Minus One 2 on Lionsgateplay is a soulful series when it’s not trying too hard with experimentation!

Can two people who are deeply in love but cannot make it work be friends with each other? More so, can they live together as roommates after living together as a couple? Seems odd and if Ross and Rachel have taught us anything – it’s impossible to live together as friends. But given the changing times maybe it’s possible or maybe we’re a generation that looks for trouble and complications more often than not! Basing a story on such a complicated matter, Minus One 2 on Lionsgateplay works beautifully on paper just like the couple in the series but unfortunately doesn’t translate that well onscreen.

Riya (Aisha Ahmed), an aspiring photographer, and Varun (Ayush Mehra), an aspiring pilot are involved in an all-consuming romance and move in together. But when the honeymoon period gets over, the reality of bills starts to dawn on them and aspirations start to take a backseat while sacrifices are being made. Everything goes haywire in the balance and the ugly side of being mere humans starts to come out which causes them to break up but only from the relationship, the love between them is so immense that from being together with each other as ‘plus ones’ they become each other’s ‘minus one’.

Also Read: Thoughts I had while watching YRF’s The Romantics on Netflix!

The concepts raised in the series are so powerful and though-provoking that they touch your soul

The idea of breaking apart and still being friends and realising the love for each other is next-level maturity in itself that most won’t be able to attempt. But the series doesn’t take a preachy form to tell this! They take a very realistic approach from why Riya and Varun want to move in together, how they end up breaking up, moving in back together as friends, how the underlying male ego and toxic behaviour causes trouble in the relationship, the loneliness one feels when being together with one another, the complex forms of emotions that abortion brings up, why someone cheats and more. It also talks about finding yourself and finding your space of comfort, one that you can call home and ideological differences. Each and every episode in this six-part series has soul, depth, and intensity in the form of conceptualisation.

Ruined by the lack of balance between the heavy weight of the concept and experimental filmmaking

What disappointed me so much was that when your concept is so good and is doing the heavy lifting why would one apply so much experimental and layered filmmaking and not focus on writing? Don’t get me wrong, I love the aesthetic feel of camera angles and editing but when such sensitive topics are discussed they themselves require full attention. Filmmaking should help uplift the writing in such a case, not something that fills the space for the lack of powerful writing, confuses, irritates, or even takes the focus off. Even the writing feels like threads joining the dots for the sake of the larger story and doesn’t flourish in an impactful manner as a whole.

For instance, it’s pretty clear that in spite of living together, Riya and Varun are living separately, then to show the entire episode by dividing the screen into two halves doesn’t make sense. And what was the point of including the parents? All of this only takes away from what could have been a soulful show. There wasn’t any need for the juxtaposition of metaphors everywhere. Even the dialogues felt something out of a book of quotes.

Cast saves the day!

No matter what, Aisha Ahmed’s whole body language exhibits Riya in every essence from head to toe, and Ayush Mehra’s complete control of finding that sweet spot between Varun’s toxicity and vulnerability is what pangs your heart. When Varun fights about Riya taking money from her father to support him, you judge him for sure but the way Ayush performs it, you could feel his angst and his ego being hurt over not being able to stand tall as a man. And Riya‘s heartbreaking loneliness which finally leads to being alone in an abortion is so tightly embodied by Aisha that you just want to get up and give her a hug. Ayush and Aisha are the saving grace (uff the chemistry between them) and the best part of the show apart from the songs and production design.

Songs and scenes in silos are so aesthetically beautiful and meaningful

The songs provide the solace and soulfulness that probably the series was going towards. They sometimes even drive the emotion which is otherwise lost somewhere. And the whole aesthetic feel including the music, production design, cinematography, colour palette, choreography amongst actors, and editing looks like took a chapter out of the book of the film Gehraiyaan. Though my favourite points were either compiled in a song or the ultimate fight with two of them sitting at the dividing lines of the house, the depth of abortion, breakup, and lastly the ‘minus one’ as an entire concept.

I just genuinely wished everything wasn’t so staged or choreographed to the point that it could be seen all too well. It could’ve been an absolute masterpiece! Whatever may be the reason this became their Minus One instead of being their Plus One!

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