What is the story about?
Three years after a bitter separation from her husband Akarsh, Dr Meera Kapoor has moved on, obsessed with work as ever before and busy being a doting mother to her teenager son Abhi. Nothing could’ve gone wrong with their lives until Akarsh decides to return to Coonnor along with his partner Alia with the excuse of starting a new resort. Akarsh’s presence in the town brings the worst out of an increasingly insecure Meera, and the former is hellbent on destroying her life. Abhi, sandwiched in between their battle for supremacy, soon gets entangled in an embarrassing mess with his schoolmates. What would this mean to the future of Akarsh, Meera and Abhi?
Out of Love, the official adaptation of BBC’s Dr Foster, upon its release, was a show like no other in the Indian digital space. The relationship drama packaged in the guise of a thriller, was wildly unique in its treatment, uplifted by pitch-perfect casting and winning performances. The novel spin to a usual story of a marriage-going-sour left viewers gasping for breath by the end of the first season. The second instalment, which arrives nearly two years after its predecessor, shifts the focus of the story towards Abhi and how he bears the brunt of his parents’ toxic equation.
This is easily the more predictable and weaker of the two seasons; the writers prefer dramatic/fictional liberties over realism inherent. The characterisation is even eccentric at places and the narrative has a handful of loosely hanging threads. Relationships blossom and fall apart easily, loyalties change at the drop of the hat almost robotically. Manipulation forms the core of the plot and the premise about two exes obsessed with destroying each other leaves you with a bitter aftertaste. You couldn’t have agreed more with the words of (Akarsh’s newlywed wife) Alia when she says, ‘You probably hate your ex more than you can ever love me.’
To its credit, the show remains riveting, thanks to the brisk storytelling pace. Out Of Love works best when it highlights the trauma of the teenage son while dealing with his parents’ separation. It’s interesting that the character here, Abhi, is on the cusp of adulthood – neither an adult nor a child – and has strange ways to process the tensions between their parents. Abhi even compares himself to a trophy (that his parents are desperately fighting for). The problematic side to Abhi presents another intriguing conflict in the show but it’s hard to dismiss how the writer(s) conveniently relegates the issue of sexual harassment to the sidelines.
The show is hopelessly convoluted towards the later episodes. Out of Love opts for a happy ending with a liberal dose of preaching, unlike the original (Dr Foster) that leaves a lump in your throat. The writers also tone down the drama in comparison (thankfully). Some of the problems are universal to both the seasons – not a single soul is heard speaking in Tamil despite the Coonnoor setting. If you don’t read too much into the finer details and avoid comparisons with the first season, Out of Love is still inherently watchable due to the measured performances, the surreal visuals and the gripping screenplay.
Irrespective of the season, Out of Love works as a solid showcase of Rasika Dugal’s finesse as a performer. The character Meera Kapoor, with her resilience, stubbornness and other oddities is a complete package that milks Rasika’s abilities to the fullest. Purab Kohli should explore many more roles with several shades of grey given how good he’s at it in Out of Love. It’s a part you’d love to hate and Purab gives it all.
Meenakshi Chaudhary shines in a brief yet significant role as the protagonist’s second wife. Kabir Kachroo impresses in the part of a teenager coming to terms with the complexities in their parents’ relationship, but it’s a performance that could have done with more spunk. Ekavali Khanna, Harsh Chaya and Sanghmitra Hitaishi make a mark in well-etched supporting roles.
Music & Other Departments
Sameer Phaterpekar’s music blends into the narrative quite organically and the mellifluous songs are a joy for the senses. Harendra Singh’s cinematography lends respectability, authority to the result. Barring a few changes in the ending, minor tweaks with the characterisation in the Indian setting, the writing (both the screenplay and the dialogue) remains largely loyal to the original. However, the plot takes too many unrealistic turns and isn’t exactly relatable. The slick treatment works to its advantage.
- Terrific performances by Rasika Dugal, Purab Kohli
- The realistic portrayal of a child’s trauma as he watches his parents go through a divorce
- Technically superb – cinematography, music being its assets
- Unrealistic twists and turns in the plot
- Convenient ending
- Inconsistent characterisation
Did I enjoy it?
Do I recommend it?
As a decent one-time watch