It’s like a gust of fresh air when it starts off like a happy marriage, full of fun and promise.
Arya Iyer (R Madhavan), the second best-selling author in the country, is quite a jerk, his run-ins with the No 1 (Chetan Bhagat), sparkling with humour. There’s one where Bhagat shrugs that Netflix can’t afford him which is a classic peacock moment. Or the flight with Chetan in business class, Arya in the back of the bus, IIT vs BITS Pilani.
The amusement continues with Arya unashamedly eavesdropping on the conversation between his wife Shruti (Surveen Chawla) and her Korean investor. Or when Arya, perpetually combative and argumentative, goes into the prayer room of an airport. Digs at Basu, the Bengali economist, and waiters interrupting conversations were fun too.
Finally, there’s a show that’s irreverent, does not say politically correct things, doesn’t spare anybody, even body-shames one of Arya’s former girlfriends.
But just when you sit back to enjoy the antics of the couple whose marriage is going kaput, you’re jerked back to reality.
As Arya often comments in the series, “It feels like marriage,” and you wonder when the fun went out of it.
Between writer Manu Joseph and director Hardik Mehta, they let the fresh air escape after the third episode when familiar tropes, like a counsellor and a spiritual guru obsessed with sex, are brought in. And Decoupled begins its slide to resemble any of the relationship series and films one has seen in the last several years. With preachiness and philosophy about the socially backward (the driver Ganesh angle) making it even more awkward.
Unfunny moments include the friend tied up and brought to a party in the boot of the car; Arya’s revenge on Basu by bringing in his driver to eat the banana on the piece of ‘art’; a gigolo visiting Shruti’s mom by mistake; and lectures by Ganesh the driver; the life coach to Rohini and the de-coupling ceremony itself.
As the Netflix lady in the series says, “Sorry, your jokes don’t land.” Yes, they don’t.
PS: Netflix seems unable to even laugh at itself as the Chetan swipe about his price has to be redeemed by the end. Ho hum, let’s go home.
Watch Decoupled Trailer: