His Story review: Satyadeep Misra, Priyamani Raj's series approaches love and sexuality with sensitivity
His Story avoids preaching and yet touches on issues of sexuality, acceptance, infidelity, prejudice, and choice with thoughtfulness.
Language: Hindi, English
Not so long ago, Alt Balaji released The Married Woman. The series looked at same-sex love between two women. Bookending the theme of their earlier show, their latest series His Story approaches love between two men, one of whom is married.
Creator Baljit Singh Chaddha’s 11-episode first season spotlights a gay relationship, its impact on the man’s family and the sexual coming of age of teenagers in the same ecosystem. Episode one establishes the enviable and perfect 20-year union between Sakshi (Priyamani Raj) and Kunal (Satyadeep Misra). Not only do they share effortless chemistry and co-parent two boys, but they are also partners in chef Sakshi’s restaurant business. However, while everything is hunky-dory on the surface, there is a crack in this perfect family life portrait.
This reveals itself when Sakshi invites food critic Preet (Mrinal Dutt) to the opening of her newest restaurant. Preet’s most erudite comment on tasting her delicately plated food is “quite good”. But the sight of Preet makes Kunal feel far from good. This meeting is the launchpad for the turbulence about to rock Sakshi and Kunal’s life, affecting them, their children and their closest friends.
The Prashant Bhagia directed series could have comfortably been compressed to eight episodes and delivered greater impact. Within the padding of songs, games night, girls night out and teenage drama is a mature exploration of living with a lie and coming out with the truth. Kunal’s lies have hurt many, and as Sakshi says, denying his sexuality was Kunal’s lie to live but it was unfair for him to drag her along for so many years. If one expected melodrama, histrionics and a blame game, His Story sidesteps those to stay respectful and balanced.
While Kunal, Sakshi and their two teenage sons are dealing with heartbreak and confusion, the show also zooms into the homes of two of their neighbours. Single parent Rafia (Charu Shankar) is conflicted about her liberal parenting skills when her daughter is humiliated in school by a leaked sex video. In a third home, a lecherous, philandering Nihal (Rajiv Kumar) is in denial about his son’s sexuality.
The story and screenplay by Suparn Varma and dialogues by Ritu Bhatia are natural, and the actors, particularly Misra, Raj, Shankar, Mikail Gandhi as Sakshi’s younger son Shlok and Rheanne Tejani as Rafia’s daughter Jhanvi, bring thoughtfulness and sensitivity to their portrayals. Dutt is short-changed with an under-developed character that needed to be more than a catalyst.
While Kunal and Sakshi’s story is the bedrock, through these three families His Story avoids preaching and yet touches on issues of sexuality, acceptance, infidelity, prejudice, bigotry and choice.
His Story is streaming on Alt Balaji and Zee5.
Watch the trailer here
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