In the Prime Video show Love Storiyaan, many things are said about the adamantine ways of the heart. Two of the most succinct declarations come from women.

Aekta, a Punjabi married to Ullekh from Kerala: there is a knowing from within that this is the path, whatever the obstacles.

Farida, about her college sweetheart Sunit, whom she eventually married: what does his faith matter? He is a boy after all.

If only it was so simple. Love Storiyaan rows its boat in the choppy sea of relationships entered into by consenting adults and judged by everyone else. The docuseries profiles couples who have braved social obstacles to get married. Religion, caste, regional differences, gender identity – courageous are the men and women who ignore these deep fault lines in pursuit of life-long companionship, and brave is the show that spotlights their experiences.

The Dharmatic Entertainment production is based on stories featured on the Instagram account India Love Project set up by the journalists Priya Ramani, Samar Halarnkar and Niloufer Venkatraman. The episodes, conceptualised by Somen Mishra, have been made by millennial directors most directly affected by the prevailing discourse against diverse marriages, especially the criminalisation of Hindu-Muslim unions.

Aekta and Ullekh in Love Storiyaan (2024). Courtesy Dharmatic Entertainment/Prime Video.

Love Storiyaan follows a uniform style across its six episodes. We meet the couples in the present and revisit their past through dramatised recreations. This device, meant to make the documentary format more accessible, creates an affected, artificial tone, as though we were in a corny movie. More compelling is when the subjects speak about what made them romantic rebels.

Shazia Iqbal, who made the wonderful short film Bebaak in 2019, helms Love Storiyaan’s most fulfilling and memorable story. Iqbal’s episode, written with Rahul Badwelkar and elegantly edited by Jabeen Merchant, is also the most documentary-like in the series.

Sunit and Farida (who also goes by the name Sharmila) are the kind of lovey-dovey elderly pair about whom movies are made. They met as college students in Bangladesh. They moved to Kolkata in 1976, sacrificing personal ties and much else to be together.

Farida’s occasional lapses into Bengali are a relief from the spoken Hindi that prevails across the show. Love Storiyaan features characters along the linguistic spectrum but has them speak in Hindi, perhaps to be more accessible.

Love Storiyaan (2024).

The agenda of appealing to as broad a subscriber base as possible is clearly paramount, resulting in frothy narratives that evaporate soon after the back stories have been revealed. There’s a lack of rigour in the episodes by Hardik Mehta (featuring Ullekh and Aekta), Vivek Soni (about Nicholas and Rajani, an inter-faith radio jockey couple), Archana Phadke (Dhanya from Kerala endures war and separation from her Afghani spouse Homayon) and Collin D’Cunha (transwoman Tista weds transman Dipan).

These are lightweight, workmanlike examinations of deep life experiences, which give a fleeting sense of the agonies endured and overcome. The stakes are slightly raised in the episode by Akshay Indikar, co-written with Tejashri Akshay.

Indikar meets Rahul Banerjee and Subhadra Khaperde, activists who work among Adivasis in central India. Memories of the inter-caste union – he is a Brahmin and she is a Dalit – are laid out against the perils visited upon human rights advocates.

Subhadra and Rahul in Love Storiyaan (2024). Courtesy Dharmatic Entertainment/Prime Video.

Like the other women in the show, Subhadra is frank and funny even as she tosses off the casteism she has encountered. The episode has no sustained rhythm, laying out scene after scene of the couple speaking to the camera, but the story is engrossing in itself.

Love Storiyaan mostly soft-pedals the real-world consequences of the demonisation of unorthodox marriages, opting for affirming conversations, mawkish background music and wistful imagery. “Everything works out in the end” is the sentiment that prevails, as though to encourage viewers who might be in similar situations.

Farida, who churns out some of the best statements, speaks for everyone else when she observes that she doesn’t care for what other people thought of Sunit – the reaction is their problem.

Despite its feebleness, Love Storiyaan earns brownie points simply by existing. In the bargain, we meet people who have lived to tell the tale – proof that while the toxic campaign against taboo passion is hard at work, the heart continues to work in mysterious ways.

Dipan and Tista in Love Storiyaan (2024). Courtesy Dharmatic Entertainment/Prime Video.