Modern Love Mumbai brings in the flavors from the popular New York Times column which has been adapted into a successful series with two seasons and podcast. Everyone including me was quite excited when this project was announced by Prime Video. We expected a desi twist to the otherwise foreign stories, and boy we were right. Modern Love Mumbai is an anthology series based on the people of Mumbai, which is also the soul sister to New York in many ways.
So, without further ado, let’s jump right in and see if you should or shouldn’t watch this series and what it did right for its audiences.
The strongest point has to be the storytelling, without a single pinch of doubt. The original series too attracts viewers with its subtly beautiful stories where one gets insights upon the simple yet unique lives and their take on love. We relate with the characters and feel for them. What I love the most about this series in particular and what I see as an unique trait is its use of humor to express emotions of every form. Best portraited in the very first episode where Lali’s portrayal of grief and loss is effortlessly showcased through humor. But despite being humor a tool, it left me depressed for minutes.
Same was the case for Mumbai Dragon where Sui’s resent for his son’s girlfriend and fear of losing him and having to share him is showcased through humor. An important note is that similar to its popular counterpart, Modern Love Mumbai also showcases love through the perspectives of race, sexuality, age etc and doesn’t just showcases epic evergreen love stories but other elements of love like moving on, acceptance, falling in love, staying in love and others.
Modern Love Mumbai: Episodes
Only after 2 minutes of its beginning, was I feeling wholesome and laughing which transited to heartbreak ultimately concluding with a higher spirit of happiness and hope. Episode 1: Raat Rani is no doubt my favorite from the six. We follow Kashmiri native Lali who moves to Mumbai with her husband Lufti. They struggle to build their home and dream to move back to Kashmir and operate a houseboat for honeymoon couples. But everything soon falls apart when Lutfi one day leaves her. Her grief and process of healing is cinematographically personified in her cycle.
Something similar was done in Episode 3: Mumbai Dragon, Chinese immigrants, Sui and his son Ming share a special bond which is disturbed after Ming brings home his Indian girlfriend. There are five love languages but Sui’s is food. She expresses dissent, possessiveness and anger yet keeps cooking food for her son to the point where boxes of food gets wasted. The story has elements of maternal love, humor but above all acceptance and letting go for love.
Likewise, Episode 2: Baai, talks about Manzu, belonging from a conservative muslim family struggles with his sexuality. How his family disapproves his identity and how he struggles to accept and commit to the love he understands. This episode is about a lot of things like LGBTQ+, acceptance but above all closure. Manzu’s closure with his beloved Baai (grandma).
Other stories include, Episode 4: I Love My Wrinkles, Dilbar Sodhi, a woman in her 60s tries to adjust herself after being confessed by Kunal, a boy in his 20s about his sexual fantasies towards her. Dilbar goes on a process of accepting her past, long gone love and newly found feelings. Kunal on the other hand, transits to live his life more vividly. Episode 5: I love Thane, explores the theme of finding love late. Saiba tries to find that perfect person for herself midst the plethora of men on dating apps. Destiny plans out weirdly for her.
The Final episode: Cutting Chai, explores the mid life crisis of Latika who once wanted to be a writer but now is trapped in the vicious cycle and is anable to complete her novel. She re-evaluates her life and all the decisions she ever made but finally settles for her cutting chai, again personification through chai.
Direction and Cast
Kudos to all the directors, they have really pulled off a great project effortlessly. The project was difficult because this is surely was to be compared to its popular original counterpart, any stone left unturned would have been surely pointed out by netizens.
Standing ovation to Nupur Asthana, Vishal Bhardwaj, Shonali Bose, Hansal Mehta, Dhruv Sehgal, Alankrita Shrivastava. All these creators have already made a name for themselves like Vishal for Haidar, Omkara; Shonali for Margarita with a Straw, The Sky is Pink; Hansal for Scam 1992, Citylights, Aligarh etc; Dhruv for his role and direction in Little Things; Alankrita for strong female based stories like Lipstick Under My Burkha, Made in Heaven etc.
The cast is interresting too like established actors like Fatima Sana Shaikh as Lali, Chitrangda Singh as Latika, Pratik Gandhi as Manzu and Arshad Warsi as Daniel but also, non-traditional actors in lead like Masaba as Saiba and my mind was blown away when I saw Ranveer Brar as Rajweer. Cameos and support characters like Anurag Kashwap, Naseeruddin Shah, Ahsaas Channa acted as cherry on top.
There is no reason you should skip it and every reason why you should watch it. Just go for it, trust me. If you liked this you may also like Netflix’s Ajeeb Daastaan. Read the review HERE