The duo of S. Mazhar moin and Faseeh Bari khan are known for creating unusual serials and telefilms. This telefilm is an example of that. Ek Qayamat Aur aired on Hum Tv.
The Telefilm starts with an old crippled woman with a burnt face walking towards a group of Qawals rendering A beautiful Qawali ” Tere liye main tou charan lagi’ a Qawali dedicated to Hazrat Nizam Uddin Auliya(RA) the patron saint of Delhi. The old woman who is also a hunchback and carries a begging bowl sits down and cries silently. It is then the scene cuts to modern day and we discover that it is infact a dream of a woman named Shaista ( Sawera nadeem). She wakes up time find it is almost time for her husband (Amir Qureshi) To return home. At once we notice something is off. Shaista’s husband avoids her completely. She herself asks ‘kab tak bhaagte raho ge mujhse?’. All is not well in their married life.
To compensate for her Husband’s negligence Shaista begins to spend the duration of her day sleeping and dreaming about a Mughal princess who looks just like her! In her dream life she finds happiness. Enter Hina Dilpazeer in her usual brilliant performance. Hina plays the ‘Mughlani’ of the princess’s household who is her husband’s foster mother/ Spy! It is clear the Princess suffers from the same problem as Shaista. In their conversation when the Mughlani suggests a trip to Ajmer Sharif to pray for a child The Princess replies sarcastically other things are required for having a child then praying at a Mausoleum. This conversation further reveals the date of this setting as the Mughlani says the British could attack Delhi at any instance meaning it is shortly before the events of 1857. The conversation is cut short by a ‘Mashki'( water carrier) who has come to water the plants. He is played by Imran Abbas! The princess keeps watching him rather then going in parda like the rest of the ladies present.
Here a clarification must be made. All the characters in the dream/past story have real life counter parts. Princess is Shaista. Her husband is the prince, Mughlani is their maid and the Mashki is the guy who delivers water cans to heir house!
The next day Shaista’s dream comes true and the man of her dreams( Who is really very shy) comes into her house. She talks to him and also attempts to touch his shoulder but he literally breaks into a sweat and drops the water he is carrying! Then next day he returns Shaista speaks in a deep and meaningful manner with him. And alludes to her loneliness and her childlessness but they are interrupted by her maid who sees through the glass in the front door and bangs furiously. the water company deliverer leaves and the maid ( Hina Again !) gives them both meaningful looks.
Meanwhile her dream life gets more colorful as the princess gets more close to the water carrier. It is easy to see that Shaista is taking out her frustrations through these dreams. As she later says to her good for nothing husband that her life is finally getting completed through these dreams. Meanwhile the Mughlani scolds the water carrier for no particular reason and he gives her an excellent reply which leads the old woman who is well-versed in palace politics and scandals to suspect something is wrong and tries to discover the reason of his boldness! One day she sees him with thje princess one day! The princess gives her a piece of her jewellery to keep her mouth shut but even that doesn’t stop her conspiracies!
Meanwhile Shaista’s husband keeps getting worse. He is insensitive and sarcastic as well! Shaista keeps getting more entangled in the dream world her perception of dreams and reality getting blurred! It is clear from her gestures and the way she talks that the unfulfillment of her needs and the indifference of her husband is making her slowly loose her mind.
Shaista’s husband begins to suspect her of having a affair but instead she replies that she can’t kill her inner woman forever and says Waqar-un-nissa is also in trouble these days as Shehzada Huzoor is back in Delhi! This shows how cut of from reality she has become!
Meanwhile Shaista’s maid confronts her over the affair( What Affair? She only touched his shoulder once!) and says the boy will ruin her married life( LOL What life? This marriage is in name only!)
