Throw: Fatima Sana Shaikh, Chitrangada Singh, Arshad Warsi, Pratik Gandhi, Ranveer Brar, Masaba Gupta, Ritwik Bhowmik, Yeo Yann Yann, Meiyang Chang, Naseeruddin Shah, Wamiqa Gabbi, Bhupendra Jadawat, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Aanues, Tanues, Tanues Malik, Dolly Singh
Director: Shonali Bose, Hansal Mehta, Vishal Bhardwaj, Alankrita Shrivastava, Dhruv Sehgal, Nupur Asthana
Rating: Three and a half stars (out of 5)
A compilation of charming cock-eyed tasks on longing and loss, assertiveness and surrender, staying away from the conventional trajectories of screen romances, Amazon Prime Videos Modern love Mumbai presents six vivid stories of life rather than mere love stories.
The short films, each about 40 minutes long, follow men and women navigating matters of the heart and mind in a busy megapole where every day a surprise or two, sometimes pleasant, springs from others disturbingly.
The Mumbai version of the American series Modern Love (two seasons of eight episodes each created by John Carney based on weekly personal columns in The New York Times), has half a dozen Mumbai directors – there men and three women – interpreting its life and volatility in the city in which they live. live and work.
The program, produced by Pritish Nandy Communications, features Vishal Bhardwaj, Hansal Mehta, Nupur Asthana, Shonali Bose, Alankrita Shrivastava and Dhruv Sehgal putting their creative shoulders to the wheel and sailing through with distinction.
No matter what the gender of the director or what is the essential tilt of each story, it is the women, both the fictional characters and the artists they portray, who make Modern love Mumbai worth it.
Fatima Sana Shaikh (in the fifth film, Raat Rani, at the helm of Shonali Bose) leads the charge with astonishing energy and flair. The remaining main female actors on screen, especially Yeo Yann Yann, Sarika and Tanuja, one as well as the other, use subtle strokes to etch multilayered, intriguing individuals. They bring variations of emotion and impulse to the table that are easy to relate to, but anything but easy.
A middle-aged woman lures a much younger man in the first of the shorts, Alankrita Shrivastava’s My beautiful wrinkles. An indifferent landscape designer seeks stability as she flees from one random date to another in the third story – Dhruv Sehgal’s I Love Thane. A married writer struggles to finish her debut novel while domestic chores and a callous inattentive man find her in Nupur Asthana’s Sny Chaithe final film.
Modern love Mumbaieven when a chapter has a man in the middle like the one run by Hansal Mehta (the title is Bayand it says it all), is mainly about women who are thirsty for fulfillment or struggling to seize a second chance.
In Shrivastava’s My beautiful wrinkles, written by the director himself, sex actor Dilbar Sodhi (Sarika) develops a bond with an introverted Kunal (Danesh Razvi), who finds job interviews extremely difficult to crack. The lady steps in to help him get over the problem. The seemingly harmless relationship takes a serious turn. It throws Dilbar off balance
The power of this simple story stems from the lightness of the treatment. Sarika was cast perfectly. The actress has been playing since the late 1960s. Her crucial presence in a new era interpretation of love that challenges a gaping age difference is filled with possibilities. Sarika bring Dilbar live in a quiet, confident, effortless way.
Bay, directed by Hansal Mehta, leads love in a very different direction – actually in two different directions. One centers on a crooner Manzar Ali (Pratik Gandhi) whose sexual orientation causes an inevitable clash with his conservative parents (Talat Aziz and Mansi Joshi Roy) and takes him to Manhattan chef Rajveer (played by real chef Ranveer Brar in interpreted his first play (assignment).
The other one is Manzar’s deep, undisguised love for his grandmother (Tanuja, an old woman who has not lost any of her charm), a woman who is as much known for her courage in the face of adversity as for her exceptional cuisine. Revealing his ‘secret’ to the woman he loves is a challenge for Manzar. It forms the core of Bay.
