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Jodha Akbar 114: Imperator summe regnat

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Jodha Akbar 114: Imperator summe regnat

Post by sashashyam on 2013-11-25, 01:53

 
Folks,
No, no, I do not mean to sound pompous by quoting a Latin tag - it means The Emperor reigns supreme -  but somehow I love the word Imperator, so do bear with me!
As for our own Shahenshah, unki hukumat to na sirf unki  riyaya ke dil aur zehen par hai, jaise unhon ne farmaya, par hum jaise anginat darshakon ke dil aur zehen par bhi hai. After watching Rajat's Jalal, on Friday last,  sweep all before  him  despite  the complex and demanding  script, I was simply mesmerized.
By episode end, I had all but forgotten that there was a Rajat. For me, and I am sure for many of you as well, there  was only Jalaluddin Mohammed,  Shahenshah-e-Hind.  Which is the ultimate compliment you can pay an actor.
Jalal explaining in the Diwan-e-Khas , with painful but candid dignity, why he was recusing himself from sitting in judgment on his sister's crime.  Visibly struggling,  as he called on Jodha Begum to pronounce judgment in his stead,  to veil  the trauma of betrayal by perhaps the only  one whom he had ever loved, unreservedly, deeply, truly.
Jalal in  Jodha's rooms,  deeply troubled, his zehen  wracked by bitter anger, unable in the end to hold back  his tears as he insists that he can never forgive  Bakshi Banu for what she had done.
Finally  Jalal, because he feels it to be his duty to prevent Jodha Begum  from becoming the subject of salacious and defamatory gossip across the empire, battling  overt grief  and  hidden hurts that constrict his throat, for an unprecedented face to face with his riyaya, his awaam.
On Friday, the Shahenshah was, as Jodha would have said in her shudh sanskritised Hindi, sarvavyaapi. Wherever you turned,  there was only Jalal. A Jalal angry, but even more  so,  distraught and devastated by the most painful of betrayals - like Julius Caesar. who exclaimed, when he saw his dearest friend Brutus stabbing him,  Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar!   Achingly lonely and bleeing inside, but yet somehow dredging up the strength to  live up to the image of the Shahenshah that  his  awaam expects of him. And even amidst such personal despair, finding it in him to go out of his way to protect the wife who, he believes,  cares nothing for him or worse.
Hamari riyaya hamari aulad hai:  They used to say of Mahatma Gandhi that he could draw millions into a circle with him. Jalauddin Mohammed that day might not have managed millions, and then the distance, literal and psychological, between the emperor and the awaam in those days was huge and almost  unbridgeable.
It was thus all the more remarkable that Jalal too could, in those few brief moments, with words so simple and direct and sincere, draw the mass  of his subjects into his inner world. To take them into his confidence. To communicate to them both his sorrow at having been deprived, for so long, of the joys of fatherhood, and his  stoic acceptance of whatever the Almighty might have in store for him. To speak to them from his heart about his hopes that had been dashed, about his fear that what he sought so desperately might  never be his.  And  all this without any holding back, any sense of shame, any false pride.
Above all, in the final, climatic affirmation -  that  it mattered not if Jalaluddin was childless,  since  an emperor, whose riyaya were all his children, his janasheen, could never be beaulad - Jalal's  peroration reached heights of eloquence and conviction worthy of the great orators of ancient Greece and Rome, of a Demosthenes or a Cicero.
Indeed, as there was , in this emperor reaching out to his subjects. no striving for effect, no attempt to make an impression,  he was far more more appealing, far more touching than those legends could ever have been.
And this all the more as he made no attempt to maintain  the traditional imperial stoicism, no attempt to hide the  grief that pervaded his zehen. Instead, he literally bared his soul to his people, heedless  of the likely  pity that so proud a ruler would resent. Heedless of those who might mock him for a supposed lack of manliness, or those who might, as he said, rejoice at his loss.
There could not have been  a single dry eye in his audience as his voice finally died away, and he turned to one side, surreptiously wiping away a rebellious tear that clouded his vision. There surely was no dry eye among his court (bar only Adham Khan).
