The Married Woman starring Riddhi Dogra, Monica Dogra, Suhaas Ahuja, and Imaaduddin shah released on Zee5/ALt Balaji on March 8. Directed by Sahir Raza, it is based on Manju Kapur’s book called A Married Woman. I haven’t read the book, so my review is purely based on the series I saw. The show has 10 episodes, each of the duration of 30-35 minutes.
Astha (Riddhi Dogra) breaks the fourth wall as she narrates her happy married life in Delhi during the 80s. Her husband Hemant (Suhaas Ahuja) gives her enough time and attention, even in the bedroom. She’s what most people would call an ‘Adarsh’ (ideal) daughter-in-law and a wife. Along with being a housewife, she’s also a teacher. But is happiness really what we think it is? Is it really living a mediocre life where your importance is measured on the basis of how you make the chapatis?
While working on a play in her college, Astha meets Aijaz Khan (Imaaduddin Shah). Aijaz is happily married to Peeplika Khan, played by Monica Dogra. He is the director of the play written by Ashta on Romeo & Juliet. After meeting Aijaz and spending time with him, Astha feels free. He understands her needs and wants, her importance that is beyond just a wife, mother and daughter-in-law.
The Married Woman also focuses on the burning situation of the country during the 90s where there were communal riots. People were attacked for belonging to a particular religion that led to clashes and deaths. Well, that felt quite relatable! Life changes drastically after a tragedy that takes place in Astha and Peeplika’s life. They romantically get involved later in the story. Imagine being two women in the 90s in India who are in love? That was the era where love marriage between a man and a woman was also frowned upon.
Writers Aparna Nadig, Jaya MJisra and Surabhi Saral patiently unfold the story and its characters. We think it’s the story of a married woman Astha and how her husband is an undeserving piece of sh*t. The writers take their own time to show us how pathetic Hemant is. Even when Astha is in disbelief that she is attracted to a woman as she was always into men, they don’t immediately let her accept her sexuality as a bisexual individual.
Director Sahir Raza has covered several aspects in The Married Woman and managed to show enough in the given time. Nowadays, people force situations in a story just because it is a trend. But the communal violence in Raza’s show was also one of the main characters. It also reflects the world we live in, at present.
Talking about the tale of two women in love, Riddhi Dogra and Monica Dogra have mesmerising chemistry together. The character transition of Riddhi’s Astha, a housewife who had no voice of herself to a woman who finally understands she deserves respect, value and importance just like her husband. She’s a free-spirited woman full of dreams when she’s with Peeplika. But all her husband Hemant could see her is how burnt her chapatis are.
Both Riddhi and Monica give strong performances. They can beat any heterosexual onscreen romantic pair with the intensity, passion and sensuality their characters share in The Married Woman. I don’t remember the last time I saw a Hindi show where the character breaks the fourth wall. So, it’s good to see Indian directors adapting this style of narration that’s widely popular in Hollywood.
The Married Woman has used the song Bematlab by Amrita Bagchi, a soothing title track that you will not skip while watching every episode. At least, I did not skip it. The show features two songs Khwaabon Ka Aashiyan by Siddhant and Rick Raj, and Dill Ki Shaakh Pe by Sneha Bose & Muskaan which are soul-stirring. In terms of music, the makers have hit the right note.
The Married Woman Review: Is it worth?
Overall, The Married Woman is a riveting tale of love between two women. It shows us that love is beyond everything. Director Sahir Raza has presented us with a story that may be set in the 90s but is still relevant today. A lot of things you see in it are happening around us. The great performances by the lead and the supporting cast make it worth every minute.
The show has made me wonder again that why do men or society feel threatened when a woman understands her value and importance? Why is a woman attacked on the basis of her appearance and cooking skills when she doesn’t want to be disrespected and taken for granted? Why is it okay for a man to cheat in marriage and get away with it but a woman is not allowed to free herself from a marriage that makes her feel trapped?
The Married Woman is streaming on Zee5.
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