Revenge may be called a dish best served cold. But when you’re done watching Hotstar’s latest web series Out Of Love, you realize revenge is infinitely more intriguing when served smouldering hot!
And when done Rasika Dugal style, it simply sears you on the insides and hits you squarely in the solar plexus, leaving you breathless with unnamed emotions.
Out Of Love is the story of a seemingly happy family of three – real estate developer Akarsh Kapoor (Purab Kohli), medico Dr Meera Kapoor (Rasika Dugal), and their young son, Abhishek Kapoor (Ricky Patel). The family lives an idyllic life in the picturesque hill station of Coonoor. Meera is perfect in
every way – loving wife, conscientious mother, responsible doctor and dutiful daughter-in-law to Akarsh’s cancer-stricken mother (Soni Razdan).
Even after 13 years of marriage, Akarsh and Meera share sizzling chemistry under the covers, a fact made clear within the first few minutes of the first episode. And a fact that makes the events that follow all the more surprising. For, the morning after a night of blistering love-making, Meera discovers something that causes her seemingly perfect world to collapse around her in shreds – a strand of long, highlighted hair on Akarsh’s scarf (hair quite unlike her own) and a lipstick in his coat pocket that is obviously not hers.
Seeds of suspicion firmly entrenched in her mind, and some more snooping and spying later, Meera realizes that her husband is cheating on her, with a girl almost half his age. To rub salt into her raw wounds, she discovers that everyone except her knew about Akarsh’s affair all along. What follows is a nerve-wracking tale of deceit and treachery and a web of lies so thick that it threatens to destroy
every vestige of the life that Meera has so painstakingly built.
At its heart, Out Of Love is a domestic drama, a tried-and-tested chronicle of a trusting wife, wronged by a philandering husband. But delve into its unfathomable depths, and it has all the elements of a taut, razor-sharp suspense thriller–fraught with enigmatic twists, perplexing events and unlikely developments. Every now and then, the series springs a surprise that takes you deeper into the plot and leaves you shell-shocked at the magnitude of Akarsh’s deceit.
Not only Akarsh, but every character that populates the narrative is essentially flawed–lying, contriving and scheming–until you are wary of taking any of them at face value and superficial appearances. Out Of Love may be a formulaic story at its core, but the treatment meted out to it by the screenplay and direction takes it to another plane altogether – to the level of a hard-hitting, taut, tense thriller.
Though a faithful adaptation of the hit BBC One drama Doctor Foster, writers Suyash Trivedi and Abhiruchi Chand, and directors Aijaz Khan and Tigmanshu Dhulia have flawlessly moulded the saga to suit Indian sensibilities, sculpting a story that takes the timeless values of love and loyalty and spins a suspenseful drama of deceit and duplicity.
What makes Out Of Love truly breath-taking is the layered and nuanced character of Meera, which Rasika Dugal plays to magnificent perfection. Most times, Meera is as placid as the serene environs that she resides in. But pushed against the wall, she turns into a towering volcano of barely-concealed rage. A relentless do-gooder, she rushes in where none would dare to tread. Whether it is a drug-dealer beating his girlfriend–her patient–every night, or her mentor Dr Pradhan’s (Anjjaan
Srivastava) free-fall into a drunken death-wish, she tackles them all with the skill of a pro troubleshooter.
She takes men double her size to task, with barely-leashed anger adding an edge to her threats of violence, her medico’s scissors being her weapon of choice, which she grips with determined precision. Mission accomplished, she once again retreats behind the imperturbable exterior that is her fundamental nature.
The docile, good-natured Meera, however, gradually descends into a vortex of dark, bottomless fury, as she discovers the extent of Akarsh’s treachery. She stops at nothing to extract her pound of flesh – going to the extent of sleeping with her friend and neighbour Gautam Kashyap, who is also Akarsh’s financial advisor, and then….blackmailing him into revealing her husband’s precarious financial details.
The final episode is particularly affecting. Meera is in her element as she goes about righting the wrong done to her. The gritted teeth, the latent anger, the palpable wrath–all sheathed beneath a disconcerting iciness–lend a wild languor to Meera’s actions. The music is a worthy appendage to the goings-on in the narrative. It adds a hint of urgency, suspense and anticipation to the proceedings. A tip of our hat to the stellar storytelling in Out Of Love, which transforms a cliché-
ridden tale into a moving masterpiece of human emotions.
Meanwhile you wait, with your breath hinged somewhere between your throat and your insides, to decipher what Meera’s next move will be. One minute she teeters on the edge of despair and despondency, a woman on the brink; and in the very next one, she is an inferno of rage, a woman possessed, a woman not to be trifled with.
Phew, what a character it is. And Rasika Dugal excels in the part, proving once again what a powerhouse of talent she is. It is, decidedly, her show all the way. Purab Kohli, dependable as always, infuses a certain pathos into his character, such that, at no point in the series do we hate him for his deeds. And that says quite a lot for Purab’s screen presence and aura, for it is a role that most certainly has negative connotations.
The ensemble cast, comprising Harsh Chhaya, Meenakshi Choudhary, Divya Thakur, Suhas Ahuja, Sanghmitra Hitaishi, among others, lends admirable support to this gripping tale of love, betrayal and revenge, which is a must-watch, in our opinion.
In the meanwhile, 3.5/5 is our rating for Out Of Love.