"Out Of Love" (Hotstar series)
Rating: * * & 1/2
Cast: Rasika Dugal, Purab Kohli; Direction:Tigmanshu Dhulia & Aijaz Kh
For a large part of its playing time, "Out Of Love" looks like banal take on infidelity. Except that here, the suspicious wife Meera won't take the betrayal lying down. As played by the very talented Rasika Dugal, Meera epitomises the mythic hell of a woman scorned. So intense is her abhorrence of her husband's infidelity that she descends into a kind of vendetta that seems increasingly ridiculous and cheap.
It came as a surprise to know that this hysterical series is adapted from BBC's "Dr Foster". I decided to watch some of that. And here is the fundamental difference between the two that makes all the difference. In "Dr Foster", the wife's suspicion and revenge are placed in a cultural and geographical perspective where her actions seem guided by an environment that fosters an aggressive protest against domestic treachery.
In the desi adaptation, Meera's grievance against her husband Akarsh seems unconvincing from the outset. For one, the setting Coonoor seems like the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else. The narrative deliberately chooses to belittle Meera's suspicion by perceiving it as paranoia and then twisting it around in a cheesy way to trounce the viewers' expectations. The plot gets mired in absurdities from the start. In the first episode itself a drug seller's girlfriend is recruited by Meera to spy on her husband. And when Meera marches into a drugdealer's den and threatens him with a knife, I felt embarrassed for her, though I am not sure that's what we are supposed to feel.
The buildup towards Meera's revenge is scarcely fodder for a solid suspense story. Not that the series is bereft ofall merit. The two principal performers try hard to anchor the unbelievable goings-on (at one point in the plot Meera sleeps with a family friend just to get even with her husband). Both Rasika Dugal and Purab Kohli are actors who bloom in delicacy.The sledgehammer drama of "Out Of Love" leaves the players out of breath.Rasika is particularly wheezy when made to perform melodramatic scenes.
Sadly, those are the need of the hour. While the talented Soni Razdan is wasted in a role that requires her to look as distressed as one would be after binge-watching this series, Anjan Shrivastav's return as a disgraced drunken doctor is the highlight of the show that begins promisingly but quickly plummets into a perverse theatrical treatment of infidelity and revenge.