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Jodha Akbar 55: In the vale of tears

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Jodha Akbar 55: In the vale of tears

Post by sashashyam on 2013-09-03, 14:13

The  image from last night that haunted me was not that of Jalal blossoming into an expectant father,  wrapped up, to an unbelievable extent, in the child whose arrival he awaits with such eagerness. So eagerly that he is prepared to put off his campaigns of conquest, and sheath his shamsheer till that happy day. So eagerly  that he rates even the prospect of  having an heir,   for the empire he rules and the even more vast empire he is sure he will rule, lower than the happiness of being a father.
It is rarely, even today , that a father is so emotionally dependent on the child he hopes to have, so think how much rarer this must have been in those days! The Shahenshah  has turned philosopher in this unexpected flood of joy: Zameen khudh chunti hai  ki  us par kaun hukumat karega. Takht apna shahenshah khudh chunta hai.
Nor that of Jalal, restless from a variety of unfamiliar emotions that do not let him sleep, that make him  unsettled whether alone or in company, assembles the 4 senior women who are the closest to him and seeks answers to why he feels the way he does.  It is a lovely scene, with Jalal's uncontainable joy brimming over,  and being reflected in the four affectionate, indulgent faces of these women " his Badiammi, his Ammijaan, his Gulbadan phupha and his other wet nurse "  for whom he has been the apple of their eye since his birth. As he walks away, they form an arc of empathy as they gaze after him, and I  could almost believe that all their smiles are genuine, but still  the doubt ate  away at me  from inside " is  it really all, or all bar one?
Nor even of Jalal breaking down completely in his Badiammi's sheltering, warm embrace, weeping like a lost child  as the truth of the  tragedy seeps into his consciousness. As he looks up and accuses the Almighty of having let him, and even more so Ruqaiya, down so cruelly, anguish and anger fight for dominance in the upturned face.
It was rather the slightly earlier, fleeting shot of Jalal's face as he stands outside Ruqaiya's rooms, having been expelled from them by Mahaam Anga in anticipation of the arrival of the Khwaja. It shows, for the first time ever, fear. A fear that he does not try to hide as a sign of weakness, for he is beyond any such petty considerations. A naked fear that desperately seeks reassurance, and  negation,  from his Badiammi's eyes. When it dawns on him that this is not forthcoming, that something has gone very badly wrong, the fear dissolves into the despair of sudden, gut-wrenching grief and tears. It was  an incredibly nuanced performance from  so young an actor, who could hardly draw on his own experiences for such scenes, but would have to fall back on  his imagination.
In the whole episode, Rajat's Jalal walked thru this vale of tears with amazing conviction and credibility, so much so that by the end, when Ruqaiya demands justice from the Shahenshah, one has almost forgotten that there is an individual called Rajat Tokas. There is only Jalal.  That is perhaps the ultimate compliment that one can pay to any actor.
Jalal I & Jalal II: Even in depths of such overwhelming  grief, Jalal balances the distraught father on the one hand,  and the Shahenshah as the impartial dispenser of justice on the other,  to perfection. Despite the apparently watertight case against Jodha, he does not accept it at once, but threatens  the Khwaja with death if she proves to be wrong.
But she is unshaken, and the case against Jodha is not merely a circumstantial one, be it  noted, but one backed by solid evidence (that is to say, evidence that has been carefully tweaked to seem so to even the most skeptical  judge). There is the dature ka ark in the kesar from Amer, plus  the Khwaja's assertion that it is not found in the Mughal dominions but only in the  dry areas adjoining its borders,  and that only expert hakims from the old royal families know how to extract and prepare it from  the datura. Then the smell of datura on Ruqaiya's breath and traces of it in the blood that has seeped out of her body. And finally Mahaam Anga's genuine swooning act; they show her surroundings going out of focus in her eyes as she sways; naturally, for the dature ka ark in the kesar is real.
One can almost see two Jalals struggling within him for domination within him. There is Jalal I,  whose insensate rage against the  woman who seems to have killed his child threatens to sweep all before it in a mad, murderous rush. Then there is Jalal II, who cannot  accept the awful possibility that this selfsame woman,  in whose goodness he had placed his trust, the woman whom he had begun to admire and  respect almost despite himself, could have so betrayed that trust and perpetrated this vile deed. It is this idea of the  pristine image he now has of Jodha being lost and degraded that hurts him almost as much as the loss of his child.
Matters are  made tougher for him by the fact that no one accuses Jodha directly " not the Khwaja, not Mahaam Anga , who in fact goes one better and exclaims Par Jodha Begum aise kyon karegi?  In fact, as the net of the physical evidence is drawn tighter and tighter, it closes inexorably on Amer, and thus on Jodha, and  it is Jalal who is forced to arrive at the same suspicion, that soon becomes  proof positive.
