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Jodha Akbar 127-128: The Mystery of the Missing Flashbacks

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Jodha Akbar 127-128: The Mystery of the Missing Flashbacks

Post by sashashyam on 2013-12-17, 16:25

Yes, it is the date again, and though nowhere near as rare as 11/12/13, this too is neat. And the gentle thumping noise you hear is me patting myself on the back. Let me tell you why.
Well, come Thursday evening,  98% of  the forum was Waiting to Exhale. Holding their collective breaths as they waited for the much anticipated flashbacks of the unlikely triumvirate of Jalal, Jodha and Ruqaiya putting their heads together like a pack of , what else, shatir lomdis, to outfox Adham Khan and his Momma Dearest. It is coming, it is coming, the chorus said, for Mahaam has said that the three had  got together against her and her darling son, and Mahaam, they insisted,  does not speak in vain.
I was one of the very few sceptics and dissenters, and I did stick my neck out and cautioned against taking Mahaam's dark mutterings against a Jalal-Ruqaiya-Jodha plot too literally. Or heaping any premature laurels on Jalal's head on these grounds.I pointed out that there were too many loopholes to this neat and attractive theory, and too much of visual evidence that was at odds with it.
How could one, for example, explain the helpless despair with which Jalal and Ruqaiya cling to each other the night before the denouement? They are quite alone then, so why those tragic utterances by Ruqaiya and the mute anguish in Jalal's eyes as he hugs her and she weeps brokenly into his shoulder? It makes no sense at all unless it is genuine. Nor did the theory explain Jodha's wild eyed determination to stop the Jalal-Ruqaiya vivah vichched, kisi bhi mulya par, for she is then talking to herself, and if everything had been sewn up in advance, why does  she need to do that?
Finally, the precap, which showed Ruqaiya telling Jodha that she had learnt about the latter's role in preventing the talaq from Jalal himself,  should have put paid to this idea. But of course it did not, for all the world may or may not love a lover, but it sure loves a complicated and devious plot!
I must confess that my track record in such matters of prediction is dismal, thanks largely to the CVs'  antipathy towards logic, but this time, I though I had it. 
The Missing Flashbacks:Well, come last night and there were no, but no flashbacks, for the very simple reason that there was nothing to flash back to.
It was made clear by the Jalal-Ruqaiya scene that the latter had no idea that the bright notion of her exposing Adham while addressing the awaam had been Jodha's. So, folks, Mahaam was ranting about a (non-existent) Three Musketeers who were "all for one and one for all" (their famous motto in the Alexandre Dumas classic of the same name)  because she is a born conspirator, and she sees plots everywhere, even when they do not exist.
As for me. I did it!!! Whence the back patting in self congratulation.  I am sure  you will bear with it, for it is but rarely that I get to rejoice on these grounds!

To revert, I think all that was shown to us onscreen on Monday and Tuesday between the trio was genuine. The simplest explanation is that Jodha made that suggestion about Ruqaiya addressing the people (she did a very good job of it, did Ruqaiya, every line rang true and was delivered in just the right pitch and tone of voice) and Jalal picked up the ball and ran with it.

I do not think he had any notion of reversing the retroactive provision at that point, nor indeed of anything beyond getting Adham into a very tight corner.
The idea of cancelling the retroactive application  of the anti-underage marriage law came to Jalal only after he came out with the injured Mahaam (what was all that about hitting her with a stone being tantamount to insulting the Mughal sultanate? No one aimed at her, and she got hit only because she stuck her neck out and exposed herself to the crowd). For it was only then that  he both  heard and saw the rage and anguish of the people about that disastrous provision. That is why he said, before he leads Mahaam away, that he did not want to trouble them or their lives.

I suppose the stone that hit Mahaam somehow shook some of Jalal's frozen grey cells out of their torpor and got them working  at long last!The farman was then prepared in 30  minutes, whatever Mahaam might think. End of story.

