By Subhash K Jha
“Broken But Beautiful”; Starring Vikrant Massey, Harleen Sethi; Rating: ***(3 stars)
After watching dark violent sagas of gangsters doing unspeakable thingsAto theirAenemies and mistresses, it is a relief to watch a webseries which addresses the heart in all its scrambled complicated glory.
“Broken But Beautiful” is about two damaged/broken/shattered people who keep running into one another until the inevitable happens. The plot makes some familiar noises as the couple-to-be clash over issues ranging from bereavement to real-estate acquisition.
While much of the plotting is done with the romantic definitiveness of a Mills & Boon romance, there is yet a sense of spontaneity in the way the characters respond to the given emotional stimuli.
Some of the interludes like the one in a cafe where ‘Dumped Girl Ticks Off Grieving Husband’ are powerful enough to bolster the whole series. However when the series tries to crowd the miniature frames with characters, the narrative begins to flounder.
Much of the writing in the 11 episodes is reflective of the urban anxieties that define relationships in a competitive ruthless rapidly-moving society. What happens when one of the couple decides to quit a relationship?
Newcomer Harleen Sethi portrays that horrific state of frozen anxiety with a substantial empathy for her broken character. Though Sameera often comes close to making a complete fool of herself, Sethi stands by the characters lending strength to her weaknesses.
It is crystal-clear that Sethi’s Sameera and her mortifying self-abusive ‘ektarfa-pyar’ (one-sided love) is inspired by Kareena Kapoor’s Geet in Imtiaz Ali’s “Jab We Met”. The likeness is not the least off-putting. This girl’s struggle to come to terms with being dumped is her own.
It is the impressively talented Vikrant Massey who anchors the series, harnesses its inner core of raw feelings and makes us watch till the very end. Massey plays a man who is living with his dead wife. He talks to her constantly, seeks her approval in everything he does and insults anyone who warns him against his cadaverous relationship.
Its a role that could easily fall prey to ridicule. Massey gives enormous dignity to Veer’s struggle to live with his love even after death.
There are interesting characters like Sameera’s two best friends strewn all over the series.One of them in a fit of inebriated rage howls, “Kuch toh log kahenge logon ka kaam hai kehnaa, this is what Sant Kabir once said.” Amen to that.
“Broken But Beautiful” celebrates the shallowness of a generation that has moved on leaving the grieving to their own devices.
(Subhash K Jha can be contacted at [email protected])