“Every broken piece of me fell on every broken piece of you and when I took the missing parts, like the emptiness of me I saw the emptiness of you and I poured my half upon you to fill you whole”

These words by the Instagram poet R.M Drake, at once, and with astonishing profoundness, convey the premise of ALTBalaji’s latest runaway hit, Broken but Beautiful.

Broken is a painfully tender love story with a difference. It, as the name suggests, is about two broken people who find a kindred spirit in the other, and come together to mend what destiny had chosen to render broken- their hearts, souls and spirits.

Who fixes broken people? It is only other broken people, ones who have already been shattered…..And therein lies the deliciously warm, yet heart-wrenchingly raw tale of Broken but Beautiful.

Intriguing? Yes, Broken but Beautiful is that…..it is also intensely moving, and exquisitely touching, and delightfully humorous. It is the complete package for die-hard romantics who love shedding bucketful of tears and soaking entire boxes of tissues while watching a dreamy, soppy love story unfolding on screen.

Jointly produced by Sarita Tanwar (Roaring River Productions), Muraj Khetani, Ashwin Varde (Cine 1 Studios) and Niraj Kishore Kothari (Inglorious Films), Broken but Beautiful is an impressive addition to ALTBalaji’s repertoire of sterling web dramas.

Veer (Vikrant Massey) is a grouchy young man, with some serious anger management issues. But he wasn’t always that way. It all started when his wife Alina, also his childhood sweetheart (Sheetal Thakur), died in a freak road accident, leaving him scarred and traumatized for life. He is unable to get over her death, and even after three years, is in a state of constant denial. He talks to his dead wife, cuts himself off from all human relationships, albeit, gives in to his bodily needs with one night stands. The only meaningful relationship he has is with his wife’s cat. And also with Alina’s sister, Ishanvi (Poppy Jabbal) and her husband, Adil (Nikhil Sabharwal), who look out for him as only family can. Veer is as broken as broken can be.

Veer has to vacate his crumbling apartment, which he grudgingly does, to move into an apartment that his cousin Karthik (Jitin Gulati) wants to sell. The only glitch in his acquisition of the apartment is that Karthik co-owns it with his “psycho ex”.

Veer’s life takes a turn when, one night, Sameera (Harleen Sethi) stumbles into his neck of the woods while he’s making out with a girl he’s picked up from the bar (Teena Singh, in a cameo)…..because, well, Sameera owns the apartment. Yes, she is the one Karthik describes as his psycho ex. Veer gradually discovers the extent of her obsessiveness with Karthik, as he chases after her to get her to sign on the documents of the apartment.

Sameera’s love-addled brain makes her do things only a person with zilch self-respect would do. She stalks Karthik on Facebook, texts him endlessly, waits for him for hours at the café, and is ready to do whatever it takes to earn a second glance from Karthik. Her lovelorn heart pines to understand why Karthik left her after a 5-year relationship, and demands closure. Teetering on the edge of hysteria, she also stalks Veer, demanding to know from Veer in what context Karthik had called her his psycho ex. Veer realizes with a shock, that Sameera is as broken as him, maybe more.

How their mutual brokenness binds them in a bond that envelops them, heals them and makes them whole again, forms the rest of the story. Veer helps Sameera get closure, while she helps him get his mojo back. Broken but Beautiful is a tale of such exquisite sweetness that it brings tears to one’s eyes, not once, but many times in the course of its eleven episodes. There are innumerable interludes in the series that make you go ‘awwww’; when Veer lets Sameera into his inmost moments, including celebrating his dead wife’s birthday at midnight; when he saves a claustrophobic Sameera from the closet that an insensitive Karthik has shut her into; when Veer erupts in passionate rage because Sameera needles him about his still-alive relationship with a dead entity, when Sameera runs out with his headphones and Veer grabs her in his arms in full view of the entire clan of stakeholders…..the moments are endless and enthralling.

