Friday, 27 January 2017

episode 191 this night onward

sometimes the rajkumar doesn't come on a horse, he comes on a rage and he yanks you to himself and and he hurts you beyond belief for he loves you beyond faith.

the ethereal lightness of love didn't even last a day before the darkest night came. two people both utterly helpless... he had no way out he believed, she didn't even know if there would ever be a way. from here starts a journey that will show us what human beings can be made of; if they didn't come here, maybe we'd have never known them for all that they are. i will never forget khushi in the next episode crying sitting on the floor, then getting up and slowly making her way to her room... her new home. getting up to face the life that had been forced upon her and no one to hear her heart shatter, see her world go awry. incredible strength. that slow getting up and walking... doing life, no matter what. this was a very special woman. and he? what a terrible error of judgment. yet i couldn't blame him. just hope he'd find his way back to her and himself one day. he loved too much, that perhaps was his folly.

just as asr never gave khushi a chance to think, ask, react, the creators of ipk too gave us none. they stopped us in our track, we were smiling and in fuzzy romantic mood, bemused by the man and woman falling in love, totally unprepared for what came next. suddenly we were being dragged shocked into a wild violent wedding while the night wailed and bells tolled and the wind screamed. and our hearts quaked, pounded, slammed against its beat.

i absolutely love the execution of this terrifying wedding they had devised. no preamble, no ponder, no shots of asr planning his move and talking about things in his head as serials are prone to show. straight into it... peechhe se shuru karte hain, they seemed to say, let's start from the back. so we saw the wedded couple first. then the proposal... well the coercion and blackmail. and now in two flashbacks the two essential acts that conjures marriage in the mind instantly... the putting of mangalsutra around the bride's neck by her bride groom... and then the sindoor that only a husband is allowed to put on the parting of his wife's hair.

but what perhaps always signals terror and excitement and the feeling of so it begins in me, is the holding of the hand of a woman staring silently at a man yet asking so many questions with her eyes, he pulls her out of a car, and without bothering to give single explanation, drags her behind him... up the wide shallow steps of a temple... it's night, nothing is too clearly visible and the music has an ominous ring. an inevitability spells the scene and leaves me shaken. whoever designed these scenes was working at a level of extreme concentration, story paramount, artistic flair at peak. in a low budget serial, which will be watched on not too big screens with resolutions of various levels, to create this power and pull... astounding.

up up up they go. the cuts are sharp, top shot, he pulls her, her lehenga and dupatta fly. cut to a shot from the side... up they climb.

cut to a shot from the back and fire rages before us at the top of the stairs. now we are behind the fire and the man and woman walk up. he keeps walking.

at rm, he looked at his weeping sister and tried to say something... you always wanted me to get married...

toh kar li.
baat khatam.

so i did it. end of story.

while everyone... perturbed, upset, even angry... asked again and again why they had done what they had, a silent man and a woman with no words stood there. what a situation. everything blowing to bits.

he really hadn't factored all this in had he. so much of a knee jerk reaction that was, that pulling khushi to him. he thought he was doing it all for his sister's safety, that's how he saw it. did he ever ask himself why he had to marry khushi for that? or this contract so called marriage for that matter. and why he actually bothered to get a mangalsutra and sindoor organised? he had no idea really what he was doing... and he also was so terribly wrenched by the sight of his beloved in shyam's arms, he was not quite himself all through. had he been, he'd have known that appearing like that before all suddenly marred would create chaos and akash's wedding night would get badly affected., had he been thinking cogently, he'd never let that happen.

the way he looked at shyam, wasn't this more a man's staking of his claim, taking what he considers to be his and letting the other guy know, hands off. she's mine.

bit a of a man's game there... she the unfortunate victim. and yet she the adored. the indispensable. he couldn't just threaten her and banish her as he had the day of the guest house. he had to adhere her to him and plunge into the abyss with her.

that struggle to somehow placate di not being able to look at her... too much too many things are there in these moments, his love for two women terrifyingly intertwined. "tumhe vajah bata ne hi hogi, chhotey," you have to tell me why, says anjali.

a face turned away, clenching of jaw.

"kaha na di, aapne kaha tha kar lo.. so kar li..." told you, you said marry, so i did. he was not in control of emotions, breaking down yet he's the karta, the man in charge... as he decided way back.

and yet today, he ran way. literally ran into his room to avoid his sister. and cried. i am sorry, di, par koi aur rasta nahin tha. i am sorry but there was no other way.

yes, if you loved khushi and thought she was a whore and yet felt you couldn't be without her, perhaps there was no other way. it will never be possible to fully comprehend or justify his action. which is why such depth and power in all of this maybe. and months later, she will perhaps give him the same bludgeoning pain when she'll call this whole thing not a marriage but a sauda, a transaction... something that can be ended. 