Jalal probably did not see  it, nor was he, lost in his own thoughts,  looking for it. But  as  Jodha Begum,  for whose sake he had done all this, wiped her own tears and looked up at him with unfeigned admiration and pride in  eyes that glowed  like stars, I was reminded once more of what Cleopatra had once said to Julius Caesar,  with the same admiration and the same pride, but also with deep love. But for you, the world is full of little men.
Maybe Jodha is not yet quite where Cleopatra was, but she has taken her first step on the path that leads there.  And I, remembering all that she  had said and done which had constantly set my teeth on edge in recent weeks,   was duly grateful.
In the Diwan-e-Khas and later:  The opening sequence, which saw Jalal ceding to the main affected pary, Jodha Begum, his judicial powers, as the Shahenshah,  to pronounce sentence on Bakshi, was perhaps less dramatic than the closing opening up to the awaam, but it was, in its own way, as emotionally powerful and, for Jalal, emotionally draining.
One could see that in every frame as Jalal stood up to explain why his sister was now being  judged for a crime, and then why he was not  judging her himself but commanding Jodha Begum  to do so. It was visible  in his lowered eyes, in his straining to appear at least partly normal, to retaint the aura of an emperor who has to be above all sentiment, above all ties of blood and affection, when he ascends the throne and becomes solely a dispenser of justice.
That he chooses not to do that is not -  as Hamida Banu states with characteristic lack of understanding, whether of her son or of the issues involved- that the Shahenshah in him has not been able to prevail over the brother. It is rather that for the Shahenshah, the  imperative  of not just doing justice,  but being seen to do so, is paramount. If he were to decide the case himself, no matter how harsh the sentence he pronounces, keeping in mind that Bakshi Banu has no blood on her hands, the feeling will always linger among the awaam that he let her off lightly  because she is his sister.  There  being  no way of proving a negative,  this impression would have remained as a black mark on his reputation.
Moreover, as I had mentioned in my last post, there is , in Islamic jurisprudence, the option, even in cases of murder,  of a compromise settlement between the accused and the victims of the crime, even a full pardon, which  can then be approved by the court.
So what Jalal does here is neither irregular nor extraordinary. Nor is the reason that he advances for it at all flimsy, and in fact it is the only logical course for him to take in order to preserve  an image of strict  impartiality. Even today, in the courts, no judge will hear a case in which he has any personal interest, such as the defendant being a close relative or friend.
A 16th century Portia ?: Jodha's preamble, the sentence she pronounces (after the mandatory suspense,  while they show the reaction shots of everyone present ), and her final explanation of the sentence, as it is called in legal parlance, were all done very well, with compelling dignity and lucid eloquence. Paridhi looked lovely - sunny yellow  seems to suit her the best - and put up a very convincing performance.
As for the rationale Jodha advances for her pardoning Bakshi Banu outright, and, in effect, letting go scot free,  it sounds lofty and superficially  convincing. It may or may not hold in this particular case - though I am pretty sure Bakshi Banu, if she were once more in Sharifuddin's orbit, would soon revert to her old, slavishly obsessed wife pattern, ready, as she says herself, to kill for him.
The point is that Jodha  sees the redemptive power of forgiveness not as something applicable in this one case because of the circumstances, but as a general  and universally valid principle, which it most assuredly is not.   
Interpreting it thus would knock the bottom out of the entire judicial system and the very concept of crime and punishment. In fact, most hardened  criminals, and criminals in the making like Sharifuddin or Adham Khan or Mahaam Anga,  would laugh their heads off at such indiscriminate generosity, and promptly take advantage of it, only to revert to type very soon.
 Not that Jodha, with her limited vision, can be expected to understand any  of this. It is curious, however, seeing that she  must have been used, even back in tiny Amer,  to harsh punishments for traitors or even spies, witness Bharmal condemning Abdul to beheading without an instant's hesitation. Jodha was able to rescue him only on what would be called a technicality, not by citing the sweeping principle she enunciates now.
