Broken But Beautiful series
Starring Siddharth Shukla, Sonia Rathee, Ehan Bhat
Directed by Priyanka Ghose
The Broken But Beautiful series—I don’t think it can be called a franchise—is all about falling in love with the wrong person to a degree of utter self-annihilation. This idea was explored with some amount sensitivity in the previous season where Harleen Sethi kept obsessing over a man who dumped her while Vikrant Massey waited his turn.
Now it’s Siddharth Shukla’s turn to “fall” so hard and deep into the bottomless pit of love that he can’t see his own ego any longer. It’s a challenging role for a semi-newcomer. Shukla gives his best shot, exposing his arrogant theatre-director Agastya’s character’s vulnerable side, pleading and begging in love(watch him struggle with his conflicted emotions in the big confrontation sequence in episode 6) as mid-way through the series he falls for the spoilt rich bitch Rumi(Sonia Rathee).
Now here is where I have a problem with the storyline(flimsy and flighty as it is). I can’t see why anyone would fall for a girl-woman as self-obsessed as Rumi. She has a problem with everyone including her kid-sister Maira(Saloni Khanna, dignified) who steals away Rumi’s childhood crush Ishaan(Ehan Bhat, the loverboy from Rahman’s 99 Songs, bringing in much-needed restraint into the performing card of this hyper-ventilating melodrama).
Maira in fact compares most favourably with Rumi. At one point Rumi tells her sister. “We all know what you’re going to suck on tonight”
Though lines such as this really suck, it’s a welcome change to see the ‘hero’ and ‘heroine’ as so flawed and fractured so broken and not so beautiful. But somewhere the writing goes overboard in taking the protagonist on the other side of the moral spectrum. Rumi is shown picking up a guy on the road and having sex with him . Agastya is constantly indulging in what he calls ‘tomfuckery’ a distant cousin of ‘tomfoolery’ where you have sex with anything that moves.
The end-result is a mixed cocktail of two protagonists who deserve one another for all the wrong reasons. They are both self-serving jerks with no redeeming quality except their determination to get what they want. The series is set in the elitist world of English theatre in Mumbai , names like Samuel Becket, Ibsen and Olivia ‘Fucking’ Coleman(Agastya’s description) are dropped to create an impression of intellectual elevation.But Gulzar’s Libaas, this ain’t.
Alas, everything is roundly shallow in the series. No amount of names-dropping can stop these people from looking like a bunch of over-privileged brats who don’t know a day’s honest work. But the show is interesting for that very reason. The characters occupy their cloistered world with such smug self-satisfaction that their deeds misdeeds and misadventures appear to be, in Agastya words, epic chutiyapa.