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Jodha Akbar 58: Wuthering Depths

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Jodha Akbar 58: Wuthering Depths

Post by sashashyam on 2013-09-06, 20:59

Posted: 06 September 2013 at 4:10am | IP Logged
Folks,


I thought you were all in for a Friday afternoon treat: an escape, for at least this one day, from my 3 pagers! I am run off my feet with other commitments, but some  very kind requests for my take on what was obviously an unsettling and unpleasant episode have brought me back here this afternoon. Isme mera koyi kasoor nahin hai!


I will start with  two givens, and as everyone would have watched the episode, there is no need to go into the details of who said what to whom, and more important, who did not say what to whom.
The first given is that Jalal is well over the top,  with a rage that is obviously not ebbing, but feeding on itself and whipping itself up to frenzy levels.  



The other  given is that the Amer quintet, bar the  very level headed and straight-thinking Mansingh, is as silent as the grave. They have not, for whatever reason,  opened their mouths even to proclaim their innocence (bar Jodha's assertion to Jalal the first night). 



What I propose to do today is not to excoriate one or the other, and to eschew any  kind of shocked condemnation on the one hand, and melting empathy on the other, for Jalal and Jodha respectively. It is both pointless and repetitive, for the posts I have seen are all entirely predictable  and declamatory. Instead, I propose to take each as he/she is, and to try and see why  each is behaving the way he/she is doing.



Jalal: For any major change in the behavior of a character, especially a very strong one like Jalal, there has to be a definite and immediate reason. From the time of the chess match, thru the fencing duel,  Jodha  rescuing Rahim,  and finally with the lovely poem she writes  for the Jalal-Ruqaiya baby, Jalal had come quite a distance, and  on an unfamiliar road,  as far as Jodha was concerned.



His attitude to her earlier , up to the immediate post marriage phase, was entirely coloured  by what he had heard her say about him at the Amer jail, and  by her very obvious distaste for her marriage to him, which she never made any attempt to camouflage. So his approach was shaped partly by a desire to  dominate her and break her guroor,  and partly  by reluctant admiration for her beauty. There was no personal element in it, for he did not know her as a person at all. And when he thought he did, as in the mirchi incident,  his antagonism was only reinforced.


But soon enough, as  he got to see a different  facet of Jodha every other day,  all of them positive and fascinating,  Jalal began to slip into a phase he had never known before. It was not yet what is commonly perceived as love. It was rather admiration for her various skill sets,  which overlapped with his own  - at chess or at fencing - and to which he could thus relate at once.



However, it was only after the rescue of Rahim, and even more so after the poem, which effected a quantum change in the way he perceived Jodha, that Jalal began, for perhaps the first time in his life, to trust in  the unselfish goodness of another human being.  He was now sure that the Amer ki shehzaadi was special, that even if she did not care for him and even if she still hated him, she was capable for deep and genuine affection for the child which was already the closest to his heart.  Everyone else who  was close to him had always wanted something or the other from him,  but Jodha was unselfish and undemanding, he believed, and so she was  in a class apart. And this shift in perception and feeling of his side  was reflected not just in his private praise of the poem to her, but in  his public praise of  her gift at the jashn, and in the unprecedentedly high level of respect and regard he showed for her then.



It was from these heights in Jalal's innermost being that Jodha fell, and fell precipitously,  the same night when, after fighting the idea initially and threatening the Khwaja with dire punishment if she turned out to be wrong, Jalal succumbed to what seemed to be a cast iron case  against Jodha. It  was  not circumstantial evidence but (concocted) physical evidence, the validity of which, in those days of no forensic or technical skills, was readily accepted even by Mansingh. 



One can cite the Holy Bible about Satan:   Lucifer, Son of the Morning, how art thou fallen? , which is mirrored in Jalal's anguished cry to Jodha:  Tumne yeh kyon kiya? Tum itne neeche kaise gir sakti ho?



For Jalal, already reeling under the loss of  his child , ripped apart inside and  rent with a grief that chokes him, this second shock must have been crippling. He was, in his own zehen, exposed as a soft fool,  who had succumbed to a hitherto unknown weakness and had placed his trust in, as he now believes,  a devious murderess who had channeled the hatred she felt for him into this vile crime, in order to hit him where it would hurt the most, and inflict on him an injury worse even that death.



