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Decoupled, Netflix Saves The Best For The Last





Starring  Madhavan, Surveen Chawla

Created  and Written by Manu Joseph

Directed  by Hardik Mehta

Rating: ****

Decoupled(Netflix): Early on in this  hugely enjoyable wildly  irreverent  tongue-in-shriek  romp into the  bowels of political incorrectness,   the magnificent Madhavan who plays a no-filter pulp-fiction writer, meets a  fan who squeals she was  reading his novel when she  spotted him in person.

“It’s like meeting the  animal in your meat,”  Arya  Iyer drawls  back,confusing the poor fan out of her wits.

Arya  does this all the time. He is  the kind of middle aged  party pooper you wouldn’t want as your  neighbour,  let  alone your neighbour at  a restaurant. Rest assured, if Arya  Iyer is around , a situation  of embarrassment is bound to  be created. Huge embarrassment.

Somewhere towards end  of the  series  Arya’s wife(serenely played by Surveen  Chawla), eager  for  a divorce(or is she?) wonders aloud, “Can we  not have at least one evening  without  you creating a  scene?”

The  thing about the Arya Iyers  of  the world(rare birds as they are) is that they tell the truth which  civil behaviour disallows and blocks out completely from the range of social conduct. Madhavan’s Arya is  an oddball, a freak who is ruinously forthright. Calling a spade  a spade,and an asshole an  asshole, he takes us from one fiercely  brutally  honest encounter to another.The encounters are devastating in their  impunity.

This excursion from one level of insouciant  insolence to another,  could have rendered the series jerkily episodic…you know, like  Aryan Meets Chetan Bhagat in  the  Loo, Aryan Gets Caught Naked In The Locker Room, Aryan Refuses To Shake Hands With Pubescent Fan(arguing that the  boy most probably  doesn’t wash his hand after masturbating), Aryan Tells  Father-in-Law To Have Protected Sex(to prevent ma-in-law from repeated urinary tract  infection), Aryan Tells His Loyal Driver To Stop Farting In The Car, etc  etc.

All  of the above  really and truly happen in the course of the  8-episode  dramedy. The sheer inappropriateness  of the  situations that crop up routinely  in Arya’s  life,are a joy to  witness. Rest assured, you have never seen anything  like Decoupled before, not in this country where only the  foolhardy  attack the sacred cows.

Writer Manu Joseph lets  his  acid tongue  loose all  over  the plot.The sarcastic  quips  flow in a  tireless  torrent , so much so that you are likely to miss some of the less conspicuous  barbs. For instance an old girlfriend calls Arya and she is surprised  he remembers  her name.

“A gentleman  never  forgets his girlfriend’s name,” Arya tries to  play the  gallant -ex.

“That’s why I am  surprised,” she  replies  softly.

In  the land of the brash and unkind  there  lives a mysterious ogre that enjoys  gloating at the  squirmy discomfort of the  inhibited. Decoupled  provides us with a strange   stirring   aphrodisiacal  pleasure that comes  from knowing that  nothing is sacred anymore.At least not for a  while.Homosexuals, feminists,  the elderly  and  the  intellectual are  all insulted. Chetan Bhagat’s  novels  and  the  globally acclaimed Korean  film Parasites are demolished with  devilish delight.

The barbs never stop, and that’s where  the  pleasure spots lie. Writer Many Joseph presses hard  on  the pleasure spots , eliciting a kind of wolfwhistle pleasure from us the viewers that we haven’t experienced since Seinfeld  stormed into our sensory perception.

Not all of it works equally well, though. But that’s the beauty of the acerbic writing. It’s not meant to work uniformly well. For every occasion that Arya Iyer makes his mordant  point on the  hypocrisy  of  urbane lifestyles,there is always the other side when the his  frankness hits a wall.

Ouch to that. Even when Arya falls, we wait for his next strike. He never disappoints in this comedy of ill manners.

While Madhavan carries  the  burden of causticity with an appealing  aplomb he gets sturdy support from the  supporting cast, particularly Surveen Chawla as his eternally exasperated  soon-to-be-ex-wife , Atul Kumar as a  digital-age guru who thinks for man there is escape from sex, and  Akaash  Khurrana  as Madhavan’s father-in-law who  asks a gay couple at a party  how they do it.

Decoupled  is the raunchy  roughneck romcom that Netflix always wanted to do , but didn’t know where to find. Well,look no more.

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