Strangely enough, Hamida Banu, who might have spoken up for Jodha with conviction and strengthened Jalal II's hands, is nowhere to be seen just when she is needed the most. Not just here, she was nowhere to be seen when Jalal was distraught with grief after learning from Mahaam Anga, that his child was no more. Or anywhere else before or after that, for that matter. No wonder she is invariably so ineffective and lacking in influence on her son.
Still, Jalal does not rush to judgment and charge off to Jodha's rooms to punish her. He goes to Ruqaiya's and tries to soothe her and get her to act rationally and soberly, for Jalal II is struggling still within him to find a way out for Jodha. His inner sense tells him one thing, and the evidence another, but the inner voice is not strong enough to overcome the pitiless logic of Ruqiaya's  demand for justice against Jodha, who she genuinely believes is a devious murderess. Thus we arrive at the precap, a cliffhanger if ever there was one.
Mahaam Anga: After Jalal, if there is one character who deserves applause for the sheer ability to carry conviction whatever her inner thoughts and her actions, it is Mahaam Anga.
I still believe, fairly firmly, that the whole is her doing. I have seen Mansi's as usual very well done argument in favour of Sharifuddin as the culprit, but while she has many credible points to back her theory, for a man, especially a warrior like Sharifuddin who has no link to medicine and the pharmacoepia,  to know about an aborifacient, for that is what it was, does not sound likely. It points more to a woman familiar with pregnancies and childbirth.
Nor is there anything to show that Sharifuddin had gone back to Amer in the few day since Ruqaiya's pregnancy was announced, to get hold of the ark, and to believe that he kept it by him from earlier of the off chance that he might need it defied belief.
For the same reason, I would rule out Adham, who also lacks the subtle mind needed for such a coup. That would seem to leave only Mahaam Anga, who, as she supervises everything to do with the security of all that Ruqaiya eats, would be the best placed to add the ark to the kesar. It is, as a Tamil saying goes, like the fence eating the crop.
She has the resources  to procure it even after she saw that the Amer gift was the kesar, and it was not necessary, from her point of view,that  it should be ingested that very day with that kesar doodh. Any other day would have done as well, for the  kesar would have been in Hoshiyaar's custody and would not have been checked again. Jodha would have been the prime accused in any  case. Two prize birds with one stone is par for the course for Mahaam Anga.
But the curious thing is that despite all this, I am sure that when she is beaming with joy at Jalal's happiness  (which she knows will be very shortlived), and again when she holds him close as his whole being is racked with grief, and talks to him with deep affection and understanding, she is not faking the empathy in either case. It is almost as if she has a split personality, the one who loves her erstwhile nursling, and the other who will do anything at all, even at the expense of the same nursling, to protect her interests and those of the son whom she cares for above all else.  Ashwini Kalsekar brings all her experience and skills to a role which, for all its occasional excesses, is  far more nuanced and demanding than anything she has done so far.
Ruqaiya: I was struck by the fact that for all her obsession with becoming the mother of the heir to the Mughal throne,  Ruqaiya, when faced with the destruction of her ambitions,  does not, as I had expected dissolve into furious rage, rant about having lost the chance of becoming the Mariam-uz-Zamani,  or rush to berate Jodha and accuse her of being a murderess. Instead, she keens over in unbearable, genuine grief, her body bent double, her  voice dissolving into inarticulate sobs.  In that instant, she is just a mother who has lost her  child, and that trumps every other consideration.
From that to her demand for justice, not of her husband but of her Shahenshah, against the woman she believes to be guilty, is but  a step. And it  is this implacable  voice of a bereaved mother that defeats Jalal II, who has been fighting hard till then solely on the strength of the  conviction that comes from his heart, the conviction that despite all the appearances to the contrary, the Amer ki shehzaadi is  innocent.
So, when Jalal I takes over in the precap, there is no way he   can be berated for what he does. I was glad to see  that among all the helpless  lamenting in the forum about Jodha, almost no one  has blamed Jalal for believing that it was she who had done it. Confronted with that pile of evidence, not even a saint would have exculpated Jodha.
The other vale of tears: Last night, I was  clinging to a stray log of wood for a good long while as I trawled the forum posts,  trying not to get swept away by the  flood of tears that threatened to drag me down in its rush. As the risk of  being labeled a confirmed, heartless (now that Jalal has a certified heart, the place for a heartless character is open) cynic, I must add that I was also surprised and a tad disappointed at the scarcity of logic in all this mourning by so many normally bright young ladies.There must have been a serious shortage of ladies' handkerchiefs in the market!
Let us take the facts.

