Who is the other woman? The wife or the girlfriend?
Alt Balaji’s “Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain” leaves you with these questions.
“Kehne Ko Humsafar Hai” very subtly conveys that an extramarital affair is not necessarily a ‘dirty’ secret – and that a divorce is not the end, but a new beginning. Poonam (Gurdeep Kohli), the quintessential home-maker finds out her husband Rohit (Ronit Roy) is cheating on her with Ananya (Mona Singh), a younger, self-made interior designer.
In the course of the show, one would expect to see a melodramatic, emotional turn of events which makes Rohit realise his mistakes and get back to Poonam. Right?
Here’s a spoiler – nothing of that sort happens.
In fact, by the last episode, we see how Poonam grows out of the marriage to which she gave over 20 years of her life, and emerges as a stronger, self-reliant woman. She gives herself the kind of time and attention she never did. From the scene where she is pleading with Rohit to not divorce her, as she is ready to ‘adjust’ with his girlfriend, to the one where she is having rum and coke and advises Rohit to have babies with Ananya, she evolves into a character you can not not respect.
Not for once do you feel pity for her. She is strong and graceful throughout, and that is the most beautiful part of the plot. Poonam suffers the greatest amount of shock, but never is she a damsel-in-distress. She doesn’t entice your pity; instead she draws your admiration. In her emotional monologue, where she pleads Rohit to save her marriage and talks about how she gave up her career, learned how to cook three meals a day (from not even knowing how to make tea and listening to every taunt of her mother-in-law quietly), Poonam emerges as a woman who confronts her elder daughter Bani and brother Pranav, when they ask her to seek revenge from Rohit.
She also lets Rohit go when he marries Ananya, even before getting an official divorce. The greatness of her character is reflected when she doesn’t file a case or ask for an alimony. While in the first episode she may appear a regressive homemaker, her emergence in the show is probably most shocking and admirable.
On the other hand, Ananya is a strong, self-made, independent woman in a romantic relationship with a married man. She wants to marry Rohit and eventually does. They get married after three years of courtship.
She is a ‘home-breaker’ in the eyes of Rohit’s family who leave the house and live with Poonam in their farmhouse. She is immensely successful at work but unpredictably lonely at home. Even after marriage, her husband is divided, and she never has his complete attention. Rohit’s daughters remain his priority, and that keeps drawing him back to his initial family. Ananya’s fate beautifully shows the dilemma of a strong-headed woman stuck helplessly in an unconventional love affair
Rohit, on the other hand, is the perfectly flawed middle-aged Indian man. He devotes his whole life to being everything his family wanted him to be. Only when he meets Ananya does he realise that he can also be what he actually is. His love for poetry and art is alien to his own children and wife, but Ananya discovers and cherishes it. Rohit can be any one of us – a man who has given his life to please his family but has never lived for himself. But not all of us can be courageous enough to be Rohit – the man who decided to stop caring about the society and live for what makes him happy. Rohit is revealed to not be the ideal husband or father, but his character is still one you will empathise with and love.
Even the supporting characters are seamlessly moulded in the plot. Like, for instance, Sheena, the unmarried aunt who lives her life on her own terms; Rohit’s mother, the typical mother-in-law who taunts Poonam forever but stands against her son when it comes to morality; Bani, the fierce, modern, young woman who doesn’t understand ‘compromise and adjustment’; and Gurvinder, the jolly sardar friend, who is indeed there through thick and thin.
This show wins because it is extremely relatable, real and well-written. What holds the show together is the characters. Through the characters, you get to see a world, where you will question your perceptions and instincts and will be forced to think beyond them.
It wouldn’t be unfair to say this web series is probably one of the best takes on extramarital affairs that we have seen in the Indian ‘content space’ so far. Cheers, Ekta Kapoor! 🙂