What is the story about?
Sakshi and Kunal have been married for over twenty years, and are parents to two sons, Shivaay and Shlok. They are also successful restauranteurs. However, when Sakshi learns that Kunal has been in a clandestine relationship with food critic Preet, it brings her world crashing down, and sends shockwaves in their family and close circle of friends.
When Sakshi spots Kunal and Preet kissing inside a car for the first time, she does not know how to react. There is a party going on in the restaurant she runs with Kunal. She goes back to the restaurant, and tries to blurt out the words in front of her close friend Rafia, but she cannot. For the next few minutes, she constantly flits between anger, denial, helplessness, bargaining and vomiting. At another point, she tries to kiss Rafia to know what it feels like to kiss another woman, but she does not feel anything. Her mind is unable to process how her husband, who has cared for her all these years, has been shut in the closet the entire time.
Homosexuality is all but one aspect of this show. At one level, His Storyy is a tale of a marriage going sour and disintegrating. But at another level, it is also about real people and their propensity to lie or conceal the truth from each other. More specifically, it is about the lies we tell ourselves: about relationships, about masculinity, about marriage and about trust. Pertinently, it is also about how parents often put the burden of their expectations and projections of "perfection" on to the younger generation, and then cannot stand it if those expectations are not met. Perhaps that is why this drama reminded me a lot of Neena Gupta's fuss-free, relatable soaps in the 1990s like Saans and Siskiyaan. Sakshi, Kunal and Preet are stuck in a quagmire of their own, but their close friends have their own issues to deal with, and the next generation is still finding its feet, constantly negotiating familial expectations with an ever-changing world. Suparn S Verma's superb screenplay underlines all these issues beautifully, making the series a pleasant and poignant Sunday surprise from AltBalaji and ZEE5.
Priyamani's Sakshi and Satyadeep Misra's Kunal are the glue that holds this series together. Confident and assured in her marriage, Sakshi has to recover from not just the revelation of her husband's infidelity, but also his sexual preference, and Priyamani portrays her in terrific fashion. Misra brings depth and empathy to his role as Kunal. Mrinal Dutt is assured as Preet, the partner who knows he has to share his partner with a wife he still loves. Rajiv Kumar and Parinitaa Seth are decent as Nihal and Loveleen, a couple close to both Sakshi and Kunal. Charu Shankar springs a surprise as Rafia, a close confidante of Sakshi. While Nitin Bhatia plays the hot-headed, toxic Shivaay to perfection, Mikail Gandhi is lovable and patient as Shlok. Anmol Amir Kajani and Rheanne Tejani are alright as Ved, the son of Nihal and Loveleen, and Jhanvi, Rafia's daughter.
Music & Other Departments
Ayush Chirania's art direction captures the upscale ethos of Sakshi and Kunal's circle. Srinivas Achary's cinematography is decent. Dharam Bhatt's background score is alright. Abhishek Arora's composition, Naina Kaahe, sung by Sukanya Purkayastha and written by Abhiruchi Chand, becomes the haunting refrain of Sakshi's inner turmoil.
The storytelling is refreshingly honestly and free from the usual melodrama one usually associates with Indian soaps these days.
Also, there's a time jump in the narrative in the last couple of episodes, and it actually proves beneficial to the story, rather than drag it out.
Due to its themes, this show is likely to appeal to limited audiences. Also, there's a particular sequence that borders on forcible sexual conversion, which could make viewers uncomfortable.
The ending to the season is also very problematic, and feels like a false note after everything before it.
Did I enjoy it?
Yes, I enjoyed this.
Do I recommend it?
Give this a go. You won't be disappointed.