Bakshi Banu's crime is no less than treason, and she  is also, indirectly, the cause of the murder of the Hakima. In fact, if the Hakima had managed to tear off her veil the first time, Bakshi Banu, with images of her husband being executed by Jalal flashing thru her mind, would very likely have stabbed the Hakima in blind panic. There is no one so violent as a weak person who has been cornered. But the gravity of even  what she did do, which is considerable, does not seem to weigh with Jodha.
It was precisely this kind of self-indulgent leniency which  led Prithviraj Chauhan to not even imprison the defeatedMohammed Ghori, but let him go home, only to have him return the very next year, 1192 AD, defeat Prithviraj, and wreak unimaginable  horrors on the population across North India. It is typical of our national psyche and our passion for being thought of as mahaan that he is never criticized for this irresponsibility which had such horrendous consequences for his subjects.
Jodha and Jalal: I was not overly impressed with the follow up scene in Jodha's rooms, where Jalal questions the rationale for Jodha's pardoning Bakshi Banu.  She  parrots what Salima and Bakshi Banu herself  told her  earlier, like a lesson learnt by heart, as if  it was Holy Writ,  while the fact is that  she does not know anything about what she asserts with such assumed certitude.  
What is more,   she ends up  portraying Bakshi Banu to a mindless puppet, which she most definitely  is not, neither now, nor when she lied about her husband's role in the Ratanpur fort fraud.  Both times, she is perfectly conscious of what she is doing, and this time she is, moreover  quite ready to take the initiative and prepare more of the ark for spiking Jodha's food and drink.  Is this a poor, helpless, manipulated wife,  or a  willing accomplice currying favour with her husband?
Most serious of all, Jodha's argument, that a woman's blind adoration of an evil and manipulative husband is enough of an extenuating circumstance for pardoning her even a deliberate and serious crime, amounts to a complete negation of  the universal moral and legal principle of personal responsibility for one's acts.  This sort of exemption is valid only for a child, not for a grown  up, twice married woman.
Moreover, for Jodha to equate her relationship with Bakshi Banu,  the nanad with whom she has had barely a few cordial meetings, with Jalal's lifelong bond of deep and protective love and caring, and using this false equation to demand that as she has forgiven Bakshi Banu, so should he,  is nonsense. That she even advances this thesis, and does not have a word of understanding or empathy to offer  about the depth of Jalal's grief at the betrayal he has suffered, only reinforces what I had written in my last post.
"Jodha clearly has no notion of what Jalal is going thru, of how his innermost feelings are being put thru a wringer. She does not have the imagination, the perceptiveness, to feel his anguish ... She cannot understand how it feels to be betrayed by a dearly loved sister, the terrible sense of alienation that  it creates; she sees it simplistically,  as a case to be solved by magnanimous forgiveness".
So, when he turns away to hide his helpless tears, she  interprets that by her lights, as  proof that he loves Bakshi Banu regardless of whatever she might have done and will soon pardon her. She cannot see that  while he might well still love his sister, his tears are an expression of a pain too deep to hide, and a heart too lacerated to  heal any time soon. That there are hurts that are too  visceral to  be healed by facile, pious  pronouncments.
The only lasting foundation of true love is understanding and empathy, which in turn means the ability to see situations thru the eyes of the other. As far as Jalal is concerned, Jodha, as  of now, has neither. I am left wondering as to  how and when this state of affairs is going to be remedied.
The precap: I  was bemused  by the vision of Jodha, who till the day  before was affirming to all and sundry that she has nothing but ghrina for her  imperial husband, lecturing and quizzing Ruqaiya, who has been thru thick and thin with Jalal from the time she was a child, about the nature of her love for him. It sounded most  presumptuous and ill-advised,   and no wonder that Ruqaiya reacts so sharply.
But then I read Ritu99's delightful thread, and light dawned on me. Obviously apni Jodha  is now a  PhD candidate, and the subject of her thesis is The varying kinds  of love. Do look up Ritu's  thread at http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=3822097.
Shyamala B.Cowsik

