When there's a lot of love to give
Purab Kohli, Rasika Dugal and Tigmanshu Dhulia come clean on where they stand on cheating in marriage, the subject of their brand new web show
What excited me about Dr Meera, my character, was how she reacts when she finds out that her husband is cheating on her. It's quite surprising," says the toast of digital entertainment, Rasika Dugal about her new show, Out of Love, that's streaming on Hotstar. "Of course, there is heartbreak, like there is when you get too attached to something, in this case, it's her marriage. I am also like that in person. I get over-involved, so it was easy for me to channel Dr Meera's pain."
Akarsh, played by the surprisingly brooding Purab Kohli, who we've seen mostly in upbeat roles, believes all's well with the relationship, physically and emotionally. "He just has a lot more love to give and he is giving it now to a new person. In the beginning, you might view him as the bad guy, but you understand him as the story carries on," Kohli thinks.
For director Tigmanshu Dhulia, the man behind realistic films like Paan Singh Tomar, the challenge was to create a non-judgmental story about a happening that is now commonplace. "It [infidelity] happens, it is prevalent. I think after 30, we all feel [like straying] at some point, even if just a desire. I haven't dealt with an emotional subject like this earlier, and I decided, let's make it a thriller, so that every kind of viewer enjoys it," he says about the story set in Coonoor, a hill station in Tamil Nadu.
It's an adult relationship subject, and more than relevant to discuss but that doesn't mean the choice of story isn't frowned upon. Dugal observes that although everyone seems to agree that cheating is rampant, the shame and embarrassment associated with it make it an awkward issue to chat about. "I think it's possible to love more than one person, or multiple people. I don't think people are intrinsically monogamous," Dugal states emphatically, to which Kohli adds, "Of course, love can happen [outside of marriage]. We are all attracted to other people, but to act or not act on that love, is a choice that sort of says whether you are part of civilised society or not."
To talk of cheating would mean we would have to start at the beginning and debate the institution of marriage—one that could be losing traction in the modern world. Dugal, who is a queen at playing dark characters—and Meera is no different—laughs, "I believe in love, and I think people believe in it even more these days, but they don't need the validation that comes with marriage. Love, everyone wants."
Kohli, who has been married twice, says that because his parents divorced when he was 21, he knew that a respectable separation was a better choice than to let an unsuccessful marriage carry on. "My ex-wife and I decided that we couldn't do this anymore. We are still good friends." And despite this, he hasn't lost faith in marriage. "I did it again. This time, my partner, Lucy, and I were together for long, and even had a baby before we made it formal. By then, I knew I was ready for marriage, or what we call a connection with one person forever."
Dhulia, speaks as a man of experience when he says, "Marriage grounds you. It makes you a better person."
For now, the three want the audience to watch their show minus judgment, knowing that life is far from black and white. Dugal says, "I want them to recognise Meera's struggle, her pain, relate to and empathise with her. But while doing this, if they also relate to Akarsh, that would be great."
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