Thursday, 10 November 2016

episode 139 a fire in you



         
credit: uploader

"i laud agni, the chosen priest, god, minister of god, the hotar, lavishest of wealth..."


with these words starts the first hymn of the rig veda, addressed to fire, the god agni, one of the three main deities of the vedic people. we evolved over the years, but agni remained central to many aspirations and ideas of our lives. it is there in weddings, initiation ceremonies, prayers, and most remarkably in our death... ending us... so that we may begin again. 

the only thing even fire cannot consume... is the soul... na hanyate. 

what was that fire lit and blazing at the beginning of episode? was agni here as the destroyer? if so, as the destroyer of what? of delusion? in buddhist prayer, a praise of agni  starts with: son of brahma, lord of the world, king of fire gods empowered by takki, whose supreme wisdom burns all delusion...

or was agni here as messenger to the eternal? 

"we choose agni, the messenger, the herald, master of all wealth..."
~~~ hymn 12, rig veda ~~~

was fire here destroyer, creator, and signifier of incandescent emotions, smouldering passions, truth that burnt and left only ashes so that a phoenix may rise from it?

fire is too powerful a symbol in our culture, especially in that form, part of worship, homa, for it to be just an incidental thing here. creatives wanted to cue much with just those few shots. fire, i felt, was the heart of this episode.


a young girl's sixth sense, aroused by hints that she couldn't look away from will prove to be horribly right. you are just about an adult, you have never had a relationship with a man. a series of incidents lead to an engagement with someone you and your family thought to be a sincere, true human being. you didn't love him, but you tried to live with this relationship because you cared so much for the father who gave you home and love when another fire had taken both your natural parents. then you discovered, this man whose ring you wore was not only not true, he was married. that too to a woman who had come to mean a lot to you, not least because she was the centre of the universe of a man who made you feel things you'd never felt before.

as the fire burnt higher and worship grew ardent she tried to peer at the face of anjali ji's elusive husband. but he had to leave to take a call. an uncanny ominous feeling had taken such root, that khushi actually wasn't paying attention to the rituals. la had to nudge her to awareness. wonderful directorial touch there.

khushi is in disarray. some part of her has already worked out the math... she was good in sums and hindi always. something knew what she was about to discover. the many times she hadn't managed to see anjali's husband's face, then all this talk of raanisahiba, the name that matched, shyam... and babuji's hurling of the ring. inside khushi a knowledge had come. it needed confirmation.


so she stood at the terrace door.

ironic... the same door where the ultimate delusion would cloud asr's mind, that is exactly where she stood thinking, remembering, as the fire prepared to end a terrible delusion today.

she saw truth here. asr bought a lie standing at the same exact spot. light and dark, sweet and sour, good and bad, male and female, laughter and tears, water and fire, happiness and sorrow, the essential two of life. together they complete the picture. opposites that can't live without each other. that make up finally one. the ultimate truth.

beautiful set of flashbacks as she slowly, almost mesmerised walked up to the pretender. at the last minute a doubt: what if she is just imagining it all. great writing again. and then he turned.

and all was clear.


to break the myth, a physical act. khushi who wouldn't ever overstep any limit of decency or decorum, lifted her hand and gave shyam one resounding slap.

for this man had without laying a hand on her, but with the sweetest of words, the kindness of friendship, he had violated her very being. and she an untouched innocent soul. rape doesn't always need a physical evidence of forceful entry.


i can't even begin to imagine khushi's agony. i can be only one with asr in that concentrated burning anger against shyam he would show much later when the lie finally left him.


sanaya was spectacular in the whole episode, but in this scene, nothing short of a bafta award winning performance. her interpretation of a woman betrayed had not a cliched strand in it. and no overacting. no melodrama. khushi reminded me a lot of that day when asr had insulted her and taken away the platter of prayer things accusing her of pretending to be good, of not understanding the pain of losing parents. somehow as anjali asked her if she was ok, the most innocent and pure look came over her face, as though the real khushi, not the public face we all wear, but what's inside us emerged.

today too it was so. she seemed to assimilate all that she was, her roots, her parents, her upbringing, all seemed to come together and express their anger at, their "dhikkar" their fiery rejection of this heinous man. no words were necessary. in fact, i felt, the dialogues here were not as powerful as they might have been, but sanaya took care of all that with the sheer force of performance. and the director gave us his oft used "one eye" shot, arshi says it is the eye of horus, perhaps this refers to the future in a way... khushi as protector of anjali and asr. the protector who would leave herself defenceless to fend for those she loved.

as khushi leaves after the tumultuous few minutes with the serpent that is still trying to save its skin, - oh resilient is this evil twiner, note with what malevolence hidden in tears he hints at keeping quiet for the sake of the future of new relations to be established, akash and payal - khushi has a cascade of other recollections. together the two sets of flashbacks, one as she walked up to him, the other as she fled away dazed, form two bookends, in between the revelation of a filthy truth. one leads up to the revelation, the other leads to the concealment of this truth. "jiji... akash ji ka rishta..." payal and akash's marriage... again she wrings her hands... classic khushi in turmoil or some extreme emotion. but that is not the only reason she keeps quiet.

