Monday Masala, Ijaazat: One night in a railway waiting room

When a heart breaks, what happens? A sudden end of a relationship? There is no noise. Regrets are coming—any reminiscences. And plenty of questions unanswered. Then there is the realisation pressure. That it really has stopped. Ijaazat applies to the cost of heartbreak. The expense of the weather tabled. This expense is exacted at some stage between a separate couple on a rainy night at a railway station.

 

by Niranjani Jesentha Kumari Prabagararaj

Updated: Apr 13, 2020 16:38 IST

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Mahen tries to start a conversation

Ijaazat applies to the cost of heartbreak. The expense of the weather tabled. This expense is exacted at some stage between a separate couple on a rainy night at a railway station. The thunder roars out of the projector, through the silence between them, as the lightning strikes and we see Mahen and Sudha looking at each other for the first time. "Tum?" we just need to know that. That one term is pregnant with a history that they both lived through. Pregnant with promises that have not been fulfilled, reeking lost time. Within the first-class waiting room at this little railway station in between, we see Sudha gazing at Mahen under a framed portrait of Indira Gandhi. 

It's audible the gasp. She covers her identity behind a magazine on Rajiv Gandhi that promises a cover-story. A curious Mahen tries to start a conversation with the lady behind the magazine while she feigns she is reading this Conversation with, Rajiv Gandhi. Who is the woman?

We are being brought back into these two newlyweds' lives. Yet something is wrong. Anything, someone's fragrance, a third person, lingers in Mahen's drawing room and beautifully constructed home. This person, who masters the days of Sudha and the dreams of Mahen, is a disappeared lover.

Most relationships don't end properly with a close. And that was an open wound to Mahen and Maya. Sudha is trying to be the Balm. But the wound isn't healing. Maya isn't letting this recover. Sudha is getting on with this three-way union. Where Mahen's lover determines the course of her marriage with him, also in absentia.

In Ijaazat, based on the tale of Jatugriha by Subodh Ghosh, Gulzar lays bare all manner of passion. Lack of Love. Missing passion. That's just not enough, Love. And the passion is too hard to bear. Love that threatens to spill over, sail off, and erode everything in its way—the love which is the love determined by culture, the tricking out, katra, too. 

Five years later, it changed the world. Okay, Indira Gandhi is still the Prime Minister of India, and Ronald Reagan is still the 'bad actor' who became the President of America. But closer to home, the lives of Mahen and Sudha are not identical.

She is still not drinking tea, but this night she has a bottle. He's already drinking tea but without the one teaspoon of sugar. She also does not want him to drink a peg of bourbon, even though it's cold, and he wants to. He holds her word, and, despite wanting to, drinks not.

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