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

What makes a romantic drama great entertainment? It must have charismatic leads and a joyous love story, with equal parts passion and pathos. The idea is to watch two people meet, fall hopelessly in love and overcome impossible odds. This is a genre that is a pleasure to experience – it contains the intoxicating scent of romance itself. But when you start watching the third season of Broken But Beautiful, the AltBalaji series that has presented the heartwarming love story of Veer (Vikrant Massey) and Sameera (Harleen Sethi) for the past few seasons, you’re missing out on the warmth and happiness.

Broken But Beautiful 3, as you can probably guess from the title, is about unrequited love. However, instead of examining its beauty, the web series shows a toxic relationship between the protagonists Agastya (Sidharth Shukla) and Rumi (Sonia Rathee). Agastya is a bully, alcoholic theater director and big-mouthed hothead. Rumi is a spoiled rich brat who has only one goal in life: to make Ishaan (Ehan Bhatt) fall in love with her through her childhood. She focuses on women in Ishaan’s life, and to her every girl who comes close to him is ab ****. When the worlds of these flawed creatures collide, expect some fireworks to happen, but some poorly written script gets in between them.

Nowadays, when you witness some brilliantly written flawed characters like Ajeeb Daastaans and Bombay Begums, Rumi and Agastya lack depth. You only get to know them on the surface. It seems that the writers Shazia Malik and Sharifa Roy didn’t care about their characters or why they needed to fall in love; they just guided them through the motions. Nor was it escapist or fun to watch – the essential aspect behind this genre. In fact, their intimate moments and their kisses look dirty and slimy. For me, a die-hard fan of the genre, it was just sad not to be able to invest in the characters and their journey.

For the first four episodes, it was difficult to distinguish between Agastya from Broken But Beautiful 3 and Sidharth Shukla from Bigg Boss. He was just like you saw him in Bigg Boss 13 – arrogant, self-centered, ill-mannered, and a toxic male child. At one point, Rumi Agastya calls “sasta Kabir Singh” and I totally agreed. Shukla’s character’s entire journey includes three heroes of Bollywood dramas in one, and this isn’t even an exaggeration. He starts out as Kabir Singh, then turns into Jordan from Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar and eventually becomes a Zen version of Jab We Met’s Aditya.

However, when it comes to performance, Shukla has done a good job. The blame for not being able to connect with his character goes to the writers who didn’t give him enough meat to bring the character to life on screen. But for its fans, the web series is a winner because they get to see their ‘superhero’ the way they like him.

The same goes for Sonia Rathee. For the most part, she remains convincing as Rumi. She manages to bring that bitter feeling into you for her, but again, you can never connect with her.

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

There is a special appearance from season one and two stars, 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 revisit the emotional rollercoaster of Broken But Beautiful seasons 1 and 2 rather than this lifeless love saga.

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

Other than that, I just want to know from all the filmmakers: “What is it about cramming young stories with alcoholism and swear words?” “Why are the youngsters stereotyped as alcoholics and those with a bad mouth?” Is that the only way to draw attention to ‘modern’ people? Again, you will never see the ‘artist’ Agastya without a bottle of cheap booze. He even drinks his girlfriend’s beer shampoo to ease his heartbreak pain! Rumi also always turns to alcohol when she wants to escape the realities of her life.

In general, the romantic souls who have been waiting for Broken But Beautiful 3 can go back to the previous two seasons as it will not fulfill the desire to watch a blissful love story.

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