Whence his  savage desire now to hurt her as much as he can, to punish her not just for extinguishing his dearest hope and joy, but for having, as he sees it, made a complete fool of him by trampling on the innermost recesses of his being, where no one else had ever been allowed entry. There is to be no escape route for this Jezebel, she has to pay and pay to the  limit.  
Right and wrong no longer count for him  at this stage (they will, fairly soon, but we are not there yet). So it is pointless to talk of respect for women or for the rule of law. The law is in any case what the Shahenshah says it is.



Note that in every meeting with the Amer sextet, Jalal looks only at Jodha; the rest are irrelevant, and they are to be punished because that will hurt Jodha far more than her own punishment. For those of you who have  read Emily Bronte's classic novel of love gone horribly wrong, Wuthering Heights,  you would see that  Jalal right now is, after allowing for the considerably different circumstances,  like Heathcliff  in that book (which was and is a dream role for any actor).

By now, Jalal's  corrosive rage has turned into something perilously close to sadism . It was fascinating to watch him yesterday - it was all so smooth and silken, and yet so much of an exercise in refined cruelty. The message he has sent to Amer is in the same vein, to add that extra dose of second hand pain for Jodha. It all made for unpleasant watching, but I was greatly  impressed by Rajat, who delivered effortlessly.



 I would here like to cite two very relevant points made, in the thread It is Jalal, not Akbar, at
http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=3725394&TPN=7
by Couch_Potato . The second builds on the  softness aspect I have mentioned above, but the first, about Jalal slipping into his default setting, the one set by his two mentors, Mahaam Anga and Bairam Khan, is new and spot on. The extract  goes as follows:


Moreover, him lashing out like that made complete sense. Of course when traumatised to his core, Jalaal would leave all rationality and reason and revert to his default setting. One Bairam Khan and Maham Anga have groomed and nurtured since childhood - that of a raging, bloodthirsty warrior that attacks first and asks questions later. To fall back on those principles now would give him a sense of direction and as he hopes some respite from the torment he feels inside.


Somehow, I also felt that somewhere and in some ways, Jalaal holds himself responsible too. He blames himself for not seeing it coming, for not being better prepared, for not protected his unborn baby and perhaps the worst sin of all - for softening up. Something Bairam Khan had always cautioned him against.


To revert, nothing of what Jalal  does now is acceptable behaviour, but that is the way he is, and I have tried to get at  the reason why he is so.



For those  who attribute Jalal's current behavior to his being illiterate,  that argument is really a non-starter.


One cannot equate illiteracy with the absence wisdom and a sense of balance and moderation, and by inference, education with the presence of these very qualities.  And it is a fallacy to assume that education automatically broadens the mind and makes one wise, tolerant and compassionate. Aurangzeb was very well educated, and so were Stalin, Hitler and Franco. Mao tse Tung wrote fairly decent poetry as well, and many of the worst Nazi mass murderers were great devotees of the German classics and of Wagner's wonderful operas. Did that make them any less of bloodthirsty, conscienceless killers en masse? 



On the contrary, many poor, illiterate people in the rural areas are wise and compassionate and generous. I have personally known any number of them, both men and women. That Akbar , while remaining illiterate, went on to become one of the  greatest rulers the world has ever seen  proves my point.


Jodha:  There seems to be less to analyse here: good people are usually transparent and  lack shades and grey areas.  In fact, she seems to me, and  I repeat myself,  almost like a transparent sheet  of glass, which, in the correct lighting, is practically invisible. She seems to understand but little of what might well happen to her and hers in the present catastrophic situation.



Jodha  too had been moving away of late from her earlier fixation with the Jalal the Jallad image of her husband, but not to any significant extent. She is not shown being pleased after his praise of her poem, or happy  at the special regard and respect Jalal shows for her at the jashn. She is passive and non-reactive, and even when Jalal's midnight eruption into her room brings home the terrible loss he has suffered,  as also the danger in which  she finds herself, she hardly reacts to either. Not then, and not later, except to stare at him in unflinching defiance at the Diwan-e-Khas and later at the private audience. She can think only of the reputation of Amer, and fret about any interruption in her daily diyabati  for her Kanha (why could Motibai not have done it in Jodha's place? Kanha would hardly refuse to  accept puja from a non-royal devotee!)



One can only conclude that like Jalal, Jodha too has automatically reverted to her default setting,  of hatred and contempt for Jalal the Jallad. This shuts out any possibility  of her trying to understand why the man who smiled at her the previous evening with such unclouded warmth was now like a snarling wild beast, intent on destroying her and hers root and branch. And then adjusting her response accordingly.



