The new AltBalaji show His Storyy, about men in love, is an attempted companion piece to the producer’s recently released The Married Woman, about women in love. Unlike The Married Woman, in which a stifled professor finds romance outside her marriage, the men in His Storyy are already a couple – though not officially or openly.

Restaurateur Kunal (Satyadeep Mishra) is married to chef Sakshi (Priyamani Raj). Kunal has been secretly seeing men for years, but his clandestine passion for food critic Preet (Mrinal Dutt) has endured. The arrangement suits the lovers just fine, although Preet does occasionally complain about the secrecy.

Kunal loves his wife and two sons too much to stop the deception. In fact, if Kunal hadn’t been spotted openly kissing Preet, Sakshi might have never found out that the 20-year marriage was a sham and a lie, as she later says.

Satyadeep Mishra, Priyamani Raj and Mrinal Dutt in His Storyy (2021). Courtesy AltBalaji/Zee5.

Kunal’s indiscreet behaviour is strange for somebody who has been pursuing a double life for years. So also is the speed with which deeply buried secrets are excavated and bandied about. Suparn Verma’s screenplay and Prashant Bhagia’s direction are vague about whether Kunal has decided to throw caution to the wind because he has had enough of hiding.

Much of the action plays out in a small set of affluent, mostly progressive set of friends who communicate in both English and Hindi. Coincidences are commonplace in this close-knit group, as are convenient discoveries.

A parallel track involving the children of the friends serves as an exploration of rank homophobia and misguided notions of masculinity. His Storyy sheds light on an important conversation and shines its torch on still-taboo subjects with sincerity and sensitivity. But the psychological detailing needed to make matters convincing is inadequate. The clumsiness with which the plot is nudged forward sometimes undermines the show’s impact.

Sakshi and Kunal provide the connective tissue. Sakshi is shattered by the truth about Kunal and tries to justify it in every way possible, from telling herself that Kunal is going through a mid-life crisis to suggesting a threesome in despair. Rather than being a cad, Kunal turns out to be a sensitive soul who tries to do what is right by his family.

Priyamani Raj and Satyadeep Mishra in His Storyy (2021). Courtesy AltBalaji/Zee5.

Despite the tensions, the couple manage to work things out without shedding too much blood. Sakshi goes from rage over Kunal’s “perversion” to demonstrating support for him when their homophobic son lashes out. The easily aggrieved Shivaay (Nitin Bhatia) is horrified and ashamed about Kunal. This important track doesn’t get the attention it deserves, and rather serves as a device to push the series to an untenable climax and a second season.

If nobody saw the final episode coming, it’s because the third corner of the triangle is similarly underserviced. Preet’s love emboldens Kunal to walk out of a fake marriage and yet, the character has little to do, at least in the first season.

Strong performances steer the series past frequent lashings of dramatic revelations. The acting is uniformly consistent, with Satyadeep Mishra, Priyamani Raj and Mrinal Dutt particularly impressive in their roles. Mishra and Raj have a believable chemistry that makes their characters come alive. The best scenes in His Storyy belong to this unusual couple – the series is as much her story as his.

His Storyy (2021).

Also read:

‘The Married Woman’ review: Passion, caution and unanswered questions as two women fall in love