he spoke to no one... neither khushi... nor di. a 27 year old man who had decided to do everything to set a crashed world right, took a decision all by himself, without realising the lie that brought it about nor the flaw in his choice.

he escaped, but khushi would not be spared... nani ji held her and demanded an answer. everyone badgered the girl. she who had no idea that the man she loved had been standing at the terrace door, had seen her with shyam. one day she had stood there and seen shyam for what he was, tonight asr had seen her for what she wasn't. life.

it was awful to see khushi cry like that, losing all she knows to be right and real shaken, helpless. the questions kept coming. you know the significance of this mangalsutra, don't you?

and the first flashback.

a silent night, an suv glides into frame. screech of tyres as it brakes.

inside sit two people. one incandescent, the other darkly ablaze.

creatives used to speak of how sanaya and barun seemed to be pieces of a puzzle, fitting perfectly. that quality, that vibe, set the night alight. great story telling techniques were employed, but that yin and yang thing in them, the almost flowing into each other, tonight they were such a gorgeous contrast, finely balanced. it just made the wedding scenes explosive.

no one plans to have a wedding like this. yet there was a terrifying grandeur in it, like that of a volcano erupting or a mighty waterfall, or high rushing waves, something elemental, that seemed to sweep all resistance aside and my heart said, yes, they are man and wife.

he kept walking with her till they reached the deity. then a waiting. maybe something could be changed.. her look screamed don't do this.. his face was set and his eyes burned with an emotion, a determination in him, there will be no change... her gaze kept asking him to stop the nightmare.

then he turned and walked toward the deity... om swasti na... mantras began their chant. we cut to a long shot and saw him walk back to her. she waited tense but ramrod straight, not wilting... vis a vis.

with the goddess behind them, fire before them... agni and narayan as sakhsi, as witness, a mangalsutra was lifted, held and put around a neck, a job done... ommm.

a melody escaped a flute and picked the pathos and tears and perhaps ecstasy and annihilation of the moment.

the flames leaped and grew thick... a shattered man looked at a woman he wanted to hurt badly. visual rhetoric of fire continued, it wrapped around their shots in slow dissolves. it would ravage all and purify at the same time. the chanting faded, a conch shell blew, music crescendoed... they stood before each other... changing, no longer who they were before this moment. changed forever.

the second flashback:

they stood there staring at each other... both helpless though one seemed not to be. the mantras chanted. camera circled them, as though that had to be done, like pheras, auspicious.. he held up his hand, a pinch of red... blood, i thought.

yeh sab cheezein tumhare liye bahut maine rakhti hai.. yeh mangal sutra, yeh sindoor... toh yeh raha mangal sutra (loved barun's pronunciation, that sutr-).

in one harsh movement he pushed aside her teeka, bared her parting and streaked it with his vermilion. ownership.

aur yeh raha sindoor.

these things mean something to you, so here's the mangalsutra and here's the sindoor. he doesn't believe in them, yet he includes them in the night... why? why not simply coerce her into living with him and just put on the signs of marriage herself.

there was something cat like in his glance. an alertness, a pounce.

her eyes lifted slowly, she knew what these two things had done to her life... and that their mark was indelible.

ab tum meri patni ho. now you are my wife.

he said again as if to convince himself as much as her that this is only for six months, that she was his wife in the eyes of the world, that he would never give her the place of a wife.

the music lifted, she turned once to look at dm. then she wept while he gazed at her not raving any more, an unguarded moment. angry, betrayed, said his eyes.

the wedding was done. we'll never see the complete wedding, and i'll always wonder about the moments unseen. in offscreen segments we saw how small the actual sets were, how ramshackle everything around it. yet their was a magnificence in every frame. those swaying bells, the curtains, the sounds, the colours, a ravaging everywhere.

by the end of the episode, khushi is all by herself, pushed aside by her family, and that old pain, the unbearable one of not belonging, not being "sagi", their own had returned.

though we think it only happens in serials, things just as challenging happen in life too. yet we overcome. yet we love. we have such a need to. makes us human, makes us us. why should khushi and asr love each other after this night? yet they do. somewhere shyam deserves a tight hug for being the cretin he is, he showed them how much they really loved each other in a way. when the going gets bizarre the heart really speaks.

even as a kid, i never forgave ram for doubting sita. to me the most powerful phrase of the story of ram sita is, "dharani dwidha hao," i am getting goose bumps. she called to her mother, the earth, and said, part, take me back in your arms, and she went away forever. here asr and khushi both could find a way to look into each other's beings and "see" the truth... it needed no proof. i can't stop reveling in that. and the fact that the night before the so called remarriage she said yes to him. to me, this is their marriage. good bad indifferent this is it... because love was always there.


 i watched the expressions, the constant talk between two people. so much was said and heard, yet not... only two people who mean everything to each other could look at each other with such eloquence. and really how gorgeous were the bride and the groom. a sublime note, a sensual strain, a sustained sense of sacredness here right through. and that suffocation.

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