 Jodha now presents a strange image of unyielding courage on the one hand, and on the other, a total lack of all that an intelligent, enquiring mind would proceed to do in such a situation.  She is  not even shown speculating, to herself, about who the real culprit might be; the contrast with Mansingh is very sharp.  I can only reiterate what I had noted earlier about   why I am dismayed by and disappointed in this  totally passive young woman. This is not some silly, giggling  royal wench like Sukanya. This is Jodha,  with the brains of a chess grandmaster and the acuity of mind of a fine duellist. What has happened to all that? She has always been a fighter - she fought relentlessly for Motibai and barged in anywhere at all without the least hesitation. Why is she now drifting with the tide? Why has all the fight gone out of her now?


At the last meeting with Jalal, not just Jodha, but the other 4 as well stand around like dummies.What can an already vengeful Jalal conclude from that, except that they do not even have the conviction to protest their innocence? That he bars them from speaking out  should hardly have weighed with Jodha, any more than it weighed with young Mansingh.


In Jodha's place, I would have looked Jalal calmly in the eye, and said:  Well, Shahenshah, I am a daughter of Amer and of Rajputana and I do not fear death, even by burning.  It would be no different from our ritual of jauhar.



But I worry about you, Shahenshah. Some day soon you will find out, after you have executed your sentence, that we are all innocent. From that day onwards, you  will never be able to sleep in peace.

That would be it, and he would have been halted in  his tracks and  forced to think. But she does no such thing. I think she is expecting Kanha to turn up to save  her a la Draupadi. But she forgets that this is the kaliyuga!


The immediate future:  I am puzzled by  the despairing lamentations about how Jodha is to be saved from Jalal and then, at one remove, how their embryo relationship will weather this tsunami of hate from his side.



Surely these are the things we do NOT need to bother about, for we know that Jodha will emerge not just unscathed but with a bright 24 carat halo around her pretty head . We also know  that their  respective default settings will be eventually  readjusted to match each other when they eventually fall in love, a  love that will be a deep, abiding grand amour between  two individuals, each of whom is  the missing half of the other.


For now, it seems to me that the only way the truth will emerge would be for Jalal or Hamida or Ruqaiya to overhear a crucial conversation among the plotters. What are all those billowing curtains in every room for but to facilitate such an exercise?

I do not think Jodha will go back to Amer after she is proved innocent. That would  bring  further shame on her family, which would then be doubly ostracised by their community. She will, I think, remain in Agra, associate only with Hamida Banu, Salima Begum and Rahim,and try to avoid Jalal completely. Let us see.



Of course she will forgive Jalal for all his present excesses. If he was smart enough, which I much doubt, he would have simply said to her: I was so furious with you because I felt betrayed by  you. And I felt betrayed by you because  I had begun to admire you, respect you, and most important of all, trust you. Achche khaase Shahenshah ka tumne kya haal bana diya, Jodha! Jo bhi maine kiya, wo sab tumhara hi kasoor hai.  



She would  have caved in and forgiven him, because we women, all of us,  are suckers for the idea that we have tamed a  headstrong, rough and tough man and made him our own. I think I will drop Jalal this useful hint for future use. Of course he might muff  his lines, but there is only so much one can do for him!

Meanwhile, folks, don't fret so much. Try and appreciate Rajat's very convincing takes on  a vengeful Jalal, and tell yourself ,when it is particularly off putting, This too shall pass!



I do apologise for such a late post, but it was the best I could do.



Shyamala B.Cowsik

sashashyam
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Re: Jodha Akbar 58: Wuthering Depths

Post by pollyanna on 2013-09-06, 21:08

What a lovely and apt title.....thanks for reminding that classic.....I loved it :)

Please accept my bada wala jhappi for describing Jalal's state to the T.....its awesome....Hats off Aunty, loved every line u have penned down......

@ Jodha saying those sentences--looks like we will get ur wish being granted......how i wish she says the same as u have mentioned(about jauhar and sleep in peace)

Today's episode have almost put MA as a culprit, isnt it??

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Re: Jodha Akbar 58: Wuthering Depths

Post by sonshine487 on 2013-09-06, 22:37

nice... very nice.... me likey!
But me no likey hoity toity madam's passive defiance!
not once did she say... I didn't do it
forget saying it... she doesn't even attempt to do it...

