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Jodha Akbar 35: Shahi Shaadi 1 :Opening Gambits

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Jodha Akbar 35: Shahi Shaadi 1 :Opening Gambits

Post by sashashyam on 2013-08-07, 13:45

Folks,


First things first. It was a peach of an episode. All the masala anyone could have wanted was there, blended as expertly as in a Khana Khazana show. There were all the navarasas of classical Indian theatre, and more:  fear, trepidation, gnawing worry, arrogance, mischief, malice, shock, disillusionment, grief, courage, resignation, innocence, and even a tadka of comedy with  the rotund halwai from Amer who is such an excellent advertisement for his wares. Plus gorgeous sets and costumes. When Jalal and his entourage are  coming in  for the muhdikhayi,  the overhead shots show richly covered walls gleaming in dull gold,  setting  off  the lavish dresses of the principals. Especially Jodha's dream outfit, which is opulent and yet tasteful, a none too  common combination.


It was also throughout like a game of chess, whence my title.  At one time, as after the kangan bandhan,  it was advantage Amer,  but then, with his insistence on the muhdikahyi (Rose, we were all wrong, for it is a muhdikhayi after all) ,  it becomes  advantage Jalal. Again, with the face-in-the-water gimmick, Amer gets ahead, but the wind plays spoilsport, and as Jodha's veil is blown off  her head, Jalal  smiles in unmistakeable satisfaction: this move was his.


But the real opening gambit comes not at the beginning or in  the middle, but at the very end, as a demurely  veiled Jodha, looking all the lovelier for that, sets out her two sharts. The second one  brings Jalal to his feet in a sudden reaction - but of what? Is it anger, or is he merely taken aback? His face is indecipherable as he turns  it over in his mind, and the assemblages on both sides of the dividing curtain (why make it like some sort of town assembly from both sides? It was done better in the film, where the two met alone  in a tent) hold their collective breath.


We, of course, let ours out in the normal course,  for we know that Jalal is going to agree. But the question is whether he will agree right there, or later. My bet is that he will  do it right there, and Mahaam Anga will  be making a worse face than ever before at this unheard of indulgence towards a kafir so obstinate as not to see the light.  Would that the wind would change right at that moment, and as the fairy tales have it,  she is stuck with that grimace as her personal wallpaper in perpetuity!


The developments today were all  predictable in the broad sense, but it was the detailing that made them fascinating. The highlights, again in no particular order:


The most charming vignette: The delightful encounter between Jalal and Mansingh.  Jalal is greatly taken with the boy's innocence and his principled courage ' in his determination to defend Jodha, his Buasa, and Amer, he reminds Jalal of, whom else? Jodha, of course.  I loved the way in which Mansingh, who does not hide his disapproval of the marriage, nonetheless shows due respect towards both the Shahenshah and the soon to be javaisa of Amer, by backing out of his presence, as Jalal gravely does an aadaab. When Sharifuddin turns up  immediately thereafter, full of questions which Jalal, characteristically,  does not bother to answer,  there is a strange faraway look in Jalal's eyes.


Is he perhaps ruminating about the uncomplicated courage and the simple but rigid code of honour that are the keys to the Rajput psyche? Fitting them  into the idea that he had tossed to his ministers the other day after Bharmal had left  - that the  bravery and martial skills of the Rajputs should be co-pted to serve Mughal interests?  Or is it plain and simple admiration, tinged with indulgence,  towards one so very young and yet so fearless? Whatever it was, it is no wonder that in later years, Mansingh  became Akbar's right hand man, the one who was constantly at the receiving end of Akbar's stentorian roars,  Mansingh! Hukum ki taameel ho!


