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My post on Jodha Akbar 105 & 106

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My post on Jodha Akbar 105 & 106

Post by sashashyam on 2013-11-13, 13:35

My eyes have been acting up again, and  my laptop time will be limited for the next week or so at least. But I wanted to do this one. 
My dear Vicki has written much last night with which I agree only in part, but nonetheless I have to  applaud her eloquent and  enthusiastic parsing of  emotions and lines, and her relentlessly optimistic reading of the tea leaves. So here goes with my take on the last 2  episodes.
-Ruqaiya:  This  was the  tour de force yesterday, and  it was a relief to see the old Ruqaiya back, and then some more.  She redeemed  herself magnificently.  For what came thru was her essential decency,  and  her respect and feeling, as one woman,  for another woman's motherhood, no matter that she detests that other woman and no matter that she personally has lost out to her in the motherhood stakes. Also, the affection and loyalty she has for Jalal's aulad, which is but a reflection of the loyalty and love she has for him. That says  a lot about Ruqaiya, much more that had been shown even by Smiley's version.
So, though she is still turning him a very cold shoulder, Jalal's Gatti is back. And no, she  has not broken off their friendship. What she  says is not necessarily the same as what means. If she had indeed  broken it off, she would not have that instinctive affection for his child, even one by another begum whom she hates. She is angry with him now - and for a reason that seems, at least superficially (and deceptively),  to define the basis of their relationship: you are my jigri dost, and you can do anything but hide things from me  or lie to me. But that will pass. 
I do not know if, once her anger passes, the innate integrity she revealed yesterday will make her more amenable to Jalal coming to love Jodha,  while still caring for his Gatti as before. That is  a toss up, for she has never seen Jalal in love with another woman, and the sense of loss, and the longing to be loved by him that will be stirred up afresh, will be something she has never known before.
Almost everyone here takes all that Ruqaiya  utters ad nauseum, about her  being happy controlling Jalal's dimaag, at face value, and  concludes that she is not physically or emotionally possessive of Jalal, but only mentally. That, to my mind, is far from the truth. It is so often argued here, wrt Jodha and Jalal, that what they say hides what they mean. So why not  for Gatti? Even if she is camouflaging what she feels from herself as well?
What Ruqaiya seeks is Jalal's love, and this was clear as crystal in Smiley's last scene with him after the Farida affair, when she was afraid to lose him by confessing that she had broken the taboo he enforces on their relationship by falling in love with him. Till now, though this longing was ever present, it was suppressed and borne because  no other woman had  gained Jalal's love. Now that will be different. How then will Ruqaiya cope?
If yesterday was any indication, she will try hard,  but her hurt will show, and that will affect Jalal and the Jalal-Jodha relationship. Already, now that Ruqaiya has pulled away from him, Jalal realises anew what the companion of his turbulent childhood and early youth means to him. When Jalal calls her to meet him, and she comes reluctantly, he needed her desperately, and I think he was on the verge of telling her the truth from his  side. But then Jodha barges in and the opportunity is gone.
An orderly, civilized mnage a trois  ( a household of three ) exists only in the imagination. Life does not settle down into neat compartments, least of all when it comes to love.  I do not see it happening here either. To answer a question often asked here, yes, a man can love two women, but in different ways. The question is not that. It rather is whether the two women can live contentedly  in their separate compartments, and here I am not referring only to Ruqaiya, but to Jodha as well, once she really falls in love with Jalal.
Jalal: Rajat brought Jalal's distilled fury vividly alive on the screen , especially during  the savage, almost demented  sword practice. That scene was  splendidly visualised and shot.

I was also impressed with the Diwan-e-Am scene with the adulterous wife, though  I gravely doubt if any 16th century woman, adulteress on not, would be stupid enough to advance those kinds  of arguments in open court.  It was not quite clear whether those were actually the lines spoken  by her, or whether Jalal was projecting his own inner storms, and his understanding of where Jodha was coming from - based on what she had told him at different times about her hating him, her distaste for the slightest physical intimacy with him etc. -  on to that shameless s**t. It was  a very well conceived scripting device.

Either way, what came thru, with pitiless clarity, was the  searing bitterness in Jalal about his being rejected by a woman he had come to care for, if not to love. Or perhaps even to love, seeing how often the unfortunate plaintiff uses the word mohabbat. And, based on the Khwaja's pronouncement,  about her apparent readiness to cheat him with a paramour in the name of love.  
Given all this, he can hardly be faulted for thinking what he does, can he?  
As for the punishment Jalal decrees for her, I do not understand why Hamida and even Mahaam seemed taken aback. That was the standard punishment for an adulteress in those days - death by stoning, As for the idea that they were taken aback by the intensity of his reaction, I don't know about that - they could not see his livid  face and glaring eyes, after all.