The CVs should have handled that better... not at all goes with the character of the Rajput Princess as was projected earlier.

But today's episode was a bit disappointing... a lot of people huffing and puffing and nothing much happened.

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Jodha Akbar 55: In the vale of tears

Post by sashashyam on 2013-09-07, 01:33

Yes, I was waiting for her to yell at him Maine NAHIN kiya. What was it with this casuistry?

This apart, about the big Jalal-Jodha scene of tonight. His relentless desire to be around her and hurt her personally  is of course here a sign of a growing  obsession,  pure and simple, with her.

But to tell you the truth, I am beginning to find these sessions of theirs comic in the extreme. Jalal is like one of those old LPs stuck in the same place, and when he was snarling at her from 6 inches away and promising her a fate worse than death, what does she do? She says Yeh uchit nahin hai!  I almost collapsed in giggles. It reminded me of her old mantra Aapko yeh karne ka adhikar nahin hai. And in the precap, I was laughing at the sole change in her mantra, that now the ghruna is for herself!

Shyamala B.Cowsik

sonshine487
nice... very nice.... me likey!
But me no likey hoity toity madam's passive defiance!
not once did she say... I didn't do it
forget saying it... she doesn't even attempt to do it...

The CVs should have handled that better... not at all goes with the character of the Rajput Princess as was projected earlier.

But today's episode was a bit disappointing... a lot of people huffing and puffing and nothing much happened.

sashashyam
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Jodha Akbar 58: Wuthering Depths

Post by sashashyam on 2013-09-07, 01:39

Thank you, dear Pallavi, and a big hug for  you as well.

No, I do not think MA is the culprit, and she does not think Jodha is the culprit either. It gets curiouser and curiouser.

The Jalal-Jodha scenes are beginning to look and sound like an LP stuck in one place and going round and round. If you will not be shocked, let me tell you how I reacted to the BIG confrontation scene tonight.

Ok. His relentless desire to be around her and hurt her personally  is of course a sign of a growing  obsession,  pure and simple, with her.

But when he was snarling at her from 6 inches away and promising her a fate worse than death, what does she do? She says Yeh uchit nahin hai!  I almost collapsed in giggles. It reminded me of her old mantra Aapko yeh karne ka adhikar nahin hai. And in the precap, I was laughing at the sole change in her mantra, that now the ghruna is for herself!

Shyamala Aunty
pollyannaWhat a lovely and apt title.....thanks for reminding that classic.....I loved it :)

Please accept my bada wala jhappi for describing Jalal's state to the T.....its awesome....Hats off Aunty, loved every line u have penned down......

@ Jodha saying those sentences--looks like we will get ur wish being granted......how i wish she says the same as u have mentioned(about jauhar and sleep in peace)

Today's episode have almost put MA as a culprit, isnt it??

sashashyam
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Re: Jodha Akbar 58: Wuthering Depths

Post by sonshine487 on 2013-09-07, 07:58

sashashyam wrote:
Yes, I was waiting for her to yell at him Maine NAHIN kiya. What was it with this casuistry?

This apart, about the big Jalal-Jodha scene of tonight. His relentless desire to be around her and hurt her personally  is of course here a sign of a growing  obsession,  pure and simple, with her.

But to tell you the truth, I am beginning to find these sessions of theirs comic in the extreme. Jalal is like one of those old LPs stuck in the same place, and when he was snarling at her from 6 inches away and promising her a fate worse than death, what does she do? She says Yeh uchit nahin hai!  I almost collapsed in giggles. It reminded me of her old mantra Aapko yeh karne ka adhikar nahin hai. And in the precap, I was laughing at the sole change in her mantra, that now the ghruna is for herself!

Shyamala B.Cowsik

sonshine487
nice... very nice.... me likey!
But me no likey hoity toity madam's passive defiance!
not once did she say... I didn't do it
forget saying it... she doesn't even attempt to do it...

The CVs should have handled that better... not at all goes with the character of the Rajput Princess as was projected earlier.

But today's episode was a bit disappointing... a lot of people huffing and puffing and nothing much happened.
Yep...
Jodha sounds as a broken record... same things over and over again
I don't know why, but they seem to invest more into the research and story and forget to invest in dialogues!!!
They haven't succeeded in weaving the dialogues (especially Jodha's; Jalal fares better) into the pattern! At least not since I'bve started watching.

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