The Muhdikhayi:  While Jalal's demand for this is a pure power play, part of his plan to teach Jodha a lesson, Amer turns up trumps on this one. The face in the water idea was brilliant diplomacy, for it preserved the sanctity of the kangan bandhan ritual, and yet met Jalal's demand as well.  I would bet that it was the Dadisa, who had earlier thought of  the kangan bandhan ploy, who was the one  who came up with this as well, for it needed plenty of IQ, a commodity not plentiful among the Amer royal lot.
Jalal's face, as he waits for  Jodha to approach the water,  is  full of what the Germans would call Schadenfreude, the mischievous, indeed malicious delight in  the discomfiture of another. He watches her like a cat at a mouse hole, and when she takes the reflection of his face, so much like the one she saw in the water during the Gangaur festival, to be a projection of her own fears and draws back, his wide  smile shows puckish satisfaction. To make sure that she grasps the truth, he remarks audibly,  Subhanallah! Badi fursaat se khuda ne banaya hai tumhe!


As her panic mounts ,  her veil is blown off by a gust of wind, and she stares at him in agonized disbelief,  the watchful, smiling stillness in his face is infuriating. When  she turns eventually and bolts from the hall, he smiles again in pure triumph. He is not angry, nor does he feel humiliated, for this was exactly what he had wanted, and Jodha's reaction has exceeded his expectations.


Incidentally, Jalal seems to have a sound  intelligence network; the Mughal spy who reports back to him about Dadisa's kangan bandhan  ploy is as like a Rajput as could be.


The Tilak ceremony:  This was fascinating, and also  a landmark scene for  two reasons. The more important one: Jalal's acceptance of and his readiness to participate in a typical Rajput/Hindu ceremony, and this without the slightest hesitation, marks  the beginning of a far-reaching process of cultural assimilation with the  Rajputs, and then with the Hindus as a whole . It was this which, in parallel with political  accommodation, was the bedrock of Akbar's inclusive Mughal empire. No wonder the fanatic Mahaam Anga winces in dismay, though by now, she knows better than to open her mouth!


The second  and more personal reason has to do with Myanavati, still haunted by the memory of Shakuni Bai's shrill pronouncements. As Jalal leans forward and offers his forehead for the tilak, for the first time ever, there is a slight smile on her face. As she finishes the aarti, she looks up at him, and her eyes meet his, ever so fleetingly.  It seems that the  look of grave regard on his face reassures her, for she seems calmer as she turns away.


Also striking was  the fleeting expression on Jalal's  face when Bharmal, welcoming him, addresses him as Shahenshah (no more Agra ka Sultan!)


Jalal ka sar:  Just when I thought that this stock phrase had  become redundant, it proved to be a hardy perennial by reappearing in full strength. Jalal refers to it with a solid dose of Schadenfreude,  and when he was talking of Jodha's jhuka hua sar, I was in splits, thinking Some hope you have, young man!


Jodha,  however, was back in full form, sounding exactly as she had done 5 weeks ago, making me want to shake some sense into her. No wonder poor Bhagwan Das was on pins to get away!


This piece of tenacious folly apart, Paridhi  was very convincing when projecting  the blind panic that seizes Jodha  at the very thought of Jalal . The eyes, the mouth, the whole face. all work in an agony of apprehension as she implores her brother to do something, anything, to prevent Jalal from sabotaging her marriage to the man who she believes will lay him low (and of course bring her that sar).  Lovely stuff.


Kanya paksh: It was very interesting, the kneejerk fears that take over Bharmal & Co at the very idea that Jalal might be upset at Jodha's abrupt departure from the muhdikhayi, and see it as an insult to him. And it is not just the timorous Bharmal.   Bhagwan Das too, despite his initial, strong opposition to the marriage, is now on pins to avert any such calamity and to somehow placate the son-in-law to be.


Of course here, over above the traditional subservience of the kanya paksh (nowadays steadily becoming history, thank God!) there is also the fear of what an enraged Jalal might  do to Amer. It was also striking how quickly the three newly liberated  princes accept the idea of Jodha marrying  Jalal,  after just a token protest.


Mahaam Anga & Sharifuddin: She was trying desperately to get some  sort of disapproving hold on the proceedings, and failing every time, especially with her complaint to Jalal about Jodha's bolting from he muhdikhayi. Left to herself, she would have vetoed the tilak and the aarti,  not to speak of  Jodha's radical demands in the precap. But no one is going to ask her for her opinion, and when Jalal agrees to the Krishna mandir in Jodha's palace in Agra, they had better place a chair behind Mahaam Anga, for her to collapse into from sheer shock.  


