Modern Love Mumbai is the Indian version of the US’s popular Amazon Prime Video show titled ‘Modern Love’. It is one of the first Indian versions that tell us the stories set in the lands of Mumbai. The 6 episodes are directed by Alankrita Shrivastava, Hansal Mehta, Vishal Bhardwaj, Shonali Bose, Dhruv Sehgal and Nupur Asthana.
The anthology series stars Sarika, Pratik Gandhi, Ranveer Brar, Tanuja, Yeo Yann Yann, Meiyang Chang, Naseeruddin Shah, Wamiqa Gabbi, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Bhupendra Jadawat, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Masaba Gupta, Ritwik Bhowmik, Sarika, Danesh Razvi, Arshad Warsi and Chitrangada. The Prime Video show is created by Pritish Nandy Communications.
Modern Love Mumbai Review: My Beautiful Wrinkles
Alankrita Shrivastava’s short is titled ‘My Beautiful Wrinkles’. Sarika plays Dilbar, a divorcee who stays with her granddaughter. A young guy from her neighbourhood, played by Danesh, is attracted to her. In her story, Shrivastava highlights how age doesn’t define beauty; the internalised shame one feels when one tries to think of their happiness and desires and how love has no barriers.
The story starts on an interesting note, but the ending feels underwhelming. It’s a good attempt, especially in a world where women are considered undesirable after a certain age.
Modern Love Mumbai Review: Baai
Hansal Mehta’s story is called Baai. Pratik Gandhi and Ranveer Brar play Manzar and Rajbeer, a gay couple in love. Manzar’s parents feel ashamed of his truth, and phrases like ‘stop these habits’ and ‘change’ are thrown at him. For Manzar, his grandmother Baai’s (Tanuja), acceptance means a lot. However, the situation is very critical. Mehta has shown us the beautiful bond between Manzar and Rajbeer and has shed light on various significant topics in those 42 minutes.
Indians are fond of food, and food in itself is a language of love. Another element that makes any kind of love feel special is music. Mehta’s story has wonderful elements that keep you absorbed until the end. The music of Baai hits the right chord. The director never preaches about homosexuality. His only intention was to tell us a heartfelt tale of love that’s hidden in the lanes of Mumbai. However, I was not pleased to see how the captions didn’t match the dialogues at times. To probably appeal to the global audience, the makers wrote Julia Roberts when someone mentioned Katrina Kaif.
Pratik Gandhi and Ranveer Brar brilliantly portray the couple in love who know that things will not be easy for them. Gandhi and Mehta have collaborated for the second time after Scam 1992, and he’s a great actor. But it’s the acting debut for Ranveer, one of India’s renowned chefs. Ranveer’s charm adds the needed breeziness to the intense story.
Modern Love Mumbai Review: I Love Thane
Dhruv Sehgal presents a heartwarming tale of yearning and comfort with ‘I Love Thane’. Although Mumbai and Thane are two separate cities, people can establish a close bond over compassion and good communication. Saiba (Masaba), a 33-year-old freelance landscape architect, seeks love in Sehgal’s story. She’s a Bandra girl doing the adulting right in her ways. But when it comes to matters of heart, she had only made wrong choices.
Love is often found in the most unexpected places and individuals. The same happens with Saiba when she meets Parth. The chemistry and banter between Saiba and Parth are pretty ordinary but enjoyable. You want them to be best friends even if you assume they don’t end up together. Dhruv’s short conveys that some get what they are looking for with a little patience and a few bad decisions. After all, aren’t we searching for someone who would make us feel at home?
Masaba Gupta is natural with her portrayal of Saiba. You are invested in her life. Gupta has some heavy dialogues, which she delivers quite well, and you intently listen to her. Ritwik Bowmik is a calm and composed persona like Parth. He does a good job as well.
Modern Love Mumbai Review: Raat Rani
Shonali Bose’s Raat Rani stars Fatima Sana Shaikh as Lalzari and Bhupendra Jadawat as Lutfi. The couple has eloped from Kashmir to Mumbai as Lalzari’s parents didn’t approve of Lutfi as he belonged to the “lower caste”. Lalzari’s world comes crashing down when Lutfi makes a shocking decision. In Bose’s story, the character in love with a man falls in love with another person – herself.
In Shonali’s story, Lalzari’s transition from a devastated wife to a self-loving woman is both inspiring and touching. The story elicits a wide range of emotions in your heart. Bose’s narrative reflects several issues that many women face on a daily basis. But you’ll have a big smile on your face in the end. You can’t get enough of how joyful the story and her performance are!
In Modern Love Mumbai’s Raat Rani, Fatima Sana Shaikh delivers her best performance yet as Lalzari. She does an exceptional job with her Kashmiri accent and meltdown scenes and has good comic timing.
Modern Love Mumbai Review: Mumbai Dragon
Vishal Bhardwaj’s Modern Love Mumbai story is called Mumbai Dragon. Sui (Yeo Yann Yann), a refugee from China, finds a home in Mumbai and runs a temple. She’s a brilliant cook and has a son named Ming (Meiyang Chang). As seen in the trailer, Sui doesn’t approve of Ming’s relationship with Megha (Wamiqa). Just like Mehta’s Baai, food and music play a crucial role in Vishal’s story.
I perceived Mumbai Dragon as a story of how stubborn most Indians are when it comes to love. They want their children to marry someone from their community. More than the happiness of their children, what matters to them is their pride. Even though the ending is predictable, the delicious food, performances and tuneful music keep you going through the end. Yeo Yann Yann has a strict character to play, and she does a fantastic job. Chang, Shah and Gabbi are good in their roles.
Modern Love Mumbai Review: Cutting Chai
The last story, ‘Cutting Chai’, is directed by Nupur Asthana. Latika (Chitrangada) and Daniel (Arshad), a middle-aged couple, start their day with an argument. Latika is tired of household duties that don’t give her enough time to write. While sipping on a cutting chai at the CSMT station, Latika rethinks her journey in life so far. She imagines how different her life would be if she had made different decisions from the beginning.
As someone who loves chai, the CSMT station and overthinking about everything, I found Nupur’s story quite endearing to watch. She focuses on the challenges that come with love. It reminded me of the dialogue by John Cullum in Before We Go film – “There is no perfect. There will always be struggle. You just have to pick who you want to struggle with.” Both Arshad and Chitrangada are pleasant to watch.
Modern Love Mumbai Review: Final Thoughts
Overall, Modern Love Mumbai feels like a warm and tight hug of love and comfort. What makes the anthology a remarkable watch is its simple narrative, raw characters, heartwarming emotions and the abundance of love captured in each of them. The filmmakers and actors have managed to capture the love hidden in the backstreets of Mumbai and around. The title track sung by Nikhil Dsouza is terrific. While all the stories are enjoyable, my favourites are Raat Rani, I Love Thane, Cutting Chai, and Baai.
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