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Jodha Akbar 153: The Great Mahaanta Stakes, or Mohabbat 201

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Jodha Akbar 153: The Great Mahaanta Stakes, or Mohabbat 201

Post by sashashyam on 2014-01-17, 09:50

 Folks,                                                                                             ,
The gasping sound you hear is me trying to catch my breath,  after having barely managed to save  myself from being swept away in a rushing tidal wave of mahaanta, of the purest and most pristine variety.
Why this  sudden inundation, you might well ask. Why, because half the cast of  Jodha Akbar seemed to vying for victory in the Great Mahaanta Stakes, and their combined output of the quality of mercy that "is not strained. It  falleth like gentle rain from Heaven upon the place beneath" (with apologies to Shakespeare and his immortal Portia) was  enough to  flood the whole of the Agra palace and more.
Let us list out the  contenders for the Mahaanta laurel wreath.
- Mirza Muhammed Hakim: uncomplaining renunciation.  He spouts mahaanta so effortlessly and fulsomely that any earlier experts in this field, such as Jodha Begum, are quite cast into the shade.
He oozes noble resignation as he seeks the release of Raja Bharmal from prison, citing both his walid,  the Emperor Humayun,  and his grandfather  in support of his contention that parents should not be punished for the sins of their children (Hear, hear, Shwetha!)
He declares that he has no complaint against Shivani, and pointedly exculpates her of any blame for lying to the Shahenhshah when asked whether she  is ready for this marriage.  She could not help lying, he asserts, as she was in the grip of mohabbat.
In fact, she had saved him  from the far greater hurt that he would have suffered if he had found out about her love affair after the marriage. His heart would then have been broken and all 3 lives would have been ruined. Incidentally, I cannot see why this had to be so. All that Mirza had to do is to give Shivani a talaq as soon as he finds out about this, and then Tejwant could surely marry her. But obviously  such a formulation sounds much more impressive and moving.
Mohabbat 201: The  line about Shivani  being a prisoner of her mohabbat providing the perfect opening for it, Mirza Hakim then launches forth into an impassioned lecture on the many splendours of the divine passion.
Jalal's attempt to stem the tide by making his patented declaration, that he has no dil  and thus has no faith in mohabbat, is swept aside by his brother, who seems by now to be in love with his own voice, and intoxicated (like Anthony Gonsalves in AAA) by the exuberance of his own rhetoric.
Poor Jalal looks on helplessly  as the high flown eloquence washes over him. Mohabbat, intones Hakim, can give even  a fakir the strength  to face an emperor fearlessly, but it can also make an emperor so weak that he goes down on his knees in public (now we know what is in store for Jalal. It is making me queasy already. It is  not  that he has not been on his knees figuratively before,  but now it might be  literal!) .
Mohabbat  is such that a lover cannot hurt the object of his chahat even if he wants to do so, for to hurt her would be to hurt himself.
This then was the Mohabbat 201 of fhe title. Mohabbat 101  was of course given by Hamida Banu in the dungeon,  when she arrives in the nick of time to save the cheating baandi Farida from having her sar kalamofied by a furious Jalal.
So, declares Hakim, if Jalal were to hurt Shivani or Tejwant or any of those belonging to them,  it would hurt him, Hakim, most of all. He then asserts his claim, as the person directly affected, to act as the judge in this matter. His decision, he concludes, is that he forgives Bharmal, and his  wish that he be freed.
Jalal seems dumbfounded at finding this votary of aman and mohabbat and muafi in his own team. 
As for me, I could not make out how the CVs propose to transform this fast track candidate for sainthood into the hostile Mirza Hakim who was a thorn in Jalal's side for most of his short adult life, which ended at 32.  We know that nothing is beyond their powers, but still, this one is going to take some hard work. Especially since the Shivani fiasco is clearly not going to lead to a falling out between the brothers.
-Hamida Banu:   Jodha's Ammijaan does not disappoint us. In an impressive bid for the top spot. she  pulls out all the stops and produces all her  favourite lines.
There is no need for you to apologise, she affirms, for it was not your fault, Raja Saheb. Naturally you did not want a common kaarigar for your son in law (I felt let down at this point,  having expected an eloquent plea on behalf of Shivani's mohabbat regardless of the discrepancy in status, Hamida Banu being a great advocate of love, but perhaps her practical side took over for that moment!). 