She must be rueing the day she pushed  Jalal to make his own decisions independently of his Khan baba, for now he has started making them with a vengeance, and very undesirable ones from her point of view! No wonder she vents her frustrations by talking down to the hapless Bharmal when  she brings Jalal's gifts for Jodha.


Sharifuddin, being no Adham Khan, but rather a true blue apparatchik ( Russian for a bureaucrat)  seems to have adjusted swiftly to the changed circumstances. He is seen busily ingratiating himself once again with the Shahenshah,  by lauding his dedication to sword practice,  among other things. It is revealing that he never dares to call his brother-in-law Jalal, as his foster brother Adham Khan does, but sticks to the respectful, even obsequious Shahenshah.


Jodha resurgent: By episode end, the desperate, tearful, shattered  Jodha has picked herself up, aided no doubt by the blunt clarity of her mother's warning about the likely fate of Amer if she were now to jib at the marriage.  Her face is a mask as she wipes her tears and looks up at her mother, who has just finished reminding her of the responsibilities and duties  that fall to a royal's lot. The eyes are clear,  full of a new determination to face whatever  comes and master it, despite  the cost to herself.


She will go out now and deal with the arrogant Mahaam Anga , and accept the dazzling array of lavish gifts that Jalal has sent her (the list is fascinating,whether it is the Dacca muslin, the Masulipatnam chunaris, or the Pashmina shawl  - shades of Ruqaiya at the Meena Bazaar!- or all that  jewellery) .


What remains to be seen is what she does with the shaadi ka joda that Jalal insists she should receive  personally, as proof of her complete acceptance of this marriage. There seems to be no fire handy for her to drop it into, as apparently shown on SBB. Moreover, her mother's warning about Amer's safety would apply doubly to the shaadi ka joda.  How then can she burn it, a most irrevocably insulting thing to do? Let us see.


I for one very much hope that Jodha avoids this kind of childish folly, and concetrates instead on  ensuring that her personality remains  intact even after marriage to the Mughal emperor. That would be in keeping with what she should be, brave and steadfast even in the worst adversity, and above all, as dignified as a princess has to be,  no matter what.


The opening montage raises one's hopes in this regard. Though Jodha is shown standing,with what might seem at first sight to be wifely subservience to her lord and master, seated and radiating imperial arrogance, a close look  at her face shows a cool remoteness and self-possession. Atta girl!
\

 Shyamala B.Cowsik


Last edited by sashashyam on 2013-08-07, 13:47; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : To adjust the para spacing)

sashashyam
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Re: Jodha Akbar 35: Shahi Shaadi 1 :Opening Gambits

Post by pollyanna on 2013-08-07, 13:53

Hi Shyamala Aunty, 

Thanks once again for the PEACH of a POST :) :) 

Monday's episode kick started with 3 most important scenes, for me, Jalal-MaanSingh;Muuhdikhayi and lsta but not the least, the tilak ceremony.

Jalalne socha , Jodha toh abhi door ki baat hai...pehlle uske ghar walon ko pataa liya jaaye.....in all the 3 scenes: takeway was---Jalal's stature rose in the eyes of Jodha's family.

I just loved the way u have analysed this episode :)

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Re: Jodha Akbar 35: Shahi Shaadi 1 :Opening Gambits

Post by Tanthya on 2013-08-07, 14:42

Mine was the Tilak ceremony ..Not bec it  ushered in the acceptance of all religion by Jalal for Jalal had already sported Tilak when coming to Amer ..but for the by play that happens between him and Menavati..

Menavti , who harbors a visceral  abhorrence towards all things Mughal and a special degree of of detestation  towards Jalal is tradition bound to do the Aart.. She comes reluctantly, face blank and devoid of expression, a polite and non committal pranam .. The aarti plat is duly offered to the queen , a voice pips up saying that maybe queen of Amer wants to apply Tilak .. Jalal has no inclination whatsoever to get himself Tilakified UNTIL he catches the apparent reluctance in Menavati's countenance , then with an impish glee , he leans forward, All ready to get  his Tilak !!! He watches her with concentration, as Menavti applies the Tilak on his forehead, gives a token smile and leaves.. what does Jalal  do..  after application .. He watches her quietly, thoughtfully , His eyes following her until she disappears from sight...

