Audience’s Reaction To ALT Balaji’s Web-Series “Romil & Jugal”

After ruling small screen for years, the queen of Indian Television Ekta Kapoor has recently forayed into Digital space through a video streaming platform AltBalaji. It’s so fascinating that she didn’t ignore LGBTQ community in her new journey and she is offering a romantic LGBTQ themed drama series to her audience titled Romil & Jugal.

As soon as Kapoor made the announcement of this web series it created buzz and excitement among the audience. Finally the wait is over and all episodes are streaming on AltBalaji app (with three episodes out on YouTube). As per the early estimates the story is the Gay version of legendary Romeo & Juliet.

However, this comparison is not fair as the only similarity between both stories is that both are Love Stories. However, you will find the glimpses of many Bollywood movies such as Two States (Clash of Tamilian and Punjabi families), Student of the Year (Entry of Jugal & his dance sequence in the college) etc. Above all Romil & Jugal is the need of the hour as it makes audience realise that irrespective of rejection, people are falling in love with same genders in our society.

The plot of this web-series has a realistic approach so that everyone can relate with it, but at various points dramatic presentation clearly indicates towards the connection with Balaji Telefilms and Ekta Kapoor. The story is engaging as well as entertaining and ice on the cake is all actors have done complete justice with their respective characters.

Audience’s Take

According to Research Scholar Kalpit Sharma, it is progressive steps by Balaji but still it is plagued with typical Indian TV serial mentality, where they do not consider the depth of emotions rather glorify the materialism.

Sharing his thoughts on the web-series he further added “No doubt in the series there were moments where one could identify themselves but these were a rarity. Mostly it cantered around cutsie moments of first love without treating the subject with emotional perspective. There were rarely moments to show the characters inner psyche which was at war with themselves and popular societal belief of what is normal or not. And the climax of the series was really the most absurd thing, which was no doubt provided it is Ekta Kapoor series. The topic was treated with more of a comic relief rather than emotional perspective. And then there were typical song sequences and hetero-normative stuff that marriage is the culmination of love when homosexuality itself defines the word love in new sense.”

Shyamlesh Dash believes that songs were annoying and it could be less filmy and more interesting like Boygiri which he found quite interesting. “Balance between decency, fun, frustrations, romance, confidence, being there for each other,” appreciated Ajay G Redij.

Commenting on the web-series Md Tarique Anwer Siddiquee said, “Amazing take on love life of two guys. I loved it. Just finished watching the series and waiting for the next season.”

Expressing his thoughts YouTube user Mdwsta commented “This series is great for so many reasons. First, it depicts gay characters by breaking out of the stereotypical feminine guys, used solely for comic relief. It’s about time we learned to respect All humans, rather than perpetuate the practice of making them targets of ridicule and humiliation. Second, as someone who is gay, growing up in a hetero-normative world, not having any examples in the media you can identify with leaves one feeling confused, or worse still, that ‘there must be something wrong with myself’. I hope more examples such as this online, on TV series, commercials, books, etc. will make this more mainstream and in turn, help gay youth feel empowered and part of the society, rather than be relegated as a fringe group.”

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Raghvendra Shikhrani is a journalist by profession and dog lover by passion. Hail from blue blood of a small village in Rajasthan. Family is the priority and community is the responsibility, thus smartly managing the balance between both.

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