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The Married Woman director Sahir Raza: If people are offended by the story, they can switch it off

Director Sahir Raza speaks about The Married Woman, calling it ‘story of two people who have been conditioned in their respective worlds to discover their individuality and what they want from life’.

Written by Arushi Jain | New Delhi |
March 9, 2021 8:32:31 am
the married womanThe Married Woman is streaming on ZEE5 and AltBalaji.

There is more to The Married Woman than calling it ‘love story of two women’, says its director Sahir Raza. He calls the AltBalaji and ZEE5 production the “story of two people who have been conditioned in their respective worlds to discover their individuality and what they want from life.”

Starring Ridhi Dogra and Monica Dogra in lead roles, along with actors Suhaas Ahuja, Divya Seth Shah, Nadira Babbar and Imaad Shah, the web show has been released on International Women’s Day. It is based on Manju Kapoor’s book A Married Woman.

In an interview with indianexpress.com, Raza talks about the show and whether he is worried about people taking offence with the subject of his 10-episode series.

Towards the end of the trailer, a character says Romeo Juliet’s story ‘is a fight between individuality and conditioning’, and a fight with the stale mindset of the society. Is The Married Woman also on the same lines?

It is in many ways that. It is about the characters of Aastha (Ridhi Dogra) who discovers herself, and Piplika (Monica Dogra), who comes across as a progressive character. It is a story of two people who have been conditioned in their respective worlds, discovering their individuality and what it is that makes them click, and also what they want from life.

If this would have been a film for the theatres, do you think you would have the liberty to showcase a same-sex love story with as much conviction?

If it was a story that we had to tell on the big screen, we would have most definitely had the restriction of telling it in a few hours. So, that would have been a very different script. Coming to the legality of censorship, I believe that stories should not have any boundary. Having said that, there is nothing in our story that can lead to any objections.

What do you think about OTT platforms coming under the scrutiny of censor board?

Absolutely no format of storytelling, no matter what it is, should be censored in my opinion. As a democratic society, we take a lot of collective decision, and if it is to introduce censorship then we will follow that. I still believe stories should be allowed to breathe and the audience is mature enough to turn off what they don’t like.

Did you draw inspiration from Fire for The Married Woman?

I’ve drawn inspiration from a lot of world cinema in a lot of places. We spent a lot of time, both talking to people and watching cinema and placing ourselves within that world, but I wouldn’t say it’s inspired by one single piece of cinema.

What was that one scene which you thought was most difficult to shoot?

There were many times when I was surprised at what we did and what the actors brought to the scene. There is a scene in the finale episode, where I think we were all dead tired, it was the 16th or the 17th day of shoot at the same location and it was 3 am. Everyone was completely drained out. And, in the middle of that, we had to shoot a screaming match between Ridhi’s character Astha and Suhaas’ character Hemant. It’s unbelievable how well they brought it together.

Are you and your team prepared for people to take offence, especially with the subject of the series?

The Married Woman is a love story. I don’t understand why it should offend anyone. If it happens to do that, maybe I’m naive and then so be it. People always have the option of switching it off; nobody’s forcing us to watch anything that we do not wish to.

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