Anuja Chauhan’s Those Pricey Thakur Girls is one of those books that lends itself to a show quite seamlessly. The characters, the setting, the milieu – as you read it for the first time, you know this could be a film or a show. So it is no surprise that the popular novel has got another iteration on screen, and this time it is in the form of a web series titled Dil Bekaraar on Disney Plus Hotstar. Set in the 1980s, in Lutyens’ Delhi, the show centers around Debjani Thakur (Sahher Bambba) and Dylan Shekhawat (Akshay Oberoi) as they fall in love with their nosy families watching with bated breath.
In typical 80s fashion, the show opens with an old advertisement of Bajaj and you are instantly transported to the era of rotary phones and television news that actually mattered. With light sepia tones and a constant barrage of 70s and 80s Hindi music in the background, Dil Bekaraar does not let you forget that this is a period piece. In the first two episodes, you are introduced to the Thakurs who know just two ways of life for their daughters – get married or get working.
When Debjani gets a chance to become a newsreader for a TV station, she stumbles into instant fame and finds an admirer in the neighbour’s son Dylan, who works as a journalist. Their will they-won’t they chemistry is adorable and is one of the main reasons you stay with the show. Medha Shankar’s Eeshwari lightens up the screen here. While she isn’t very 80s, her nonchalant attitude combined with her strong screen presence makes her seem like a promising performer.
In terms of storytelling, it’s as direct as it could be. There are a few political undertones to its dialogues but they are just enough to make you wonder that the world hasn’t changed much in the last 40 years.
The addition of old Hindi songs in almost every Debjani-Dylan scene seems like an overkill. The show is set in Delhi, but aside from the palatial house of the Thakurs, you don’t really see Delhi in its genes which is quite strange for a Habib Faisal project. His previous works – Do Dooni Chaar (director, writer), Band Baaja Baarat (writer) are drenched in the local Delhi culture but here, if you subtract the casual mentions of Delhi hotspots, Dil Bekaraar feels like it could be set in any place.
The best part about Those Pricey Thakur Girls was its ease and that ease seems to have translated to the show as well.
Dil Bekaraar is streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar.
Verdict: After watching the first two episodes, Dil Bekaraar feels like an honest iteration of Those Pricey Thakur Girls that is engaging enough to make you move on to the next episode.