Joined: 04 January 2012
You might be surprised at this title for a detective story, but if you reflect on last Sunday's Arjun episode, you will agree that despite the very dramatic opening sequence that hinted at a major crime, it turned out to be something quite different and unexpected. Not a love story, but one about love in its varying shades: the love between Dheeraj and his wife Seema, that between little Ketan and his parents, and that between Ketan and his nana. Then compassion: Geeta Kapoor's for the little boy, Ketan, of whom she knows nothing,and that of the surgeon and the staff for the little patient.
A truly heart-warming and morally reassuring episode, it is in pleasant contrast to the previous one, where all the characters were in varying shades of black. Here there is only one grey character, Avinash Kapoor, and even his greyness comes more from cowardice and weakness than from wickedness. So, more than in any other episode so far, it is these characters who drive the story, and thus they merit analysis more even than the process of crime-solvng by the ETF. The proof of this statement is that by the end, there is, officially, no crime and no FIR. Let us take a look at them.
- Seema Singh: A frantic mother who will do anything to save her dying child, but also a woman of strong principles, who never even thinks of breaking up Avinash's marriage in order to salvage her own life. She is compassionate enough to downplay Avinash's share of blame for the mess in her life, and brave enough to take the worst adversity on the chin and survive. Her desperation when her son is dying makes her go along with the kidnapping and extortion plan, but even then, such is her consciousness of her wrongdoing that she attributes its failure to her paap.Truly a woman of substance. If she had to have a colour, it would be red, for strength and courage and selfless love.
- Dheeraj Singh: The single most admirable person in this tale, and the sort of spouse any woman would want to have. Not clever, nor successful, but loving and loyal, strong and supportive of his wife at all times, and with a mind broad enough to love another man's child as his own. His love for this child drives him to kidnapping, but he never shirks his responsibility for it.What a contrast between the character of this humble man, with very little of worldly goods, and the well off and well regarded Avinash Kapoor,who is such a despicable coward! When Dheeraj is captured by Rathore near the end, and confesses defeat despite his best efforts, my heart went out to him, and so did Rathore's. And yours too, I am sure. As for his colour, what else but lily white?
- Avinash Kapoor: Basically a coward and a very weak man. For a principal, who should be a mentor and a father figure to all the students in his college, to exploit a young girl's crush on him and have an affair with her is not just despicable, it is criminal, and if it had been leaked, he would have lost his job and been disgraced as he deserves. But Seema saves him from this well deserved fate, and such is his cowardice and selfishness that he effectively disowns the child that he must, in his heart, know is his.
The scandal argument is nonsense; the tests, and the subsequent bone marrow transplant in the event of a match, could have been done in secrecy. There would have been no need for him to acknowledge paternity even privately in the hospital, for if there can be a match with the unconnected commercial donor, why not with Avinash Kapoor? It could very easily have been passed off as a mere humanitarian gesture, and the child would have been saved. Moreover, as bone marrow regenerates itself over time, unlike in the case of a kidney transplant, there would have been no negative consequence for Avinash as the donor. But he is so paralysed by the fear of exposure that he is prepared to let his own son die in order to save his marriage and his reputation. This is an excellent example of criminal weakness. His colour would be deep grey.
-Geeta Kapoor: After Dheeraj, the most admirable character of the lot. A strong, principled and commanding woman, who effortlessly dominates her husband thru sheer moral superiority, she has a heart big enough, and a moral sense acute enough to make her support Seema and Ketan unhesitatingly and effectively. Yes, people like her do exist even today, and it is they who provide the rest with a true moral compass. Her colour would be royal purple, for a queen among women.
To this quartet are added a dying child, a hysterical old man, a voluble neighbour of Seema's and the amazingly sympathetic hospital staff, and the ETF is thrown into the whipped up mixture. What results is a remarkable set of varying reactions to the unfolding tragedy, with the ETF members being drawn to take sides as never before. Shree actively, and Rathore less so but still firmly, back Ketan and his mother against Avinash Kapoor, and it is left to Arjun to insist on the letter of the law being enforced, to Shree's acute distress and perhaps Arjun's own regret.
Happy ending, but how?: That there is a happy ending after all is probably more of a concession to viewer sentiment than anything else. For one thing, HOW does Geeta Kapoor find her way from the site of the failed ransom payment to the Oncology Clinic? Who tells her that Avinash is there? Not the ETF for sure. Then who? Her dramatic entry is just a convenient but inexplicable plot device, and as it provides a happy ending, why should the viewers complain?
This said, and without diminishing Geeta Kapoor's admirable gesture in any way, I am sure there would have been no FIR even if she had not been there to veto it. Avinash Kapoor would never have risked the scandal that would inevitably follow, which would have ruined him.