As for the subsequent scene in the Diwas-e-Khas, Jalal's re-activated grey cells were working hard and his eyes were steely in their cold hostility as he trapped Adham (and Mahaam) and took Adham apart. Something that Kashi had written  in another thread (reproduced below)  seems to be  spot on, and I am sure that is exactly what happened.
The scene that happened in DEK was a pre-planned one but only by jalal, at the most I think he might have asked ruqaiya to leave the decision to him,   but it was jalal's determination to uproot adham from start that took its effect and he purposely said that he would hand him over to avaam because he knew his badi -ammi would barge in and save her son's life ,which he was ready to give away too because for the price of AK's life, jalal was planning to reduce him to bits.
So, if at all Jalal can be given any credit for the effective resolution of not only the nabaalig ladkiyon  ki shaadi angle but also of the perennially troublesome one of Adham Khan,  it is only for this last part. Till then he was just what he was shown as being: clueless, bumbling, prepared to abandon the closest relationship he has at this point simply because  he had allowed Adham Khan to box him in and, in effect, do to him what the Ayodhya dhobi did to Lord Rama. He was really like the changeling I had lamented in  my last post, and no amount of post facto whitewashing can change that.
But, der aaye, durust aaye, and since we have no other choice, we have to  forgive him for all his failings of the last week, I suppose! Plus we all love him, and one cannot  berate him for too long, can we?
Jalal: Jodha's star pupil:That Jodha is so lavish in her praise of  Jalal to Hamida last night was very likely because, firstly, she is delighted that he did not cave in and was prepared to walk the talk in this matter, even at the risk of his marriage to Ruqaiya. Secondly, she sees him now as  a teacher sees a favourite, obedient and bright pupil. Such a teacher always praises a star pupil to excess, if only to encourage him even better performances in the future!
This brings me to something I had written on one of my recent threads, and folks, do consider this  point, which is a curious and interesting one. See, Jodha is beginning to fall for Jalal, but why? Because she is able to influence him in ways that she feels are the right ones.  If he had not accepted her outlook on the raja-praja relationship, for example, or on the under-age marriages issue, and acted on both, plus thanking  her profusely for  bringing him round to the right decisions on both these issues, would she have softened towards him at all? No.

So, it is NOT Jalal per se that Jodha  now likes and respects,  and whom she will come to love. It is the emperor who will have been a very successful experiment for Jodha's  approach to life, a very  apt and grateful pupil. He flatters her to the top of her bent, and there is nothing so appealing as flattery. Nor is there any such thing as too much flattery.

So Jodha  is falling in love with the idea of her being able to reform an emperor. Not with the man who wears the crown.
The difference between her and Ruqaiaya in this respect  is thus one of degree. Not of the fundamentals.

Neither of them loves Jalal for himself, but that is not anything wrong, or anything to be wondered at. How can you separate him from what he is, the Shahenshah? Unless he went somewhere in disguise and some young woman fell for him alone, and not for his power and wealth. Which is not the  case for Jodha. I do not say that she attaches too much importance to these attributes, only that without them, she would not have hated him, but she might not have noticed him at all.

Jalal is now family, but nothing more:To come back to last night, the head massage scene in the beginning was very  charming, and not only because Jodha does not jib at Jalal's request -which she would of course have seen as addressed to herself -  but complied,  gracefully and very naturally. Kaafi had tak Jalal ke prati ek apnpan tha.

