It looks like anthologies are the new go-to thing for Indian web series, and truth be told, they’re missing the mark more than getting it right. Fortunately, Modern Love Mumbai just about squeezes in with the better bunch, of which there’s precious few as is. Also, full disclosure, I haven’t watched the original American Modern Love, and so, went in for Modern Love Mumbai with a clean slate and that’s why it may have worked out for me. Or did it? We’ll never know, but what we do know is that I’ve been mildly surprised in a pleasant way with this. Also Read – Anupamaa: Anu and Anuj’s chemistry during Haldi ceremony sets the internet on fire; MaAn fans say, ‘Maryada lines are slowly fading away’
Six romantic tales, starring celebrated actors like Arshad Warsi, Chitrangda Singh, Tanuja, Pratik Gandhi and more, helmed by respected names like Vishal Bhardwaj, Hansal Mehta and others, which capture varying emotions of that funny thing called love against varying backdrops of magnificent Mumbai.
Watch the Modern Love Mumbai trailer below:
Raat Rani Fatima Sana Shaikh nails the Kashmiri accent to the T and the plight of immigrants is well played out, but that’s about it.
Baai A nice sensitive portrayal of gay relationships against the backdrop of a hostile familial discord and the uncertainty of coming out to your loved ones. Pratik Gandhi and veteran Tanuja are both in fine form, well supported by Ranveer Brar. And there’s a lovely, heartwarming twists at the end.
Mumbai Dragon Arguably the best of the anthology, particularly due to its old-world charm and how well Director Vishal Bhardwaj balances what could be a done-to-death story about friction between a future mother-in-law and son-in-law with dollops of humor and no shortage of empathy. It also pays that Meiyang Chang, Wamiqa Gabbi and Yeo Yann Yann – possibly the find of the entire show – are all perfectly cast. Most of all, this one is so enjoyable because how Bhardwaj proves that timeless tropes never go out of fashion when executed with freshness.
My Beautiful Wrinkles Sarika again displays how underutilised her talent has been and the climax, which ends with a mature touch and sense of self-discovery are welcome, but that’s about it. It’s also good to see Navneet Nishan after ages even in a very small role. Tanvi Azmi, too, shines in a cameo.
I Love Thane Masaba Gupta tries her best, but neither is her best good enough for such dreary material nor is she so dexterous an actress to rise above the material.
Cutting Chai Probably the second best after Mumbai Dragon, beautifully capturing the spirit of the city and its changing landscape against the backdrop of a marriage that’s seen and continues to see its ups and downs but remains nevertheless rock solid. Arshad Warsi and Chitrangda Singh are the icing on the cake and how all the characters from all the episodes seamlessly merge at the end is in the cherry on top.
Raat Rani Despite nailing that accent, Fatima Sana Shaikh is just too loud and no less annoying to the point of being borderline neurotic. In fact, the way Director Shonali Bose presents her make you lose all sympathy for her plight. Also, it’s not necessary to force women empowerment into everything as when the plot suddenly takes a detour into that zone to make a point, it ironically completely loses the plot. Make no mistake, I’m all for female-centric stories, but coercing it out of nowhere seems like misusing an imperative subject.
Baai The middle portion lags quite a bit. Drab is not the right way to go to convey a love story, especially when you want to warm up the non-believers to what they feel is a taboo topic. Also, Director Hansal Mehta could’ve really avoided depicting a gay marriage – as much as your heart is in the right place, you also need to depict reality in the face of a real setting.
Mumbai Dragon Honestly, not much to crib about here except perhaps the pointlessness of Naseeruddin Shah’s character to the plot.
My Beautiful Wrinkles A tried-and-tested formula of a younger man developing feelings for an older woman narrated in a tried-and-tested way by Director Alankrita Shrivastava. Moreover, Danesh Razvi is very mediocre in his part and gets horribly exposed in his parts opposite Sarika.
I Love Thane Definitely the most monotonous, soporific and motionless of the lot, bogged down by endless verbosity. It’s not that the point being made is meaningless, it’s just that it’s so disinteresting that I could care less where it led to. Also, the Thane depicted isn’t the Thane lived in by the majority of inhabitants, including yours truly.
Cutting Chai The episode could’ve done with a bit more depth and definitely some more of Arshad and his impeccable comic timing, but those are the only minor gripes.
Modern Love Mumbai on Amazon Prime may be a mixed bag, but that bag has more items you’d like to try than avoid. Episodes 3 and 6 are highly recommended, the second episode is also hard to not warm up to and the fourth one manages to make the cut. You can even just watch these four and pass on the first and fifth episodes for a better viewing experience. I’m going with 3 out of 5 stars.