Arjun and Rathore: Arjun's deductions and reasoning
are as usual spot on, and his unerring eye for the crucial element is very much
in evidence ' witness his rushing to retrieve the dead man's mobile from his
personal effects for immediate examination, his identifying the bone marrow
transplant as the reason for the 30 lakhs being needed that very day by the
Singh family, and his working out the link between Avinash Kapoor and the Singh
family. His patiently extracting the one
vital fact - that the man who held up the bank was Ketan's nana Praveen Tiwari ' from that voluble neighbour of Seema's -
while Rathore, ever the action man, looks on in barely concealed exasperation
at what he feels is undue delay - was truly superb. It reminded me of Hercule
Poirot, Agatha Christie's famous detective, who often used the same technique for
coaxing the facts and the truth out of people.
Rathore is once more seen playing second fiddle to Arjun almost till the end, when he comes into his own, standing up to the bullying by Avinash Kapoor and still trying to get him to donate the bone marrow to Ketan. It does seem more and more that Arjun is the de facto ETF chief: it is he who is seen today giving every single order to Chotu and Shree (with Shree, at times he does not even have to give an order, he just has to look at him!), he contradicts Rathore repeatedly, and at one point he literally tells Rathore to get moving. In fact, for the whole of the latter half, till the end scene with Avinash Kapoor, Rathore seems to be merely Arjun's chauffeur! As I have argued earlier, too much of this kind of thing wil lnot help the serial, for a totally one-sided show is far less interesting than one in which two strong characters both clash and cooperate for the sake of the investigation, even if one is clearly the brighter of the two.
Delightful vignettes: There are couple of brief scenes that still make a mark.
- The commercial donor's exasperated comment Bhalayi ka zamana hi nahin raha, has attracted a lot of well deserved criticism, but what has been overlooked is his saying that it was already 4 pm and time for him to 'open the bottle'. He is thus a habitual drunkard, and must be seeing the Rs.15 lakhs as drinks money for the next 10 years. No wonder he is angry at having been stuck there all day to no purpose. One also wonders about the quality of his bone marrow, which is very likely pickled in low grade alcohol!
What is not at all clear is how Arjun jumps, from this remark of that chap's, to the conclusion that the operation is already under way with another donor, who can be only Avinash Kapoor. The nurse says nothing about the operation, so it is really just an inspired guess which, as is always the case with Arjun, turns out to be dead right!
- The other one is the sight of the bank security guard, fast asleep on his chair at the bank entrance, and this at 11 am! He is startled awake only by the loud sounds of Tiwari quarrelling with the bank staff, and he rushes in after straightening his cap. A side-splitting scene, and some rare light relief.
Plot holes and question marks: Even in such a satisfying episode, there are several plot holes.
- The opening sequence, with its high drama, is based on a complete fallacy. No bank will hand over such a large sum of money in cash without asking for proof of identity. Praveen Tiwari chooses this branch because it is not the one in which Avinash Kapoor has his account, and so the staff here would not know that he is not Avinash Kapoor. But precisely because it is a different branch, they will insist on proof that the person at the counter is either Avinash Kapoor or has a letter of authority from him, for how could they be sure, not having the account opening file, that the signature was not fake?
Since Praveen Tiwari claims to be
Kapoor, he does not submit a letter of authority. It is not even clear if the cheque has been endorsed on the back side
by Kapoor, as is mandatory for all cash payouts. In such a case, and given that the amount is very large, this
branch manager would definitely have
called Kapoor's branch to have his photo
sent to the his own mobile, and Tiwari's fraud would have been exposed.
So this vital sequence is really a non-starter, and a major exercise in
- Avinash Kapoor is not a millionaire businessman. Why then would he keep Rs.30 lakhs, a huge sum, in his savings account? Anyone would have invested all but a couple of lakhs in fixed deposits or other avenues.This is really strange, and seems to be just a plot device to introduce the 30 lakhs figure and kickstart all the drama and mystery.
- The head surgeon at the hospital says that they would have been ready to take their fees later, and would have operated as soon as Ketan's parents came up with a donor. This would have cost only Rs. 15 lakhs for the donor. Why then does Ketan's nana not take the Rs. 15 laks this day, pay the donor, and then come back the next day for the rest, to meet the hospital fees?
- Arjun's barging into the sterile OT is ridiculous, and could have
easily endangered little Ketan's already very fragile system (the make
up for the little boy was superb, with those huge weary eyes and the bald head).
He could have banged on the door and forced the surgeon to come out and talk to
- When the money is not forthcoming, Dheeraj forcibly brings Avinash to the hospital, and presumably has the tests done on him there, which confirm the match. Now it is unbelievable that the hospital and the doctors would run the risk of doing these tests on a protesting and totally unwilling potential donor. They would have got into very serious trouble if, once he got out, he lodged a police complaint and took legal action against the hospital, not to speak of Ketan's family. No hospital chief, no matter how compassionate, would break the law and endanger the whole hospital for the sake of one patient. I did admire what the surgeon said to Arjun - it is noble and heartwarming - but it is not credible at all.
All this said, I was so grateful for this wonderful, emotional and completely satisfying episode that I would happily overlook many more such loopholes and slip ups, and I am sure you would feel the same!
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