ZEE5’s atypical love stories in Forbidden Love top this month’s must-watch list

Updated on Sep 09, 2020 07:08 PM IST

ZEE5 brings to you Forbidden Love, a series of four enthralling stories of modern-day relationships that explore issues frowned upon by society. We got a chance to catch the first two stories of this anthology and absolutely fell in love with them! Read our review.

Patralekha in a still from Arranged Marriage(ZEE5)
Patralekha in a still from Arranged Marriage(ZEE5)
ByPromotional Feature, HT Brand Studio

This September, brace up for four unconventional tales of finding love and acceptance from award-winning directors in ZEE5’s latest series, Forbidden Love. In an era, where love has become complicated and the idea of a ‘perfect marriage’ is often nothing more than a societal cliché; these thrilling love sagas aim straight for the heartstrings as they highlight issues that are often brushed under the carpet.

Each of the four poignant films, deal with subjects that are still frowned upon by mainstream cinema and are helmed by stalwarts like Priyadarshan, Pradeep Sarkar, Mahesh Manjrekar and Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury. The films are an obvious sign that Indian cinema has come-of-age with its portrayal of unconventional love with maturity and how audiences are ready to deal with new-age love in the way that it should be.

The first two movies – Arranged Marriage and Anamika – explore the tradition of marriage and how it jostles with modern love and aspirations revealing many dark secrets and disturbing lives. These stories delve into themes of same-sex relationships and a middle-aged married woman finding love outside wedlock. They premiere on the OTT platform on September 9.


Arranged Marriage

Cast: Ali Fazal, Patralekha Paul, Omkar Kapoor, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Lily Chakraborty

Director: Pradeep Sarkar

Producers: Ratan Jain, Ganesh Jain

Rating: 3.8 (out of 5)

Set in erstwhile Kolkata, where hand-pulled rickshaws jostle for space with trams in narrow alleys with old bungalows, Arranged Marriage is a poignant tale of two men in love. It tells the story of a bewildered new bride, who is in denial of her husband’s sexuality and a ‘qualified’ doctor, who believes homosexuality is a disease that needs to be cured.

Omkar Kapoor and Ali Faizal in a still from Arranged Marriage
Omkar Kapoor and Ali Faizal in a still from Arranged Marriage

The movie tells the story of Dev (Ali Fazal) and Neil (Omkar Kapoor), who are in love and can’t garner the courage to confront their families about their choice of sexuality. Neil gets married to Dev’s cousin Keya (played by Patralekha Paul), a young bride troubled by Neil’s lack of interest in sex. She decides to go to any extent to make her marriage work. In the process, she meets a doctor and together they set off to ‘cure’ Neil of his disease of homosexuality.

In this saga of feelings, betrayals and revelations, director Pradeep Sarkar handles the relationship of Dev and Niel with the maturity it deserves. The story, at some level, strives to normalise the taboos around same sex relationships, which are still a hush-hush affair in Indian society as it depicts a loving relationship between two men, who can’t confide in their families about their sexuality.

Actor Patralekha Paul delivers a great performance as one can’t help but sympathise with this young girl, who lost her mother early in life and now wants to hold on to her marriage. Her only confidant, kaki, is steeped in superstition and is in some ways, a reflection of age-old practices still prevalent in society.

Arranged Marriage ends on a not-so-happy note for all the characters, which is in ways a grim reminder of the fact that we still have a long way to as a society and need to work towards changing perceptions around same-sex relationships.


Cast: Pooja Kumar, Aditya Seal, Harsh Chhaya

Director: Priyadarshan Nair

Producers: Ratan Jain, Ganesh Jain

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

Is there any such thing as a perfect marriage? Disillusioned by her eight-year-old marriage to a hotshot lawyer, a middle-aged woman falls in love with a younger boy outside the bounds of an arranged marriage. Unknowingly, she becomes a part of a much deeper conspiracy.

Pooja Kumar and Aditya Seal in Anamika
Pooja Kumar and Aditya Seal in Anamika

Anamika is the heart-rending story of Anamika (Pooja Kumar), a quintessential Indian woman, whose husband Vijendra (Harsh Chhaya) is busy with work and has no time for her. A young man Ishaan (Aditya Seal) enters her life and brings back the happiness she is looking for in her marriage. Anamika has a day job at a café, which Ishaan frequents and this is where they first meet.

The affair has an air of freshness about it as viewers are left transfixed by the love brewing between them. But even as Anamika wants nothing more than a way out of her marriage and start life afresh, she is caught between love and a strong sense of responsibility towards her family. When the D-day finally arrives and Anamika packs up her bags to walk out of her marriage, a sudden turn of events shakes up her being and leaves her utterly bewildered.

The story begins on a trite note, but soon develops into a multi-layered narrative exploring multiple themes.

The girl-next-door gets caught in a larger mystery and a sudden turn of events in the end and the viewers are left completely in shock.

Anamika is a heartfelt experience that terrifies and touches. It is a story that can resonate with a lot of women in our society. As a married woman caught in a vulnerable stage of life, actor Pooja Kumar completely steals the show in the lead role. She makes you empathise with her and root for her! Harsh Chhaya brings certain gravity to his character and Seal is promising and manages to hold his own in presence of other senior actors.

This masterpiece by Priyadarshan has a natural appeal. The finely crafted script exhilarates and at the same time exhausts. The cinematography is striking as the emotions of each and every character in the film are captured beautifully on the camera.

The first chapter of Forbidden Love is definitely successful in leaving its imprint. What remains to be seen is whether the remaining two stories – Rules of the Game and Diagnosis of Love will be able to match up to the high standards set by these. The other two stories are set for release on ZEE5 on September 24.

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