Forbidden Love Review: Patralekhaa-Ali Fazal-Omkar Kapoor’s ‘Arranged Marriage’, Pooja Kumar-Harsh Chhaya-Aditya Seal’s ‘Anamika’ show atypical love with engaging premise


Zee5’s original series Forbidden Love is an anthology of four unconventional tales of finding love and acceptance from award-winning directors. In an era where finding love that culminates into a successful marriage has become one of the most complicated things ever, these thrilling sagas tug at the heartstrings as they focus on issues that are often hushed behind closed doors.  

The four stories deal with issues that are still considered taboo in our society and are helmed by Priyadarshan, Pradeep Sarkar, Mahesh Manjrekar and Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury. The first two films –Arranged Marriage and Anamika are streaming on Zee5 and explore the bonds of marriage and how homosexuality and adultery can wreak havoc in people’s lives if not dealt with properly.

Film: Arranged Marriage

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

Director: Pradeep Sarkar

Rating: 3 Moons

Set in Kolkata, Arranged Marriage is a poignant tale that deals with homosexuality. It tells the tale of a bewildered new bride who is in denial of her husband’s sexuality and ropes in the help of tried-and-tested tantrics as well as a ‘qualified’ doctor who believes homosexuality is a disease that needs to be cured.

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The film revolves around the closeted love of Dev (Ali Fazal) and Neil (Omkar Kapoor), who can’t garner the strength to confront their families about their sexuality. To make matters worse, Neil gets married to Dev’s cousin Keya (Patralekhaa), a young bride who is disturbed by her husband’s lack of interest in sex. She decides to take the matter into her own hands through traditional (tantrics and sex workers) as well as scientific measures. After employing the usual superstitious measures she meets a doctor and together they set off to ‘cure’ Neil’s ailment.

Director Pradeep Sarkar handles the relationship of Dev and Neil with maturity and dexterity. However, his film is a little too-steeped into Kolkata-isms with the characters constant obsession with food, eating and talking loudly without hearing what the other character has to say. Patralekhaa as the young coy bride delivers a great performance as one can’t help but sympathise with her situation and loneliness. Ali’s anguished expressions at seeing his lover with his new bride does convey his jealousy but this is not his finest act. Omkar brings to fore his convoluted state of mind admirably.

The film does not end at a very happy note for any of the three protagonists and therein lies the sadness of it all. Forbidden Love indeed! gives Arranged Marriage 3 Moons.

Film: Anamika

Cast: Pooja Kumar, Aditya Seal, Harsh Chhaya

Director: Priyadarshan Nair

Rating: 3.5 Moons

Anamika deals with loneliness in a marriage and finding love out of the marital bedroom. Disillusioned by her eight-year-old marriage to a top-notch lawyer, a middle-aged woman falls in love with a much younger boy outside of her marital setup. However, there is more to the lust and adultery that meets the eye as she unknowingly becomes a part of a much bigger conspiracy.

Anamika is the heart-rending story of a Anamika (Pooja Kumar) whose husband Vijendra (Harsh Chhaya) does not have time for her and is busy with his own work. Grappling with loneliness, she befriends a young man Ishaan (Aditya Seal) who brings back the sunshine into her mundane life. Ishaan frequents the café she works at and there is where they first meet.

Although the story does not present anything new with regards to the forbidden love, but viewers are left with a sense of euphoria with the love brewing between the protagonists. However, even though Anamika wants to start life afresh, she is caught between love and responsibility. But when she finally makes up her mind and is ready to walk out of the marriage an unexpected turn of events shakes her up and leaves her bewildered and broken. The story develops a multi-layered narrative that keeps the viewer engaged.

Pooja completely steals the show as the hapless married woman vying for her husband’s attention. She makes you empathise with her and root for her. Harsh brings certain gravity and nonchalance to his character. Aditya is promising and holds his own in the presence of seasoned actors. Priyadarshan’s film has a natural appeal that does not fall into any clichés and manages to shock the audience with its unexpected ending. gives Anamika 3.5 Moons.

The first two chapters of Forbidden Love are definitely interesting and worth watching. Hopefully the rest two stories- Rules of the Game (starring Aahana Kumra and Chandan Roy Sanyal) and Diagnosis of Love (starring Mahesh Manjrekar and Raima Sen) will be able to match the bar set by these two. The other two stories are set for release on Zee5 on September 24.