The show is also strewn with multi-nuanced characters. Sameera’s friends, Porno (Pooja Bhamrah) and Agni (Akriti Singh) shroud her in a cocoon of protectiveness, lest she hurt herself further. They make for remarkable friends, the kind every millennial would love to have and cherish. Both girls have put in terrific performances, keeping viewers entertained with their shenanigans. They have several laugh-out-loud scenes that keep the pace going admirably.

Jitin Gulati, despite playing the insensitive jerk Karthik, has the audiences digging him. Attribute this to his above par acting chops or his chiselled good looks…the choice is yours. Yes, he is quite an a*****e as Karthik, but not once in the series does one abhor him. It was great casting, if we must say so, coz he essays the role flawlessly.

Karthik’s new girlfriend, Ananya (Simran Kaur Mundi), the one he dumped Sameera for, is another well etched out, nuanced character. Never does she display bitchiness or pettiness towards Sameera. Surprisingly, it is she who gives words to the simple thought that it is obvious for Sameera to feel Karthik’s loss so intensely, because after all, they’d been together for 5 long years. Simran Kaur Mundi is superb as Ananya. She holds her own and makes her presence felt, despite having a minuscule role. Poppy Jabbal is excellent in the role of Ishanvi. She has pretty much perfected the sardonic eyebrow-lift, which she uses to devastating effect when she’s particularly unimpressed with Veer’s maddening pig-headedness. That, coupled with her caustic remarks to Veer, makes hers a delightful character to watch.

Harleen Sethi is quite a find. Despite Broken being her debut show, she puts in a polished, assured performance. She is luminously beautiful, especially when her face is bare of makeup, with a smile that lights up the screen with its 1000-watt brilliance. Although Sameera, as a character, does not have a single redeemable quality, and appears unhinged and lacking self-esteem most times in the show, yet, Harleen lends a charming dignity and gracious credence to her Sameera. Harleen is poised, elegant and self-possessed, bringing out Sameera’s particular naïveté beautifully.

But it is Vikrant Massey who is the real scene stealer. He is outstanding as Veer, oscillating effortlessly between crazed pain for the loss of his love, tense annoyance with the world at large to frustrated exasperation with Sameera’s self-destructive obsession for Karthik. He makes us laugh out loud in the humorous scenes, such as the one where he helps Ishanvi with her pre-partum yoga; he makes us teary-eyed with the painfully angsty side of his role; and finally, he makes us go all gooey and mushy inside when he professes his feelings for Sameera. His acting is refined, restrained, and so on-point, that he owns the screen in every frame. The brilliance of his performance sucks you into the story, making you yearn to watch further.

Santosh Singh has directed the series with a masterly hand, never letting the pace slacken or our interest waver. The music of Broken but Beautiful, already a talking point before the show started streaming, is a treat for the ears. The soulful music, poignant lyrics and evocative singing make the songs eminently downloadable, to be heard on loop when the mood is mellow and the mind is at peace.

A very special mention must be made for the writing and dialogues of the show, penned by Reshu Nath. The dialogues are witty, sparkling and rife with subtle hints, managing to elevate the series into a moving masterpiece of human emotions. The story is grim, yet compelling. It sears you in the insides, hits you squarely in the solar plexus and takes you unawares. Take a bow, Ms Nath! You have truly outdone yourself with this one.

Broken but Beautiful is a captivating tale of two hearts of the same wavelengths, joining together to create a joyful harmony of sublime music, of finding love again.

It is a tale of love, longing, denial, despair, acceptance and finally, catharsis….that two broken people find in each other.

The final episode is especially watch-worthy – your heart soars with Veer’s and Sameera’s, as they realize that they have finally exorcised the ghosts of their past and can breathe free again. How we wish the series had gone on and on, to meet its logical conclusion. But the makers, in their wisdom, have left it hanging mid-air, to be continued in the next season.

The audience demands closure, sires. Do bring on the second season at the earliest.

Meanwhile, we, at IWMBuzz, give Broken but Beautiful a rating of 3.5/5

(Written by Rashmi Paharia)