Modern Love Mumbai
Onto the next release of the weekend and I just finished watching the new Hindi Anthology Modern Love Mumbai. This was one anthology which I was eagerly awaiting after such a promising trailer. An official adaptation of the English series Modern Love which is based news paper articles in the New York Times. Now I haven’t watched the original so I have no reference of how well the stories were adapted. So it gave me an opportunity to approach these stories with a fresh approach without any baggage. So here are my two cents on Modern Love Mumbai in my original anthology template.
A Story of a Kashmiri woman working in Mumbai whose husband leaves her one day leaving behind just a cycle. Would she be able to cross the bridge? The story here is heartwarming and representative of most woman living alone in the city. The screenplay opens on a slightly wobbly note but it soon gathers momentum and transforms itself in a liberal tale of simply enjoying life without being dependent on others. And the Bombay(Mumbai) flavour was just so beautifully woven in the narrative. The music was good. Director Shonali Bose does a fabulous job in bringing out this delicate story in the most happy manner which will put a smile on your face. Bhupendra Jadawat, Lin Laishram and Tanishtha Chatterjee all have their moments to shine. But the star of the show is Fatima Sana Shaikh who is absolutely brilliant with such an authentic Kashmiri accent.
A Story of a homosexual man from a conservative household who is torn between the love of his partner and his ailing grandmother. The story is delicate yet certain tropes of the genre are quite evident here. But the screenplay really makes up for it despite a few flaws. At the very beginning you do get an idea about the conservative background of the protagonist where being a homosexual is considered as an illness. The entire sequence of the protagonist finding his love seemed so organic thwt it did touch you. The sequence featuring the grandmother made me reminesce my own grandmother who was just as loving and caring. There were a couple of drawbacks – one was that I found the pre-climax a tad too simplistic and slightly cliched given that the conflict of homosexuality being a sin was evident just a scene before. And secondly, the Bombay vibe was missing and probably the only tale which I found it that way. But still there are several moments which are heartfelt and sincere. The music is just so soothing here and it blends so well with the drama. The dialogues by Raghav Kakker and Kashyap Kapoor are very sensitive with some real gems hidden and waiting to be discovered. Director Hansal Mehta does a stupendous job carrying forward his legacy of some great work post Shahid. Like in Aligarh, here too he handles the subject with sensitivity and normalizes it. Rushad Rana, Manasi Joshi Roy and Kashmira Irani all have their moments to shine. Tanuja as Baai is brilliant. Ranveer Brar makes an impressive debut onscreen. Pratik Gandhi is sensational. It was an absolute pleasure to watch him in a performance which truly touches you and makes you empathize with his pain.
Mumbai Dragon :
Set against the backdrop of the Chinese community, it is the story of a mother who uses her cooking skills to woo her son from his girlfriend. This turned out to be one of my favourite shorts here. The screenplay is filled with humour in a very nonchalant manner. The dynamics between the characters is so well defined which helps in driving the screenplay throughout. And the manner in which food is used as a tool for love is simply the best. As they say, a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and it is evident how mothers are. No matter how much you stuff yourself with, there is this extra ‘love’ which is served to you. This was so well illustrated here. The whole Chinese cultural bit was also well showcased and it did give me a glimpse into their culture. The music is just so soulful here and it is that man behind it – Vishal Bhardwaj. His direction too is top notch with a quirky sense of humour which was sprinkled deftly. Nasseruddin Shah and Imaad Shah are brilliant. Anurag Kashyap makes a hilarious special appearance here. Wamiqa Gabbi is just so pretty to look at and she does a smashing job. Meiyang Chang has a charming presence and he is top notch. But it is Yeo Yann Yann who steals the show with her well measured yet eccentric act of love which will make you laugh yet a part of you will just want to wrap your arms around her. An exceptional act!
My Beautiful Wrinkles :
A Story of a 20 something man who is attracted to a 60 something woman. What happens next? The story here is pretty good but it may meet with a slight backlash considering the conservative ideologies of many. The screenplay here is filled with symbolisms. To start with, it gives a fresh vibe to the city of Mumbai. It is shot in the portion of the Marine Drive going towards Malabar hill as opposed to the more famous queen’s necklace. As per me, this was symbolic of the life which has been spent(signifying the 60s) as opposed to where the action is. Also the broken and damaged fiat was symbolic of memories which we hold onto despite them being in the past. Often, women’s needs are not well showcased in Bollywood whereas the male counterparts do get away with almost anything in the name of comedy. But particularly here, the subject is handled with utmost sensitivity and dignity. The unlikely friendship is a sweet one and a refreshing one. Director Alankrita Srivastava is known to take on these “bold” subjects and almost normalize them. Here too she does that with utmost ease and sensitivity. Ahsaas Channa has her moments to shine. Danesh Rizvi is excellent here. Sarika looks so pretty and she too delivers a dignified performance.
I Love Thane :
A story of a girl in her 30s who is single and actively searching for love. This story was just so relatable to me especially because 30s is an age which is cruel in many ways. Your friends are getting married and yiu do seek for love which you may not always find. But as they say, you will find love in the most unexpected places. The screenplay here is light and breezy and it almost embraces you like a long and warm hug. There are heartbreaks along the way but there is hope too. The whole relationship between the two protagonists seemed so organic with an infectious chemistry which was silent yet it did trascend into your heart. The dialogues add a lot of weight here. Director Dhruv Sehgal probably was the best person to direct here simply because he understands the pulse of the audience a lot(as seen in Little Things too). There is a sense of purpose here which makes this tale necessary. Prateik Babbar, Dolly Singh and Aadar Malik add a lot of star value here. Ritwik Bhowmik is basically me, maybe not as socially awkward but someone who is still holding onto the area where he has grown up in and is single in his 30s. And he does a fabulous job. Masaba Gupta is such a natural onscreen and she is incredibly good here. This short comes with my highest recommendation.
Cutting Chai :
A Story of a married woman in her 40s who is caught in the loop of a marriage and motherhood and has not been able to complete her novel. And she dwells in the “what if” scenario. The story is quite grounded and probably every married woman would relate to it. The screenplay gives you a glimpse of the relationship of the protagonist with her husband almost instantly. The beautiful landscapes of the CST station compliment the story just so well. It is often observed that despite all the problems between any couple, it is their companionship and mutual respect which helps them sail past any marital issues. And this is shown just so beautifully. The entire sequence where the protagonist contemplates and almost reflects on her life choices imagining an alternative life is just so well written and executed. The dialogues aptly capture the emotiond here. Director Nupur Asthana is prolific as she adds a lot of soul to the story. Sidhant Karnik has his moments to shine as does Mita Vashisht. Arshad Warsi is a delight to watch and is quite affable here. Chitrangda Singh is outstanding and she does quite an amazing job here.
Modern Love Mumbai is truly a breath of fresh air, almost like a warm hug that you often long for along with that Mumbai Vibe! Truely Refreshing and Another winner in the anthology genre, Modern Love Mumbai is available on Amazon Prime and Highly Recommended.
PS : The title track is just so brilliant, do not skip the intro!