... that's why against everybody's wishes i brought you here. he is angry, upset, pained by this whole thing. and first time ever a little glimpse into his deeper feelings for la. oh they were there alright, otherwise as he said he wouldn't have battled everyone to be with her. only thing, he was in no state to fall madly in love when he met her. half alive is how he described himself to khushi much later... in that state, the maximum emotion he could have for anyone, he did have for la.

and however much he may yell and deny, her leaving had hurt him too. there was something absolutely beautiful in the way he said those words after saying, no i don't care for you and turned the whole story. but alas that was not enough for la.

"lavanya, i can't give you more than this."

"main ja rahi hoon." i am leaving.

"tumhari marzi." your wish.

"isse kah dijiye iss ghar se aur meri zindagi se bahar nikal jaay." tell this one to leave my home and my life... to di later, about khushi. dark dark fury with touches of red. his life. yes, agree or not, lower middle class or whatever, interfering and irritating most certainly, but khushi had entered his life.

that acting i spoke of. remember his sudden going still at the wardrobe. he'd walked in and passed his bed without really noticing la and gone straight to his wardrobe. but something had registered and so he suddenly stopped and froze. then slowly he turned and looked at the bed. at la. all that you see up there on his face. a bemused, what the look. and then he flew into his most prized attribute. rage.



episode 87 brought khushi storming his office when she hears lavanya plans to leave that very evening for london. forever... hamesha ke liye. a bit precipitate wouldn't you say? you dump a man you've loved many months, and the very same evening you leave for another country never to return? i realise urgency needed to be created, but this time the writers were not very clever, sorry.

no matter, this urgency led to the next confrontation and a pressure cooker fight in the office, where he spelled out his beliefs, said that frankly la's leaving proved his point: that two people cannot live together for a  life time. they grow, they change and move on. nothing wrong with that. khushi got more and more agitated... accused him of never loving la, of lying even. how would la feel if she heard all this, he wasn't bothered she was leaving, he was what sort of man...

as the completely upset khushi, who knew it was her shenanigans really which had brought this whole thing about, tried her best to make him go to la and apologise, things just kept going from bad to worse. he didn't disappoint, getting nastier with every line.

but in the middle of it all when she seemed to be at a loss for words he gave her her cue, "
nahi hai dil asr ke seene mein," no there is no heart in asr's chest. so why did i almost stop breathing when i finally caught the words on the nth viewing with volume high?

nahi hai dil?

"hamare beech jo bhi tha, ab khatam ho gaya hai. ab humare beech kuch nahin hai... it's over.  and you... can get out." whatever was between us that's ended. now there's nothing between us. it's over... and you can get out. why did i think i heard a note of dejection beneath the anger?

sorry doesn't change the truth. it's over doesn't end a relationship. "aur yeh kaisa pyaar hai jo ek pal mein do shabd bolne se khatam ho jaata hai? yeh toh saccha pyaar ho hi nahin sakta..." and what sort of love is this that ends just by saying two words. this can't be true love. khushi has her own ideas of love and especially true love. asr has seen a terrible side of love, seen what he believed to be true love turn out to be not that. who can be blamed for believing what they do?

"it's over dammit... it's over." insistent, gravelly, harsh, no one can see his tears when he hurts.

"kaise insaan hain aap?" what sort of a person are you?

"jaisa bhi hoon tumse behtar hoon. kamse kam apne aap se toh jhoot nahin bolta... sach bolney ka, acchha banne ka natak toh nahin karta."
whatever i am i am better than you, at least i don't pretend to be good. oh most certainly there was some untrustworthy woman whom he had met in another life and and who had cut him deep. we never met her. but by the sheer conviction in his voice he created this woman who always coloured his perception of khsuhi.

"aap aap baat ko kaha se kahan le.."
where are you taking this whole thing...? she is beginning to hurt... he is suddenly getting very insulting and personal... he just keeps doing this with her.

"kyun? sach sunane mein takleef nahin hui toh sach sunne mein kyun takleef ho rahi hai."
why? you have no problems making others hear the truth... so why the problem in hearing it yourself?

an abrupt whip lash of a call.

and he sees the tears.

he can't bear it. as she passes him, his whole face exudes emotion, the wooden hard lines gone in an instant, just agony. he shuts his eyes the tears hit him so hard. she leaves, and this time it is she who turns back to look one time. looking for what?

an open heart-melting look at her. just a man looking at a woman who makes a difference. faraq padta hai.  

slow circular pan around his face, music reaches a high tempo. what does he think, his eyes seem to say something is gathering in him. a curiously vulnerable asr stands alone in the middle of his office. the conference waits.

less than 6 minutes, the entire scene. the last minute had not a single word but so much was said. past and present merged, hints of future, a timeless look between the two. pyaar nahin hai, asr? nahi hai dil asr ke seene mein?



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