Of course she does not add that this need not have led  the Raja Saheb to hide his daughter's liaison and to   move fast to palm off  his daughter on the hapless Hakim Mirza, taking advantage of his having suffered a coup de foudre (thunderbolt  of love)   on sighting Shivani.
Please do not blame your parvarish,  she goes on, which has after all produced (the paragon) Jodha as well. Children do sometimes commit such naadani (it is noteworthy that when Bakshi Banu committed a similar naadani  for the selfsame reason, mohabbat,  Hamida Banu was far less understanding, and was in fact quite harsh with her. Of course it is easier to be "understanding"of the follies committed by  other people's children).
-Jodha Begum: a Daniel come to judgment: While almost all of the above was tongue in cheek stuff,  with Jodha today, I have no need to indulge in satire. She was not really being mahaan  in the sense I meant it,  but rather uncompromisingly just and unforgiving in her pronouncements. But let us include her too.
Today, Jodha  stood tall (figuratively, of course) and proud, uncompromising and straightbacked,  amidst the shamefaced Ameris and the jeering harem inmates, not to speak  of Mahaam Anga, crowing openly at the disgrace  of Jodha Begum's family and the trashing of her proud Rajvanshi sanskaars.
For perhaps the first time in Jodha Akbar,  Jodha views her near and dear ones with pitiless clarity, and condemns her beloved Bapusa in harsh and  unforgiving terms for the vishwasghaat he has inflicted on the Shahenshah, on Mirza Hakim, and on herself through his unforgiveable  deception. A piece of chicanery that has not only disgraced Amer, she asserts,  but  muddied the reputation and lowered the prestige of hamara parivaar, the Mughal imperial family.
Jodha does not take refuge in obfuscations and sophistry to whitewash her Bapusa's doing. She  will have none of  Moti's attempts at extenuation  for Bharmal,   citing the circumstances and the helplessness of a father, and the compulsions of family honour that might have led him to this disastrous deception. He should have told me, she says bluntly; I could then have tried to persuade Shivani to accept this alliance,  and if that failed, prevented this marriage from going ahead.  At least them both  families would have been spared this disgrace.
Jodha is stoic  in public as the fallout from Shivani's elopement eddies around her. She is resigned to having to bear taunts and sneers for the foreseeable future, and tearfully remembers her pride in being a daughter of Amer,  a pride which is  now a thing of the past. 
She does plead with Jalal on behalf of Bharmal, and  though most of what she says in muted out as Jalal remembers Mirza's lines about the power of mohabbat, she does remark, curiously enough, that his fault is not so  great (as to merit being imprisoned). This does not jell with what she feels and says later, and the only possible explanation is that in the meantime, she has learnt that Bharmal had known all along about Tejwant, and was thus using Mirza, and Jalal,  for his own selfish ends.
Or as Jalal puts it earlier to Bharmal with brutal clarity:  Aap apne mushkilaat ka hal hamari beizzati mein dhoond rahe the.
I found it  characteristic of Jodha that when the Shahenshah, undoubtedly to honour his brother's express wish, releases Bharmal from prison and allows him to return to Amer, she immediately waxes eloquent about his having once more demonstrated his badappan.  The last time Jalal  merited such tearful gratitude from her was at the end of the Bakshi Banu track. 
It is always so when Jalal does something big to please Jodha. However, as a rule, this gratitude never lasts long.  Come  the first new occasion when he flouts her wishes, and he is back to being kutil and kroor.
It remains to be seen if this rule continues to hold good now too, or not.  My guess is that it will, and we will soon be back in the downward swing of the sine curve!
This apart, Jodha (and Paridhi, who was superb throughout in her helpless despair and anger) had a  splendid, shining moment  last night. It was  at the very end, as  she  comes to meet her family for the first time after the elopement.  Bharmal & Co are not just downcast and deeply ashamed; they do not know what to expect.
That is made clear as soon as Jodha  begins to speak. She condemns Bharmal's deception and chicanery in no uncertain terms, stating that  she did not have as big a heart the Shahenshah and her Ammijaan, and could not forgive him. But for his cheating them all, not just Amer, the whole Mughal sultanate and her (Mughal)b parivaar need not have suffered such humiliation and disgrace. She was his child and would  bear it, but she could not bear what had been inflicted on her pati and her devar.
Agra first, not Amer: The coup de grace comes at the very end. Her face set hard in tearful anger, Jodha makes a ringing declaration to the Bapusa whom she has idolized all her life, and whose feet of clay she now sees clearly : Aapka prem hamein sadaiva  smaran rahega. Parantu aapne hamare parivaar ko chala hai. Mughal khandaan ki yeh Jodha Begum aapko kabhi kshama nahin kar sakti.   
