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Broken But Beautiful Season 3 review: Sidharth Shukla’s OTT debut marred by lacklustre storytelling

What makes a romantic drama great entertainment? It should have charismatic leads and a joyful love story, with equal parts passion and pathos. The idea is to watch two people meeting each other, falling hopelessly in love and overcome impossible odds. This is a genre that’s joyous to experience — capturing the heady aroma of romance itself. But, when you start watching the third season of Broken But Beautiful, the AltBalaji series which has presented the heart-warming love story of Veer (Vikrant Massey) and Sameera (Harleen Sethi) in the previous seasons, you miss the warmth and happiness.

Broken But Beautiful 3, as you can probably guess from the title, is about unrequited love. However, instead of exploring the beauty of it, the web series showcases a toxic relationship between its leads Agastya (Sidharth Shukla) and Rumi (Sonia Rathee). Agastya is a bully, an alcoholic theatre director, and a foul-mouthed hothead. Rumi is a spoilt rich brat who has only one purpose in life: to get her childhood crush Ishaan (Ehan Bhatt) to love her. She showers expletives at women in Ishaan’s life, and for her, every girl who comes close to him is a b****. When the worlds of these flawed beings collide, you expect some fireworks to happen, but a poorly written script comes between them.

Today, when you are getting to witness some brilliantly written flawed characters in the likes of Ajeeb Daastaans and Bombay Begums, Rumi and Agastya lack depth. You only get to know them on the surface. It seems like writers Shazia Malik and Sharifa Roy didn’t care about their characters or why they should fall in love; they just put them through the motions. And watching them didn’t feel escapist or fun either – the essential aspect behind this genre. In fact, their intimate moments and their kisses look gross and slimy. For me, a die-hard fan of the genre, it was just sad to not be able to be invested in the characters and their journey.

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For the first four episodes, it was difficult to differentiate between Agastya of Broken But Beautiful 3 and Sidharth Shukla of Bigg Boss. He was exactly how you watched him in Bigg Boss 13 — arrogant, self-centred, ill-mannered and a toxic man-child. At one point, Rumi calls Agastya “sasta Kabir Singh” and I couldn’t agree more. The entire journey of Shukla’s character has three heroes of Bollywood dramas stuffed into one, and this is not even an exaggeration. He starts as Kabir Singh, then transforms into Jordan of Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar and ultimately becomes a Zen version of Jab We Met’s Aditya.

However, when it comes to performance, Shukla has done a decent job. The blame of not being able to connect with his character goes to the writers who didn’t give him enough meat to bring the character alive onscreen. But for his fans, the web series is a winner as they get to see their ‘superhero’ as they fancy him.

The same goes for Sonia Rathee. She remains convincing as Rumi for most of the part. She succeeds in bringing that bitter feeling in you for her but again, you never can connect with her.

Sidharth Shukla and Sonia Rathee in a still from Broken But Beautiful 3.

There is a special appearance of stars of season one and two, Veer (Massey) and Sameera (Sethi), and the moment you watch them, the hollowness of Rumi and Agastya’s story hits you even harder. The hopeless romantic in me would have preferred to re-watch the emotional roller-coaster that was Broken But Beautiful season 1 and 2 instead of this lifeless love saga .

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However, one thing that keeps you going through the ten episodes is the music. Like the first two seasons, here too you get some soulful romantic renditions at the most crucial junctures in the story. Maybe you can just enjoy the soulful playlist instead of sitting through the long episodes. Kudos to Amaal Mallik, Akhil Sachdeva, Vishal Mishra and Sandman for delivering a long-awaited original music album.

Furthermore, I just want to know from all the filmmakers: ‘What is it with stuffing young stories with alcoholism and cuss words?’ ‘Why are the youngsters stereotyped as alcoholics and bad-mouthed people?’ Is that the only way of showcasing ‘modern’ people? Here too, you won’t ever see the ‘artist’ Agastya without a bottle of some cheap liquor. He even drinks the beer shampoo of his girlfriend to ease his pain of heartbreak! Rumi also always resorts to alcohol when she wants to escape the reality of her life.

On the whole, the romantic souls who were waiting for Broken But Beautiful 3, can go back to the previous two seasons as this one won’t fulfil the desire of watching a blissful love story.

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