Adaptation of the Modern Love US, Modern Love Mumbai is a pure soulful love letter written to the city of dreams and celebrates the feeling of love in all its form.
Modern Love is a series of art that imitates the slice-of-life love stories that are found in everyday little things. Whether it’s about learning to love yourself with all your flaws or falling in love with a stranger on a train, Modern Love is all about ‘love wrapped in small moments’ kinda rom-com infused with real life. But what made this one interesting was the anthology adapted from real stories in the column in The New York Times. And Modern Love Mumbai is the same. The stories are adapted from the same NYT columns but are infused with Indian culture. There are six stories in this anthology and all speak the same language of love in all its shades while penning down a love letter to Mumbai which becomes an integral part of every one of these love stories.
The anthology starts with Raat Rani by Shonali Bose, starring Fatima Sana Shaikh which is about a Kashmiri woman who learns to love herself and live alone. Then comes Baai by Hansal Mehta, starring Tanuja, Pratik Gandhi, and Ranveer Brar, which talks about acceptance in love. Followed by Mumbai Dragon by Vishal Bhardwaj, starring Yeo Yann Yann, Meiyang Chang, Wamiqa Gabbi, and Naseeruddin Shah, which is about a diabolical love of a mother for her son.
My Beautiful Wrinkles by Alankrita Shrivastava, starring Sarika, and Danesh Razvi, seems to follow the same lines of Ratna Pathak Shah’s character in Lipstick Under My Burkha. I Love Thane by Dhruv Sehgal, starring Masaba Gupta, and Ritwik Bhowmik portrays the usual walk-and-talk conversational style of love of Sehgal. And the last story ‘Cutting Chai‘ is by Nupur Asthana, starring Chitrangda Singh and Arshad Warsi which explores the what-ifs in mid-life post-marriage.
While each story has a soulful essence and something sweet to leave you with, these four films, Raat Rani, Baai, Mumbai Dragon, and I Love Thane are much more impactful in their storytelling than My Beautiful Wrinkles. The last one in the anthology, Cutting Chai is the least narrative binding of all.
Raat Rani is a simple story of a Kashmiri woman who is suddenly left alone by her husband and an old cycle, her kahwa, and a flyover play a huge role in her liberating herself. But the film is elevated to the next level with Fatima Sana Shaikh’s eccentric Kashmiri accented acting that just makes you fall in love with Lali and her spirit. I Love Thane with its walking and talking urban conversational love story will definitely remind you of Little Things, considering its created by Dhruv. The 34-year-old landscape designer, Saiba (Masaba) who plans everything, finds herself in the midst of the urban dating landscape and chances upon her partner without any plan. It’s like life and love just happen while you’re busy planning for it, you just have to give it a chance!
Baai and Mumbai Dragon are both heartfelt films by ace directors that approach telling you a family love story through the essence of music and food. With the cultural contexts embedded in it, it’s inclusive in all senses. Baai is a story of a young singer, Manzar Ali (Prateik Gandhi) who falls for a chef Rajveer (Ranveer Brar). But it’s much more than that; it’s about how rioters and homophobes are all the same, and sometimes your elders, especially your grandmothers who have seen a lot can surprise you with all that they can accept. Riddled with many sweet nostalgic moments, the film leaves a lasting impact. Mumbai Dragon in all its comedy is a film about a Cantonese mother, Sui Mei (Yeo Yann Yann) who is a fighter and has made a place for herself while still being rooted but cannot let go of her son, Ming (Meiyang Chang) who has fallen in love with a vegetarian, garlic-averse Gujarati. And Cantonese food in tiffins is her way of marking the territory around her son. It reimagines the diabolical nature of the love of mothers toward their children.
My Beautiful Wrinkles feels like a smaller extension of Ratna Pathak Shah’s character in Lipstick Under My Burkha but goes a little different. Sarika is an age-old Punjabi lady who reads, judges everyone and everything, and is guilt-ridden from her past but when a 30 years younger than her boy desires her, it liberates her in ways she never thought of. Even though the lens is unique here, the story isn’t too convincing. And the weakest of the lot is Cutting Chai which explores post-marriage blues but is lost in its own blues without a clear standpoint and compelling narrative.
These six different stories will take you on six different rides covering the struggle for individual identity in a relationship, post-marriage blues, self-love, or fighting family for love, but Mumbai and love are fully present in all of them. Whether it’s the lanes, roads, trains, or the evergreen attitude of Mumbai and its people, Modern Love Mumbai covers it all. Modern Love Mumbai is a series that explores the most unexpected corners of daily life to showcase love beyond boundaries that we may or may not face every day, compiling myriad viewpoints and struggles of the aam aadmi facing love in all its forms.
Modern Love Mumbai is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video!
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