in fact, my belief is in her keeping quiet, there was her empathy for a woman she liked and valued, but most crucially it was because she knew how much it would hurt a man. a man who loved his sister more than anything in the world.

right now, in this man too, traces of fire. a quiet flame has begun to burn in the heart of an ocean. and it changes him, opens him, in ways he doesn't know nor understand.  

again, it is one who feels him that notices the new. la.

"neeche sab tumhara wait kar rahe hain.. di, jeejaji... aur khushi..." a pause. everyone is waiting for you downstairs, she tells asr, so wanting him to join them all: di, jeeja ji, others... khushi? is she looking for something in his gaze? like khushi, has her sixth sense too told her things she'd rather not hear?

"lavanya i am not going..." abruptly says he. anger first, the usual asr. but then he sees her face fall, sadness. no, he can't do this any more. he holds her arm, "lavanya?" sweet and tentative. is that asr?

"please try and understand... mera man nahin hai..." i don't feel like... he is actually trying to explain why he is doing what he is.
she's never seen him like this. her expression says it all.

"what... kya hua," he has to ask, what happened.

"asr, you're being nice to me... tumne mujhse kabhi aise behave nahin kiya..." lavanya points out he's never spoken to her like this. a silence... maybe she decides to misinterpret... no harm pretending, just for a bit, only because you love... nothing else. she rests her head on his shoulder ad says she understands. as she tries hard not to.

fire destroys, so that something new may start again. she is just free of a filthy lie and its perpetrator. not engaged anymore. he is beginning to realise some things cannot be denied... she does matter. just now she had been so disturbed, he couldn't bring himself to yell at her at her loopy behaviour. 

something kindled long before is beginning to seek new blaze. in him a change, in her an unerring way finding to him. especially when she is in need.

and so we come to the poolside. he stands drinking his coffee and she just walks in unseeing in her state of mind, and dashes into him. and one of the most stunning sequences, layered and rich, delicate in beauty, glittering with emotion pure comes into play. barun and sanaya tell us of asr and khushi and a feeling hard to label, in a way only they can.

a pause here to say... yay, it's ipk again. people can lie, cheat, stone wall audiences with banks of telephone operators, show muscle, manipulate media, but in the end, the truth does have its way. the fire in which reputations were burnt was in the end a good fire. it showed us just how powerful some things are. you can't really consign talent and its validity to flames. love indeed never dies. here's to 8 july, all the best ipk. may this bring a new time of excitement to barun sanaya akshay deepali jayashri ji karan and every member of the cast, writers, directors, all.

back to the scene that slowly killed me.

"uh," she squeals as she bangs into him. great sound editing here. long shot, the slightest saddest whimper. 

the coffee mug breaks and shatters on the floor.

he turns with customary irritation, immediately reaching for gussa... "what the!" through gritting teeth. "dekhkar nahin chal sakti thi tum?" can't you see where you're going?

she  crouches on the floor without a word to pick up the pieces of porcelain.

"khushi, main tumse kuch poochh raha hoon..."
khushi, i'm telling you something. he's still yelling, rough and disgruntled.

she continues to pick up the pieces. hands have a tremble.

an easing in his voice... he's beginning to sense she's not ok.

"khushi?"

and as you hear the dip to gentle query in his voice, a  rush of some feeling, you know, arnav singh raizada just wants to be nice to this girl with her craziness, her weird plots and plans, who makes him smile, makes him feel, and why does she sit like that on the floor not looking up, not answering?



"khushi?" he sits before her... at her level. he wants to reach her. it's so important to him. why is she in this state?

"khushi" his questions are there in the changing tone of her name...

"kya hua tumhe?" ever ever ever so gently, what has happened to you?

his voice begins to say what his heart beat will record a bit later. you matter to me. you make a difference. you make the difference. faraq padta hai.

and as he probes lovingly, she's coming apart. what ,a horrible shock she's had... how life has played with her.

brilliantly directed understatement.

a hand on her back... he wants to hold her, be her support, tell her not to worry, he's there.



a moving forward to hold her and turn her toward him, "khushi" dropped to almost a whisper... urgent yet gentle. tell me tell me what's wrong he seems to say with all of himself... i am here... i care.

he helps her stand up with utmost tenderness. her face is downcast, only hell in her eyes.

"khushi tumhare ghar pe koi problem hai..." is there a problem at home. he gropes for an answer.

"kuch chahiye tumhe?" do you want something? where oh where does this tenderness, this love come from... why does it feel blessed even before a word is said. this was the love that had no name for maybe it was just  a feeling that needed not a name. a question asked with a certain voice, a hand held out at a point in life that's all it took for you to know this is all that you ever wanted to know and feel there was eternity indeed.

she whimpers a bit... no words

"khushi!!"

he slowly lets her go perhaps thinking it isn't his place... and she is not saying a thing... he begins to turn away.

and again the girl who'd gone running to him in a hospital one desperate hour, shortly after he'd abandoned her on a lonely road hospital, and yet his were the only arms she knew she could seek solace and strength in... that girl returned... and in her darkest moment turned to him for comfort. as if she had a right to ask for it.



in a classic indescribably intense moment with a single simple gesture she said it makes a difference... the difference to her too. that slap was nothing compared to this fling of the body and heart.

she simply let go with a sob and buried her head in his shoulder... her place of solace, yes... no one knows how or why... but it is that.


"your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose"
~~~ e e cummings ~~~



