The latest Hindi original on Disney+Hostar, Dil Bekaraar, is a romantic comedy-drama based on the novel, Those Pricey Thakur Girls by Anuja Chauhan. Starring Akshay Oberoi and Sahher Bambba, Dil Bekaraar is the kind of light-hearted drama that seems tailor-made for binge-watching.
In between the smiles it leaves on your face, the show also takes on patriarchy, corruption, and government bureaucracy. And that's how this show, set in the 80s, is a perfect fit for Gen Z.
Dil Bekaraar is the love story of Debjani "Dabbu" Thakur, a newsreader for Deshdarpan, the Government's national news channel, and Dylan Singh Shekhawat, a journalist for a private newspaper.
Debjani Thakur is the second-youngest daughter of Retd. Judge LN Thakur. A father of five daughters, he is best friends with Brigadier Shekhawat, who is his partner in court piece.
From reluctant players in their fathers' daily card game of court piece to romantic partners, Dabbu and Dylan traverse through various hiccups (from jealousy to jail) to ultimately end in a relationship. In the meantime, Justice Thakur's married daughters keep visiting, accompanied with grandkids and issues and his youngest daughter makes her way through school, first crushes, and misogynistic men.
Despite reminding you of Austen's Pride and Prejudice, it has moments that make you laugh out loud, good, old-fashioned drama (like wayward husbands being hunted down by gun-wielding wives), and a healthy dose of feel-good romance (thanks to Oberoi and Bambba's chemistry).
Additionally, the presence of veteran stars like Raj Babbar, Poonam Dhillon, Padmini Kolhapuri, etc. ensures that you're left smiling even in the midst of melodrama. Even the newcomers do complete justice to their roles, especially Medha Shankar.
However, my favourite part about the series was how it cleverly talked about news propaganda (explaining the trouble with TADA for dummies), religious unity, and even flawed gender roles (questioning the idea of 'asli mard') and regressive beliefs - but without making it the show's entire premise.
Because while I love serious dramas, I also enjoy shows that don't leave me a sobbing mess, or employ graphic violence, to get their point across.
I mean, there are gaalis and gunshots in Dil Bekaraar too - but it's nothing like the kind web series have been serving on a platter.
Delightful, engaging, Dil Bekaraar is not just a fine adaptation ( a fact that the reader in me can't help but rejoice over), but is also the kind of romantic comedy-dramas that I grew up watching but not always relating to - because they were never set in an Indian universe.
But finally, we have a romantic story with a mix of comedy, drama, that I can actually relate to! And the 16-year-old girl romantic in me who devoured Pride and Prejudice in the same sitting as The Confessions of a Shopaholic, is very happy Dil Bekaraar happened.
All images from Disney+Hotstar, unless specified otherwise.