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Jodha Akbar 42: Spice-crossed!

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Jodha Akbar 42: Spice-crossed!

Post by sashashyam on 2013-08-16, 16:09

Posted: 14 August 2013 at 2:28pm | IP Logged
Okay, folks, I am not losing the plot and repeating episode numbers. This is the real No. 42, and I had goofed up and skipped a number last night. And no, at my age, it was not the after effect of that hamaam scene!  Thanks a lot to Zoyafan and QuiNotti  who alerted me to it ever so discreetly. Who says GenX does not have beautiful, considerate manners?
I was in two minds today about posting anything, and only partly because my left eye has not yet quite made up its mind if it wants to stop imitating a tomato.
It was more because the episode left me feeling rather tired and also a bit sad about  the vagaries of human nature. Plus the terminally soapy device of pretending for the sake of the khushi or bhalayi of someone or the other, and lying thru one's teeth to that end,  is enough to  set my teeth on edge; every single saas bahu serial, without exception, has it. 
The truth is always the safer bet, and then it can be sugar-coated as desired, but the denizens of TV soapland are in love with untruth, and the more blatant the better. So is  Jodha now, apparently believing that the charade she has embarked upon can be kept up indefinitely. Let us get the score on this operation, beginning yesterday.
Jodha-Jalal: the score yesterday: Okay, so she wants that, and of course she needs Jalal's sustained cooperation to carry it thru. So she goes -  after some strong persuasion for the extremely practical Motibai, who has 10 times as much commonsense as her mistress -  to see Jalal. He agrees to oblige her and, after some coaching,  to lie thru his  perfect pearly whites for her sake.
She in turn, helps him bathe, most reltouctantly, it is true, but still she does it. If she had had any sense of humour, she would have dissolved in infectious laughter at her own plight,  and Ekta's serial would have been shortened by about 200 episodes! But our Jodha is not burdened with this attribute, so she does not appreciate her spouse's mischievous grins.
So far, they are quits.
Jodha-Jalal: the score today: Now for today's happenings. Jalal is extra welcoming and warm to Bharmal and Mynavati. He lays it on thick about Jodha to her mother. A hint of a grateful smile  is  visible on Jodha's face.It is, however,  immediately chased away by Jalal mentioning, with a straight face,  but an impish gleam in his eye, meant for Jodha,  that she had learnt a new rivaaz  from him,  at one try, the day before. Like Queen Victoria, Jodha is not amused!  Round 1 to Jalal.
To pay him back for that mischievous sally, Jodha scolds him for coming into the room with Lord Krishna's idol with his jootis on. Jalal must have wondered, at this point,  why all his khaas Begums seem to  be eternally after his beloved jootis!  His eyes, as he slowly raises them to Jodha's, look almost grim - for it is a very cheeky remark - but he makes a quick recover, and apologises, blaming his forgetfulness. Mynavati is amazed at the good humour of her javaisa,  and Jodha smiles in secret triumph. Round 2 to Jodha.
Not one to go down without a fight, Jalal now hints  very broadly  at perfect conjugal felicity between Jodha and himself, mentioning her having pulled him up about the jootis the night before too, and wondering about the wounds on her arm (from the broken bangles of  the night before last) which, he says, were not there the previous night.  Jodha turns pink with embarrassment at the implications of his remarks; and as Jalal  leaves, the two of them eye each other like Kilkenny cats, eager for the next sparring match.
Maybe the bangle bit was rather insensitive, but the rest of it is  a perfectly legit, no holds barred boxing bout, from which Jalal retires having won on points. This is not yet the self-destructive spousal hostility of Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf .
Alas, this is soon going to change, and change drastically, for the worse, after the Mahaam-induced fiasco of Begum Jodha's  lazeez khana.  
Pre-Chilli: Coming to that, I wondered why the Shahenshah eats in solitary state. Even if Bharmal cannot join because of the beti ke ghar paani bhi nahin peete rule (I was in fact looking to see whether Bharmal  had a water bottle, or the 16th century equivalent thereof, tucked away in his choga. But perhaps, since he is a son of the desert, he shares the ability of the ship of the desert to go on for days without the aforesaid paani!), what of Bhagwan Das and Mansingh?  Both of them are obviously exempt from the paani nahin peete fiat, since both have been both eating and drinking in the palace for weeks now.  If one or both of them had sat down to the meal with Jalal, Mahaam would never have pulled that stunt, as it would have been spotted  with the first mouthful either of them took.
Next, Jodha has at least 5  maids in attendance all the  time. Not one of them, not even Motibai,   has the notion of  being watchful and making sure their special khana was safe;  instead they all  sashay off in Jodha's wake.  Staff is the same everywhere and in every age, never where they should be!
Plus, this chilli stunt is as old as the hills and as boring; it is unworthy of the quality we have got used to in Jodha Akbar. And the explanations for Jalal eating it till he practically has smoke coming out of his ears  -imperial pride, wanting to keep his word to Jodha etc. - are all nonsense. He could have put an end to it after the first bite by jokingly asking Bharmal if they  preferred such red hot food to match the  fiery Rajput temperament, and the cat would have been out of the bag at once.  It is pathetic, this screenplay.