At long last, Jodha seems to have found the identification with her husband and his family that has eluded her for so long. The identification which makes her  see herself as part of them. The identification that  ties her fortunes to their fortunes, her pride and sense of self to their pride and their identity, and makes their hurts hers as well.  And makes her put them first,  ahead of her beloved Amer.
It was truly an epiphany, a Eureka moment if ever there was one. Shivani's unbelievable selfishness and folly seem to have been the unlikely catalyst  needed for this long overdue transformation.  Now one has only to keep one's fingers crossed for this to last! I think it will.
Jalal: finding his bearings: He is of course the linchpin of all the action, but here  he was somewhat eclipsed by Mirza Hakim and Jodha, both of whom  had the best lines and were author-backed to the hilt.
He was all dignity and controlled  aggression with Bharmal, combining some  of the formal respect due to a father-in-law - he kneels too as Bharmal goes on his knees in apology and supplication - with the relentless probing that forces Bharmal to confess that yes, he had known of Shivani's love affair with the kaarigar, and had thus jumped at the Hakim marriage proposal. The way in which he corners Bharmal into confessing  his guilt  and accepting his punishment was subtle and sophisticated but yet ruthless, blessedly reminiscent of the Shahenshah  of old. Only the terrifying, mirthless smile was missing. It was a treat to watch Rajat at work in this scene.
With Hakim, Jalal is mostly reacting -  with bewilderment, incomprehension and finally,  exasperation mixed with  a kind of wonderment. Everything Jalal says in condemnation of Shivani is true, but Mirza Hakim counters all these accusations with his simple affirmation of what mohabbat  means to him, and might mean to Jalal too one day. Jalal clearly does not agree with any of this but,  as he felt after the Farida affair, he is left perplexed and somewhat disoriented.
Thus, when he decides to release Bharmal because that is his brother's express wish and his  decision, Jalal is also affected by what Hakim says about love making it impossible for one to hurt the loved one, for to hurt her  would be to hurt oneself. As he turns and looks, for the first time in this meeting, at Jodha's tearstained face and brimming eyes, and  her hands folded in entreaty, his face is inscrutable, but surely something stirs deep in his zehen.  He might not realise what it is that he felt then, but later, Hakim's words will help Jalal diagnose his own feelings and understand where he stands vis--vis Jodha.
In the precap, Jalal is uncompromisingly stern and intent on catching and punishing the runaways. Jodha's hesitant plea is brushed aside  summarily. It seemed to me that Jalal was reacting to the idea of mohabbat  making even an emperor so weak as to bring him to his knees, and he wants to prove to himself that this cannot happen to him. Moreover,  he has let Bharmal off, and there has to be another candidate  for punishment, or else he will be accused of partiality toward his Ameri relatives.
It remains to be seen if Shivani and Tejwant really cop it, or Jodha ups the glycerine quotient (Paridhi is one lucky girl: she can cry for hours, and still look lovely despite swollen eyes and a  face stained with tears!) and gets them off lightly. I  would hate it, but I am uneasily convinced that it will be the latter, and Jalal too will enter the Great Mahaanta Stakes.
Joke of the day: Bharmal railing at  a weeping Shivani for demeaning herself by canoodling with a karigaar, and roaring at Bhagwandas  to get her out of his sight,  and then hunt down the kaarigar  and bring him for punishment sheegrati sheegra.  The chaalu Tejwant must of course have made himself scarce in time, seeing that he is still alive and in one piece. But why does Bharmal commit the folly of letting Shivani loose in Agra, without briefing  Jodha to be watchful, instead of keeping her under strict watch in Amer? It is folly of a degree that is impossible to understand. (And where was Mynavati, who should have known of this affair and nipped it  in the bud?)
When I was an Indian Foreign Service probationer, we had a training stint at the National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie, where among others things, we were also taught to ride. When any one of us could not manage a recalcitrant mount (not me,  I was quite good at it!), the trainer used to rebuke him or her,  saying Agar is ghode ko nahin sambhal sakte, so poora district (this was meant for the IAS probationers) kya sambhaloge?  One could say as much to Raja Bharmal: Agar ek ladki ko nahin sambhal sake, to Amer ko kaise sambhaloge?
Shyamala B.Cowsik
PS: I can hear you asking But who was the winner? Waajib sawaal hai, but that will become clear only after Shivani and Tejwant are caught and brought to trial. Till then, please possess your souls in patience!