Very well enacted by  Rajat !!

Loved reading you, Shyamala !!

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Re: Jodha Akbar 35: Shahi Shaadi 1 :Opening Gambits

Post by pollyanna on 2013-08-07, 14:52

Ohh Sathu....yesss...the follow up through his eyes.......OMG!!!!...I am having phangurling moment.....

Sathu.....i liked the way u explained...it added to my PG hysteria Wink 

well excuse my words/language....jab maa ko aise naapa toh beti ke saath toh MASHAALLAH!!!!

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Re: Jodha Akbar 35: Shahi Shaadi 1 :Opening Gambits

Post by Tanthya on 2013-08-07, 15:04

pollyanna wrote:Ohh Sathu....yesss...the follow up through his eyes.......OMG!!!!...I am having phangurling moment.....

Sathu.....i liked the way u explained...it added to my PG hysteria Wink 

well excuse my words/language....jab maa ko aise naapa toh beti ke saath toh MASHAALLAH!!!!

 :P :P  Sambhalke , Pallo else this moment will turn into phangurling infinitude ..

Tumne dekha nahi..How he was eagerly turning his head to and fro, bending, searing her as  Jodha was  escorted in by her mom n Dadi for the Muh dikhayi ..  if looks could speak, he almost made love , a hard, harsh love  ..

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Re: Jodha Akbar 35: Shahi Shaadi 1 :Opening Gambits

Post by pollyanna on 2013-08-07, 15:09

Tanthya wrote:
pollyanna wrote:Ohh Sathu....yesss...the follow up through his eyes.......OMG!!!!...I am having phangurling moment.....

Sathu.....i liked the way u explained...it added to my PG hysteria Wink 

well excuse my words/language....jab maa ko aise naapa toh beti ke saath toh MASHAALLAH!!!!

 :P :P  Sambhalke , Pallo else this moment will turn into phangurling infinitude ..

Tumne dekha nahi..How he was eagerly turning his head to and fro, bending, searing her as  Jodha was  escorted in by her mom n Dadi for the Muh dikhayi ..  if looks could speak, he almost made love , a hard, harsh love  ..

 Aiyoo rama!!! Rolling Eyes  Somewhere I learnt Eye-S** and now u taught me  lovemaking :P ........

Now no one can  dissuade me from not watching JA....have got my incentive Wink

Well, I am going to rewatch that scene, have to see  from THAT perspective Wink : and ur to be BLAMED!!! Twisted Evil

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Jodha Akbar 35: Shahi Shaadi 1 :Opening Gambits

Post by sashashyam on 2013-08-07, 15:13

Dear Tanthya,What an interesting new take on the tilak ceremony! I had not thought of that myself, and it is very clever and perceptive of you to have done so. Yours might well be the more correct take on the whole, though I did feel  that Mynavati and the rest of the Amer lot would have been disappointed if Jalal had backed out and refused the tilak. So I don't think it was reluctance  on her face, only hesitation and perhaps some trepidation  as well. She does not only apply the tilak, she showers  him with flower petals and does his aarti  as well. In the end, she looks into his grave eyes for  a moment, and I had the feeling that she felt reassured.ShyamalaTanthya wrote:Mine was the Tilak ceremony ..Not bec it  ushered in the acceptance of all religion by Jalal for Jalal had already sported Tilak when coming to Amer ..but for the by play that happens between him and Menavati..

Menavti , who harbors a visceral  abhorrence towards all things Mughal and a special degree of of detestation  towards Jalal is tradition bound to do the Aart.. She comes reluctantly, face blank and devoid of expression, a polite and non committal pranam .. The aarti plat is duly offered to the queen , a voice pips up saying that maybe queen of Amer wants to apply Tilak .. Jalal has no inclination whatsoever to get himself Tilakified UNTIL he catches the apparent reluctance in Menavati's countenance , then with an impish glee , he leans forward, All ready to get  his Tilak !!! He watches her with concentration, as Menavti applies the Tilak on his forehead, gives a token smile and leaves.. what does Jalal  do..  after application .. He watches her quietly, thoughtfully , His eyes following her until she disappears from sight...

