The Married Woman Review: Same-Sex Love Story, Political Unrest and A Woman’s Metamorphosis, This Show Aces It All!
The show follows Ridhi Dogra’s (Astha) journey from a quiet housewife to someone who finally understands what freedom means! Watch The Married Woman on ZEE5, it’s worth all your time.
Out of a lot of fresh content that ZEE5 is releasing this month, The Married Woman is proving to be the best of them all. Releasing on International Women’s day, it takes us along a journey of a woman, the titular married woman, Astha Karla, played by Ridhi Dogra. She leads a quiet life with her husband, Hemant, their kids and his parents, but her life changes for good when she meets Peeplika, an artist, played by Monica Dogra. The show has an otherworldly charm that comes from its plot based on early 1990s India and the cast is absolutely stunning and actors look natural in their roles.
The show begins with viewers taking a look at the progression of Astha and Hemant’s marriage; as time flies, we see them becoming more and more distant. Hemant does his duty of bringing money home from his import-export business, but when it comes to Astha, there is nothing he offers. We get to know that Astha works at a college in Delhi much later in the first episode. She has written a play on Romeo and Juliet, and Aijaz Khan, a theatre director is hired to make sure the play goes well.
When Astha and Aijaz (Imaad Shah) meet, we see them clash like complete opposites. She stays within her limits whereas he stresses how boundaries should cease to exist. As time passes by, Astha and Aijaz become friends and she seems to, for the first time, open herself up to the world with a smile. She begins to follow Aijaz movements and words more carefully and at a point develops a crush on him too.
As far as the play is concerned, Aijaz changes it up and gives the play a political undertone and this gets him in trouble with violent religious factions. Peeplika Khan, played by Monica Dogra, is Aijaz’s wife. She paints and smokes cigarettes, and loves Aijaz wholly. She is not your typical Muslim girl and is only seen in modern attire and has an American accent when she speaks in English.
She takes a keen interest in Astha the first time she hears her voice on the phone. When Aijaz and Astha come back from college in an auto, Peeplika sees her for the first time and is quite taken by her persona. As the religious tensions increase in 1992 due to the demolition of the Babri Masjid, Aijaz gets caught in the middle of it for his progressive thoughts and is beaten to death. Peeplika is left broken after his death and chooses to indulge in wine, cigarettes and men to rid her of her grief. This is when Astha begins to enter her life too. In their short and brief encounters, they begin to understand each other and feel things.
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Peeplika shows Astha a world around her that is completely different from everything that she has known before. Peeplika’s grief and Astha’s identity crises come together and comfort each other and this is the crux of their affair. The understanding and love these two women have for each other increases every day and we see them turn into soulmates. Astha’s love makes Peeplika happy and wanting more and Peeplika make Astha feel free, seen and important. But when Hemant finds out about his wife’s affair, skeletons from the closet come out for the married couple and Astha is torn between what she feels for Peeplika and what she ought to do, as a wife and a mother of two children.
The show’s character graphs are so wildly accurate and detailed. A lot of emotional scenes are done beautifully, not just by the actors but by the camera as well, that one can feel exactly what the person on the screen is feeling. From grief to attraction to betrayal and guilt, every emotion of the lead characters is deemed important and shown with utmost respect.
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Not just Peeplika or Astha, but even Hemant’s spiral after realising about Astha’s affair is captured so well. The close-up shots and the yellow tinted shots just add to the beauty that the acting is creating. The sets too are extremely apt and well done, especially Astha and Hemant’s house with blue painted walls and old looking furniture. The Married Woman has a strong production value that adds beauty to its powerful plot.
The show also breaks the fourth wall and we see Ridhi Dogra’s Astha address the camera on multiple occasions throughout the show. Each time Astha addresses the camera, we see her raw image, her true feelings like never before. The show follows her journey from a quiet housewife to an English Literature professor who realises that she cannot be contained in the house where she lives any longer.
The background score is extremely stunning and the music entwines with the episodes so well, it feels natural. Many shots in the series are extremely picturesque and often resemble paintings! The direction is brilliant and the cinematography is equally solid. Editing is crisp and the transition between one too many emotions feels easy and smooth
Ridhi Dogra and Monica Dogra are absolutely amazing as Astha and Peeplika. Astha’s quiet and shy nature is brilliantly done, meanwhile, Monica too does exceptionally well in her long drawls of Urdu-mixed Hindi and her American English while playing Peeplika. Imaad Shah as Aijaz will strike a chord with his few scenes and Suhaas Ahuja has Hemant is believable. We can see him as the man of the 90s who is ambitious enough and loves his family dearly.
If you were planning to watch this show, we suggest you do it already!
For more, visit ZEE5.