Decoupled Review: Star Rating:3.0 out of 5.0 stars
Cast: R Madhavan, Surveen Chawla, Arista Mehta, Chetan Bhagat, Sonia Rathee
Creator: Manu Joseph
Director: Hardik Mehta
Streaming On: Netflix
Runtime: 25-35 minutes/episode (8 episodes)
Decoupled Review: What’s It About:
It’s about a rich leisure-class privileged couple trying to fall out of love! It starts with the idea of the ‘decoupling’ being pitched as an interesting story. The leading man in Arya (R Madhavan) is a renowned author, ranks only 2nd to Chetan Bhagat. He’s seeking a divorce from his venture-capitalist-cum-company-founder wife Shruti (Surveen Chawla), but they couldn’t easily pass this information to their daughter.
As they take some time to inform her, they go through this ‘falling out of love’ process by doing things they would without each other. How does it end for them? Well, wait for season 2.
Decoupled Review: What’s Good & What’s Bad:
I’ve enjoyed Manu Joseph’s work in the past & I know why his ideas in this one are getting an off-colour, salty treatment from many. One of the major reasons is that it highlights the shittiest stereotypes of society in an almost ‘this is how it is’ way. That’s the crux of dark comedy, and those comparing Madhavan’s Arya with The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper are no less than the half-baked braggarts Joseph has designed in the extras of this show. The hypocrisy of human nature unveiled through Arya’s actions hits hard at places, but then it slowly fades at few.
Manu Joseph’s writing is Decoupled’s greatest strength & a feeble weakness for various reasons. If I’ve to explain my broader views on the show in a single line: I didn’t mind Arya randomly chanting Gayatri Mantra just to poke a Muslim character as he prays namaz at a public place, but I definitely didn’t find it funny how the same character was beaten up for praying Namaz on a flight in the immediate next scene. That’s how Joseph’s writing is in a nutshell, it makes sense at places but takes a few absurd turns at many junctures.
Decoupled Review: Star Performance
At the risk of being lectured for my male privilege by feminazis, I had my fair share of laughs while watching Arya being a co*ky know-it-all. R Madhavan’s approach to the character is so pure so even with that puppy-eyed face, he’s able to sell Arya’s cold-shoulder nature on-screen. Yes, the writing gets problematic at multiple places but I’ll not ignore the rest of the package for the same. If for the sake of it, I’ve to look around to see certain shades of a popular character in Arya, it’ll be After Life’s Ricky Gervais (minus the suicidal thoughts). He is so good, he almost eclipses the flaws of many sequences he’s a part of.
Yes, Joseph hasn’t taken any extra effort in writing the women for the show. Surveen Chawla’s Shruti is the leading lady but there’s no proper balance in how interesting her character gets VS Madhavan’s Arya. If it had to only be about the leading man, Manu Joseph should’ve titled this ‘De-Singled’ (Manu, for more such lines, please sign me for Season 2). Despite the impoverished character arc of Shruti, Surveen does a beautiful job of portraying the aristocratic shade of her character.
Decoupled Review: Last Words:
All said and done, Decoupled is fresh & fun but also frivolous at places. It’s one of those shows you won’t mind watching, but also it won’t be a great deal even if you miss it. But, if you have a few free hours to spare, a couple of pints of beer waiting for you at the bottom of your refrigerator, don a hopper, get on the couch and binge this.