Review: Decoupled Is An Indian Netflix Series That Removes The Stigma Of Divorce
Divorce is a tricky subject in any culture. In the South Asian culture, however, the idea still has a lot of stigma and is considered taboo. At least, for the most part as depicted in media. However, Decoupled is a charming little Netflix original series that takes a look at an alternate perspective. The series is all about a married couple falling out of love, and it depicts that in a very real and honest way. Decoupled does so by examining aspects of a marriage, relationship and parenthood in ways that are uncomfortable and very real. While not perfect by any means, Decoupled is a great step towards moving away from the conventional relationship tropes in Bollywood movies and shows. So check out my Decoupled review.
Decoupled Is A Falling Out Of Love Story
The idea behind Decoupled initially seemed like a fresh take. The story follows Arya (Madhavan) and Shruti (Surveen Chawla) as they decide to get separated, but still, live in the same house for the sake of their daughter. And the show was billed as a sort of non-rom-com. So of course, I was expecting the usual comedy where the lead couple is bitter and takes shots at one another, but eventually, end up together. Indian stories involving relationship troubles almost always go full circle into becoming a renewed love story that eventually sees the couple reunited.
So imagine my surprise and utter shock to see that Decoupled doesn’t do any of that. The story takes a very new approach to a relationship that doesn’t work, but one where the two involved can still be civil, respectful and, at times, friends, despite their failed marriage. I mean sure, there’s some hilarious comedy bits tag are outrageous and thoroughly enjoyable. But it’s a departure from the more serious story bits that can get pretty heartbreaking. The show finds the humour in a situation that is usually one of the most horrible experiences of anyone’s life.
The Leads Of Decoupled Are Immensely Charming
Decoupled is all about Arya and Shruti. The series opens with the two already separated, living in different rooms in the same house with their daughter. But, here’s the important part, they are totally not in a romantic relationship. The two openly discuss seeing other people, why their marriage fell apart, while also bickering constantly as if they are still married. The refreshing part is that they also are each other best friends, sharing their days, and problems with one another.
The conflict in the show is really focused on how different they are as people, and how they’ve grown apart, and how they can finally call it quits, while still being there for their daughter. It’s also sweet how we get to see that it’s not something easily done. It’s difficult to untangle a life made with another person. And while it’s a great concept, some episodes do wander around a bit before coming back to the point.
The Main Hero Is A Little Obnoxious At Times
One of my sore spots about Decoupled comes from the depiction of Arya’s character. He’s shown as a fiction writer, so he’s always very introspective, making voice notes about his humorous observations about life and relationships. It’s a very dated trope of the depiction of a writer. But things get worse when he’s constantly shown as a self-destructive, self-sabotaging, socially reckless man who is incapable of considering anyone but himself. At times, it feels like it’s part of his character arc, proving to us, the audience, one of the reasons that his marriage with Shruti fell apart. Other times though, it’s quite grating and obnoxious. Madhavan’s performance, however, is top-notch as he really makes you cringe and want to hate him.
Removing The Stigma Of Divorce Is Decoupled’s Best Accomplishment
The best part about Decoupled is how it handle’s the depiction of a marital relationship between these two characters. Throughout the episode, Arya tries to rekindle their physical relationship, and fails. Repeatedly. There’s a somewhat will-they-won’t-they type of tension. Both of them do pursue other relationships, with varying degrees of success. But mostly they stick to being just close friends and co-parents.
The show even handles the one most affected by divorce, children, in a great way. Usually, the children from a broken home are always left hurt, confused and dealing with some kind of trauma. Decoupled brilliantly handles this as they discuss how the happiness of two separate people, although parents, is still important. And that no one’s happiness should come at the expense of another. For all its inconsistencies,
Decoupled’s message is constant throughout. Divorce can be handled healthily, with respect and with the two people still in each others’ lives. While it may not be feasible for all, it definitely is possible. This kind of depiction in a mainstream Indian TV show can really break stereotypes and show an alternative perspective to audiences and society at large.
Decoupled is now streaming on Netflix.
What did you think about this new Indian Netflix original series? Be sure to comment with your reactions to the show below.
Picture credit: Netflix.