The writers did complete justice to Rajdeep & Mauli. Their portrayal is very consistent, one is devil & the other is absolute angel. And this consistency has been maintained till date.
Kunal & Nandini were supposed to be layered characters. They were supposed to have layers that will be gradually unveil themselves as the show progresses. But that's where makers did the mistake, they just jumped to show the theme of EMA which led to Kunal & Nandini coming out as most shallow characters with no consistency what so ever. The show so far has shown the physical attraction between them rather than any emotional connect, Nandini can hardly talk to Kunal, Kunal keeps on ordering her to fulfill his demands that makes it Dom-Sub relationship minus abuse & both of them with no guilt of what they are doing made it absolute cringeworthy.
The Kunal & Nandini of first episode are very different from the present Kunal & Nandini & there is literally no character connect between the two. Writers didn't let these two characters develop gradually & thus ruined both in the process.
Kunal's first impression from initial episodes-
1. Perfect gentleman.
3. Caring & helping
4. Righteous & high on morals
5. Feminist who believes in equality.
6. Loving, supporting & loyal husband
7. Respectful & passionate about his dreams.
Kunal's 360 turn from rain scene to actual affair & after that-
2. No guilt, remorse or realization of what wrong he was doing
3. Loose on morals- for a man who was highly moral he didn't put up a good fight with his inner demons.
4. Not even bothered about his dreams & passion anymore.
5. Lost rationality in his forbidden feelings.
6. Person who is more driven for sexual intimacy.
How I wanted to see Kunal's layers-
1. An insecure man underneath of being not so competent as a husband/man behind the charade of a perfect marriage & husband in front of the world.
2. Tired of being too understanding & compromising all the time.
3. Wanting to be a father badly but not having courage to confess it in fear of hurting Mauli.
4. Upset about Mauli gifting him a clinic- his dream
5. Not content with the lesser amount of emotional time he was getting to spend with his wife.
6. An amazing friend to Nandini, her counselor leading to development of a deep, emotional, subconscious bond. Him motivating Nandini to date new guys, try to know them. Respecting her to have fought through hard times in her life on her own.
7. Finding too many common traits between himself & Nandini & seek mature advice from her to solve his marital issues.
8. As a feminist, teaching Nandini to fight her battles in her life.
9. Gradual subconscious development of feelings for Nandini.
10. Him swayed by a wave of emotions but regretting his feelings for Nandini. Trying too hard to fight his inner demons by trying to make things work with Mauli again with much more passion.
11. Confession of feelings to her out of sheer desperate but Nandini thrashing him down for it leading to him losing friendship with her & guilty of emotional cheating.
12. Deciding to maintain a distance with her & give his marriage a chance with underlying guilt & complex feelings for Nandini.
13. Eventual fall of his marriage with his confession, a break period/leap after it, and then he living alone serving his dream & guilt of ruining his family, a fresh relationship with Nandini after years when they cross path again, after he has made amends with Mauli somehow.
Nandini's first impression-
1. Submissive & subservient.
2. A victim of terrible marriage
3. A friend yearning to see her long lost friend.
4. Naive, innocent, shy & meek.
5. Guilty & hopeful of seeing her friend.
6. Too scared to stand for herself & what she wants.
7. Loyal & devoted
8. Once a lively girl dead inside an abusive marriage.
9. Helpful & talented
11. High on morals.
Nandini in EMA-
1. Extremely selfish
2. Brain dead
3. Complete absence of conscience
4. Submissive again
5. Meek & shy
6. No pondering over her actions.
7. Guilt free even in presence of her best friend.
8. No care or thought about Mauli for whom she yearned for years.
9. Man over friendship again.
10. Complete disregard for any moral.
How I wanted to see Nandini's layers-
1. Nandini coming out an abusive household with the help of Mauli.
2. Trying to gather herself, re-build herself from the trauma of an abusive marriage & losing a child she so badly wanted.
3. Finding a family in Kunal's family. Mauli boosting confidence in her with the help of Kunal.
4. Seek professional psychiatric help to overcome her issues.
5. Develop huge respect for Kunal for being a good man she never got to see in her life.
6. Divorce Rajdeep & fight him herself with Mauli-Kunal backing her.
7. Becoming independent, confident, lively again.
8. Moving out of Mauli's household to live on her own.
9. Develop a deep friendship with Kunal purely because of her respect & gratitude to him.
10. Try to sort issues between Kunal-Mauli by advising Mauli & Kunal both whenever needed.
11. Trying to date new guys with hope of finding a guy like Kunal (not Kunal but like him).
12. Trying to adopt children since she wanted to be a mother so badly.
13. Kunal-Nandini developing friendship where she would share her dreams & desires with him like a friend.
14. Kunal confessing his feelings to her but she immediately thrashing him for it & asking him to make amends with Mauli. Deciding to not tell Mauli as she would be badly hurt.