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Re: Jodha Akbar 114: Imperator summe regnat

Post by neha on 2013-11-25, 10:49

Very well written indeed!!!....I did not move and forgot everything during that entire aawam scene....such an impact Rajat has on his viewers! It was mind blowing...
   But If I am not wrong are you comparing Jodha to Portia of Merchant of Venice here?? Portia was way too gracious and intelligent than Jodha ..at the same time she was cruel with shylock...I find our Jodha more like Katherina of taming of shrew :P :P  and our petruchio trying to tame her Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

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Re: Jodha Akbar 114: Imperator summe regnat

Post by sashashyam on 2013-11-25, 11:27

No, Neha, I was not comparing Jodha to Portia as a wise judge, whence the ? after her name in the subheading! Only as one woman judge to another (though Portia was masquerading as a man), and they were unknown in those days: Shakespeare was an Elizabethan playwright, and her reign (1558-1603)was totally contemporaneous with that of Akbar (1556-1605), so I thought of the parallel. Otherwise, I agree with you about Jodha and Portia.Yes, Rajat was incredible, which is why  I devoted so much of space to parsing and praising him!Shyamala B.Cowsikneha wrote:Very well written indeed!!!....I did not move and forgot everything during that entire aawam scene....such an impact Rajat has on his viewers! It was mind blowing...
   But If I am not wrong are you comparing Jodha to Portia of Merchant of Venice here?? Portia was way too gracious and intelligent than Jodha ..at the same time she was cruel with shylock...I find our Jodha more like Katherina of taming of shrew :P :P  and our petruchio trying to tame her Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

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Re: Jodha Akbar 114: Imperator summe regnat

Post by Manasvi on 2013-11-25, 11:52

I neither know literature or the arts or history. In my own simple language, what happened on Friday night's episode moved me and made me very emotional so much so that it affected me personally. Rajat excels himself in every episode and this was no exception. I hope he is duly compensated as he is pretty much carrying the show on his shoulders along with some help with the fab dialogue writers.

The pain the pathos and the shame was so distinctly visible on Rajat's face and his display of emotions was superlative. Paridhi did a pretty decent job too. Hated to see Rajat in tears. 2 dialogues that stood out for me a) Jhoot bolte hain ke unke paas hriday nahin hain b) jodha begum ko hum kissa nahin banne denge

Rajat does not cease to amaze me. I am totally in love with his character. Like you mentioned above, he became Akbar and was no longer Rajat. The 2 merged together. Hats off . Take a bow!

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Re: Jodha Akbar 114: Imperator summe regnat

Post by sandhya on 2013-11-25, 13:55

Truly Aunty, Jalal and Rajat deserved every accolade and praise you showered upon them. Of course, Shahenshah ki hukumat darshakon ke dil pe, dimaag, pe, zehen pe aur hamari jazbaathon pe chalthi hai. His address to the awaam was a treat to watch. No wonder even the Hindus of the 16th century considered Akbar's rule as RamRajya. 
 
But I wasn't sure as to why the address was needed . He didn't address the awaam after Ruqaiya's miscarriage. Any idea why now?
 
One more point I didn't understand was why Bakshi Banu had to be exposed?  Even when darling saas Hamida Banu came charging to Jodha on charges of adultery, she only said that, they would say that Jodha rolled down on Mandir's seedi or fell into the Shaahi Talab.  It meant that they would punish her without a scandal and without exposing her. But why was BB exposed? She could have been punished in n number of ways without being exposed.
 
And what to say about our own apni Jodha!  Never did her hypocrisy reveal itself as much as it did on Friday.  She actually has the gumption to ask Jalal to forgive BB like she did as though it was the same and as though it was his mandatory duty to so. She didn’t feel it incumbent on her to forgive Sujamal when he betrayed her family.  It is even possible to forgive someone who hurts you but not the one who betrays you. While she was hurt by BB Jalal was betrayed. It was this betrayal that devastated Jalal and she hardly seems to think it mattered.
 
Again she didn’t seem to consider forgiveness as so great a virtue against Jalal. Even after he chose to abdicate to keep up a promise, didn’t she declare that she woudn’t forgive him as he had broken his other vachan. (The curious vachan, the origins of which are mysterious hitherto.) Where she feels betrayed she can’t forgive, but is so preachy asking others to do so.
 
[
Her double standards have been apparent even on other occasions as well.  When Jalal punished the two afwaa spreading maulvis, Jodha found the final decision uchith but she found it anuchith as Jalal didn’t consult everyone(including HB and her coitre) before he decided! (Did she expect him to consult all and sundry, from ministers to the ladies to the doorkeepers and baandhis before he took routine decisions? He never hesitates to  consult where he really needs it. He consulted Atka sahib during Ruqaiya MC and Salima during virtual baby track.) But it never seemed anuchit to her when Bharmal decided to make BD as heir apparent disregarding Sujamal without consulting anyone, though she herself thought that Sujamal was best. She never questioned Bharmal or judged him. Who is Jalal? Her punchbag?
 