Very well enacted by  Rajat !!

Loved reading you, Shyamala !!

sashashyam
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Re: Jodha Akbar 35: Shahi Shaadi 1 :Opening Gambits

Post by Tanthya on 2013-08-07, 15:49

pollyanna wrote:
Tanthya wrote:
pollyanna wrote:Ohh Sathu....yesss...the follow up through his eyes.......OMG!!!!...I am having phangurling moment.....

Sathu.....i liked the way u explained...it added to my PG hysteria Wink 

well excuse my words/language....jab maa ko aise naapa toh beti ke saath toh MASHAALLAH!!!!

 :P :P  Sambhalke , Pallo else this moment will turn into phangurling infinitude ..

Tumne dekha nahi..How he was eagerly turning his head to and fro, bending, searing her as  Jodha was  escorted in by her mom n Dadi for the Muh dikhayi ..  if looks could speak, he almost made love , a hard, harsh love  ..

 Aiyoo rama!!! Rolling Eyes  Somewhere I learnt Eye-S** and now u taught me  lovemaking :P ........

Now no one can  dissuade me from not watching JA....have got my incentive Wink

Well, I am going to rewatch that scene, have to see  from THAT perspective Wink : and ur to be BLAMED!!! Twisted Evil

 I refuse to be the scapegoat, I plead  'NOT GEELTY '.. You and your gutter feelings are the culprit..Not me, not me, not me.. Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

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Re: Jodha Akbar 35: Shahi Shaadi 1 :Opening Gambits

Post by Tanthya on 2013-08-07, 15:57

sashashyam wrote:
Dear Tanthya,What an interesting new take on the tilak ceremony! I had not thought of that myself, and it is very clever and perceptive of you to have done so. Yours might well be the more correct take on the whole, though I did feel  that Mynavati and the rest of the Amer lot would have been disappointed if Jalal had backed out and refused the tilak. So I don't think it was reluctance  on her face, only hesitation and perhaps some trepidation  as well. She does not only apply the tilak, she showers  him with flower petals and does his aarti  as well. In the end, she looks into his grave eyes for  a moment, and I had the feeling that she felt reassured.ShyamalaTanthya wrote:Mine was the Tilak ceremony ..Not bec it  ushered in the acceptance of all religion by Jalal for Jalal had already sported Tilak when coming to Amer ..but for the by play that happens between him and Menavati..

Menavti , who harbors a visceral  abhorrence towards all things Mughal and a special degree of of detestation  towards Jalal is tradition bound to do the Aart.. She comes reluctantly, face blank and devoid of expression, a polite and non committal pranam .. The aarti plat is duly offered to the queen , a voice pips up saying that maybe queen of Amer wants to apply Tilak .. Jalal has no inclination whatsoever to get himself Tilakified UNTIL he catches the apparent reluctance in Menavati's countenance , then with an impish glee , he leans forward, All ready to get  his Tilak !!! He watches her with concentration, as Menavti applies the Tilak on his forehead, gives a token smile and leaves.. what does Jalal  do..  after application .. He watches her quietly, thoughtfully , His eyes following her until she disappears from sight...

Very well enacted by  Rajat !!

Loved reading you, Shyamala !!

 Hi Shyamala ,

Thank you for reading me out patiently .. IMO..The Royalties of Amer had no liberty to feel anything , be it of slight or disappointment or anger  .. Menavati had already stamped  Jalal as a despot, a cruel foreigner although Dadi did try to drum some sense, I do not think it penetrated  until the time when Jalal agrees for the 2 conditions ..

She follows what tradition demands almost mechanically, the tears  coursing down her cheeks the silent testimony to her pain, her sorrow, her despair , her helplessness .. She looks at him wanting to believe , wanting to assure herself , she leaves the hall after the ritual is done ..eyes still glistening with unshed tears as her lips grimaces  into a semblance of a smile so as not to  give cause for the emperor to get angry...

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