A lot of Indians have been seeing Pakistani serials on their videos and praising them. So, I thought, I should see one also.
It is not easy to find a Pakistani cassette; only select video libraries have them. And, when you find them, they will be in a bad shape, being so popular that they have been used and reused a thousand times. I found two, Magroor I and II, and I selected I.
Yesterday, being Sunday, after a proper lunch of chilled beer and Goa curry (though with kokum instread of tamarind) and basmati rice, I interrupted the Malayalam film that was on on TV and settled down to watch the Pakistani film.
The credit titles were in Urdu, a series of crescent moons, but the background music was a familiar tune in English that I could not identify, which was rather irritating. And the film began with a young girl writing her diary, which was also in Urdu.
The opening scene had a Kuldip Nayar look-alike, sitting in an illfiting suit, in an office that evidently belonged to him, and signing things. It was possibly a business office, because he kept asking questions whether the goods to Sweden had been despatched and whether the cash from Sweden had arrived and to remind Sweden about something or the other. Everybody on the sub-continent, these days, seems to be dealing with Sweden, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, Mr. Arun Nehru, everybody.
The plot develops fast, though the film itself is rather slow. The gentleman has two daughters and he hates the sight of them, since he wants a son to carry on with his business. The elder daughter, pretty in a well-scrubbed sort of way, though nowhere near our Hema Malini and Dimple Kapadia, is studying to be a commercial artist. A male student, fat and pudgy and moustched and eviently the hero of the film, tells her, after class: "Aap ko kuch itraz nahi ho to jarra cha pee layega." To which she replies: "Jo cha pine ka mood hoga toe cha lo pee layega."
In the classroom itself, there are intense discussions on commercial art vs. pure art, "sir", a youngish man with glasses, explaining eveything.
But the story is about sons and daughers. A third child is born, also a girl, and the father refuses to so much as look at it. He stops his eldest daughter from working (why whould women work!), he refuses to attend the parents' day function at the school of his second daughter (let the women go), he gives his wife and alternative, she sould get a divorce ot stay as his No. 2 wife, since he was getting a No.1.
If such a film was shown on our Doordarshan, Mrs. Mrinal Gore, Mrs. Ahilya Rangnekar and other feminists would stage a demonstration and have it stopped.
The second woman is a bit of a vamp. Large and havey and like a ship in full sail, but there is no emotional exchange between her and the man. They sit on sofas at opposite ends of the room and have chai.
In the last scene, the boy who has been rejected by the girl, because of her father, is sitting in a restaurnat and trying to drown his sorry on a cup of chai. I have to make up my mind whether to get Magroor II or not.