sashashyam
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Re: Jodha Akbar 153: The Great Mahaanta Stakes, or Mohabbat 201

Post by ShaliniRobinson on 2014-01-17, 13:19

Thank you for the write-up :)

The Great Mahaanta Stakes... it had me in splits. And yes, I too had a happy surprise in Jodha. The frog has finally gained a viewpoint different from the Ameri well. Like you I hope she keeps this viewpoint. She is saying that she'd forever be burdened by this deceit of her father's household; I really hope she remembers this if and when Jalal loses the badappan trophy handed to him by the self-righteous queen.

As for winner ... Mirza is a very popular candidate, isn't he now! I was telling my yesterday that he was so good that Queen Jodha would gladly dub him an honorary rajvanshi!!  Wink 



Poor Jalal though! How must it feel to be continually beaten by a force he can neither see or understand, and yet those lesser than him are experts on the matter!

In fact, the poor king is forced into decisions he'd rather not make if left to his own devices.

I do agree :)Jalal was a treat to watch when interrogating Bharmal. I especially loved that when Bharmal kneeled, his stated reason was that he was accepting responsibility for Shivani's misdeed, which he hasn't expected at all --- Jalal kneels too and corrects that the reason why Bharmal is the culprit, is not because Shivani did anything, but because Bharmal himself hid the truth and caused the fiasco.

Something he should have handled within his own household, he let trickle into Jalal's household and it overflowed beyond any possible correction.

He didn't let Bharmal hide his folly behind that of his daughter.

For a change, it was nice to see Jalal maintain a clear perspective and vision.

For me, that one scene was the first high point of the episode - the one which has made seeing this whole track worthwhile.

The second was, of course as you say, the final stand taken by Jodha against Bharmal's deceit.

Finally -- as Jalal steps up towards making decisions based on 'mohabbat' even if he doesn't get it and Jodha steps down from the Ameri pedestal where she worshipped herself even if she doesn't like it --- the distance between the two seems to be decreasing. They are more aligned - relatively speaking.

Now, if Jodha once again manages to save Jalal's life from Benazir and exposed Abul Maali's unnoticed incursion into the Royal palace, she would've redeemed herself from the royal disgrace Ameris have caused her.