she sobbed broken and abandoned. he's taken aback... worried... what's happened. why doesn't she say anything. he can't bear to see her like this. he must fix it for her. he must make it alright.

"khushi?? khushi, khushi, kya hua tumhe?" khushi, what's happened to you, asks again the gentle rakshas.

a tentative hand reaches for her shoulder.

"invisible threads are the strongest ties"
~~~ friedrich nietzsche ~~~



"khushi, shh shh shh," urgent his shushing, and trademark asr when he wants his khushi to calm down. like she's a child, a dear little child he wants to make the world ok for.

"khushi, it's ok..." thinks a little, what could it ? comes to the right cause...

brilliant piece of acting here again.

a glint of anger in his eyes at the thoughts that enter his mind.

"khushi, kya tumhare mangetar ne tumse kuchh..." khushi, has your fiance to you...

she looks up at the mention of mangetar... instinctively. and along with it there begins a return to reality and its demands. 

his expression moves through quiet cold anger... "kya kiya ussne..." what has he done...

flaring nostrils, rage rising.

"khushi, kya kiya tumhare mangetar ne?
did he try to hurt you?"

rough hard voice, ready to take on the world, for her... almost shaking with rage at the thought of her fiance, a man, doing anything to her. i felt layers of reasons here. he couldn't even think of her fiance hurting her in any way without going mad. that something, if it's a sexual assault or a physical one enrages him at many levels. then there was the issue of a man ill treating a woman. ever since his father's misdemeanours led to horror in his life, this is a thing he can't take. there was extreme disrespect of his mother in the incidents of the past. asr would not tolerate such behaviour toward a woman... and this was khushi.

the girl who made him feel strange, was now before him in a state of disarray, unable to even articulate what she feels... just tears and a seeking of him.

"unhone humare saath,..." he... with me... how much khushi wanted to tell him what shyam did with her, how much she needed him then... to feel human, clean, somewhat  decent... trapped so deceitfully and abominably by a knave.

he waits to hear.

"batao, khushi..." say, khushi!

she's begun to stall though. for memories cascade again.

she remembers a day in the rain and a man talking to his sister of his love, how she was his world, nothing else mattered. "mujhe iss duniya se koi matlab nahin, meri asli duniya toh aap ho." this world means naught to me, you are my real world, he'd said to anjali. she sees him holding his arm out for his sister's rakhi, joy and indulgence on his face. she couldn't complete her sentence.

little khushi, grown up khushi, all came together and stood helpless before the only man she could have said it all to, the only man she felt would care, would make it better. yet she didn't.

for the man whose world she couldn't bring herself to wreck, she kept quiet... for jiji, for anjali ji... and for laad governor who made her feel things she'd never felt before.

she kept looking into his eyes... long, searching, feeling, wondering, gaze... knowing she couldn't do it... not to him. he kept on searching her eyes for the answers, not knowing what stopped her.



"but a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more."
~~~ hans christian anderson, the little mermaid ~~~


a fire has destroyed delusion... and a fire has lit a flame that burns forever.





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