I am a bit of a TV buff & love to binge-watch old favorites while on the hunt for something new and interesting. I recently came across a show on Netflix called Decoupled– it’s in English but it’s set in India with Indian protagonists trying to navigate their divorce.

The show stars R Madhavan and Surveen Chawla in lead roles as Arya Iyer and Shruti Sharma Iyer. Arya is a reclusive, sarcastic, and eccentric writer, while Shruti is a fashionable, intelligent, and no BS-taking start-up founder. The entire premise of the show is based on the “decoupling” of the couple, who have a daughter together.

The show basically follows the couple as they come to terms with the end of their relationship—first within themselves, then with their friends and family, and then finally, with their daughter. In the show, they express that they still want to live together, raise their daughter together, and be friends. 

The show isn’t overly dramatized, but instead is full of creative situational comedy that constantly pushes the couple to face and accept their new reality.

As a viewer, I also found myself rooting for their friendship way more than their marriage. There were moments where I was skeptical and thought the show might take a cliché turn where they end up together again, but thankfully, (I know, a strange thing to wish for), that didn’t happen. 

They ultimately end up throwing a destination divorce party together where they invite all their loved ones, and celebrate their divorce.

I am a huge proponent of supporting the things you want to see more of, and I really want to see more shows like this. It is so witty and refreshing with brilliant writing and direction, and is  the opposite of the intense dramas that are popular on Indian mainstream television. 

I’m elated that Netflix India is investing money into such projects that harness uber talented folks to showcase their art to push the culture forward with less stereotypical narratives.

Oftentimes, Indian TV production is boxed into the “Saas-Bahu” drama category or cheesy reality TV category, but I am delighted to see shows break out of those tropes and challenge the status quo. It’s nice to be able to relate to people on screen who not only look like you, but also lead similar lives in a familiar setting while showcasing updated norms.

I am also loving the “decoupling/uncoupling” trend being used to signify a divorce. Many would arguably credit goop queen, Gwyneth Paltrow for popularizing the term in 2014 when she stated in her divorce announcement that she was “consciously uncoupling” from her then husband, Chris Martin.

Divorce is often seen as failure, or something to be ashamed of, particularly in South Asian culture. It can be extremely painful and emotional, but every person has their own experience and journey. 

More often than not, in the face of irreconcilable marital problems divorce can be the best option for all parties involved. The word “divorce” holds a lot of baggage and preconceived expectations, whereas “decoupling/uncoupling” sounds much more peaceful and amicable, which, surprisingly, is the nature of most divorces In fact, 80% of divorces in BC are undefended, meaning they are mutual and “the couple agreed about what to do about their parenting, support, and property issues.”

This is why it is incredible to see an Indian TV show deal with such a taboo topic in a nuanced way. Like most married couples, Arya and Shruti’s lives are completely intertwined. “Decoupled” depicts their journey as they try to navigate the end of their relationship while attempting to maintain their friendship. 

The show proves that divorce doesn’t have to equate to the end of a relationship, rather a transition into a different version of itself.

The supporting characters provide ample comedic relief, but they are well-rounded, well-written, and add layers to the show. The show is centered around Arya and Shruti's relationship, but their separate lives outside of one another is also highlighted and given equal importance.

As much as I want to discuss my favourite scenes, I don’t want to spoil the best parts—including the jokes and situational comedy, hidden jokes and running gags. I recall laughing out loud and having to pause every now and then to catch my breath from laughing. 

It wouldn’t be funny if I explained it anyway, so just watch it. It’s easily bingeable with just 8 episodes at about 30 minute run time each.

I recommend this show to anyone who’s looking for a smart comedy that makes you think. It ends on a cliffhanger which makes me hopeful for season two, even though nothing has been confirmed yet.

Take my word for it, and let me know what you think!

About the author

Gurshabad Kang

Gurshabad’s educational background in Biology and Psychology is inspired by her lifelong pursuit to seek and decipher the human connection. She loves McDonald’s fries, long walks on the beach, and telling people how to correctly pronounce her name. She regularly forces her friends to sit in her car & record a podcast aptly named Sitting In The Car. You can find her but more importantly her dog, @gurshabadkang on all platforms.

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5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.