1) We have the rare advantage of knowing, with cast iron certainty, that not  even Ekta Kapoor can change the basic story line:  that Jodha and Jalal will fall in love and stay that way till the end of their days. Unlike in the standard soap, Jodha is not going to get married to someone else , after divorcing Jalal by pretending to hate him,  all for some mahaan  reason that has to do with his bhalayi.

So it is also clear that nothing on earth is going to happen to Jodha, from being chundofied in yet another wall (Akbar's  masons practicing for the future Anarkali track: Moonstone gets a special mention for this idea of hers) to being beheaded by Jalal in one fell sweep of blind rage. In fact I do not even think she will be imprisoned, as once she is there, how will she  exculpate herself? If she is cast into prison, it will be strictly for a few days. I would rule out her being packed off to Amer, for the crime of which she stands accused is far too grave for such a slap on the wrist punishment.

Where then is the need for all this deep mourning?  The forum should all instead sit up and prepare to enjoy themselves at the edifying spectacle of the CVs tying themselves in knots trying to square the circle, or rather  to rescue Jodha from the chakravyuh  of the truly damning evidence against her. For rescued she will be, and in a way that not only proves her innocent, but gives her a nice, burnished halo in Jalal's eyes

2) It is here that I am risking  a prediction. My record in such matters is dismal, but this might well be the exception!

As things stand, it is clear that the time has come for Mansingh to prove his mettle and rescue his buasa. The kid is far more realistic and a lot less moralistic than apni Jodha, witness the way in which he fixes Adham Khan in front of Jalal , whereas in the same situation,  Jodha would have said, with lofty preachiness, Usko kuch bhi bolne do, ham apna man kyon maila karen? She is a female Yudhishtira, if ever there was one!

Mansingh, on the contrary, has a good, sharp and naturally suspicious mind, and he just might achieve what Jodha cannot, clear her name beyond all doubt. In fact he has to, for  I can see no other option at present, for Bhagwan Das, his brother and his two cousins have a collective IQ of less than 200.  His comment to his father a day earlier on his arrival in Agra,  that he has to be kushal to ensure that his buasa is also kushal, seems to be a pointer to such a role for him at this critical stage.

Please don't write back and ask me what precisely Mansingh will do, for I do not know. What is obvious is that he has to do something, and to do it immediately and very, very cleverly. I have faith in the young  man's ability to deliver.

When Mansingh has done this, Jalal will be eternally grateful to him, not only for nailing the culprit (Mahaam Anga's fall guy or gal, for she is not headed for the high jump so early), but even more so for restoring his faith in Jodha. For it  is the sense of being betrayed by her that hurts him almost as much as the loss of his child.

Young Mansingh has his task cut out for him, and he had better look sharp! And as for you, my gentle readers, do keep your fingers crossed for my prediction to come out right!

Shyamala Aunty

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Re: Jodha Akbar 55: In the vale of tears

Post by pollyanna on 2013-09-03, 14:23

Fabulous, fantastic,splendid post Shyamala Aunty cheers 

 one has almost forgotten that there is an individual called Rajat Tokas. There is only Jalal.  That is perhaps the ultimate compliment that one can pay to any actor--- party4 Bang ON and ditto for MA

I loved ur Jalal 1 and 2, agree..its jalal 1 who is visiting Jodha and Hameeda hopefully will bring out Jalal2 once again
Jodha as female Yudhisthira....:lol!: 

Wow...the prediction regarding MS came as a surprise but a happy one...i just wish CVs make use of him here......Aunty....lovely eye for detail and then coming up with such a thought Thumbsup 

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Re: Jodha Akbar 55: In the vale of tears

Post by sonshine487 on 2013-09-03, 14:36

Wah!  Kya Post hai, JI!

Thank God! as u said, for once, Even Ekta Maiyya cannot alter the storyline! So Jodha won't be thrown to the crocodiles, presumed dead, but is really only facially disfigured and comes back with a new face courtesy some divine fakir or hakim and send Ruqs, Ma and Jalal on a merry-go-round chase!

And I can see, you, like me, are no fan of preachy, goody-two-shoes females.

and if practical and shrewd Man-Singh is the one indeed to save his aunt... I will be very very interested to watch how he does it!

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Re: Jodha Akbar 55: In the vale of tears

Post by Tanthya on 2013-09-03, 15:39

Beautiful writing !! Loved every bit of it ..

It would be wonderful  IF  Maan Singh were to be shown possessing a political acumen  but would the  matters of Harem reach the court   or will it be nipped by Hameeda or by Jodha herself  ??

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Re: Jodha Akbar 55: In the vale of tears

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