And she consented to have her birthday happily celebrated in a grand way. Of course, she was initially unwilling; it was Jalal who said you have to do things for others chaahat too.  But going by her own standards of the thunderstorm night, she should have stomped her royal foot into the Agra’s chilled air and done a satyagraha under some tree in the courtyard of the palace and refused to celebrate.  She didn’t seem willing to yield to others’ chaahat on the thunderstorm night. Wasn’t it her darling saas’ chaahat for Jodha to accept and unite with her son. Apni Jodha yields only to those chaahats of others that suit her convenience.
]
 
What a disgusting preacher who never follows herself what she preaches! I felt nothing seeing the tears in her eyes during the emperor’s speech to the awaam.  She loves talking and listening to lofty ideals. Practicing is something different!  As ruqaiya precisely summarised her on day 1 – “You only know aasmaan choonewali baathein. Nobody has taught you zameeni haqeekatein.”
 
Her forgiving BB was unforgivable.  It was vichitra as she herself admitted. It would have held water if BB was remorseful. But BB would be the last person jo apna banke rahegi.  So much for Jodha’s understanding! Jodha was as eloquent as Portia, no doubt (she IS the unchallenged queen of bhaashans of course) but as much lacking in wisdom.
 
And again, she speaks on love as though she is the undisputed authority on it (though her own knowledge on the subject is just one day old). What a fascination this girl has for high sounding speeches.
 
Wonder how Jalal puts up with her. Even as a mere darshak I find it difficult to do so.
Had he not been so crazily obsessed with her she would’t have lasted a day in Agra.
 
The only lasting foundation of true love is understanding and empathy, which in turn means the ability to see situations thru the eyes of the other. As far as Jalal is concerned, Jodha, as  of now, has neither. I am left wondering as to  how and when this state of affairs is going to be remedied.
Love, friendships, relationships and enmity survive best only among equals. I don’t mean the materially equal or tendency, skills and quality wise equal (In these aspects opposites can attract). But there has to be an equality in the intellect, understanding and emotions involved. Jodha seems nowhere equal to Jalal in any of these. I too wonder how this story is going to become an epic love story!
 
If this is how the real Jodha was, then Jalal has become Akbar, the great, inspite of her, not because of her.  Else he would have become Akbar, the greatest.
 
P.S: Like Jalal asked BB during their classic confrontation, the CVs should be asked why, “itni nafrat, itni nafrat kyon  Jodha se” , that they have reduced her from the endearing dueller, aarti charmer, dignified princess to this puffed-up, obtuse, insensitive, preaching specimen.   
 
 
P.S:  If he were to decide the case himself, no matter how harsh the sentence he pronounces, keeping in mind that Bakshi Banu has no blood on her hands, the feeling will always linger among the awaam that he let her off lightly  because she is his sister.  There  being  no way of proving a negative,  this impression would have remained as a black mark on his reputation.
 
 
Exactly how I felt aunty, though many feel that he smartly asked Jodha to decide knowing that she would let her off, which is not the case.
So far all of Jalal’s decisions have been based on what is good for the people and on how the riyaya will perceive things. Even before his marriage to Jodha it always mattered to him how the people and history would judge the Mughals. Thats why he proceeds with the nikaah even after she burnt the shaadi ka joda. Akbar has always been present in Jalal.  It was the manifestation that took its course of time.
 

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Re: Jodha Akbar 114: Imperator summe regnat

Post by pollyanna on 2013-11-25, 15:53

What an awesome post Aunty.....

Rajat's perf was indeed marvellous......it stayed in the mind long after the epi got over....very touching.....

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Re: Jodha Akbar 114: Imperator summe regnat

Post by --sumana13-- on 2013-11-26, 17:55

Awesome post Shyamala .. You write amazing details about every episode ... And it demands  uninterrupted concentration to read the entire post .. And I dedicated the evenings for your posts my friend .. Thanks !!...


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Re: Jodha Akbar 114: Imperator summe regnat

Post by Maria J on 2013-11-27, 16:10

Awesome post Starry Love

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Re: Jodha Akbar 114: Imperator summe regnat

Post by megharanjini on 2013-11-28, 12:04

This was a wonderful read Shyamala, well done.

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Re: Jodha Akbar 114: Imperator summe regnat

Post by sashashyam on 2013-11-29, 16:37

Thank you, my dear. Your id is unusual and quite beautiful.Shyamalamegharanjini wrote:This was a wonderful read Shyamala, well done.

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Re: Jodha Akbar 114: Imperator summe regnat

Post by sashashyam on 2013-11-29, 16:38

Thank you, my dear Maria, and I loved all these scattered hearts!Shyamala B.CowsikMaria J wrote:Awesome post Starry Love

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