A Hotstar original, Out of Love based on Mike Barlett’s Doctor Foster, is a family drama which haunts you with the indoctrination of cheating partners.
Directed by- Tigmanshu Dhulia, Aijaz Khan
Genre- Drama, Thriller
Starring- Rasika Dugal, Purab Kohli, Soni Razdan
A doctor-architect duo, who happens to be husband and wife played by Purab Kohli and Rasika Dugal lives in a beautiful house in Coonoor with their son and ailing mother-in-law played by Soni Razdan. From the surface, it is one of those perfect married couples who are inseparable even after thirteen years of marriage and have a sexual life like a newlywed. However, a book cannot be judged by its cover. Similarly, their ideal marriage cannot be judged by its outward appearance alone.
Infidelity has become the run-of-the-mill concept now. There are so many real-life, reel-life stories of cuckoldry which are judged on the moral grounds inherently. And further, either the marriage survive infidelity or perish for apparent reasons.
But what if the portrayal of such relationships denies and justifies all at the same time? Though the process of addressing this issue goes through the same complexity, but Out of Love turns it into a propaganda and plant the seeds of doubt in its audience and makes the whole watch disturbing – at the same time it provides a guilty pleasure and that is what makes you hooked to the entire one hour long, five episodes.
Rasika Dugal is one of the finest actors of the time. She carries the entire series on her shoulders. She portrayed the wife Meera who is a modern working woman (a doctor to be precise) and finance the entire household but at the same time is completely unmindful of the expenditures as she believes in her husband. It is a classic portrayal of a lot of contemporary women and men equation inside the institution of marriage. She is dedicated, faithful, loving and is someone who binds the family together.
But the contradiction in her character appears since the minute she found a pink passion (lipstick) from her husband’s pocket. The transition is so moving at the same time so facile that something shifts in her, but she holds it, resists it and that is when it becomes tedious and frustrates the audience from her suffering.
It is almost impossible to digest how anyone move on from such a situation without the confrontation? Imagine, one spouse is cheating, the other knows but is ready to move on without addressing it? Because the confrontation is saved for the last episode as once that is done there is nothing left in the story – apart from Meera’s self-conflict whether to accept, confront, deny or move on.
More than her contradictions, what is disturbing is the husband’s weariness of what he has done. He justifies his doing as how humans have no control over their biology and do get infatuated which is quite usual but the motive to pursue that is how much justified is the question. Akarsh played by Purab Kohli portrayed the character with conviction. You hate him but you also want the couple to reconcile but he refuses to give in to any of those.
There are various other characters, mostly women who look planted to divert your doubts every time you try to identify the other woman. Apart from that, these women do not contribute much to take the story forward.
There are plenty of distressing moments as well such as when the mother-in-law admits she knows about the affair, or the next-door neighbour ‘a wife’ who is okay with her husband cheating as she puts it “…all men cheats”. All these moments force your mind to wander and manages to disturb something within you.
But as an audience myself, I had to have a conversation with myself to get out of that world of doubts, pain, guilt and remorse. Without generalizing the subject of insecurity, we humans are often vulnerable at various level but that does not mean we spiral down to something so deep that it destroys us within.
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