 And as for his fury, any male judge in those days, faced with the crass arguments that cheating wife used, would have reacted exactly the same way. Jalal cites the violation of the tenets of Islam - that, and the question Kya tumhein Khuda ka khauff nahin hai? was exactly what any maulvi would have said. And of course her partner in adultery would suffer the same punishment.

So all that looking at each other was meaningless and meant solely for the viewers, who are assumed to be so dumb that they need to have  all this spelt out to them!

Jalal's restraint:
It has been argued that Jalal does not yell zinda jala denge, order Jodha stoned to death,or pull out his shamsheer to do the job himself,   and instead soliloquizes about his having been given the worst ghaav iin his life,  because Jodha has now got under his skin and can hurt him, as opposed to merely  making him  furious. This is true to some extent, for after all, their relationship, such as it is, has come some way since the dature ka ark days.

 But methinks that in these particular circumstances, that is not the main reason for his seething, glowering silence, interspersed with fleeting, pathetic  attempts at projecting gladness, rather than exploding, as is his wont, in destructive rage.

Jalal's restraint is mostly because he cannot stand the idea of a public scandal, which would inevitably lead to his being branded a cuckold by the whole of the court and the awaam, and mocked at and derided for that. That is the one intolerable insult for any man - even today, this is the prime reason for crimes of passion ending in the murder of the unfaithful spouse (for which French courts used to routinely acquite husbands under the crime passionel defence till late into the 20th century!). How much more hellish must  the very  prospect  have been for an emperor?

And this one is not about a baandi like that Farida. This is a Shahi Begum, jiske saath baakayda nikaah karke Agra le aaya tha.  The corrosive  ridicule would  have eaten away at the roots of even imperial power. His image would never have recovered from that.

Not every king can be a Henry VIII, who did not care a hoot for any  ridicule on this count. As you might  remember, he tried 2 wives publicly,  without any hesitation,   for the same offence, and executed them both. One, Anne Boleyn, was innocent of the charge, and the other, Katharine Howard, was  not.