The obvious surface humour in the scene apart, what struck me was Jodha's  slotting Jalal, by inference, with Sukanya. She now sees him as family, but not  as a beloved. It was very subtly done.
This also fits in with the fleeting expression of unease on Jodha's face when Hamida earlier hopes for complete understanding and intimacy between her  and Jalal. She says she will try, but that is only to please her Ammijaan, it is not from the heart.For all her regard and genuine liking for the Shahenshah,  Jodha is not yet ready to cross the line  into genuine intimacy with her husband.
And that is all right, except that I hope she handles the  revelation of her letter having been misinterpreted and Jalal's consequent advances towards her with sensitivity and not a blunt reversion to her standard  anuchit vyavahar mantra.
Also that she responds kindly and with understanding  to the shock of learning that Jalal cannot read or write, for that is bound to be a sore point with Jalal, and any hint of ridicule would hurt him a lot.
Ruqaiya-Jodha: I loved the way Ruqaiya's character was handled yesternight. She is upfront with Jalal about her dislike of Jodha and her suspicion of Jodha's motives, but when Jalal tells her  about what Jodha had actually done, she is equally direct in her self-condemnation. Her regret at having misunderstood Jodha is strong and candid,  and she has no reservations about confessing her mistakes and her bad behaviour towards Jodha to Jalal.

It was interesting to see how Jalal handled this. It was very cleverly done. He did NOT make any comment critical of Ruqaiya's earlier attitude towards Jodha, but merely noted diplomatically that if she felt that what Jodha had done was right, she might like to visit her and talk to her and he was sure everything would work out fine. I duly applauded this finesse.  He knows how to handle his Gatti!

Plus, his explanation that he had had his eyes closed and taken Jodha to be Ruqaiya was very funny and exactly the sort of thing a henpecked husband would say. As was her retort in response, come to think of it!

The Jodha-Ruqaiya scene was beautifully done. That Jodha would accept Ruqaiya's obviously  sincere apology without any reservations was a given, for Jodha is large-hearted and generous to a fault (with everyone but Jalal, but even that seems to be changing). What delighted me was the entirely plausible way in which it was all handled, with not a single false note.

It was characteristic of Ruqaiya's unconscious vanity that she wants Jodha to see what she has brought her and to admire her (predictably) showy choice of gift (the Balaji props department has gone overboard here; it looks like the Koh-i-noor!).

What is significant is that earlier, Ruqaiya would have resented Jodha's comment that a diamond and a flower would be equally welcome to her; now she accepts it smilingly.

The scene when Jodha ties the sacred thread on Ruqaiya's wrist was very moving, but also strongly symbolic. To my mind, that thread was a symbol of the link that will develop between these two women.It might be my wishful thinking, but I would love it if they could become  friends. I hate it when intelligent women fight over a man, it is such a waste of capabilities and brains, and such a negation of feminine solidarity. I hope my wish comes true at least in part, for Ruqaiya's parting line Jo hamare liye sochta hai, Ruqaiya hamesha uski banke rehti hai sounded very  promising.

A curious point: Jodha clearly sees Jalal as Ruqaiya's property, with an invisible No Trespassing sign plastered over him, which is why she takes it for granted that Ruqaiya will be upset with her over the head massage.
Mahaam: She is a Catherine de Medicis and Lucrezia Borgia rolled into one, with the complicating factor of her being not a queen, like these two, but a baandi. A jumped up baandi, true, and the Shahenshah's Badiammi, but a baandi nonetheless and that is something that she never forgets.
Now she is clearly  going off the deep end. The command to Resham to kill the soldier whom she herself orders to whip Adham is like  a searchlight on the terrifying landscape of her inner being, just as Sharifuddin's cutting off that painter's thumb a la Ekalavya illuminated the depth of his maniacal obsession with Jodha and his livid hatred of Jalal. If nothing else, Jodha Akbar has compelling villains!
Joke of yesterday: As RagSia pointed out on my last thread, while Jalal clearly states - very stupidly, but that is not the point here - that only all those marriages with underage girls that took place after his  marriage with Ruqaiya would have to be dissolved - we see a sepatuagenarian maulvi lamenting that he would have to divorce his wife (of perhaps 6 decades)! Now this was spot on, for it is exactly  the kind of thing that happens even in today's age of  instant communications, and it is this kind of woolly headedness that sustains the legal profession!
Shyamala B.Cowsik

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