She also mentions that her grandmother who is old and senile is nowadays repeating the tale of a Mughal princess who went through a similar ordeal as Shaista and had an affair with a water carrier. Shaista asks what happened to her but she says her grandmother is not in her right mind and if pressed to give details breaks into really foul abuses! LOL. She had also mentioned earlier that her great grandmother worked in Shaista’s husband ancestral home in Delhi. This shows she is a descendant of the Mughlani. Shaista who has lost grips on reality threatens her with the dungeons and says that she told Shehzada Huzoor the truth. She grabs her face and shouts the face may be young but if you touch it the ugliness inside will be revealed. She tells Shaista that she is herself a woman and knows that the fault is not in her and asks her to leave the Boy (Whose name is Kabir). Shaista throws her maid out who goes to her husband and tells him every thing. ( Like Ancestor like descendant! Mughlani would be proud of her LOL).
Shaista’s husband gets really angry and goes to her room where she is sleeping. meanwhile in Shaista’s dream Waqar-un-nissa and Shehzada Huzoor are going to a place which is desolate and nobody is around( Reminded me of all the haunted sites people got trapped in indian horror serial LOL) very late at night accompanied by a few soldiers only! Shehzada Huzoor asks Shaista who is the father of her child! But she refuses to give his name saying she only followed her natural instincts after waiting for years for her husband to arrive! ( Really sad scene and dialogues). But he already found out the truth and has Kabir brought before her and killed before her very eyes!
Shaista’s husband wakes up from his sleep to finds her Crying and calling him a murderer. He says that Parveen ( their maid) ( has told him every thing. He however is outwardly very understanding and says he understands her predicament. At last the problem is revealed which is impotency. He says that he will drop at her house. ( In the middle of night!). While Shaista thinks that he wil kill her! She falls asleep in the car and sees the last part of her dream story. After killing Kabir Shehzada Huzoor orders his men to break her bones and to burn her face thus leading to her predicament as a crippled old beggar in the beginning of the story! This beating would also have lead to her loosing her unborn child. She is woken up by the sound of the car stopping. Her husband gets out to get some cigarettes and on the Paan shop talks to a man who looks like one of the soldiers from her dream! Shaista says that her husband is changing the end of the story and she knows he will harm her and asks him to stop the car! Here the biggest plot twist of the telefilm is revealed. Dressed in a sleeveless vest and low-hanging jeans Kabir walks to her car and croons seductively to her husband about how he can serve him! She screams her husband to take her home. Here at last she remembers all her encounters with Kabir and realizes why he was avoiding her! Her husband speaks in a casual tone about not to be disgusted by the boy as he often sees him standing out late at night! It is left ambiguous whether her husband did this intentionally or whether he knew the true identity of the boy! Seeing her only hope crumbled Shaista runs upstairs and jumps from the Balcony! The scene then cuts to Nazli Nasr ( In A special guest appearance) explaining that she is able to understand fractures but is unable to Understand why Shaista has turned into a hunchback. The scene ten forwards the Shrine of Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Karachi. As was shown in the beginning she walks with a stick and is a hunchback but is in decent clothes and with shoes meaning she has not fallen into the clutches of poverty. While the same Qawali is being played she has a flashback of every thing that happened to her and stares blankly into the camera as Credits Role.
The telefilm was brilliantly directed and written . Each character performed brilliantly but the credit must goes to Hina Dilpazeer! Despite being a supporting artist she works better then most leads. She is indeed a wonderful actress. Her mattering of the Old Delhi Urdu accent and dialect was out of this world.
There were two mistakes one the princess was shown wearing Ghararas although they came into vogue much later. Pishwaz. Kurta Pajama or the expansive Farshi pajamas would have been the correct ideal but then again this is a minor mistake compared to the overall brilliance of the well-written telefilm. Also Farshi pajamas would have curtailed her movement. The second was at the end of dream story Waqar-un-nissa travels unveiled with Shehzada Huzoor but then it could be attributed to the fact that both knew what was about to happen so such a formality was no longer needed, The writers left the audience to figure out how true was the dream story. Was it a real historical incident or was it Shaista’s mind creating a story which was a reflection of her ordeal. Any way the telefilm was brilliant.