A gay love story embedded in a sensitive, eloquent portrait of a Muslim family in a nation that has suffered a violent division, and in a city that has experienced terrible communal unrest in more recent times, Bay has been decorated with some soulful songs, not the least glorious Kaisi baatein karte hocomposed by Jeet Ganguli and sung by Sonu Nigam.
Director and co-writer Hansal Mehta extracts flawless performances from the two main actors – Tanuja and Pratik Gandhi. Ranveer Brar enters a new domain without showing any signs of tension.
I love Thane, directed by Dhruv Sehgal and edited by him and Nupur Pai, begins in the heart of Mumbai before swerving to a distant suburb. An unlikely relationship flourishes between 34-year-old Mumbai landscape designer Saiba (Masaba Gupta), irritated by men who give her no hope of finding a sustainable soulmate, and a self-destructing but assorted Parth (Ritwik Bhowmik) , appointed a Thane municipality’s audit officer to oversee a new park project for which the former has been appointed.
A story of unequal poles attracting each other, I love Thane does not depend on any grand or demonstrative gestures. It swings its way forward on the back of soft conversations that don’t just sound like a whole bunch of words. Saiba and Parth are embodiments of two points of a metropolitan region meeting in search of common ground.
Masaba Gupta, as an independent woman struggling with “self-doubt and humiliation”, is absolutely credible. Ritwik Bhowmik’s modest man who has peace with Thane because the place lets him be, evokes a striking portrait of engaging mundane.
Bay has grandmother se nihari and qorma, I love Thane has Parth’s love for good old misal pav. Food is in the middle of Vishal Bhardwaj’s delicious lively Mumbai Dragon, too. The film was written by director and Jyotsna Hariharan and admirably directed by Malaysian actress Yao Yann Yann, the star of Singaporean writer Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo and Wet Season.
Sui Mei is another repressed woman who can rip up a common sweet corn soup – a family specialty – and make noodles and dim sums to die for, is very upset when her son Ming (Meiyang Chang) goes to Gujarati girl Megha Patel (Megha Patel) trek. Wamiqa Gabbi), who does not touch garlic, let alone eat any meat. Sui, a true-blue carnivore, is forced to stir stir-fried eggplant for her.
Sui’s confidante, Patiala native Pappi (Naseeruddin Shah), tries to convince her to resign, but her son, a struggling Bollywood singer who is waiting for a big break, will have nothing of his mother’s mental block. The peculiarities of a mother-son-no-barred war – which also involves a clash between Hindi and Cantonese – are vividly articulated by the two actors, with Naseeruddin Shah and Wamiqa Gabbi providing support that enhances the appeal of the story.
Vishal Bhardwaj’s lyrics and music deliver a beautiful word of love Raat bhar hijr meinsuperbly delivered by Meiyang Chang – one of the highlights of a dreaded-with-fun episode.
The vitality of Modern Love Mumbai shoots several notches in Shonali Bose’s Raat Raniabout a bulky Kashmiri migrant woman Lali (Fatima Sana Shaikh) who has to take care of herself when her husband and his scooter let her down without warning.
An abandoned bike and a modest house in a slum are all Lali has left. The lead actress pulls the strings to play a woman who goes from reckless to fiery, cycling, dealing with a bridge on her path and learning to enjoy her favorite flavored ice cream on her own. Raat Raniwritten by Nilesh Maniyar and John Belanger, is a story of empowerment that does not feel like a standard story of empowerment.
The Last Story, Nupur Asthana’s Sny Chaiwritten by Devika Bhagat, is a muted relationship drama that has entangled Chitrangda Singh and Arshad Warsi in a battle of the sexes within a marriage that has driven to soul-crushing drudgery for the woman.
Latika, an aspiring writer who wants to complete her first novel but is thwarted by her marital responsibilities unthinkingly placed on her by Danny (Warsi), her hotel F&B executive husband and ordinary latecomer. This story of a love that has grown cold adds an additional dimension to the composition.
Modern Love Mumbai is easy on the eye and the mind, because the writing about the six stories, like the green lung that Saiba and Parth try to create in I love Thaneleave enough space for the characters to breathe.