15. Break in the KuNan. Gradual realization of feelings for him but too much guilt on facing him.
16. Nandini being too guilty & trying to move on with some other guy to overcome Kunal.
17. She trying hard to be loyal to her friend this time.
18. Both of them deciding to avoid things from getting too deep. Nandini deciding to marry a guy so as to end things for once & forever. In all this, both of them sharing some passionate moments leaving them with more guilt.
19. Kunal-Mauli eventually breaking because of Kunal's confession. Nandini-Mauli friendship ending.
20. Nandini's breakdown in guilt.
21. All 3 living separately with relationships & friendships broken.
22. Nandini living alone now with her cooking classes & underlying guilt of having lost her childhood friend again. Kunal-Nandini cross path once again, this time to start a fresh story OR Nandini finding new partner for herself OR she never getting into any relationship again OR Nandini adopting a child, thus showing a Silsila in true sense.
How I wanted Mauli to be as a layered character-
1. Most of the things as shown in the show, a good doctor, a loving & supporting wife, a great friend, a very positive & lively woman who knows to love.
2. As a successful Doctor, a little career-oriented who always tries to reach perfection in everything but alone which leaves Kunal out.
3. She doesn't want to hurt or make Kunal feel any less but somehow her actions seem to do the opposite.
4. Her marriage built on too many compromises which eventually start to falter, leading to stagnant emotional bonding between the couple, where Kunal doesn't communicate much with her so as not to hurt her & she doesn't dwell much deep into the silence. For the world, it's the perfect marriage in which both of them are happy.
5. Her assumption of Kunal being OK with everything she does, even when he might not be but doesn't voice it out to her. Like her decision for not having kids for so long affects Kunal on some level but he loves her too much to upset her on this. And Mauli would have presumed that Kunal was OK with this decision.
6. A little possessive about Kunal (which is not a bad thing) but trusts him immensely.
7. Issues between her & Kunal keeps on aggravating despite too many efforts to solve them.
8. Emotional bonding weakens which in turn affects other aspects of marriage.
9. Kunal emotionally cheating on her, confessing it to her which hurts her terribly.
10. She divorces Kunal but doesn't forgive him & same with Nandini but friendship breakup breaks her more.
11. Mauli trying to move on with her life by getting herself busy in her job & gets on to become more successful as a doctor. Doesn't get into relationships for a really long time until one fine day, she decides to give chance for herself again. OR she adopts a child too.
I know it's difficult to find any flaw in Mauli with the characterization they have shown but it isn't layered. A layered character is actually not a bad thing but it speaks of how human beings are flawed at one or the other level.
And this would have been Silsila- Badalte Rishton Ka for me, which according to promos was to undertake emotional cheating in committed relationships of marriage & friendships, rather than this physical cheating mess that was absolutely distasteful.
The show could have gone this route where each character would have been layered, with some flaws, with their emotions bringing complex grey shades in them. Kunal would have gradually fallen out of love with Mauli because of stagnant emotional bonding between them & then fallen for Nandini on the strong base of a deep emotional connect.
Cheating & affair would have still been there, hearts would have been betrayed, friendships would have broken & destroyed but then time break would have given each of them a chance to heal their wounds, realize their mistakes & move on.
I know it's too practical & cliched at the same time as per Indian TV standard (had some English shows in my mind while typing this), but I wanted to see this show like that(something I had anticipated from the promo & initial episodes of the show). Except for Rajdeep everyone would have been a layered character, a more practical & modern approach on relationships of metro cities where relationships often take a toll because of several underlying issues & each one of them showing more commitment to the relationships they value the most (Kunal to marriage, Nandini to friendship) but getting drawn into forbidden territory of love outside marriage.
It would have done justice to all the 3 characters as far as characterization is concerned, each of them having their up & down on a regular basis rather than this extreme portrayal. Audience would have had time to somehow understand each character's POV in a better, gradual way, rather than sudden jumping of guns because of such a poor portrayal of 2 characters.
In no way, I am saying an EMA/infidelity/adultery is right or stands justified at any point of time. It's often a complex, grey thing but I wanted to see those grey developments that lead to it. It often ends on a bad note, rather than this crazy affair they showed to us.
Here makers have tried to show it as Bonny-Sri-Mona story, where Mona was the only victim. But if makers had intended to show the journey of 3 characters as per the promos & initial episodes, this is the way they could have undertaken this story.