Show: Modern Love Mumbai
Cast: Fatima Sana Shaikh, Bhupendra Jadawat, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Tanuja, Pratik Gandhi, Ranveer Brar, Manasi Joshi Roy, Talat Aziz, Yeo Yann Yann, Meiyang Chang, Wamiqa Gabbi, Naseeruddin Shah, Sarika, Danesh Rizvi, Ahsaas Channa, Tanvi Azmi, Masaba Gupta, Ritwik Bhowmik, Prateik Babbar, Aadar Malik, Dolly Singh, Chitrangda Singh and Arshad Warsi
Directors: Shonali Bose, Hansal Mehta, Vishal Bhardwaj, Alankrita Shrivastava, Dhruv Sehgal and Nupur Asthana
OTT: Amazon Prime Video
Rating: 3.5 Moons
In a world torn by strife, war, hatred, jealousy and corruption, love is the only emotion that makes life worth living and it is a huge deal to find someone to love and be loved in return. Amazon Prime Video’s anthology Modern Love Mumbai, the first of the three localized Indian versions of the widely acclaimed international series Modern Love features six heartwarming stories about discovering and exploring love in all its varied shades and emotions.
Starring Arshad Warsi, Chitrangda Singh, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Bhupendra Jadawat, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Tanuja, Pratik Gandhi, Ranveer Brar, Manasi Joshi Roy, Talat Aziz, Yeo Yann Yann, Meiyang Chang, Wamiqa Gabbi, Naseeruddin Shah, Sarika, Danesh Rizvi, Ahsaas Channa, Tanvi Azmi, Masaba Gupta, Ritwik Bhowmik, Prateik Babbar, Aadar Malik and Dolly Singh, Modern Love Mumbai has been superbly adapted to resonate with the city, its people, their aspirations and their lives. The six tales depicting various shades of love have been directed by Shonali Bose, Hansal Mehta, Vishal Bhardwaj, Alankrita Shrivastava, Dhruv Sehgal and Nupur Asthana takes us on a roller-coaster ride of emotions inspired by the famous New York Times column but rooted in the heart of the city of Mumbai.
My Beautiful Wrinkles
Directed by Alankrita Shrivastava and starring Sarika, Danesh Razvi, Ahsaas Channa and Tanvi Azmi, My Beautiful Wrinkles deals with overcoming loss and guilt and living life anew. With the premise of an unlikely love story between an older woman and a younger man, the short breathes a new life into the often dealt with predicament. However, unlike other tales here the protagonists do not give way to their urges but learn to help each other break the shackles that are pulling them down in their personal lives. Amongst all the stories this seems a tad less impactful but still dishes out the valuable lesson of letting go and living one’s life to the fullest.
Directed by Hansal Mehta, starring Tanuja, Pratik Gandhi, Ranveer Brar, Manasi Joshi Roy and Talat Aziz, Baai features one of the most delicately handles love story. This short is not only about love between two people but also between the members of a family and the need to understand and accept each other. Probably one of the best portrayals of homosexual love and the need to be accepted by one’s family for their sexuality is the highpoint of Baai. Pratik plays Manzu, a gay Muslim man who grows up in a conservative family with an overbearing father and is torn between the love for his partner Rajveer (played by chef Ranveer Brar in his acting debut) and his ailing but ever-doting grandmother and family matriarch, Baai played by Tanuja. The short will touch your heartstrings for the baggage that we all carry hiding our true feelings from the people we love the most. Pratik, Ranveer, Tanuja and Manasi uplift the story with their superb performances. Not to mention, the soulful track sung by Sonu Nigam, Baai will tug at your heartstrings and is the best of the lot that does a proper homage to the city of Mumbai with the 1993 Bombay Riots setting the tone right at the start.
I Love Thane
I Love Thane is directed by Dhruv Sehgal and stars Masaba Gupta and Ritwik Bhowmik in the lead. It deals with the very real struggles of millennials who are unable to settle down and find a life partner with whom they can be their really true selves because swiping right on dating sites might provide you with casual sex but no intimacy. I Love Thane shows Masaba as a landscape designer while Ritwik plays a junior officer in Thane Municipal Corporation. The love slowly and steadily creeps up to them and before they know it their talks become the backbone of their relationship as they unravel in front of each other and let go of their perceived failures in life. Dhruv Sehgal might be the lesser fry in the illustrious circle of directors here but his directorial story is one of the best and brings out the true essence of love, away from mobile screens and social media with a stark, genuine and clear reality that is beautiful, endearing and long lasting. Ritwik as the straight-laced Thane boy is instantly loveable and holds your attention throughout while Masaba proves that she may have turned into acting by fluke but she does have a screen presence worth rooting for.
Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj and starring Yeo Yann Yann, Meiyang Chang, Wamiqa Gabbi and Naseeruddin Shah, Mumbai Dragon, deals with the dilemma of every parent who loves their child a bit too much, often suffocating their future relationships; as well as the need to adhere to one’s tradition and culture especially when one belongs to a minority group. Yeo Yann Yann and Meiyang Chang play Indo-Chinese mother and son respectively. The story deals with the son’s desire to become a singer while his mother wants him to follow his father’s footsteps into dentistry, not to mention the problem his Gujarati vegetarian non-garlic eating girlfriend brings in who becomes an eyesore for the mom as she supports her boyfriend’s dreams over his mother’s. However, in the end love conquers all, not to mention stir-fried eggplant that helps seal the deal and convey the hidden message of acceptance. Yeo Yann Yann steals the show with her smothering love for her son and trying to keep her Chinese roots and traditions alive, overpowering even a seasoned actor like Naseeruddin Shah.
Directed by Shonali Bose and starring Fatima Sana Shaikh, Bhupendra Jadawat and Dilip Prabhavalkar, Raat Rani deals with the hustle of living in Mumbai and loving and finding oneself through life’s ups and downs. Fatima plays a Lali, Kashmiri girl who elopes and gets married to a man of lower caste against her parents’ wishes and makes her marital home in Mumbai, a place where she can at least do the things she is ‘not allowed to do’. Life takes a turn for Lali when her husband Lutfi leaves her overnight. However, after overcoming the initial anger and shock at being left alone, she manages to live life on her own terms prioritising her own wishes and desires. Fatima steals the show as the exuberant, zealous and feisty Lali and in her own words, ‘takes the flyover’ and finds herself in the process by overturning her setback into the best thing that ever happened to her.
Directed by Nupur Asthana and starring Chitrangda Singh and Arshad Warsi, Cutting Chai showcases one’s life choices and how it eventually pans out. The short is heartwarming one where at the start you expect the harried housewife played by Chitrangda, who is unable to finish her dream of writing a novel and being frustrated and irritated with her husband played by Arshad. At a point, as a viewer you feel that she might take a drastic step and call it quits in her marriage but things take a turn when she mulls over her life choices waiting for her husband at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The tale ends on a happy note with the husband agreeing to taking over household responsibilities so that his wife can pursue her dream of becoming a published author. Cutting Chai tries to showcase the hustle and bustle of the city but this story is lukewarm at its best.
Modern Love Mumbai is a heartwarming concoction of emotions and is a good and entertaining watch that will leave you with the belief that love is what makes the world go around.
PeepingMoon.com gives Modern Love Mumbai, 3.5 Moons.