When ALTBalaji released The Married Woman earlier this year, it was hailed for the sensitive handling of same-sex relationship and the performance of the lead cast — Ridhi Dogra and Monica Dogra. Based on Manju Kapoor’s book of the same name, the story revolves around two women trying to embrace their sexualities in a society that’s not to kind to same-sex relationships. And the critical acclaim for the series led Ekta Kapoor to announce the second season of the series.
It is said the second season will focus on the chemistry between the two characters, Ashta [Ridhi Dogra] and Peeplika [Monica Dogra]. The show, which is being written by Jaya Mishra, is in the initial stages of production. For Ridhi, the announcement of second season was an unexpected one, but she’s delighted that the makers have greenlit it. The Maryada actor says she will start shooting for the second season once she is done with filming for projects that were stuck because of the pandemic.
Sharing her happiness while speaking about the show, Ridhi says, “I am very happy. The biggest reward has been the audiences’ reaction. People have not only loved and watched the show but they have connected with it emotionally as well. I think people accepted the characters because at the end of the day we were talking about love. So many people have written to me about the Peeplikas who are not in their lives anymore. People have not only accepted the story, but also made it their own.”
The announcement couldn’t have come at a more apt time as June is also celebrated as International Pride Month. Ridhi says she also received praise for the show from the LGBTQ+ community. “People from the LGBTQ+ community said they haven’t seen something like this in the past. The characters resonated with them.”
Adding further she says, “LGBTQ+ community has been fighting for their rights for many years. It’s quite sad as I feel no one should have to fight for their rights, and no one should tell you what is okay and what isn’t. You are not running someone’s life — it is about time people take this seriously. One doesn’t need to be from the LGBTQ+ community to stand up for their rights. We should fight for their right as much as we fight for women and children’s.”
In India, the discourse on same-sex love still has a long way to go. Acceptance of and voicing of opinions on the topic is happening, but there’s a lot that needs to be done for the community to be truly ‘free’ from the shackles of the society.
For Ridhi, Pride Month is about celebrating ‘love’ with pride. “On one hand I am happy that people are expressing their opinions, but on the other hand it is sad that we are expected to normalise things which are already normal, and by that I mean love. When it comes to individual interactions, people might still accept your point of view. But, when it comes to the opinion of the society at large, that’s when problems occur. There are parents who might agree with their child coming out. But when they hear people talking not-so-positive things about their child, that's when it affects them. I am going to look at the people who are coming out in support of the community, rather than the ones who aren’t. Because Pride Month is about love.”
People from the LGBTQ+ community have been facing a lot of discrimination and hate crimes. When asked what she thinks the government needs to do to stop this, Ridhi says she is not the right person to talk about it. “I am not in their shoes and it might sound insensitive if I comment on something like this. But we need to educate people, because the more it happens in a civilised manner, the better it is. If we just keep screaming, it won’t make any difference. Hence, it is better if it happens with love and patience,” she signs off.
Apart from The Married Woman 2, Ridhi has Asur 2 and another project, which she refused to divulge details about, in her kitty.