--

Thank you once again for the delightful read :)Enjoyed it :)

ShaliniRobinson
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Re: Jodha Akbar 153: The Great Mahaanta Stakes, or Mohabbat 201

Post by sashashyam on 2014-01-17, 14:26

Thank you, Shalini, both for liking this post and for understanding that it was largely, especially the section on Mirza, pure satire, and not to be taken literally, as some did take it!As for Bharmal, you  have spotted the clever tactic of Jalal's for pinning him down to what he really did wrong. You would also like to see this comment on my  IF thread on this episode, which wrote:made the following very interesting point, that he always used his eldest daughter to get himself out of the trouble he had landed in because his incompetence - at war the first time and as a parent now."I have to say something about Bharmal, what he did was quite realistic. It happens even now and I am sure it happened a lot more then where marrying within your status, caste and religion was everything. He was true to his character I see him quite capable of doing this, after all this is the same man who thought it would be just to not even allow Jodha to see Jalal's face before marriage. It wasn't that he bartered her that is natural and within the ethics of politics and war of the time, but it was that he lied to his daughter about the real deal so what does that say about him."Shyamala
ShaliniRobinsonThank you for the write-up :)

The Great Mahaanta Stakes... it had me in splits. And yes, I too had a happy surprise in Jodha. The frog has finally gained a viewpoint different from the Ameri well. Like you I hope she keeps this viewpoint. She is saying that she'd forever be burdened by this deceit of her father's household; I really hope she remembers this if and when Jalal loses the badappan trophy handed to him by the self-righteous queen.

As for winner ... Mirza is a very popular candidate, isn't he now! I was telling my yesterday that he was so good that Queen Jodha would gladly dub him an honorary rajvanshi!!  Wink 



Poor Jalal though! How must it feel to be continually beaten by a force he can neither see or understand, and yet those lesser than him are experts on the matter!

In fact, the poor king is forced into decisions he'd rather not make if left to his own devices.

I do agree :)Jalal was a treat to watch when interrogating Bharmal. I especially loved that when Bharmal kneeled, his stated reason was that he was accepting responsibility for Shivani's misdeed, which he hasn't expected at all --- Jalal kneels too and corrects that the reason why Bharmal is the culprit, is not because Shivani did anything, but because Bharmal himself hid the truth and caused the fiasco.

Something he should have handled within his own household, he let trickle into Jalal's household and it overflowed beyond any possible correction.

He didn't let Bharmal hide his folly behind that of his daughter.

For a change, it was nice to see Jalal maintain a clear perspective and vision.

For me, that one scene was the first high point of the episode - the one which has made seeing this whole track worthwhile.

The second was, of course as you say, the final stand taken by Jodha against Bharmal's deceit.

Finally -- as Jalal steps up towards making decisions based on 'mohabbat' even if he doesn't get it and Jodha steps down from the Ameri pedestal where she worshipped herself even if she doesn't like it --- the distance between the two seems to be decreasing. They are more aligned - relatively speaking.

Now, if Jodha once again manages to save Jalal's life from Benazir and exposed Abul Maali's unnoticed incursion into the Royal palace, she would've redeemed herself from the royal disgrace Ameris have caused her.

--

Thank you once again for the delightful read :)Enjoyed it :)

sashashyam
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Re: Jodha Akbar 153: The Great Mahaanta Stakes, or Mohabbat 201

Post by pollyanna on 2014-01-17, 14:37

Wow....awesome post Aunty  Thumbsup .......loved the humour.....and the apt title :) :)

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Re: Jodha Akbar 153: The Great Mahaanta Stakes, or Mohabbat 201

Post by sashashyam on 2014-01-17, 14:40

I am glad, Pallavi, both that you liked the post and that you took the bulk of it as pure satire, especially the part about Hakim Mirza.Shyamala Auntypollyanna wrote:Wow....awesome post Aunty  Thumbsup .......loved the humour.....and the apt title :) :)

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Re: Jodha Akbar 153: The Great Mahaanta Stakes, or Mohabbat 201

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