Cast: Ridhi Dogra, Monica Dogra, Suhaas Ahuja, Imaad Shah
Director: Sahir Raza
There is nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman and there is no rebel like a strong woman. Well, this unapologetic liberal line is suited best on Astha, the leading character of this web-series, 'The Married Woman', a series which is based on the novel by Manju Kapur with the same name. 'Astha' is a character, which Ekta Kapoor eagerly wants to introduce in the digital world. As very few dare to showcase the blunt side of a woman in the films or series but with The Married Woman, we acknowledge Astha's life, a married woman who was brought up properly, as befits a woman, with large supplements of fear.' Well, these penned lines are from the bitter introduction of Astha from Manju Kapur's novel, The Married Woman'.
Moving forward, The Married Woman takes a frumpy take at Astha's life (Ridhi Dogra) who is an ideal wife. The one who is married to Hemant (Suhaas Ahuja) , a businessman (mainly deals in the import and export of toilet seats). Astha's entire life is her husband, her two children, and her in-laws. But as expected over time, her marriage life takes a drastic change, when her husband is now more focused on the career ride whereas Astha juggles to make it more satisfying by getting involved herself in the teaching job.
With time, her life changes when she becomes involved with a theatre troupe run by Aijaz Khan (Imaad Shah). Aijaz works with her in her theatre screenplay writing. One day he changes her written play based on Romeo and Juliet. First, it annoys her but Aijaz's simplicity and his vision attracts her. Although, Aijaz is already married to Peeplika Khan (Monica Dogra).
Astha starts drifting towards Aijaz but the moment she explores her feelings towards him, Aijaz clears her that he loves Peeplika and can't cheat on her. Her heartbreaking discussion with Aijaz makes her move forward. But while leaving him behind she encounters his wife Peeplika. Astha's teary eyes and her expressions, made Peeplika realize that Astha has feelings for Aijaz and they are true and somewhere she blames Aijaz for it. Due to unrest in the Hindu-Muslim community, Aijaz met with an accident and he dies.
Even after the two months, Astha tries to normalize herself and at the same time, she was relaxed that she sorted everything with Aijaz. Nonetheless, her hope doesn't die and one day she comes across Peeplika's way and interacts with her. Her reciprocity with Peeplika makes her voluptuous and she slowly recognizes that it is love. One day the two fall into love, the awakening that she experiences is far more than just a sexual one.
Finally, Astha has found someone who actually wants to know her, what she wants, what she desires, and what exactly goes through her mind. Astha and Peeplika's unlucrative and unremunerative relationship was no aphrodisiac but was more powerful than talking as no seduction is more effective than curiosity.
Sahri Raza's direction keeps things more sophisticated but noticeable. She tried to maintain the aura of the '90s but still, no one was so fashionable at that time. Sahri beautifully captures Monica and Ridhi's emotions and brings a resplendent beauty to their on-screen chemistry.
Screenplay by Jaya Misra, Aparna Nadig, and Surabhi Saral has beautifully adapted Manju Kapur's novel story. Although, the screenwriters swindle the audience with its controversial theme of Hindu-Muslim conflicts. As in the initial episodes, it takes a tight grip on the issue but later on, it turned out to be more waggish.
More on the acting chops, then Ridhi Dogra has won hearts through each frame of being a married woman. The actress donned each attire so beautifully that after watching the series, every married or unmarried woman will surely add a bundle of sarees in their wardrobe. We know it's quite funny but still, we can't get enough of Ridhi's performance and her entrancing beauty. Whereas Suhaas Ahuja as Hemant is funny, hilarious, rib-tickling, and on the other side, Monica Dogra also played her part honestly and fitted best in the character of Manju Kapur's Peeplika.
All-embracing, Ekta Kapoor's The Married Woman is all about the female desires, her happiness, and a life beyond the restrictions of being married. Each phase of the series is enthralling, convincing, and absorbing and just like the novel, the series focal point is Astha and her shattering reality. Well, the series also takes beautiful references to Amrita Pritam and Raja Ravi Verma. The Married Woman story revolves around Astha and somewhere, her pain, love, and unfulfillment of her desire connect with Amrita Pritam. Amrita who loved Sahir Ludhianvi but never able to end her life with him but instead gets the blessing of Imroz, the painter. Similarly, Astha starts loving Aijaz but unfortunately, couldn't get his love and finally meets up with painter Peeplika, who was once denoted as Raja Ravi Verma by Aijaz in the series. Still, let's keep all these references besides and have a look at this series as it is beautiful, aesthetically pleasing, and intoxicating. So whether you are married or unmarried, that doesn't matter what the matter is the untold desires of a female which are close to her eyes.