Post-Chilli:  Having skimmed thru the vigorous arguments in MoronskiMallika's thread,  for and against Jodha and for and against Jalal,  I feel that both of them are  OTT, Jalal furiously and Jodha mulishly.
But he is the one more sinned against than sinning. He has treated Bharmal and Mynavati with great courtesy and  consideration, he has been very kind to Mansingh (even if Jodha sees this as aimed at corrupting the young  man), and he has lied manfully  to please Jodha and keep her parents not just happy but in the seventh heaven of parental joy and satisfaction . Against all this, what are  few mischievous sallies  at Jodha's expense ? So, in the pre-chilli phase, she owes him  a good bit.
Why then  does Jodha assume that he is making up the chilli complaint? If she had taken even a single look at him while he was eating, she would have known that something was badly wrong. But  of course she does not. Even  without that, a look at him pouring all that water down his throat as she is coming into  the room should have alerted her.
Her response to his fierce question as to why she did it, that she has no bhay of him,  is bizarre.
When Hanuman returned from Lanka with Sita's token for Lord Rama, he announces, as soon  as he is in Rama's presence,  Dekha Sitaji ko. He wants to spare Rama even that one extra  split second of anxiety, the time taken to pronounce  the  2 more words,  if he had said Sitaji ko dekha.
So also here, Jodha should have said at  once Nahin kiya maine! The categoric negative, accompanied by the info that Mahaam Anga had tasted the food and found it lazeez, plus a word of concern for his pain and a move to get him some honey to soothe his burnt tongue -  and Jalal would not only have believed her and launched a successful  investigation to nail the culprits, but he would have instantly  forgotten all his ills.
There is no point in  listing out all his misdeeds  of 2 days back. He was drunk then,  but yesterday, and more so today, sober as a judge, he has turned up trumps for the  wife whom he had promised to make  miserable. Does Jodha even try to think thru  that if he really meant what he said to her that night, why then is  he now putting up  the show which she desperately wants, and why is he being  extra considerate and obliging to her parents?  No, she does not, for she does not want  her hatred of Jalal, which is by now an axiom for her, to be diluted by any such analysis or any contrary facts.
I simply could not understand  the folly of her simply repeating that she is not afraid of him. Which of course drives him to furious, over the top imprecations and threats, plus a great deal of outraged rhetoric about what is owed to the dignity of a Shahenshah.
I was also taken aback by her totally ignoring the hurt he has suffered, not   offering  at least a sliver of sympathy,  and not insisting on the incident be investigated at once by Jalal. The way she behaves, harping on what she would  not do while her parents were in Agra,  would, even in an unconcerned bystander, only reinforce the conviction that she-dun-it.  It all goes to prove that if there is one thing Begum Jodha does not have, it is sound practical sense,  plus some understanding even of 'the other' to borrow Sangeeta's evocative phrase.
Jodha is a perfect Scarlett O'Hara to Jalal's Rhett Butler, and their interactions have the same sharp edge, and the same, unfailing ability to get the other's back up and to maul whatever it is that is budding between them. The only difference is that  here, unlike the muted tragedy of Gone with the Wind, not even Ekta Kapoor can change the happy ending. But what I  fear is that the longer such unnecessarily harsh interactions between them continue, the more difficult will it be for the CVs to effect the eventual transition to a loving and trusting relationship  gracefully and convincingly.
Thought for the day: It  seem to be  the general consensus that by conferring the 5000 level Mansubedari on Bharmal,  Jalal  has gained a substantial politico-military advantage, by co-opting the Rajputs to fight for the Mughals instead of against them. This might well  be true for the long term, for   after all Akbar reigned for all of  49 years. But right now, seeing the way the Amer forces, reinforced by Suryabhan's troops, fared against Sharifuddin,  I personally think Jalal will be paying out 30000 asharfis a month  for a langda ghoda that cannot even trot, not to speak of winning races!  

sashashyam
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Re: Jodha Akbar 42: Spice-crossed!

Post by pollyanna on 2013-08-19, 11:33

Finally got time and read the fabulous analysis......OMG!!! Am awestruck!!!

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Absolutely loved how u explained Post-Chilli ......

For me......both Jodha-Jalal suffered from a classic case of "ASSUMPTION"....both thinking, assuming and communicating without putting in a sense of logic in the flow of ideas/events

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Jodha Akbar 42: Spice-crossed!

Post by sashashyam on 2013-08-19, 11:42

Thank you so much, my  dear Pallavi. Do also take a look  No. 44, Suspended animation, where things seem to have started moving a bit on both sides,and tell me whether you agree with my take.Shyamala Auntypollyanna wrote:Finally got time and read the fabulous analysis......OMG!!! Am awestruck!!!

Thumbsup 

Absolutely loved how u explained Post-Chilli ......

For me......both Jodha-Jalal suffered from a classic case of "ASSUMPTION"....both thinking, assuming and communicating without putting in a sense of logic in the flow of ideas/events

sashashyam
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Re: Jodha Akbar 42: Spice-crossed!

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