Cast: Rasika Dugal, Purab Kohli, Soni RazdanDirector: Tigmanshu Dhulia, Aijaz Khan
Out of Love, a Hotstar Specials series, and one of the best out of its slate of six thus far, dives deep into the psychology of a broken family and how a vengeful, grieving and unhappy woman sets the record straight in her favour and does right by everyone else. Apart from the thrilling storyline and slow burn narrative that really gets the characters under your skin at times, the real joy that one might probably get after watching this series could be that of a powerful female protagonist at the helm of affairs, which not many mainstream streaming services were willing to experiment with, at least with Indian originals.
Out of Love develops over a period of about six hours, divided over five episodes. It has a compulsive lying husband, Akarsh, played by Purab Kohli, as the male lead and Meera, played by Rasika Dugal, as the wife. The couple have a kid named Abhi, and are settled in a picturesque city in Tamil Nadu. But as most horror stories unfold at quaint locations, ugly things tend to happen in beautiful cities, with seemingly perfect families. Meera here sets to find out whether her husband is having an extramarital affair after suspecting his behavior.
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For someone craving pure drama over a weekend binge will surely appreciate this Hotstar special. Not just the storyline which is right and tight for the season, meaning you can snuggle in and let the characters unfold their bitter, insecure and nasty selves in front of you, but the entire treatment makes you believe that this one could easily be your own story. Advantage Out of Love, because that doesn’t really happen with a Sacred Games or Mirzapur. While the flagship Netflix and Amazon shows respectively play fast and loose with realism now and then, Out of Love doesn’t and that makes it it’s real strength. Rest is pure hard work and cinematic genius of the cast and crew.
Rasika brings her acting prowess to the center and just shines in one scene after another. She shoulders the series throughout, takes it to the finish line and pushes it over with her subtle and gentle playact. Her character is layered and so is her performance. She switches between a happy and compromising woman to one who threatens men with violence. And the range she brings to the table in that just takes the teleplay to sublime heights at cliffhanger moments. Actually, Meera is the only real and rounded character in the series and for obvious reasons you can’t look beyond her. It’s her story and she is totally in charge here.
Coming to Purab, who plays Akarsh, he is not very unique. His last series Typewriter had him playing second fiddle to other characters. He does the same here and you wouldn’t mind him. Given his character, he really doesn’t break a sweat either and delivers with finesse. Good thing is he inspires both sympathy and disgust and paints himself as the target. With Out of Love, Purab has pitched himself as one of the better OTT actors you will see more of in the future.
While Out of Love benefits from many other things, direction is its strength. The mood and tone created by the filmmakers Tigmanshu Dhulia and Aijaz Khan makes the noose tighter for the audience and reels them in minute by minute. The ambience of misplaced trust is so much so that all characters will be suspected of lying once, if not more. Kudos to Tigmanshu and Aijaz for not making Out of Love an over the top drama series, even at instances when it could have been one.
If you need a break from crime and thrillers, Out of Love should be accommodated on your watchlist before year end.