I was glad to see it all coming out into the open in the precap, for this is an abcess that needed to be lanced and drained and cauterised. It is not clear if there was anyone else there, but I would imagine not.That is why Jalal says nothing on the earlier occasion when Ruqaiya is also present and Jodha accuses him of having broken his word to her . If she had not been there, his accusation would have come out then itself.
Jodha-Jalal: The limits of faith:  In her sensitive post of 2 days ago, Vicki had explored the breakdown of faith between Jodha and Jalal.  I see it thus.
Firstly, faith is not faith if it needs proof. 
Given this, there are two  kinds of faith. One is total, blind, instinctive, based on a love beyond reason. Mera beta aise kabhi nahin kar sakta, asserts a mother who has this kind of faith in her son.
The other is what can be called rational faith. This is anchored in  one's knowledge of the other person's character, based on personal experience of him/her, which assures one that this person could not have committed the crime of which he/she is accused.  One might have hoped that by now, both Jodha and Jalal might have developed enough of this kind of rational faith to be able to defuse this ugly crisis right away. But that was not to be.
One would have expected this more from Jodha than from Jalal.This is not just because  the  terrible implications, private and political,  for Jalal  of Jodha's apparent infidelity, which are absent in Jodha's case, where there is only the private rage at having been, as she sees it,  cheated and taken advantage of.
The vital factor that should have  given Jodha pause is this. She  has had repeated proof of Jalal's  capacity for self restraint, not just on the road to Ajmer, but day after day  after day in Amer itself. She must have realized that none of this would have happened if Jalal had been a standard issue husband who claims his conjugal rights at once, and she, as his wife, would be expected  to comply.
Then there was his epiphany at Ajmer,  and again at the Kali temple, where Jodha herself perceived his capacity for absorption in the Divine.There are the persistent efforts Jalal  has made recently to woo her, to  take her likes and dislikes into account, and this with rare perceptiveness and sensitivity: the revelation about her lost payal, the exquisitely chosen gift  for her.
And above all, his readiness to abandon his throne  and his people to keep his promise to her (it is revealing that despite her being a princess born and raised to place a king's rajadharma first always, she does not even think of this, the biggest sacrifice that he is ready to make for her sake, but instead harps only on his standing up to the maulvis).
Any normal woman would  taken note of all this, drawn her own conclusions, and developed some rational faith in him. She would not accept so readily that such a man could suddenly lapse so badly, and her anguished question to him would then have been Aap aise kabhi nahin kar sakte, Shahenshah, to yeh kaise ho gaya?  
That would have given him pause,  and might  have  let reasoned  faith reassert itself on both sides. But perhaps that was too much to expect from  Jodha, who is nothing if not blinkered by her  self-righteousness and obtuseness, and who is, right now, rocked to her foundations by this apparent revelation about Jalal.
It has been argued that she goes to demand of Jalal why he had broken his promise because she cares for him and cannot bear her  positive image of him to be sullied. But  she descends on him every  other day to accuse him of  something or the other. This accusation is merely the worst yet.
It is basically a way of venting her own fury and anguish, by pillorying him verbally and taunting him.  She does practically the same the day after his offer of the talaq-e-khula,  when he comes to tell her he has some good news for her, and she goes off tangentially into a long, hysterical rant.
For Jalal, the breakdown of  his faith in her is easier to understand. This faith is limited to believing that though she hates him, she will not plot to kill him. As for her personal morality, all he knows is her distaste for any kind of intimacy with him. All this need not, and does not add up to blind faith in her personal virtue, and it is this lack of trust that comes thru in the Diwan-e-Am scene.
Jodha:  There was nothing extraordinary about her, either the character or the performance, being standard issue, hysterical  lamentations and a sullen, angry face even in public. No one but the purblind Hamida Banu, and her even more purblind coterie of Gulbadan and Jijianga,   would have been taken in.
In the Diwan-e-Am scene, at least Vicki and I are of one mind that  the Mughal attire does not suit  Paridhi at all - she looks dismally commonplace - whereas the heavy post-marrriage  Rajput attire suits her so well and  makes her look gorgeous. Then again, some of her reaction shots when  Jalal was raging at the defendant as badzaat  aurat were very weak - as he was roaring that she looked blank, not shocked and scared. Her tirades at her husband, and her pleas when she was being led away,  were far from impressive - they sounded like something out of a school play, the lines being delivered any which way. It must have been one of her off days, but they should have called for a retake.
It would be good if the blow up today clears the air and  this track is wrapped up by Friday.  It might not happen, for the Mahaam factor is still there, and has not played itself out. She has already smelt a rat, and might worm things out of Jalal, and persuade him to force a showdown with Jodha, hoping that this would lead to a talaq  and  Jodha's expulsion from Agra at the very least.
As and when the matter is eventually resolved, and the virtual baby becomes really virtual, will it lead to an enhanced trust factor between them, as they  both repent their rush to judgment on the other? I am not sure, but I do hope so. At least, the next time around, which will surely come soon, this fiasco might give them pause before they square off against each other!
Joke of the week: Jodha's instant pregnancy, which could easily compete with instant noodles.  A week or even less after the road halt in the storm, and barely  2 weeks since they landed up in Amer (remember all the winking and nodding by Mynavati and Dadisa when Jodha explains why she slept late?) and bingo, the baby has already made its presence felt! And no one. Not Hamida, not Mahaam, no one sees anything odd about it. Incredible.
Shyamala B.Cowsik

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Re: My post on Jodha Akbar 105 & 106

Post by pollyanna on 2013-11-13, 14:30

Woooaaahhh....whatta a splendid post Aunty......kya analysis karte hain aap.......Mashaallah...some of the lines for eg--faith--Jo-Ja ---is chummeswari :) :)

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Re: My post on Jodha Akbar 105 & 106

Post by sandhya on 2013-11-16, 23:51

great post aunty as usual.

One dialogue and Ruqaiya was catapulted to heights.

But CV's dont seem to lift Jodha's even by inches.
How come Jodha is blind to Jalal's restraint so far, generosity to her family, and his overall sense of justice? Anyway, when has her character displayed sense?

And she is on a full accusation mode now. And her sweeping statement about Mughals the second time is vexatious.(Yahi Mughalon aur Rajvanshiyon mein anthar hai). All she does is cry and blame Jalal. Again he has to to all the thinking and action now .

No wonder Menavati refused to take her back to Amer. The Ameris had a perfect scapegoat for their daughter in Agra.

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Re: My post on Jodha Akbar 105 & 106

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