Time and again, one has been led to believe that sexual orientation of an individual isn’t developed; it is more biological in form. However, A Married Woman brings in a different depiction of the whole scenario. If one goes by the characters of The Married Woman, based on Manju Kapur written book A Married Woman, it can well be a by-product of an emotional need. It could well be the coming together of two people who see themselves as soul-mates, something that was also seen in Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das starrer Fire.
Now 25 years after the making of the Deepa Mehta directed film, Ekta Kapoor picks up the theme and presents it in a web series format with Sahir Raza as the director. The man had made courtroom drama Illegal last year with Neha Sharma and Kubra Sait, and now he ropes in Monica Dogra and Ridhi Dogra (not related to each other, by the way) for The Married Woman where the duo meets in the unlikeliest of the scenarios and finds solace in each other.
One is fire, another is ice. If Monica is as ‘bindaas’ as a woman can be, even in the times of 1992 Hindu-Muslim riots, Ridhi is shy and contained. If Monica is totally free spirited, not just in form and shape but also mind and soul (with or without her husband Imaad Shah), Ridhi is trapped in the boundaries of her joint family with two kids where lights-off moments with her husband (Suhass Ahuja) are marked in the calendar for every second Saturday. Monica does have an emotional side to her that she hides and Ridhi doesn’t need much prodding to reveal it.
However, it’s not Dolly Kitty aur Woh Chamakte Sitare here where Konkona Sen Sharma and Bhumi Pednekar struggled to find liberation. Instead both Monica and Ridhi find solace in each other sooner than many would have expected, and that too in an organic manner, something that turns out to be the high point of The Married Woman. Despite the kind of theme which forms the core of the 10 episode web series, each episode lasting close to 30 minutes each, there is right bit of sensitivity in the proceedings with a bit of humor thrown in as well.
The men contribute well too. Imaad is fun to watch in his modern sufi avtar (this is how Imtiaz Ali would have been in the 90s) even in his limited screen time. Suhaas Ahuja is just the kind of middle class Punjabi whom you find next door in Delhi localities. He isn’t a bad guy, he is just not exciting enough. Though that comes across as rather surprising, considering his better half makes all the right attempts to spice up the proceedings at the home-front.
As for the web series as a whole, it’s not presented as a spicy outing, even though there was ample scope to do that had the makers wanted. However, for that kind of genre to be exploited, there are always different forums as The Married Woman is more about the soulful relationship that the two women enjoy with each other, where physical proximity is something as follow-on, and not a leading tool.
What also impresses is the production of The Married Woman which is playing on ALT Balaji and ZEE5. Despite the middle class setting, it doesn’t have restrained framing and is amplified by good cinematography, sound design and background score with an occasional musical piece thrown in. From the performances perspective, both Monica as well as Ridhi give a very good account of themselves, and can be expected to be seen more often from this point on.
Watch this one with your loved one because just like the characters in the web series, this one is gender independent.